Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Last Call For Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

At this point it may be shorter to compile a list of Ukrainian business executives not turning states' evidence on Rudy Giuliani.

Federal prosecutors are planning to interview an executive with Ukraine’s state-owned gas company as part of an ongoing probe into the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani and two of his Soviet-born business associates
A lawyer for Andrew Favorov confirmed Tuesday that he is scheduled to meet voluntarily with the U.S. Justice Department. Favorov is the director of the integrated gas division at Naftogaz, the state-owned gas provider in Ukraine. 
Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating the business dealings of Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, including whether he failed to register as a foreign agent, according to people familiar with the probe. The people were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. 
Giuliani’s close associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested last month at an airport outside Washington while trying to board a flight to Europe with one-way tickets. They were later indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. 
Following an inquiry from The Associated Press, Favorov lawyer Lanny Breuer confirmed his client is set to meet with prosecutors. 
“The Department of Justice has requested an interview,” Breuer said. “He has agreed and will voluntarily sit down with the government attorneys. At this time, it would not be appropriate to comment further.” 
Breuer declined to say when or where Favorov, who has dual U.S.-Russian citizenship and lives in Ukraine, will be meeting with prosecutors.

Roger Stone is still fishing for a pardon hard, and soon Rudy will be too.  As some of you have noted, a pardon won't protect either of them from future charges should they accept one, because they would have to admit their wrongdoing, setting them up for additional indictments.

People are going to jail over this Ukraine mess, and Rudy is definitely going to end up living out his days in shame.

How To Lose Friends And Fail To Influence Enemies

Last week Donald Trump demanded that South Korea increase their yearly contribution to paying for US troops in the Korean DMZ from $1 billion to $5 billion, Seoul's response was "screw you".

The United States broke off talks with South Korea on increasing Seoul’s contribution to the costs of hosting U.S. troops, after the two sides failed to narrow their differences on Tuesday in a row that has raised questions about the American deployment.

The breakdown in talks was a rare public sign of discord in the “airtight” alliance that has for 70 years formed a buffer against North Korean aggression, with each side blaming the other for being unprepared to compromise on sharing the costs of keeping 28,500 U.S. military personnel in South Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump has insisted that South Korea pay more - and has also suggested pulling the troops out altogether.

“It is true that there is a substantial difference between the U.S. side’s overall proposal and the principles we pursue,” South Korean negotiator Jeong Eun-bo told a news conference. “The talks could not proceed as planned as the U.S. side left first.”

The two Koreas remain in a technical state of war under a truce, not a peace treaty, that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The talks took place amid stalled U.S. efforts to reach a negotiated end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

South Korean lawmakers have said the United States is seeking up to $5 billion a year, more than five times the 1.04 trillion won ($890.54 million) South Korea agreed to pay this year.

Neither side has publicly confirmed the numbers, but Trump has said the U.S. military presence in and around South Korea was “$5 billion worth of protection”.

Trump extorting our allies is kind of a thing, no?

Ahh, but that comes at a cost as apparently Seoul called Trump's bluff and are openly pursuing military ties with China.

The defence ministers of South Korea and China have agreed to develop their security ties to ensure stability in north-east Asia, the latest indication that Washington’s long-standing alliances in the region are fraying.

On the sidelines of regional security talks in Bangkok on Sunday, Jeong Kyeong-doo, the South Korean minister of defence, and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, agreed to set up more military hotlines and to push ahead with a visit by Mr Jeong to China next year to “foster bilateral exchanges and cooperation in defence”, South Korea’s defence ministry said.


It's like Trump is trying to dismantle all of America's long-standing military relationships for a reason, especially in Asia and Europe.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Russian collusion guilty parade keeps on going, this time it's convicted Russian agent Maria Butina's American boyfriend Paul Erickson headed for the slammer.

Paul Erickson, the former boyfriend of convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, according to a plea agreement filed in a South Dakota federal court Monday afternoon.

In a two-page statement detailing the factual basis for the plea, Erickson said he conned someone only identified as “D.G.” into wiring him $100,000 under the pretense that the money was for a real estate investment in North Dakota. As part of the plea filed in U.S. district court in South Dakota, Erickson admits the money was not for a real estate deal. He also notes that he wired $1,000 of the money to a person called “M.B.”

An attorney for Erickson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case against Erickson, a well-known conservative operative who shuttled between Washington D.C. and South Dakota, was separate from the one lodged against Butina in Washington, D.C.

Butina, a Russian national who cultivated relationships with powerful American conservative activists including Erickson, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate laws prohibiting covert foreign agents. As part of her agreement she has promised to cooperate with American law enforcement. She was deported earlier this year after serving a short prison sentence to her native Russia where she received a hero’s welcome.

Erickson is far from the only GOP operative "converted" by Butina and her jovial Russian friend Aleksandr Torshin.  She's neck deep in the NRA scandal and the fallout from that is still coming down as the lawsuits fly over the collapse of the NRA's digital media mess, the now bankrupted NRATV.

Last June, as the relationship deteriorated and legal fees mounted, the NRA finally shut down the streaming channel altogether and severed its ties with Ackerman. In a statement to members, LaPierre framed the cessation of live TV production as a "significant change in our communications strategy" that would help the organization refocus on its "core mission" of Second Amendment advocacy. In August, the NRA filed a federal lawsuit to try and force Ackerman to scrub evidence of its prior work for the NRA from its website, too—the legal equivalent of demanding that your ex delete every photo they posted of the two of you together in happier times.

Electing to fight fire with fire, Ackerman countersued, claiming that NRATV was made out to be a scapegoat for the NRA's mounting financial and legal difficulties. New York attorney general Letitia James, who called the NRA a "terrorist organization" on the campaign trail, opened an inquiry earlier this year into the organization's spending habits, allegedly spooking LaPierre and placing the nonprofit's coveted tax-exempt status in jeopardy. Around this time, congressional investigators and law enforcement officials were also carefully scrutinizing a 2015 trip that NRA board members took to Russia—a trip hosted by Maria Butina, the Russian spy who successfully leveraged her NRA connections to infiltrate U.S. conservative political circles before her arrest in 2018.

No, the Russian mess is very much still alive, and the investigations are far from over.


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