Cohen’s Testimony Implicates Trump and His Spawn

As you’ve heard, Michael Cohen pled guilty to lying to Congress this morning in conjunction with the Mueller investigation. Even what he testified to will implicate Trump and Don Jr directly. Here’s what the information says Cohen lied to cover up:

Cohen continued to pursue a Trump Tower Moscow deal for far longer than he testified he did, and briefed “family” on it, which presumably includes Don Jr (who therefore lied to Congress about it)

The Moscow Project was discussed multiple times within the Company and did not end in January 2016. Instead, as late as approximately June 2016, COHEN and Individual 2 discussed efforts to obtain Russian governmental approval for the Moscow Project. COHEN discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions COHEN claimed to the Committee, and he briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project.

The plans continued after the campaign got information about emails and were specifically structured around Trump getting the nomination; they ended when the DNC hack was reported

COHEN agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project and took steps in contemplation of Individual 1’s possible travel to Russia. COHEN and Individual 2 discussed on multiple occasions traveling to Russia to pursue the Moscow Project.

COHEN asked Individual 1 about the possibility of Individual 1 traveling to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project, and asked a senior campaign official about potential business travel to Russia.

On or about May 4, 2016, Individual 2 wrote to COHEN, “I had a chat with Moscow. ASSUMING the trip does happen the question is before or after the convention . . . Obviously the pre-meeting trip (you only) can happen anytime you want but the 2 big guys where [sic] the question. I said I would confirm and revert.” COHEN responded, “My trip before Cleveland. [Individual 1] once he becomes the nominee after the convention.”

On or about May 5, 2016, Individual 2 followed up with COHEN and wrote, “[Russian Official 1] would like to invite you as his guest to the St. Petersburg Forum which is Russia’s Davos it’s June 16-19. He wants to meet there with you and possibly introduce you to either [the President of Russia] or [the Prime Minister of Russia], as they are not sure if 1 or both will be there. . . . He said anything you want to discuss including dates and subjects are on the table to discuss.”

On or about May 6, 2016, Individual 2 asked COHEN to confirm those dates would work for him to travel. COHEN wrote back, “Works for me.”

From on or about June 9 to June 14, 2016, Individual 2 sent numerous messages to COHEN about the travel, including forms for COHEN to complete. However, on or about June 14, 2016, COHEN met Individual 2 in the lobby of the Company’s headquarters to inform Individual 2 he would not be traveling at that time.

Cohen was in direct communication with Dmitry Peskov’s office; and Putin’s office contacted Felix Sater

On or about January 14, 2016, COHEN emailed Russian Official 1’s office asking for assistance in connection with the Moscow Project. On or about January 16, 2016, COHEN emailed Russian Official 1’s office again, said he was trying to reach another high-level Russian official, and asked for someone who spoke English to contact him.

On or about January 20, 2016, COHEN received an email from the personal assistant to Russian Official 1 (“Assistant 1”), stating that she had been trying to reach COHEN and requesting that he call her using a Moscow-based phone number she provided.

Shortly after receiving the email, COHEN called Assistant 1 and spoke to her for approximately 20 minutes. On that call, COHEN described his position at the Company and outlined the proposed Moscow Project, including the Russian development company with which the Company had partnered. COHEN requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction. Assistant 1 asked detailed questions and took notes, stating that she would follow up with others in Russia.

The day after COHEN’s call with Assistant 1, Individual 2 contacted him, asking for a call. Individual 2 wrote to COHEN, “It’s about [the President of Russia] they called today.”

And all this is just what Mueller wants us to know.

According to ABC, Cohen has been providing information about ongoing contacts with Russians, and floated pardons, among other things.

The questioning has focused on contacts with Russians by Trump associates during the campaign, Trump’s business ties to Russia, obstruction of justice and talk of possible pardons, sources familiar with the discussions have told ABC News.

Remember, too, that Trump just submitted a sworn open book test that would have answered this question:

What communication did you have with Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater and others, including foreign nationals, about Russian real estate developments during the campaign?

I would bet a lot of money Trump lied in his answer. Don Jr is in immediate trouble and pops isn’t that far behind.

182 replies
  1. malached says:

    Is Mueller activating “Plan B” to get his report out? Are we going to see it most ro all of it in the form of court filings?

    • jf-fl says:

      I’m hoping EW will write another dossier-check-in post, because a lot of what cohen admitted to here is incredibly close to what was in the dossier, and to what EW has touched on previously.   Still some errors, but I just re-read a couple of parts and wow.   Crazy stuff.

    • Rusty says:

      That’s okay, all answers are reliable. People say Trump has the best memory. His memory wins so often that it gets tired of winning. He really does have the best brain. His brain is why he is a very stable genius. And why isn’t Hillary’s emails being investigated?

  2. Trip says:

    It’s interesting (by the buzzfeed article you linked: ) that Trump put out his SOS-abandon-ship tweet, right in July.

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.
    3:50 PM – 26 Jul 2016

    “Fuck me, I thought to myself. All that work for nothing,” Sater told BuzzFeed News.

    To me, it’s amazing that he even halted this plan, at all. It’s what he was working toward for years. It’s also telling how twitter is a right out in the open, secret messaging system for Trump.

    Do you think there was some kind of promise for a future development licensing plan, after Trump put the kibosh on this one? Or was the presidency the reward, now that wikileaks was in possession of all of the emails?

    Aside: Cohen looks like absolute shit. I feel some sympathy/pity for him:

    Also, for the techies who know, is Dust really that secure in permanently deleting conversations?

    • hester says:

      Aside: Cohen looks like absolute shit. I feel some sympathy/pity for him:

      I do as well….. feel sympathy.

    • eh says:

      Cohen looks like absolute shit. I feel some sympathy/pity for him

      Pfft, all an intentional play, like Abramoff’s crutches.

    • marksb says:

      Dust and other private apps: like everything in datacom/telecom, it’s complicated, with multiple levels of security you must pay attention to: your device, your access (wifi or ethernet or cell/wireless), your router and access modem (or wireless equipment), your local provider’s network, the packet infrastructure through the backbone network to your destination (involving multiple routers and switches), any monitoring (legal or illegal) devices anywhere in that line from your location to the destination location, and all the equipment and lines and providers on the other end. That’s a lot places where someone can pick off your signal. THEN we have all the servers that store and forward your message.

      Thus operations security (opsec: protecting the above systems) and crypto (protecting the data).

      TL;DR: There’s no magic security wand.

      Anyway, here’s a brief overview–and caution–about encrypted messaging apps and how complicated true security can be in Wired.

      • timbo says:

        Doubly a problem is if you know the other party is so full of crap that they >have to save< all their messages just to keep their story straight at all.  I think we’re seeing this real time now in the Russia probe.

    • Momus says:

      NOTHING is secure in permanently deleting conversations. So-called “ephemeral messaging” is bullshit. The counterparty always has a way to capture and permanently store the plaintext. Anyone who’s willing to lie to you about this basic fact in order to sell your their product is a snakeoil salesman, and you probably shouldn’t be trusting them to any extent.

      If the problem you’re hoping to solve is that you cannot trust your counterparty to refrain from storing messages and using them against you at a later date, there is no technological solution, and never will be. A face-to-face conversation following a strip search for a wire is the only way to protect against an untrustworthy counterparty.

