Saturday, June 20, 2020

Last Call For It's Still Mueller Time, Con't

BuzzFeed News's lawsuit to get unredacted Mueller report passages finds that yes, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen all told Mueller's team that Roger Stone absolutely knew WikiLeaks had the stolen 2016 DNC emails, and that yes, Roger Stone absolutely told Trump that the leaks were coming.

Donald Trump was told in advance that Wikileaks would be releasing documents embarrassing to the Clinton campaign and subsequently informed advisors that he expected more releases would be coming, according to newly unredacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
In July 2016, political consultant Roger Stone told Trump as well as several campaign advisors that he had spoken with Julian Assange and that WikiLeaks would be publishing the documents in a matter of days. Stone told the then-candidate via speakerphone that he "did not know what the content of the materials was," according to the newly unveiled portions of the report, and Trump responded "oh good, alright" upon hearing the news. WikiLeaks published a trove of some 20,000 emails Russians hacked from the Democratic National Committee on July 22 of that year.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told federal investigators that he overheard the phone call between Stone and Trump. Agents were also told by former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that Stone had spoken several times in early June of something “big” coming from WikiLeaks. Assange first mentioned having emails related to Clinton on June 12.

The new revelations are the strongest indication to date that Trump and his closest advisors were aware of outside efforts to hurt Clinton’s electoral chances, and that Stone played a direct role in communicating that situation to the Trump campaign. Trump has publicly denied being aware of any information being relayed between WikiLeaks and his advisors. 
Allegations of communications between Stone and Trump to discuss WIkiLeaks first surfaced early last year, when Cohen testified to a congressional committee about the June 2016 conference call. At the time, Stone denied any such involvement. “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true,” he told BuzzFeed News.

But based on the interviews it conducted with those three men and other officials, Mueller’s report concluded it had "established that the Trump Campaign displayed interest in the WikiLeaks releases, and that former Campaign member Roger Stone was in contact with the Campaign about those releases, claiming advance knowledge of more to come."

The newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report also show that after the initial dump by WikiLeaks, Trump personally asked Manafort to keep in touch with Stone, who in turn told the then-campaign chairman to keep him “apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks.” Investigators were also told by Gates that Trump had multiple phone conversations with Stone during the campaign and that, following one call held en route to LaGuardia airport, “Trump told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming.”

In written testimony to Mueller’s team in November 2018, Trump denied being aware of any communications between Stone, Manafort, Gates, or Donald Trump Jr and WikiLeaks or Assange. Yet according to the newly public portions of the Special Counsel’s report, “Trump knew that Manafort and Gates had asked Stone to find out what other damaging information about Clinton WikiLeaks possessed, and that Stone's claimed connection to WikiLeaks was common knowledge within the Campaign."

Considering the contradictory evidence, the special counsel’s office weighed the possibility that Trump “no longer had clear recollections” of what happened two years earlier, but also wondered whether “the President's conduct could also be viewed as reflecting his awareness that Stone could provide evidence that would run counter to the President's denials and would link the President to Stone's efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks." The investigators stopped short of suggesting that the President may have lied or otherwise misled the special counsel, however.

It doesn't really change much, Stone has been convicted and will almost certainly be pardoned by Trump along with Flynn and Manafort, Trump's impeachment failed to garner a conviction, and Joe Biden will leave prosecuting Trump to the state of New York.

Of course after last night, maybe things are quite different in SDNY land.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The Boogaloo Boys have found their two-for-one anti-government and race war target: the feds and the primarily black residents of Washington DC.

On Monday, the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC), a fusion center for Washington, D.C. that provides support to federal national security and law enforcement agencies, warned in an intelligence assessment that “the District is likely an attractive target for violent adherents of the boogaloo ideology due to the significant presence of US law enforcement entities, and the wide range of First Amendment-Protected events hosted here.”
The assessment, dated June 15 and obtained by Politico, reported that “recent events indicate violent adherents of the boogaloo ideology likely reside in the National Capital Region, and others may be willing to travel far distances to incite civil unrest or conduct violence encouraged in online forums associated with the movement.”

A senior DHS official forwarded the assessment to security stakeholders on Friday, noting that “while it identifies Washington D.C. as an attractive target, the boogaloo ideology is not restricted to a specific region and those who wish to cause division are routinely using peaceful protests as means of cover. Heading into a weekend of more planned protests, we believe this information to be useful to all of our membership.”

