Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Last Call For Hacking Off The GOP

Politico today reported a major e-mail hacking story involving the House GOP 2018 campaign arm, the National Republican Campaign Committee, when of course the Trump regime did everything it could to weaken data security before the midterm elections.

The House GOP campaign arm suffered a major hack during the 2018 election, exposing thousands of sensitive emails to an outside intruder, according to three senior party officials.

The email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months, the party officials said. The intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor. An internal investigation was initiated and the FBI was alerted to the attack, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the incident.

However, senior House Republicans — including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — were not informed of the hack until POLITICO contacted the NRCC on Monday with questions about the episode. Rank-and-file House Republicans were not told, either.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who served as NRCC chairman this past election cycle, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Committee officials said they decided to withhold the information because they were intent on conducting their own investigation, and feared that revealing the hack would compromise efforts to find the culprit.

"We don't want to get into details about what was taken because it's an ongoing investigation," said a senior party official. "Let's say they had access to four active accounts. I think you can draw from that."

The hack became a major source of consternation within the committee as the midterm election unfolded. The NRCC brought on the prominent Washington law firm Covington and Burling as well as Mercury Public Affairs to oversee the response to the hack. The NRCC paid the two firms hundreds of thousands of dollars to help respond to the intrusion. The committee’s chief legal counsel, Chris Winkelman, devoted hours of his time to dealing with matter.

Party officials would not say when the hack began or who was behind it, although they privately believe it was a foreign agent due to the nature of the attack.

Three observations:

One, it was Russia, you knobs, and everyone knows it.  Let's put aside all the "but we don't have proof" and "ongoing investigation" crap, it's Putin.

Two, the timing on this reveal right now seems weird but probably related to observation one.

Three, nobody told House Republicans, including their own leadership, because of possibly compromising the investigation and that's related to observation number two and definitely to observation number one.  Steve Stivers knew as the head of the NRCC, but who else knew, and how did they keep a lid on it?

We'll find out more as this goes along, I would imagine.

It's About Suppression, Con't

The GOP scheme to allegedly steal the US House election in NC's ninth congressional district is coming to light, and it looks like GOP Rep. Mark Harris hired a convicted fraudster named McCrae Dowless to run his illegal absentee ballot farming operation, according to Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC-TV.

What Channel 9 found appears to be a targeted effort to illegally pick up ballots, in which even the person picking them up had no idea whether those ballots were even delivered to the elections board

Consistently, Channel 9 found the same people signing as witnesses for the people voting, which is very rare.

Of the 159 submitted and accepted absentee ballot envelopes, below is the breakdown of those who signed as witnesses:
  • Woody Hester witnessed 44
  • James Singletary witnessed 42
  • Lisa Britt witnessed 42
  • Ginger Eason witnessed 28
  • Jessica Dowless witnessed 15
  • Cheryl Kinlaw witnessed 13
  • Deborah Edwards witnessed 11
  • Sandra Dowless witnessed 10

Many times, people on that list witnessed ballots together.

Channel 9’s political reporter Joe Bruno went door-to-door in Bladen County trying to find out who these people are.

No one answered at Woody Hester’s home. James Singletary wasn’t home either and Lisa Britt doesn’t live at the address she said she did on the ballots.

Bruno then visited Ginger Eason. She told him why her name appeared so many times as a witness.

“I was helping McCrae pick up ballots,” Eason said.

Eason said Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr. paid her $75 to $100 a week to go around and pick up finished absentee ballots

Once again, Dowless is a convicted felon who has served time for both fraud and perjury and it looks like he may have been running similar scams for multiple candidates over the years in NC.

Dowless’ past work includes huge differences between his candidate’s absentee by mail total and opponents.

Dowless wasn’t always connected to the Harris campaign.

In the 2016 primary, records show Dowless worked for Todd Johnson, who ran against Harris and Robert Pittenger.

Campaign finance reports show Dowless was paid $6,456 by Johnson’s campaign.

The disbursement description was for “get out the vote.”

In the June 2016 primary, Johnson finished last in the race, trailing the top vote-getter Pittenger by a little more than 1,100 votes. Despite the loss, Johnson dominated in Bladen County, carrying 68 percent of the vote.

A deeper look at the votes reveals Johnson received 98 percent of absentee by mail votes.

Johnson received 221 absentee-by-mail votes.

Pittenger and Harris combined for five.

The 221 absentee-by-mail votes amounted to 51 percent of his total votes received by that method and 21 percent of the total amount of absentee-by-mail votes when each candidate’s totals are added together.

As Channel 9 reported last week, Dowless was referenced in two affidavits that are now included in NCSBE’s investigation.

In one affidavit, a witness claims he overheard a person saying Dowless would be paid $40,000 for a Mark Harris victory.

Another man claims in an affidavit that Dowless told him he was doing “absentees” for the Mark Harris campaign and James McVicker’s campaign for Bladen County sheriff.

I would have to at this point assume a new election will be held, and I wouldn't want to be in Mark Harris's shoes when all this mess comes out to voters.

The only real election fraud in 2018 was perpetrated by Republicans against elderly voters, mostly poor black ones.  Let's keep this in mind.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

As I said last week, the Manafort court filing last Friday by Robert Mueller is the beginning of the endgame.  

So bottom line, Mueller knew all along that Manafort was going to renege on his plea deal.  He had every suspicion that Manafort was going to relay any information right back to Trump, and then after Trump used that information to answer his questions to submit to Mueller, Manafort was going to drop the deal and Trump was going to pardon him.

Only Mueller knew this the entire time, deliberately fed Manafort misinformation which went right back to Trump, and then beat Trump and Manafort to the punch and filed today that Manafort was lying.

It also means Mueller can, in a future open court filing, lay out exactly what Manafort was lying about, which will basically consist of a copy and paste text of Mueller's final report.

There's nothing Acting AG Matt Whitaker can do about it, either.  By lying, Manafort assured that the report can't be buried, because Trump and Manafort really are this stupid.

It's that third paragraph that's the key.  We now know that "future open court filing" date for Flynn is today, and for Cohen and Manafort on Friday.  Grab your popcorn, the last month of 2018 is going to be a doozy.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday, and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

There has been much speculation that Mueller might file his memo in Manafort’s case under seal in order to prevent public disclosure of the additional crimes his office believes Manafort committed when he allegedly lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.

But Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum. The Manafort memo has been requested by the federal judge in his case so that prosecutors could, for the first time, spell out what matters they believe Manafort has lied to them about.

The fact that Mueller is planning a public filing about Manafort suggests he may no longer feel the need to withhold information about his case in order to bring additional indictments against others. That would be consistent with messages his prosecutors have given defense lawyers in recent weeks indicating that they are in the endgame of their investigation.

Again, by making these court filings public, Mueller is almost assuredly and publicly laying out his report against the Trump campaign in a way where Acting AG Matt Whitaker or Republicans in Congress can't bury it.

It doesn't mean that the prospect of more indictments are over, though.  It means that Mueller may serve them all at once and it may mean that Mueller safely has all the information he needs to unseal those indictments and start rounding up people.

Plus, the Trump Organization case in New York state continues regardless.

Stay tuned.  It's going to be a bumpy week.


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