      If the problem you’re hoping to solve is that, while your counteryparty is trustworthy, stored communications might be seized from the counterparty or a (possibly untrustworthy) middleman, then your best bet is to encrypt using GPG, then copy/paste the ciphertext into whatever messaging system you’re using. RSA with 8192-bit keys should suffice. If your conversation is so sensitive that it would be a problem if the NSA fished it out of storage and decrypted it some 20-30 years in the future when a quantum computer with a practical number of entangled qbits becomes available, then RSA will not suffice. In such cases, either use a one-time pad (requires advance in-person exchange of key material) or McEliece (there may be a sound, user-friendly implementation out there, but I’m not aware of it). The conversation will be unrecoverable so long as your counterparty refuses to divulge the key.

      Additionally, if you or your counterparty are “on the radar,” then you must consider the possibility that one or both of your devices are compromised, so the attacker can simply obtain the messages as your write them or as your counterparty reads them. Generally speaking: Your smartphone is probably already compromised; Your Windows or Mac PC can be compromised on demand; A Linux PC might take a little effort; Something more exotic like a Genode PC might take substantial effort. If you absolutely need reliable hardware, take a look at Tin Foil Chat. Or meet face-to-face.

  3. benchpressbilly says:

    I can’t wait to see what Hannity will be howling about tonight. To be honest this is good timing after the Corsi & Mannafort Show.

  4. Charles says:

    (crossposted from Daily Kos): My view is that the delays in returning the questions were all about positioning Trump to further resist, while Mueller was willing to accept the delays in exchange for catching Trump (and others) in their lies. It’s sort of a classic strategy of trading territory for time. The installation of Whitaker sharply limits Mueller’s movements. Trump has held the Senate, so he can be impeached but not removed unless Mueller can establish corruption or malfeasance so naked that his own party turns on him. That would be difficult with Whitaker in place. And, of course, it left Trump free to exact even more damage on the earth, including allowing the Russians to establish a choke point on Mariupol in the Ukraine, one of their objectives in ensuring the freedom of Russian navigation.

    For that matter, it’s not clear to me that Trump’s lie about not doing business in Russia is a lie of sufficient materiality to call it perjury. False statements, maybe, assuming his replies weren’t slippery enough. But Trump is a master of slippery. And he never did build the hotel. So it can’t be the quid in a quid pro quo.

    All in all, it’s not clear to me that Mueller got enough territory in exchange for the time he gave Trump. If I’m wrong, I would expect to see a lot more than a Cohen plea deal.

    However, [cf Rugger above] the raid on Deutsche Bank could be the real big news of today. That could open a window into Russian money laundering. Proof of money laundering could be more dangerous to Trump than talking about Trump Tower Moscow in June, and lying about it subsequently.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I cannot see the equally complicit GOP (Pence, McTurtle, et al) turning on Kaiser Quisling to convict and remove him on an impeachment since they are also going to get hit by any competent investigation.  That signal to protect themselves I would think will be a “bipartisan healing” gambit that Schumer would probably fall for in order to keep their ill-gotten gains.  I would expect a 25th Amendment solution to install Pence as the incumbent sometime in 2019 unless McTurtle can engineer some D guilt.

      In this scenario, I would expect Pence to immediately nominate and ram through his Veep to prevent a President Pelosi.

      • eh says:

        How would Pence “ram through” a confirmation if he’s not allowed to break a tie? Plus it goes through both houses.

    • Alan says:

      > Trump has held the Senate, so he can be impeached but not removed

      A very lucid observation. See Constitution for the United States of America, Article I, Section 3: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. … And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

      • Geoff says:

        In other words, pretty much no point in even attempting impeachment until you are sure you know that the Turtle is OK with Pence, or has someone else lined up, in the event that Pence is implicated. Basically, unless you have it in a written contract from Turtle, you can impeach Trump til the cows come home, and it wont matter a whit. And this is why the Dems probably won’t even attempt it and why so many counsel against this path. I personally would love to see it happen, but Im not sure how I’d feel about it when the Senate decides it doesnt give a ratfucker’s ass. I’m pretty sure that in the end, all this will only serve as some sort of really painful prelude to 2020, when there is enough stench from Trump, but not too much “overreach” by the Dems, that Trump is voted out. THEN we can have the state courts put him and his spawn, etc, in jail. Mostly, I just want to see Trump in jail for his year’s of criminality. If I dont see this happen, I will have lost all faith in this country and any hope for justice ever reappearing.

        As I am of the opinion that letting past transgressions go with accountability, only serves to create more and worse transgressions, my feeling is that we must go after these people, hopefully not with the types of people that went after Epstein, who are all part of the broken system. What worries me is how the state courts already (NY?) already had a great case against Trump, and somehow, it was wished into oblivion, or the cornfields. Basically, Trump is the logical result of the quiet, hidden corruption that is rotting this country from inside. And we keep turning a blind eye…

        • Alan says:

          IMO, before his term is over, Trump should (and will) be impeached. He may not be removed from office, but the process will help show the American public what’s been happening, all the lies that have been told, and who has been complicit.

          • SensibleLiberalDad says:

            I’m not a masterful tactician but I can see advantages to impeachment proceedings even if Trump is not removed from office. It could shine a spotlight on the crimes and force Republicans to either get behind Trump (in which case they risk alienating anyone with a moral compass) or they abandon him as they did Nixon in the 1970s once the position that Trump is engaged in all types of criminality becomes obvious.

            With enough force behind the impeachment proceedings and so long as Democrats don’t overplay their hand and turn the hearings into Benghazi-style lunacy (no need really, given the evidence) then it will mean Republicans either go into 2020 with a corrupt candidate on the ballot or they vote to convict in the Senate.

            With a Nixon-style pardon agreed beforehand with Pence, that could to them be the lesser of two evils since it would put a lid on some of the federal level prosecutions that would presumably be launched against Trump once he leaves office either by vote, conviction, or resignation. They wouldn’t then have to go through the first term of the new President dealing with their disgraced former President being convicted on a whole ream of charges.

            • Rayne says:

              Nice to see you again at emptywheel. This is your fourth userid attached to a single email address at this site; please stick to one so that community members get to know you. Thanks.

        • Rayne says:

          …What worries me is how the state courts already (NY?) already had a great case against Trump, and somehow, it was wished into oblivion, or the cornfields. …

          The New York State case against Trump’s foundation is still crunching away.

          New York state judge allows suit against Trump and his personal charity to proceed (Nov 23)

          Newly released filings show Trump company transfers to his charity in 2017 (Nov 26)

          A post-election transition to a new state attorney general may slow things down a bit but the current AG has spoken warmly of the incoming AG. I expect we’ll continue to see constructive progress.

          …pretty much no point in even attempting impeachment until you are sure you know that the Turtle is OK with Pence, or has someone else lined up, in the event that Pence is implicated….

          Read the Constitution. Because Democrats did not win a supermajority in the Senate (let alone a majority), removal of Trump upon impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate is not possible without bipartisan agreement.

