Friday, July 19, 2019

Last Call For The Fixer Gets Fixed

Well, seems Nader is a nasty loose end in the post-Mueller report world, so he has to be dealt with.

George Nader, who was a key witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, was hit with new federal charges of sex trafficking for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old boy he transported from Europe.

An indictment unsealed Friday morning in Eastern District of Virginia also charges Nader with counts of child pornography and obscenity. The charges come on top of separate child-porn charges leveled by the same prosecutors last month.

Nader pleaded not guilty to all charges during a court appearance Friday.

Nader, a 60-year-old Lebanese-American businessman with deep political and financial ties to the United Arab Emirates, was a key cooperator in Mueller’s probe of foreign influence in the 2016 election. Nader met several times with individuals associated with the Trump campaign throughout the election and into the early days of the administration. He spoke with officials and advisers on matters ranging from a pitch by a foreign firm for the campaign to use social-media manipulation to regime-change in Iran. (He met with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign advisors about the plan, which included a proposal to use fake avatars to garner support for Trump, but Trump officials deny they ever considered it.)

He also helped broker a key meeting between Erik Prince, the former Blackwater CEO, and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds, in the Seychelles in January 2017. That meeting came under intense scrutiny by Mueller’s team and was described in its report as one of the ways the Russians tried to influence the incoming Trump administration.

Federal prosecutors in Virginia argued last month in court that Nader should be held in jail before trial, based in part on his prior criminal history. That history includes a 2003 conviction in the Czech Republic on charges of abusing minors, including a charge of transporting of a minor boy to the U.S. for sexual purposes. Federal prosecutors said Nader has had “hands-on contact with more than a dozen minor boys.” Nader’s lawyers called the U.S. government’s argument weak because he was later acquitted of the Czech sex-trafficking charge.

Nader is also charged with transporting child pornography—a charge he’s faced in the past. In 1984, Nader was indicted for possessing child pornography in D.C. The charge was later dismissed after his attorneys argued that the material was found through an illegal search conducted on Nader’s possessions at Dulles. In 1990, again at Dulles, law enforcement caught Nader with films featuring minor boys. Nader pleaded guilty the following year.

Nader most recently faced allegations of possessing and transporting child pornography in 2018. Authorities stopped him at Dulles in January of that year and questioned him about his time working with the Trump team. Soon after, Nader began cooperating with Mueller, and in the spring of 2018 he departed for Dubai, where he lived until he attempted to re-enter the U.S. last month.

Naturally Nader can't be running around, and he certainly can't go down for a charge that might implicate Erik Prince or Donald Trump Jr, so they got him on child porn.  Solves that little problem, where Nader gets to be tossed into a dark hole for the crime of cooperating with Mueller against Trump, and he goes away for the rest of his life without any of his secrets coming to light.

Of course, there's the bonus that the man molests kids and needs to be in that dark hole for the rest of his life, but it would have been nice if Prince and Donny Junior could have gone down with him.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

As usual, Republicans are scrambling away from the overt racism at Wednesday's Trump rally in North Carolina, so that they have plausibly deniability when it inevitably happens again at the next Trump rally, when they'll then shrug and lament, "well, what can you do?"

The chairman of House Republicans’ campaign arm on Thursday criticized the “send her back” chant that animated the crowd at Donald Trump’s Wednesday night rally and added a dimension to the president’s attacks on four Democratic freshman women.

“I didn’t watch the rally last night, but there’s no place for that kind of talk,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who heads up the National Republican Congressional Committee and hails from the same state as the Democrat who was primarily targeted, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). “I don’t agree with it.”

Emmer, speaking at a breakfast with journalists hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, was pressed later whether the chant was racist. He declined to address that question, instead saying it was “not acceptable.”

Emmer also stopped short of directly criticizing Trump for his comments about Omar and three other Democratic lawmakers, all of whom are women of color, calling the controversy “manufactured.”

Trump wrote on Twitter this past weekend that the four women should “go back” to where they came from — even though the three other progressive lawmakers, Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, were all born in the United States.

“There’s not a racist bone in this president’s body,” Emmer said. “What he was trying to say, he said wrong. What he was trying to say is that if you don’t appreciate this country, you don’t have to be here. That goes for every one of us. That has nothing to do with your race, your gender, your family history. It has to do with respecting and loving your country.”

Understand that this isn't about denying the "send her back!" chant, this is about the fact that to Republicans, being called a racist is still worse than actually being a racist and saying racist things.  Since Republicans have no choice but to admit that the chant was racist, they're trying to do everything they can to separate Trump (not a racist bone in his body, that goes for every one of us) from the racism he's responsible for.

They have to do this, or else, well, they're racists.

Take Matt Bevin, still the most unpopular governor in America (please!) as an example.

President Donald Trump is "absolutely not" a racist, Kentucky's strongly pro-Trump governor said Wednesday while sidestepping questions about the president's tweet declaring that four congresswomen of color should go back to the countries from which they came.

Gov. Matt Bevin drew media questions about the explosive tweet after appearing at a Kentucky Farm Bureau forum with his Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear. Bevin routinely plays up his alliance with Trump, making it a big part of his reelection campaign.

Trump's weekend tweet said the four congressmen should back to the "broken and crime infested" countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S.