Separately on Friday, DHS published its own intelligence note assessing that “domestic terrorists advocating for the boogaloo very likely will take advantage of any regional or national situation involving heightened fear and tensions to promote their violent extremist ideology and call supporters to action.”

The note, dated June 19 and obtained by Politico, aims to “provides information regarding some domestic terrorists’ exploitation of heightened tensions during recent First Amendment-protected activities in order to threaten or incite violence to start the ‘boogaloo’—a colloquial term referring to a coming civil war or the fall of civilization.”

Participants in the boogaloo movement generally identify as anarchist, pro-Second Amendment members of citizen-militias who are preparing for a second Civil War or American revolution, extremism experts say. Several boogaloo adherents have been charged in recent weeks for acts ranging from felony murder to terrorism, and police last month seized military-style assault rifles from so-called “boogaloo bois” in Denver.

The DHS note says boogaloo tactics “likely will be repeated in future similar incidents wherein domestic terrorists attempt to shut down or endanger government operations, judging from domestic terrorists’ continued calls for attacks.”

Remember, we already have evidence that these terrorists have already killed cops in order to blame "Antifa" and Black Lives Matter protesters.  They want blood-soaked streets so they can step in and target both sides to foment a national crackdown that will leave thousands dead, and the Trump regime is playing footsie with these assholes because they think the chaos will help them in November.

To date, no federal charges have been filed against individuals linked to antifa—violent acts at Black Lives Matter protests, including setting police cars on fire, have been attributed to individuals with no clear political or ideological affiliation, according to charging documents.

But right-wing extremists, militia groups and vigilantes have become more activated, with more than half a dozen separate violent incidents across the country in the last month alone—most within the last week.

Law enforcement and government officials, moreover, are increasingly in the crosshairs. A Santa Cruz county police officer and a federal officer in Oakland were murdered, allegedly by a boogaloo adherent, earlier this month, and boogaloo members in California’s Bay Area have reportedly been plotting to kidnap elected leaders’ children.

Experts on far-right violence and extremism say the president and attorney general’s rhetoric is political, and that the real threat has been laid out in the federal charges filed in the last month and the federal alerts, such as from NTIC and DHS, being sent to law enforcement warning of far-right violence.

But some argue that the unwillingness to name and shame these far-right groups publicly and from the top is not harmless, either.

“It puts a target on the backs of law-enforcement -- whether federal, state or local -- because these individuals, with the power they have at the podium, are not speaking out about who is really carrying out these abhorrent acts of violence,” said Jason Blazakis, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, a nonprofit that studies emerging threats.

Again, the goal here is a shooting war between police/National Guard and Black Lives Matter protesters. They want a national race war going on where Black America is terrorized on a daily basis and police kill rampantly in the name of "law and order".

With Trump and Barr around, they just might get it.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Tuesday's primary here in Kentucky is going to be a disaster than makes Georgia's mess look competent: Louisville and Lexington will have one polling station open each for hundreds of thousands of voters and voting-by-mail may take weeks before the results are known, with possibly tens or even hundreds of thousands who requested ballots being disenfranchised and never getting them by Tuesday's deadline.

And all of that falls on the shoulders of our Republican Secretary of State, Michael Adams.

Fewer than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky’s primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year. Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in. And turnout is expected to be higher than in past primaries because of a suddenly competitive fight for the Democratic Senate nomination.

The scenario has voting rights advocates and some local elections officials worried that the state is careening toward a messy day marked by long lines and frustrated voters — similar to the scenes that have played out repeatedly this spring as the novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the 2020 primaries.

Because of a shortage of workers willing to staff voting sites during the health crisis, each of the commonwealth’s 120 counties is opening a very limited number of polling locations. The two largest counties will have just one in-person location each.

On Thursday evening, a federal judge rejected an effort to add polling places in the state’s largest counties, citing a legal standard discouraging last-minute court intervention in election procedures.

That means Jefferson County — the state’s largest, home to 767,000 residents and the city of Louisville — will have as its sole polling location a convention and expo center where voting booths have been set up about eight feet apart in a cavernous hall. About 1 in 5 residents in the county is African American, the largest black population in the state.