          Our best option is to allow the investigations by the DOJ including the Special Counsel’s Office and House committees now led by Dems to dig up and air out all of Trump’s dirty laundry in a manner which makes it impossible for GOP Senators to run on supporting Trump let alone running on neutrality. By November-December 2019 investigations should make it perfectly obvious that Trump ~must~ be primaried by his own party or convicted by the GOP senate — or risk the launch of impeachment hearings during the middle of general election season when every question and answer under oath before a committee is a free campaign advert.

          We didn’t arrive in this mess overnight. This is a marathon, not a sprint — or rather, there will be many sprints within this marathon. We won’t be done even if Trump is finally ejected from office, indicted and convicted. We still have to fix the mess that allowed a lifelong criminal to co-opt a political party which itself has become little more than an organized crime syndicate.

          • Rayne says:

            Oh, and this bit by Steyer’s team does not help matters one fucking iota:

            “We’re for impeachment. We’re not for get-sworn-in-on-Jan.-1-and-start-taking-votes,” said Kevin Mack, the lead strategist for billionaire Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach campaign. “Our argument is the Constitution outlines a process to remove a lawless president.”

            In a new ad, Steyer says Democrats “just need the will” to act. He says he’s calling on Americans to join the 6 million who have already signed on to his group to “give Congress the courage to act.”

            “The American people are tired of being told to wait,” Mack said. “Our argument to Congress is you are a co-equal branch of government. It’s time to do what is morally correct.”

            This is so ignorant I can’t with it. It’s NOT the Democrats who are the problem and it fundamentally ignores the party which is the sole bottleneck. It also misreads Pelosi’s position:

            “We shouldn’t impeach the president for political reasons and we shouldn’t not impeach the president for political reasons,” Pelosi recently told The Associated Press.

            The California lawmaker, who hopes to lead Democrats as House speaker come January, calls impeachment a “divisive activity” that needs to be approached with bipartisanship. “If the case is there, then that should be self-evident to Democrats and Republicans,” she said.

            This isn’t for the Democrats, it’s for the Republicans. She is saying that Democrats aren’t going to impeach Trump because he’s GOP, and that it will be obvious by the time hearings and investigations divulge their findings that Republicans will have no excuses but to remove Trump because the causes will wholly obvious to GOP voters.

            If there is a real problem between now and getting Republicans to yes on impeachment, it’s the media’s blind parroting of Trump’s propaganda to his base combined with an excessive concentration of pro-Trump media in outlets like Fox and Sinclair stations. This must be addressed in tandem with other investigative work.

        • Lee says:

          “… it was wished into oblivion, or the cornfields.”

          One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.  Truly frightening, and very apt as a description of Trump – a little kid with way too much power.

        • FB1848 says:

          Whether they want to politically or not, whether the Senate would vote to remove him or not, I believe events are likely to force the Dems to impeach Trump. As the evidence of his crimes mount, to not impeach him would be tantamount to the Dems saying, “Well, we’ll let these crimes slide because the cultists don’t see it our way.” The hell with how the cultists see it or how their Senate stooges vote– the Dems will have to uphold the constitution and vote to impeach if the evidence is convincing to reasonable people that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors. And we’ve already seen that he probably has, just from what is in plain view.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Instead of impeachment, they can prepare indictments and file them the day he leaves office.  Saves a whole lot of hassle.

        It covers only crimes, though, not abuses of power and other wrongs, which are figuratively an endless list that Trump accumulates like Marley and Scrooge accumulated spiritual chains and lock boxes.

        • RWood says:

          Was wondering if that was being considered. I would think nullifying Drump with endless investigations and then using the impeachment process as a tool to reveal his crimes (and the depths of support given to him by his GOP brethren) would be the best campaign issue the Dems could ever ask for. Cap it all off with multiple indictments the day he leaves office and it’s a happy ending to tragic tale.

          Another thought I entertained (not seriously) is that the new Senate (most likely a blue one) convenes during the first week of January, while the president does not change office until the 20th.

          Is two weeks enough time to schedule, plan, and throw an impeachment party?

    • Kick the darkness says:

      It’s remarkable how none of what has happened so far has meaningfully inflected Trump’s approval numbers.  It’s stunning to think about really. Prior to 2020, could anything conceivably change that stasis?  One thing might be if a development, say a Christmas indictment as Santa’s present for Jr. (no matter how bad things get, liars are still on Santa’s naughty list), pushed Trump over the edge in a manner that portrayed weakness.  If the veneer of what his base views as “strength” cracks, it’s possible they would begin to drift away.  The ride would be over.  Alternatively, it seems possible that a major reveal on the “quo” side (what Trump promised or gave away in return for a Moscow real estate dangle + emails) could make him so toxic that the Republicans would be forced to toss him over.  Since Trump pretty much owns the Republicans and their media apparatus at this point it would admittedly have to be something truly treacherous that could not be spun or “but Hillaried” away on cable news.  Beyond basic criminality.  But perhaps we have not glimpsed the bottom of Trump’s shenanigans yet.

      Short of something like that, I agree with other here that the Republicans will stick with Trump.  What else are they going to do?  I mean, when the face of your resistance is Jeff Flake, that means you are owned.  For the Democrats, “Trump is your mess, you clean it up, and we are more than happy to run against him” worked pretty well in the midterms.  And once they get to digging, it could work even better in 2020.  It’s possible Trump is the most hated person in America.

      The joker in the deck might be if the Russians come calling again in 2020.  “Think the knife hurt going in?  Let’s see how it feels when we twist it.”

    • Charles says:

      When you have the testimony of the primary target’s personal lawyer, chief business representative, partner-in-blackmail, and senior campaign staffers, not to mention electronic information that is very difficult to delete and possible intercepts from his insecure phone and even perhaps cooperating witnesses currently or recently inside the Administration, it’s (in my opinion) a bit late and a bit misdirected to shred.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding that 26 July 2016 statement from Trump that he had “ZERO investments” in Russia, he would have said that no matter how many licensing and property management agreements he had in Russia. That’s not because he’s a serial liar, he is, but because this is one of the few times for him where language does matter.

    For Trump, who spent a dozen years learning from Roy Cohn, licensing, property management, and similar agreements – on which his business enterprise depends – do not count as an “investment.” Only direct equity investments count.

    So, even if Trump’s statement is true, always a gamble, it tell us little about his exposure to and dependence on Russian interests – whether those are in Russia itself or elsewhere around the globe.

    • Trip says:

      I agree with all that you said. Felix Sater, however, took that as a signal not to pursue the development further (at least at that juncture). Which then, IMO, makes Trump’s obvious, right out in the open signalling more suspect, like his direct calls for Russia to hack Clinton emails (which he then brushed off as a joke).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I accept that Trump finally let the Moscow tower fall into suspension about the time he got the nomination at the convention.  When is a debatable point.  But I think it was always a dangle, which Putin would not want an oligarch and Trump to turn into reality.

      Apart from wanting to keep Trump hooked over some deal endlessly in the future, Putin would know that Trump’s track record of failures would imperil any Moscow deal.  As a landmark deal in the Russian capital, and the city’s tallest building, its failure would not make him look good, no matter how many ways he stood to profit from it himself.  That could mean endless outgoing subsidies, which would make him look like a chump, not something that Putin – as opposed to Trump – is known to tolerate.

      The project seems much more useful as a permanent dangle for Trump, who never seems to know when he’s being played, despite his self-described talent as the world’s best dealmaker.