Asked if the social media remark was racist, Bevin replied: "I will let the president speak for his own tweets. I will speak for any tweet that I put out. Do I think the president is racist? Absolutely not. I know him personally."
Trump's attack has drawn a scorching condemnation from Democrats who labeled the remarks racist and divisive.

Beshear told reporters Wednesday that the president's remarks "were wrong and ugly and he should have never tweeted them."

"I don't think anybody should ever be told to go back to another country," said Beshear, the state's attorney general. "Those are U.S. citizens. They ought to be treated with respect."

Because now the fight isn't over wheterwhat Trump said or did is acceptable, now the fight is over whether or not calling him a racist is acceptable.  The outcome of course allows his stochastic terrorism to continue.

This is how it works.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

The SDNY federal investigation into Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, and hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels was ended this week by Attorney General Bill Barr, not because there wasn't evidence against Trump, but because there was.  So much so in fact that federal prosecutors were seriously considering indicting Trump, and that Bill Barr's first major act as Attorney General five months ago was to spike the case.

Federal prosecutors' decision to end an investigation into hush money payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump relied at least in part on long-standing Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The Justice Department told a federal judge on Monday that it had "effectively concluded" its investigation into efforts to silence the women in the final months of the 2016 campaign, but did not explain why it had done so. Prosecutors have said the payoffs violated a federal law that restricts campaign donations.

A person familiar with the case, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said it was unclear whether prosecutors made a determination that they had sufficient evidence to bring a case against Trump or anyone other than his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year. But the Justice Department's opinion that a president cannot be indicted factored into the decision to end the probe, the person said.

Federal prosecutors had repeatedly placed Trump at the center of the effort to silence pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the chaotic run-up to the 2016 election. Last year, they alleged in a court filing that Cohen had orchestrated illegal hush-money payments "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump. And it revealed in unsealed court records on Friday that Trump participated in phone calls about the payments to Daniels.  

The investigation died screaming once Barr took over five months ago. Follow-up visits to the Trump Organization that were scheduled for late February never happened after Barr was sworn in. There's no other possible conclusion but that Barr committed massive obstruction of justice by interfering directly with an investigation into Donald Trump.

The decision by the FBI to unseal the investigation documents once the case ended is proof enough of this.

Donald Trump was repeatedly kept apprised of a scheme to keep adult film star Stormy Daniels silent just before the 2016 election about her alleged affair with the real estate mogul, court documents unsealed on Thursday show.

From start to finish, Trump was in regular contact with his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, who arranged the payment. In October, Trump was brought in on a conference call with his longtime communications adviser, Hope Hicks, to discuss efforts to purchase and kill Daniels’ story. Over the coming weeks, Trump had numerous phone calls with Cohen as he went back and forth with Daniels’ attorney. And days before the November election, after The Wall Street Journal published a story detailing a similar hush-payment Cohen also made during the campaign to Playboy model Karen McDougal, Cohen texted “he’s pissed,” an apparent reference to Trump.

The fresh details are contained in several applications for search warrants in the Southern District of New York in which FBI special agents described the evidence law enforcement had obtained showing that Cohen’s $130,000 payoff to Daniels constituted an illegal campaign contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign.

The newly unredacted portions of the applications show the FBI special agents detailing how the hush-money agreement was made — and how Cohen appeared to keep Trump in the know about the deal every step of the way. Cohen is now serving three years in prison for a series of campaign finance, tax fraud and lying charges.

Several media organizations, including POLITICO, obtained the documents through a federal judge’s order tied to the Cohen case. Among the items also released on Thursday is a letter sent earlier this week by Audrey Strauss, the lead U.S. attorney in New York on the Cohen case, notifying the judge that the government’s probe had concluded into who else might be criminally liable for the campaign finance violations to which the former Trump campaign lawyer has already pleaded guilty, as well as whether anyone else gave false statements or obstructed justice.

In other words, the FBI blatantly came clean with its documents to show that they had Trump dead to rights, but they were stopped from above.  The documents also prove former Trump aide Hope Hicks lied to Congress under oath about being involved in the conversations between Cohen and Trump about the hush money payouts.

Negotiations over the hush-money deal to silence Daniels appeared to begin in earnest just after The Washington Post in early October 2016 revealed the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women. In the days after that video’s release, Cohen began communicating with Daniels’ attorney, Keith Davidson, according to the FBI’s review of Cohen’s phone records, iCloud and email accounts.

“I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent [Daniels] from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,” an FBI special agent wrote in a search-warrant application.

On Oct. 8, 2016, the day the tape was released, Hicks, then the Trump campaign press secretary, called Cohen. Sixteen seconds later, Trump himself was dialed into the call, which continued for over four minutes. It was the first call Cohen had received or made to Hicks in at least several weeks, and Cohen and Trump had spoken only about once a month prior to that, according to the FBI. Cohen and Hicks spoke again for about two minutes after the call with Trump ended.

Over the next few weeks, Cohen worked to flesh out a deal with Davidson and American Media, Inc., the parent organization of the National Enquirer. The plan was to have AMI purchase and bury the story, a practice known as “catch and kill,” and Cohen would then reimburse AMI for their expenses. Cohen and Davidson worked on the arrangements with Dylan Howard, the chief content officer at AMI.

But again, nothing will happen because Bill Barr has ended the investigation.  Nobody will be prosecuted.  Nobody will be charged.  Well, except Cohen, who is taking the fall for his boss, "Individual-1".

The most corrupt White House in history rolls on.


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