In Fayette County, the state’s second-largest county and home to Lexington, voters who want to cast ballots in person will have to head to the football field at the University of Kentucky, where voters will find hand-sanitizing stations and booths where they can fill out paper ballots and scan them through machines.

One precinct for what, four hundred thousand voters?  Another for 150,000 in Fayette County?

This is absolute vote suppression and Adams is throwing up his hands.

Michael G. Adams, Kentucky’s Republican secretary of state, said his office has been aggressively trying to reach voters through the news media and social media, encouraging them to vote by mail and seeking to reassure those worried that the expansion of mail voting will lead to fraud.

Adams launched an educational campaign around mail-in ballots with the slogan, “Easy to vote, hard to cheat.” The goal is to explain to voters that “absentee voting is a great concept and there are laws in place about how it works,” he said.

“I’m much more concerned about voter confusion than I am about people trying to steal an election,” Adams said.

Like many states, Kentucky relaxed the rules of who can vote absentee by applying the “medical emergency” excuse to fear of the coronavirus.

More than 937,000 voters requested early ballots as of Wednesday, or 27 percent of all registered voters in the state, Adams said.

And tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, won't get their ballot in time.

It's going to be an absolute disaster.  Adams has had months to prepare for this and he's dropped the ball. Regardless of who wins between Charles Booker and Amy McGrath for the right to take on Mitch McConnell in November, there's no reason to believe the primary results will be accurate.

It should mean Adams's resignation.

It won't, of course.

And where is Gov. Beshear in all this? Andy better get off his ass if he wants to not face a primary from either McGrath or Booker in 2023.

Come on, guys.

Retribution Execution, Con't

Good morning.  We have an active Constitutional crisis on our hands.

Another Trump Regime Friday Night Massacre, this time the Bill Barr Justice Department getting rid of Geoff Berman, the US Attorney looking into Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine criminality in the Southern District of New York. 

AG Bill Barr announced Berman's resignation late Friday night.

Only one problem. The resignation was news to Berman.

The Justice Department on Friday abruptly tried to oust the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, the powerful federal prosecutor whose office sent President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to prison and who has been investigating Mr. Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
But Mr. Berman said in a statement that he was refusing to leave his position, setting up a crisis within the Justice Department over one of its most prestigious jobs.

“I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position,” Mr. Berman said, adding that he learned that he was “stepping down” in a press release from the Justice Department.

Attorney General William P. Barr’s announcement that President Trump was seeking to replace Mr. Berman was made with no notice. Mr. Barr said the president intended to nominate as Mr. Berman’s successor Jay Clayton, current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Barr asked Mr. Berman to resign but he refused so Mr. Barr moved to fire him, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump had been discussing removing Mr. Berman for some time with a small group of advisers, the person said.

Mr. Berman has taken an aggressive approach in a number of cases that have vexed the Trump administration, from the prosecution and guilty pleas obtained from Mr. Cohen to a broader investigation, growing out of that inquiry, which focused on Mr. Trump’s private company and others close to him.

Over the last year, Mr. Berman’s office brought indictments against two close associates of the president’s current lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and began an investigation into Mr. Giuliani himself, focusing on whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities.

Mr. Berman’s office also conducted an investigation into Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, subpoenaing financial and other records as part of a broad inquiry into possible illegal contributions from foreigners.

Mr. Berman’s abrupt removal came just days after Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, alleged in his new book that Mr. Trump sought to interfere in an investigation by Mr. Berman’s office into a Turkish bank, in a bid to cut deals with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan.

Mr. Trump has been upset with Mr. Berman ever since the Manhattan prosecutor’s office pursued a case against Mr. Cohen, according to a person familiar with their relationship.

So, Berman was leading multiple active SDNY investigations into Trump regime criminality, the Giuliani's Ukraine/Burisma circus, the Trump inaugural committee foreign pay-for-play emoluments scam, and the Erdogan/Turkey Halkbank mess, the third one being widely confirmed now by John Bolton's Mustache's book. 

The memoir was apparently the last straw. And remember, Berman was already placed as acting US Attorney by the courts because Trump fired US Attorney Preet Bharara after just three months and the Senate never confirmed a replacement.

Berman isn't leaving.  In fact, he's all but accused Barr of obstruction of justice against the cases the SDNY is overseeing against the Trump regime and their cronies.

We have that full Constitutional crisis, fully-formed, right now.

Get ready.

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