      • Peterr says:

        And once Trump publicly denied that he wasn’t trying to get Tower Moscow built, Putin just smiled. Can you say “blackmail”? Sure you can . . .

      • Charles says:

        I think it [Trump Tower] was always a dangle, which Putin would not want an oligarch and Trump to turn into reality.

        There’s another possibility, though I want to add this is entirely speculative: the Trump Tower negotiation could have been a cover for communications. There are several ways that could be done. One would be to use a pawn who is not in on the true object of the negotiations to serve as a messenger. Like, “We are ready to invest on July 22nd” could be a signal to, say, release e-mails. But that’s hard to manage. More likely, the Tower negotiation could create the pretext for meetings to discuss the real project. Many of the participants might not be in on what’s going on. As Marcy has suggested, maybe there were two Trump Tower (NYC) meetings: one, the bizarre meeting supposedly about child adoption, and a second between principals about the real object of the meeting.

        Trump seems not to have been really interested in the dangle. He did not put all that much effort into pushing the project.

      • JD12 says:

        Looking from the Russian side, it sure appears to be a dangle. That’s how they recruit assets.

        From the Carter Page FISA documents from BuzzFeed:

        “I also promised him a lot … This is intelligence method to cheat, how else to work with foreigners? You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go fuck himself.”

        They weren’t asking Trump for documents but it’s the same idea. I didn’t know the detail about it being the tallest building in Moscow, but that convinces me even more that it was a dangle. Skyscrapers are (A) territorial and (B) phallic, Putin is too alpha to allow Trump to put his name on the tallest one in Moscow. Maybe if the deal remained secret and Trump refused to lift the sanctions he could demand it, but I doubt Putin planned on following through. Trump is the guy who chases the dollar bill on a fishing line.

    • Raven Eye says:

      What happens if “ZERO investments” is replaced with “ZERO business interests”?  Was the “ZERO investments” statement public speak, or in response to questions by prosecutors, law enforcement, or members of Congress?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I don’t know, but he used the word “investments” in his tweet.  That’s very different than having no business interests in an entire country, and Trump would know the difference.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He tweeted later about having no “loans” or “deals” in Russia.  But he’s Roy Cohn-trained about how to deny without committing perjury. And variations in timing on when he said these various things might lead them to be true as of the moment he said them, but not for periods before and after.

        Thank goodness the Don has a poor memory, and Roy’s been gone for over thirty years.

    • harpie says:

      I wish press people would report this as “Trump SAYS“, etc… , because nothing he says can be taken without a mountain of salt. Besides, as Laura Rozen pointed out, since the tweets are threaded, he probably didn’t even write it.

    • JD12 says:

      He probably doesn’t want a repeat of Helsinki.

      Like Harper says, though, it may not mean it’s cancelled. He also canceled the Singapore summit. Although that was guaranteed to be good publicity so he couldn’t resist.

      • Trip says:

        I know you can’t stand him, here you go:
        The Donald and The Alderman break up; Burke no longer doing tax work for Trump

        The powerful Chicago alderman’s small law firm had worked for Trump for 12 years, persuading Cook County officials to cut the property taxes on the president’s namesake downtown skyscraper by a total of more than $14 million.

        While you are reading, do you know if Whitaker would have had to okay this? (if it is even related to Trump)

        • harpie says:

          Also from that article:

          Burke’s firm also handles appeals on property taxes on the AT&T building, 225 W. Randolph, now owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. The telecommunications giant sold the property to Kushner and leases it back from him under an agreement that calls for AT&T to pay the real estate taxes. AT&T uses Burke’s firm to seek property tax cuts on the building.

          …and, this is an interesting point:

          It’s unclear why Trump had hired Burke’s firm rather than another powerhouse law firm, such as the one headed by Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago. 

          • Peterr says:

            In Chicago, Burke is the biggest power player. Madigan may rule Springfield (and has for decades), but Chicago belongs to Burke (though he rents it out to whoever sits in the mayor’s office).

    • Peterr says:

      To be scrupulously fair, Burke has been in the cross-hairs of the FBI for decades. He’s the longest serving alderman in Chicago history, and is most famous for his work, along with Fast Eddy Vrdolyak, to lead the opposition to Mayor Harold Washington, who took office after the death of the Old Mayor Daley. Burke wangled his way into the chairmanship of the Finance committee, and except for a couple of years, he’s held that very powerful post as his own personal fiefdom.

      In the past, Burke has been investigated for padding the finance committee’s payroll, which has snared a bunch of his minions but never quite reaching him. He’s also got a ton of conflicts when contracts involving vendors who are clients of his private law firm come before the finance committee for approval. He may not vote on these contracts, but he’s got enough clout to get other aldermen to vote the way he wants.

      Yes, the timing might suggest this is Trump-related, but Burke is so sleazy that it could be dozens of other things as well. I’d hesitate to jump to the Trump connection without anything more than the timing. Old Mayor Daley may be dead, but his machine-driven power-grabbing enemy-sticking spirit lives on in Ed Burke.

      • Peterr says:

        From the Chicago Sun-Times:

        Federal agents showed up unannounced at the City Hall office of Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, kicked everyone out and papered over the windows Thursday morning.

        The nature of their visit was not known, but Ald. Burke (14th) has dodged dozens of federal investigations over five decades in Chicago politics.

        Go check out that embedded link – he’s got quite a history. A taste, quoting from reform-minded former alderman Dick Simpson:

        Simpson also mentioned Burke’s reputation as the J. Edgar Hoover of City Hall.

        “He does know where the bodies are buried from being an insider for so long. That may come into play in keeping people from attacking him more,” Simpson said.

        Like I said, there could be dozens of things other than Trump that could get Burke sideways with the FBI.

        • Trip says:

          There is no person who closely associates with Trump, who is not sleazy. (whatever the reason for the raid). The closer, the sleazier.

  6. Dr. Pablito says:

    It’s really quite the chess match by Mueller this week. Interesting that Trump cannot command loyalty from Cohen anymore. IMO, Cohen has much less to fear from the Russian and Ukranian mob than does Paulie Manafort, who is staring down the barrel of the polonium-tipped umbrella and is looking for remaining angles to triangulate. Cohen, not so much, and is much more willing to sing. He was spurned by Trump; Trump’s tendencies to be a cheapskate and dick over his employees are really coming back to bite him.

  7. 5u5an says:

    This is petty but I find joy in knowing that Individual 2 does not know the difference between “where” and “were.”

  8. X says:

    For the lawyers, do you think there is any connection with the Trump/Cohen event and the raid on Deutsche Bank this morning?

  9. Trip says:

    Oof, getting it from all sides:

    Julia Davis‏ @JuliaDavisNews 1m1 minute ago

    #Russia’s state TV host Evgeny Popov angrily reacts to the news of Trump canceling meeting with Putin, says Trump is doing so only because of the pressure he’s facing re: Cohen’s plea. Popov points out that earlier Trump said the meeting was still on, calls him “imbalanced.”

  10. klynn says:

    Two days ago I read a small news article about Putin trying to discredit the Panama Papers and now I cannot find it.  I remember thinking at the time, “Oh boy, something is about to hit the fan.”  Did anyone else see this piece?  I thought I saw it in the Guardian but have not been able to locate it.

  11. Geoff says:

    Maggie and Mike, at it again. Why do they continue to try to make Ghouliani seem like he is some authority on what happened? Whose freaking side are these two nitwits on anyway???

    “The fact that Mr. Cohen’s admission in a deal with prosecutors came so soon after Mr. Trump returned his responses to Mr. Mueller’s questions raised concerns among the president’s legal team that Mr. Mueller was laying a perjury trap — waiting for the president to explain his understanding of events before presenting evidence to the contrary to show that he lied, according to people close to the president’s legal team.”

    Why must we endure this crap?

    Perjury trap? Aiyayay…

    • Rugger9 says:

      M&M needs to be reminded again, there is no “perjury trap” without perjury.  If Kaiser Quisling told the truth instead (leaving aside for the moment what might come out of that set of statements) the only ones holding the bag at that point would be the ones like Cohen and Manafort who already testified and copped to crimes to which perjury would be added on them.

      However… If KQ told the truth (or took the 5th) he’d be admitting in statements against interest to criminal activity which IIRC means it’s assumed to be true and worthy of jail time.  What a dilemma…

      Buy those popcorn futures now, they’ll do better than Bitcoin!

      As a bonus, Obama trolled the Palace pointing out none of his administration had been indicted (yet, KQ’s gonna try now).  Bwa hahahahahaha.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Technically and legally speaking , taking the 5th admits nothing (like guilt), but it’s really poor optics for KQ to say he can’t answer because he might incriminate himself.  While it’s lazy to do so, the general public will view taking the 5th the same way as an admission of something.  So, it would remain for the press and OSC to keep digging until January when the new Congress is seated and the House starts on their list.

      • harpie says:

        It looks like they may have replaced “perjury trap” with this:

        Although Mr. Trump’s lawyers have long worried that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is trying to catch Mr. Trump in a lie, they said Mr. Cohen’s new account of the Trump Organization’s abortive hotel project in Moscow essentially matches what Mr. Trump himself stated in written answers delivered to prosecutors just nine days ago.

        The edits may eventually show up on this Twitter feed: Editing the Gray Lady  [I can’t find it there, yet.]

        • Trip says:

          Yeah, I searched the paragraph and it showed up under a dozen or more articles, but when you click on them, in some it remains, but most don’t. They quietly pulled the quote.

          • harpie says:

            There must have been huge push back on “perjury trap”. That’s not really a thing…just a phrase the Whiny Weenie uses when he’s scared.

  12. viget says:

    Is it ok now to call Individual-1, “unindicted co-conspirator Individual-1”?

    Maybe UCCI-1 for short?  Hey, that could be the SS’s new codename for the President!

  13. mrtmbrnmn says:

    This business with the slimey taxi lawyer Cohen only further proves that even Trump thought he would lose the election.  He was planning for the day after he lost.  Except he didn’t lose.  The worst candidate who ever lived didn’t realize that he was running against truly the worst candidate who ever lived.   Neither candidate actually had a plan B.  Trump’s plan A was to run for President, lose and get richer the day after.  Hillary’s plan A was run for President, win and get richer the day after.  Things haven’t worked out too well for either of them.  The best laid plans…..!

    • Rayne says:

      Do you feel better after getting that little rant out of your system? Because it really does dick-all except alleviate your need to vent. Get a Twitter account for that.

  14. klynn says:

    “Federal agents have reportedly raided the Chicago City Hall office of a lawyer who previously did tax work for President Trump.
    The Chicago Sun-Times reports that federal agents removed everyone from the office of Chicago Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke on Thursday morning, covering the floor-to-ceiling windows with brown paper.”

    [FYI: link edited to remove tracking ID. / ~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Hate to ask this but if you run across a video of that clip, please share it here. Thanks.

      The one bit in the Miami Herald’s Epstein story which really bothers me is the short shrift given to the Bear Stearns executives whose prosecution was at the root of Epstein’s light sentencing.

      Records show that Epstein was a key federal witness in the criminal prosecution of two prominent executives with Bear Stearns, the global investment brokerage that failed in 2008, who were accused of corporate securities fraud. Epstein was one of the largest investors in the hedge fund managed by the executives, who were later acquitted. It is not known what role, if any, the case played in Epstein’s plea negotiations.

      Why weren’t details provided about the case — was it because of their acquittal?

      I’m particularly bothered because the funds which set off the 2008 financial avalanche were Bear Stearns’ funds — and Trump was a participant in at least one of the two Patient Zero funds. There was Fusion GPS testimony about Trump org involvement.

      • Trip says:

        This isn’t case documents, but…

        Old article • March 2003, it mentions insider trading at Bear Stearns.
        Epstein seems like a complete scumbag, especially knowing what we do now. Kind of a long read, includes Dershowitz gushing about him and a cameo by Trump, Clinton, Prince Andrew, etc.

        The Talented Mr. Epstein

        (What he seemed to have in common with Trump):

        Epstein is known about town as a man who loves women—lots of them, mostly young. Model types have been heard saying they are full of gratitude to Epstein for flying them around, and he is a familiar face to many of the Victoria’s Secret girls. One young woman recalls being summoned by Ghislaine Maxwell to a concert at Epstein’s town house, where the women seemed to outnumber the men by far. “These were not women you’d see at Upper East Side dinners,” the woman recalls. “Many seemed foreign and dressed a little bizarrely.” This same guest also attended a cocktail party thrown by Maxwell that Prince Andrew attended, which was filled, she says, with young Russian models. “Some of the guests were horrified,” the woman says.

        Several of Epstein’s Bear Stearns contemporaries recall that Epstein left the company very suddenly. Within the company there were rumors also that he was involved in a technical infringement, and it was thought that the executive committee asked that he resign after his two supporters, Ace Greenberg and Jimmy Cayne, were outnumbered. Greenberg says he can’t recall this; Cayne denies it happened, and Epstein has denied it as well. “Jeffrey Epstein left Bear Stearns of his own volition,” says Cayne. “It was never suggested that he leave by any member of management, and management never looked into any improprieties by him. Jeffrey said specifically, ‘I don’t want to work for anybody else. I want to work for myself.’” Yet, this is not the story that Epstein told to the S.E.C. in 1981 and to lawyers in a 1989 deposition involving a civil business case in Philadelphia.

        I have not read, but I think it relates to his case, not Bear Stearns
        FBI Records Vault‏Verified account @FBIRecordsVault
        Jeffrey Epstein

    • Trip says:

      I had missed this:

      A lawsuit is set for trial Dec. 4 in Palm Beach County.

      A Thread with video interviews

      Miami Herald‏Verified account @MiamiHerald

      Long before #MeToo became the catalyst for a women’s movement about sexual assault — and a decade before the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and U.S. Olympic gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar — there was Jeffrey Edward Epstein. ..Two police officers were willing to risk their careers to go after Epstein. They said they felt pressured by the state attorney to drop the investigation and downgrade it to a misdemeanor…But they continued their work, finding evidence that supported the girls’ allegations: Phone calls and messages like, “Tanya can’t come at 7 p.m. tomorrow because she has soccer practice,” and naked photographs of girls in Epstein’s closet…”I always hoped that the plea would be thrown out and that these teenage girls, who were labeled as prostitutes by prosecutors, would get to finally shed that label and see him go to prison where he belongs,” said one detective.#PerversionofJustice

  15. C Lynn says:

    Just to note – Nixon was never Impeached.  He resigned because public opinion turned so quickly and vehemently.  I agree with the use of the 25th Amendment & Pence installation just in time to save the 2020 campaign – they have quietly been laying groundwork for over a year to establish a case of dementia.  (Remember all of those quotes in the various books that have come out & the Anonymous Op-Ed)

    Also noteworthy – two Presidents that have been impeached did NOT leave office (Clinton & Andrew Johnson).  20 Senators are not going to flip on Trump unless his job disapproval jumps to 70% and his approval drops to the 20’s (doubtful thanks to the National Propaganda Network).

  16. Avattoir says:

    Per emptywheel’s tweet of the next addition to the official Scrabble dictionary (“colludey”), if Shakespeare had derived from pre-Rubicon-crossed Rome a prescient prequel to this current Republican downfall, would he portray Mickey Medallions as a Rosencrantzian ‘Colludio’?

  17. Ollie says:

    President Trump said Wednesday that if House Democrats launched probes into his administration — which he called “presidential harassment” — they’d pay a heavy price.

    “If they go down the presidential harassment track, if they want go and harass the president and the administration, I think that would be the best thing that would happen to me. I’m a counter-puncher and I will hit them so hard they’d never been hit like that,” he said during a 36-minute Oval Office sitdown.

    Okay.  I know…I know: it’s the NY Post but t did give an interview w/them on Wed.  and now today w/Cohen.  I saw the 10min press prior to him  and there was something about his demeanor.  I’ll tell you he couldn’t talk fast enough to the press and answered their questions about Cohen but then they went off of it and you could see the surprise that was floating around in that head.  I mean you could see him wondering “why aren’t they hounding me about Cohen?  DB?’  then he kinda got gleeful.  So wifey comes out and he specifically points out to her the press is right there and she appears mid sentence to him, turns, then gives a fake smile and she’s all grabby hands….then they walk off talking rapidly to each other.  Why I could almost imagine she asked him: ‘I just heard about Cohen, are you alright?’I just sat there, reading and rereading, laughing my fucking brains out.  That is all for now.  Oh, except: thank you Marcy!

    • Richieboy says:

      I think someone here recently asked where Felix Sater’s been. Earlier today, at least, he was havin’ lunch with BF News. Wow.

  18. AmIReadingTooMuchIntoThis says:

    Talking of the giveaways to Russia, I am always puzzled by the lack of interest in the Venezuelan oil fields situation. The WH attitude towards Maduro has all but forced him to hand them to Russia, which became the only country able to ‘help’ because of the measures set up at the time.

    • Rayne says:

      Keep in mind the transition between Obama and Trump administrations also saw a change in policies toward fossil fuel producers and countries for which fossil fuels represent a majority of revenues.

      What we are seeing now in Venezuela may be exactly what the *Trump* administration intends.

  19. harpie says:


    2:10 PM – 29 Nov 2018 Just in. Trump has cancelled ALL his formal meetings with leaders at the G20 in Argentina.// Which means no podium appearances and no questions from the media broadcast live. None. // He will instead hide out from the media in his hotel room.

    Nonperformance; noun:

    avoidance, breach of promise, default, delinquency, dereliction of duty, dutilessness, evasion, evasion of duty, failure to perrorm, idleness, inactivity, inexecution, laxity, neglect, noncompletion, noncompliance, noncooperation, nonfeasance, nonfulfillment, nonpractice, omission, undutifulness, unfulfillment

    • Avattoir says:

      Conceivably by coincidence, today DAG Rosenstein delivered a speech on the subject of the role of the Rule of Law in this democratic republic, at GWU law school on the occasion of a conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

      (Such conferences present a chance to catch up with old friends – like the FCPA.)

    • harpie says:

      This tweet seems to have been been un-tweeted. Sorry about that. Now our fearless leader tweets this:

      7:31 PM – 29 Nov 2018 Arrived in Argentina with a very busy two days planned. Important meetings scheduled throughout. Our great Country is extremely well represented. Will be very productive!

      • Tom says:

        It’s a mistake for Trump to dodge his one-on-one meetings with Putin and the other leaders at the G20.     With Putin, it could be an opportunity for the President to redeem himself for his dismal performance at the Helsinki Summit.   By missing these previously scheduled meetings, Trump only draws more attention to the reason why–the fallout from the Michael Cohen business yesterday.     Does the U.S. not constitute the keystone of western democracies any longer?    That certainly seems to be the message the President is sending.    He also looks weak, wounded, lacking in stamina and moral fibre, and just not up to the job; i.e., the very things with which he smeared Hillary Clinton and said disqualified her for the Presidency back in 2016.

      • harpie says:

        “brief impromtu” -LOL!

        6:09 AM – 30 Nov 2018 REUTERS: Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a brief impromptu meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Argentina, RIA news agency cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. // Trump canceled their meeting via Twitter Thursday.

        • Trip says:

          Man. They are thrilling in making him the whipped pooch who heels to their command (and a weak fool internationally).

  20. harpie says:

    Document: Michael Cohen Criminal Information in Mueller Probe

    […] b. COHEN agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project and took steps in contemplation of Individual 1’s possible travel to Russia. On or about May 4, 2016, […] COHEN responded, “My trip before Cleveland. [Individual 1] once he becomes the nominee after the convention.” […] 

    This phrasing intrigues me…

  21. harpie says:

    Rep. Schiff:

    4:14 PM – 29 Nov 2018 Last year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Cohen’s outreach on the Trump Tower Moscow deal received no response. As Cohen’s plea demonstrates, they lied. They helped Trump by providing false corroboration. This is a counterintelligence nightmare.

  22. Rusharuse says:

    I love that Peskov was riding shotgun for Trump.

    BTW – The Epstein thing is being discussed on Fox.
    BBTW – Tom Arnold, (fried and fucked-up) but on the last ep of ‘Hunt for Trump Tapes’ gave Trump and Epsein both barrels inc showing redacted foi docs filming in front or Epsteins apartment . . and interviewing Scaramooch. Interesting in hind sight!

  23. Avattoir says:

    Not sure how ‘Bring Narrative And Other Literary Forms To Court Filings’ goes over on a hat: Comey filed a motion that reads like a survey piece on abuse of subpoena power by congressional committees.


    • Avattoir says:

      There’s some smart folks who post here, most with the advantage of being able to say, IANAL. Most sites I’ll read a few reader comments, occasionally all – but at this here home to fearless leader, I read every one, no exceptions.

  24. Rugger9 says:

    Vlad still wants to meet with his asset.  One wonders how Kaiser Quisling will be able to avoid him, or if he’s getting an offer he can’t refuse.

    The “perjury trap” meme won’t die. It’s not a trap if you tell the truth, but I think this is for MAGA Trumpie consumption.

  25. BobCon says:

    Could a kind soul give me a read on how much of the evidence revealed in this deal would have likely been part of the files seized from Cohen’s home and office back in April?

    Or maybe another way to put it — how crucial was that raid to the Mueller piece of the Cohen case?

  26. Eureka says:

    I wish we knew what Melanie packed for the trip.  It would give a better idea of what’s really on the QT meeting agenda.

  27. Rusharuse says:

    Mikey drops Daddy’s Doll in the doo-doo – – –
    “Investigators obtained emails about the project from late 2015 and January 2016, according to people familiar with the matter, in which Mr. Cohen communicated with or copied Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, both of whom were executives at Trump Organization. Ms. Trump recommended an architect, the people said.”

  28. Eureka says:

    I think some of this may be more appraisable after any (RU statements about) G20 interactions, but do you think the Cohen details make potential pardons for Manafort/Corsi/(Stone/et al.) more toxic or otherwise less likely?

    Sure, Trump appears cowed now, but just as surely Rudy’s speechwriters are back to the drawing board.

    • BobCon says:

      I think the Cohen deal lowers the possibility of pardons. I think it raises the awareness for Trump of how hard it will be to pardon his way out of his problems.

      I suspect it is dawning on him that Whitaker isn’t the solution — not that Whitaker was ever supposed to be more than a front man for whoever is supposedly running the defense. I think this is one of those times he’s being reminded he doesn’t really have a good solution, just some options that are less bad than others.

  29. Rick says:

    Take home message.

    If you’re going to collude, use a pencil, typewriter, fax machine, and/or public telephones.

    Computers and smart phones are for people who get caught.

  30. Kick the darkness says:

    Marcy’s work gets a nice tip of the hat (and, if I have it right, that would be a popehat) in this article on Cohen’s plea today in the Atlantic.

    There’s an unusually evocative phrase where, when House Dems take over in January, “subpoenas will fly like arrows at Agincourt”.  Let’s hope he’s casting the Democrats as the medieval English just for that day.  When I read it the barbarity of the English civil conflict revealed during excavations of the Towton battlefield came to mind.  That was just one Henry down the line.

  31. Eureka says:

    Couple of things from the Sater-Cohen text screenshots in the linked Buzzfeed article:

    (1)  I wonder who they (well, Sater) are trying to keep from horning in on the deal.  Junior?  Who else around Trump Org?

    (2)  Sater: “He (Peskov) said anything you want to discuss including dates and subjects are on the table to discuss.”

    Just dates and subjects about Coffeeboy, I Don’t Know Him Moscow Trump Tower?

    • Eureka says:

      Re (2) I am kind of being facetious, though am curious re (1) why Sater wanted to emphasize keeping Cohen as the exclusive rep.  Perhaps to ensure Sater himself stayed in the deal/loop?  Keeping access to the info and or commissions?  I don’t really know that much about him.

      • Trip says:

        Degrees of separation from Trump. But also as expressed in the Buzzfeed article by Sater, Cohen was desperate to impress Trump.

  32. Tom says:

    Re: Rugger9 at 2:59 pm above on Trump possibly taking the 5th – “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” – Donald J. Trump, September 2016

    • Michael says:

      (With apologies to Billy Joel)
      “Oh-h-h-h… and [he] never gives up.
      And [he] never gives in.
      [He] just changes [his] mind.”

      TrumpleThinSkin strikes me as the personification of the wind-up car that I literally wore out (in the 1950’s!). It would zip off in a random direction until striking an immovable object, at which point it would simultaneously turn and back up a bit and then try to zip off again. Ad infinitum.

      • Trip says:

        HAHAHA! Your song reminded me of this:

        Not the point but this reads like the whitest-possible version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air song

        (Mike Drucker Retweeted Donald J. Trump)
        Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

        Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail…

        Mike Drucker‏Verified account @MikeDrucker

        “In extreme wealth born and raised, In my dad’s shadow where I spent most of my days, Chillin’ out, maxin’, very legal and very cool, Buildin’ condos for fascists outside of the school”

        We The Purple‏ @AlexNoelPeraza

        I colluded with one little country and my lawyer got scared


  33. Trip says:


    Sheryl Sandberg Emailed Staff To Conduct Research On Billionaire George Soros

    Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg requested research on a perceived company enemy, the billionaire George Soros, according to an internal email described to BuzzFeed News and confirmed by Facebook.
    Sandberg has previously said that she was unaware of the work done by Definers Public Affairs, a communications firm that Facebook hired for public relations and opposition research on competitors and critics, including Soros…the company has insisted that its two top executives, Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had little, if any, knowledge of the company’s links with the firm or its work…While a Facebook spokesperson maintains that Sandberg did not direct Definers, it now acknowledges that she did in fact request research on Soros following comments he made at the World Economic Forum in January. During a speech, the billionaire said that Facebook and Google were a “menace” to the world and that the “internet monopolies” did not have the will or inclination to protect society.

    Nice work, Buzzfeed. All of this research on Soros is making me like him.

    • BobCon says:

      No way Sandberg is doing this without Zuckerberg’s involvement, and odds are pretty overwhelming that the right wingers in Zuckerberg’s orbit are feeding this. He’s fallen into the regular trap of thinking that appeasing the right will get them to back off. They always come back for another ask.

      • Trip says:

        Zuckerberg is a psychopath who is more than happy to let Sandberg fall on the sword. That said, Zuckerberg is only interested in profit, not making politicians happy, not caring about democracy or ‘the people’. There is nothing but truth in what Soros said, the “internet monopolies” did not have the will or inclination to protect society. “Society” (as in users of their sites) is the commodity/product that they sell, they are not the clients. If you read about Facebook in the UK, they knew for a LONG time about ‘breaches’. Soros was a threat to their business for speaking up.

    • harpie says:

      I’m not sure where I found this recommendation yesterday…maybe Laura Rozen, but the Vanity Fair article he links to was exactly what I needed to read about all this:

      Daniel Bessner; [Historian of US foreign policy @UW]

       7:12 AM – 28 Nov 2018  Wouldn’t be surprised if many of the histories written in the next ten or so years are organized around dismantling the lies and myths of meritocracy


      Harvard Business School invented the “leadership” industry—and produced a generation of corporate monsters. No wonder Sandberg, one of the school’s most prominent graduates, lacks a functioning moral compass. […] The “dilemma” was perfectly in line with the thinking at H.B.S. that an inability to clearly delineate the right choice in business isn’t the fault of the chooser but rather a fundamental characteristic of business, itself. 

      [Jeffrey Skilling and, of course famously, also Zuckerberg graduated from HBS, too] 

      Duff McDonald is the author of The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite

      • Trip says:

        One person’s opinions, but interesting:

        IamA classmate of Mark Zuckerberg who created the initial school-wide Facebook at Harvard in 2003, which Mark joined and copied. AMA!

        I do have serious concerns about Mark’s recent claims that he wants to help promote democracy. I think his behavior indicates that he has no interest in democracy whatsoever. He runs Facebook effectively as a dictator (which I say based on his manipulation of the publicly traded stock share types, which permit him to retain control basically no matter what). Dictators tend to be incompatible with democracy….Honestly, it’s hard to think of much good to say about Mark, and especially right now. I think he played a vital role in bringing fascism, or perhaps “fascism lite,” to the United States, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
        For thirteen years I’ve warned people as much as possible–harming my own reputation in the process–that he’s a danger to society. At first I was ridiculed and made fun of and called a lot of names for doing so. Now, it’s looking a little bit more reasonable to others I think

  34. Trip says:

    A couple of very long threads which revisit the Ukraine peace deal (other sources credited within tweets): Sater, Cohen, Flynn. With Cohen’s willing participation in helping Mueller now and the SDNY (among others?), how long until all the deets of this come out and are confirmed?

    Thomas Cleveland‏ @TCleveland4Real

    What do you know about a Ukrainian peace proposal provided to Mr. Cohen in 2017?

    Kyle Cheney‏Verified account @kyledcheney

    SCOOP from David Stern and @JoshMeyerDC: Ukrainian politician linked to Cohen/Sater plans to testify before Mueller grand jury Friday.
    2:20 PM – 14 May 2018

    Thomas Cleveland‏ @TCleveland4Real

    “…the peace proposal…was hatched in February 2016 during side discussions at a Ukraine-focused conference at Manor College in suburban Philadelphia. Former Republican Rep. Curt Weldon and New York real estate mogul Alexander Rovt were involved…”Artemenko said Weldon “introduced me to high society in the U.S.,” including other lawmakers such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who is sometimes called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s best friend in Washington…Shortly after Manafort leaves campaign he gets a peculiar loan with some help from Rovt… Rohrabacher w/ Artemenko—the Ukr politician who met w/ Sater and Cohen and expected his plan to be passed to Flynn

  35. Alan says:

    Some good observations (at least one of which I believe comes from Popehat):

    1. Trump must have known Cohen and others were lying to Congress, and did nothing to stop them or correct the record (and may have encouraged or assisted the lying)

    2. Russia knew about the lies and could expose them, giving Russia leverage over Trump and the administration, and Trump was complicit in giving Russia this leverage

    3. And of course, what other leverage does Russia have over Trump that we don’t know about?

    IMO, there are grounds for impeachment right there.

  36. SAO says:

    I know some people in construction in Moscow. What’s clear to me is that Putin figured it would be a hell of a lot easier to hack Hillary’s e-mails than to figure out how to get land in central Moscow suitable for Trump. And maybe, he guessed Trump wouldn’t want to actually pay the market price for land in one of the world’s most expensive cities and might back out if he lost the election. If he won and the tower didn’t go smoothly in a country and city where navigating the corrupt and byzantine bureaucracy takes years of experience and lots of skill, Trump might retaliate against Russia, by enforcing more sanctions.

    As an example, a reasonable number of big projects put in their own electricity plants as MosEnergo charges so much for a connection to the grid that it’s cheaper and easier to find room (in Central Moscow) for a small generating plant than to get city power.

    So, the email thing was probably packaged as a drop the tower, we’ll do this instead.

  37. klynn says:

    Trump could take control of the G20 Puti demand and make the press his friend by having the entire meeting transparent to the press.

  38. Andy says:

    Marcy, fantastic work. Thank you.

    I think it might be interesting and instructive to explore how Putin and his spawn must be thinking about the current state of US affairs. I am not as deeply into this as many are, but it seems to me that there are a few ways of Putin winning slightly less, but generally he is in the catbird seat.

    If his aim is to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the US system, it seems he has succeeded spectacularly. How would he manage his currently successful investment in FUD going forward?

  39. Wm. Boyce says:

    “WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will tentatively face sentencing on March 5, a federal judge ruled on Friday, after the U.S. special counsel investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia said the former top aide had breached his plea deal.

    U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team also must submit a report to the court on Dec. 7 outlining how Manafort had breached his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, the judge said. ”

    (Reuters 11-30-18)

    I have a vague recollection of something, oh, yes: “A date which will live in infamy.”

    It should serve as a good laxative for Mr. Whitaker’s reading.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Will the report that is to be submitted to Judge Berman on Dec. 7 be filed such that it will be available to all of us?  Any speculation on how much detail there will be wrt the take-home test, the jda, PM’s activities after Jan. ’17,  etc.?

      Will Whitaker have to sign-off on the report prior to filing?

      Not an attorney.  Thanks to all of you for your hard work.  This site is a goldmine.

  40. Jonb says:

    It seem like Mueller is trying to force the Don to actually testify. First, He waits until the written test is submitted. Then  he has a strong case for follow up questions based on Cohens admissions.  Second track is those sealed subpoenas…perhaps with Don’s name on them..third track ???

  41. G Holland says:

    I wish there were a “laughing” emoji I could click on for so many of your comments.  This site is one of the few things keeping me sane(ish) these days.
    You guys have insightful thoughts and seem to have a clear view of the whole picture, so I’m hoping you can respond to the issue that keeps me up at night, to wit:

    Let’s assume that every negative allegation about DT and his cult followers and cronies is true, and can be irrefutably documented as fact (and personally, I DO assume that, so please keep reading).  But…his cult members genuinely do not care about the facts.  These sheep (or maybe lemmings) somehow exist in a universe in which they believe either (a) that whatever they’re getting by having him in office (e.g., far-right-wing judges and justices; tax cuts for the superrich) is worth turning a blind eye to the overflowing cesspool he generates, or (b) that the facts – no matter how solidly supported by the evidence – aren’t really REALLY true (“probably some Angry Dem Thug made this all up; just ignore it”).

    So…precisely what occurrence is it going to take for the cult members to wake up?  How bad does it have to get in this country before the ostriches remove their heads out of the sand (or out of their asses)?  If nothing yet has gotten their attention, not even the unprecedented public rebukes by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and retired Navy Admiral McRaven, not even DT’s appalling behavior in Helsinki, Charlottesville, and everywhere else he speaks in public, not even the constant, constant stream of lies and contradictions spewing from his own mouth – WHAT’S IT GONNA TAKE???

    And that’s why I’m not sleeping well.  Our country feels to me permanently divided (maybe destroyed); we no longer have a 3-branch government or a legitimate Supreme Court; we have taken giant steps backwards into racism and misogyny; we have become an international laughingstock (at best); we make Brexit look boring; we have a tyrannical despotic (narcissistic misogynistic racist xenophobic [continue ad nauseam]) whiny toddler making world-affecting decisions like the extreme present hedonist he is.


    I’m cynical by nature, but I’m not usually nihilistic.  It is a new and unpleasant feeling.  To the extent I have a religious creed these days, it goes something like this: “I believe in Bob, the Mueller Almighty, Finder and Keeper of Truth; and in New York State’s Subpoena Powers; and the Inability of a President to Pardon Himself for State Crimes.” 

    But even when Mueller finishes tying the knot in the rope he’s been wrapping around DT for the past 18 months, what good is having the truth made public when it’s going to be ignored and denied by the ruling minority and the bleating herd?

    I’m sorry – this sounds more like a rant than I intended. But my question is sincere: what will it take for our country to get back on a healthy track, both nationally and internationally?

    • Bill says:

      Trump and Putin colluding podiums.  Focus on the putative Putin and Trump the “Helsinki Slinky”.

      Who walks the stair without a care. It shoots so high in the sky. Bounce up and down just like a clown. Everyone knows its Slinky.

      It sure looks like trump was checked and mated by his Russian  Master.

    • Wm. Boyce says:

      Sorry, but there’s about 25-30% of the US population that can’t figure anything out. And that’s just a percentage of the voting population. It’s even higher beyond that.

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