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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Whodunnit? Plus: Pro-Bernie election-rigging

Many are wondering: Did someone within the White House aid the NYT investigation which uncovered the meeting between Jared Kushner, DJT Jr., Paul Manafort and Natalia Veselnitskaya?

Lawrence O'Donnell has hinted that Jared Kushner is the leaker. According to this theory, press attention paid to DJT Junior means that everyone will pay less attention to Jared Kushner, who is at far greater legal risk -- after all, it was Jared (not Donnie the younger) who lied on that security form. Would Jared sell out his own brother-in-law? Perhaps. Kushner's father went to jail for a crime committed against his brother-in-law.

Roger Stone hints that he blames someone with the initials "JK," which probably refers to Jared Kushner, although there are a couple of other possibilities.

I don't buy the Kushner theory, for one simple reason: The NYT stories have led to calls for his resignation. If Kushner had any sense, he'd go now.

Another weirdly popular theory blames Putin. If you believe that, then you may also be in the market for Trump's nutball allegation that Putin wanted Clinton to win.

Other theorists point to Corey Lewandowski and Mike "46" Pence. The former may be the classic disgruntled former employee, while the latter...well. Cui bono?

Rachel Maddow's show contained a segment outlining the possibility that Mike Pence may be as dirty as DJT Jr. when it comes to Russiagate. Fascinating! Perhpas the real plan is to rid the political world of both POTUS and his Veep. Perhaps the entire Trump presidency (both its creation and its undoing) is a massive Batman Gambit engineered by Paul Ryan -- who, being an unlovable Ayn Randian prick, knows full well that he has no other shot at the Oval Office.

I suppose it's possible that someone from Mueller's office is secretly feeding info to the press. The emails could have been acquired via warrant or subpoena. A plausible idea, this -- and very boring. Where's the palace intrigue, the backstabbing, the melodrama?

My favorite suspect remains Steve Bannon. This is the theory favored by Joe Scarborough, and for good reason.
He also claimed that Mr Bannon was the source of embarrassing leaks about Mr Kushner’s alleged Russia ties.

“Steve Bannon has been leaking – I believe, based on everything that I've heard – has been leaking these stories,” he said.

“People very close to Steve Bannon were telling me before the stories were leaked that he was going to be leaking these stories.”
The TV host said his sources told him that Mr Bannon had been bragging about how he was going to sideline Mr Kushner.

“Two days after I heard this – two days! – front-page New York Times story about the links between Kushner and Russia,” he added. “A coincidence? Absolutely not.”
As I've said before: Bannon heads up the Russiagate war room, in which capacity he may have been granted access to campaign-related emails and text messages. He has probably also established contacts with the mainstream press.

Is Bannon ballsy enough to attempt to separate Donald Trump from his own whelplings and whelpling-in-law? Yes. I would go so far as to opine that Bannon somewhat resembles a giant ambulatory testicle.

Did Russia rig the Michigan primary election for Bernie? This edition of the Palmer Report addresses the question.
Apart from the stunning general election swing state victories for Donald Trump, the only other truly shocking result in the entire 2016 presidential elect cycle was when Bernie Sanders won Michigan. It was the only other time in which the polls, and the pundits, ended up being wildly and inexplicably wrong. Hillary finished eighteen points worse than she was supposed to – and those kinds of things just don’t happen in presidential races. For reference, wasn’t a single other state in the Democratic Primary where the polls were off by more than a few points. And that Michigan primary changed everything. Bernie generally won the states he was expected to win, by the expected margins. Hillary generally won the states she was expected to win, by the expected margins. Then there was Michigan, one of the most insane outliers in election history.

When Bernie shockingly won the Michigan primary, it breathed new life into his campaign after he had just gotten blown out on Super Tuesday. Even though Michigan didn’t come close to putting him back into contention (he also got blown out in Mississippi that same day, for instance), the momentum from the upset meant he was able to stay in the race for much longer. If he had lost Michigan as expected, his donations would have dried up much sooner, and he’d probably have had to drop out at least two months earlier than he did.

Those two months prevented the Democratic Party from being able to formally unite behind Hillary during Donald Trump’s most vulnerable stretch. And as the Democratic primary dragged on into May and June, it created bitterness for all involved.
For a long time now, I've made no secret of my view that the MI primary was the most obviously fraudulent election this country has ever seen. But is there any evidence pointing to Russia? Nope. Not unless you count this tidbit:
Come to think of it, why was the Trump Tower email server only communicating with Russia and a Betsy DeVos-controlled company in Michigan?
Added note: The DJT Jr. phone call that nearly everyone missed. Last night, Chris Hayes devoted a segment to an interesting discovery (or deduction). The emails released by Donald Trump Jr. strongly indicate that Junior spoke to one or both of the Agalarovs on the phone on June 6, prior to the meeting with the lawyer in Trump Tower. No-one outside of MSNBC seems to have noticed that phone call...

...except for little old me. I mention it here.

The phone call is important because it undercuts Junior's claim that he had no idea what the lawyer was going to say. I think he's lying his ass off. So is the lawyer. So is Agalarov.
Comments:
I think that should be Whelpling or Whelp, rather than Whelping.

Bannon seems quite likely, but I wouldn't rules Putin out. I mean, what has Trump actually done for Putin? Those sanctions are still in place and Trump has said they will stay in place until the Crimea is returned. America has been made a laughing stock, certainly. Trump will continue to weaken America, but at some point there will be more to be gained by the spectacular collapse of the American government, possibly down to Ryan and beyond, than the continued comedy stylings of the Don.
 
I think the NYT’s usage of “adviser to the WH” should be taken very loosely, as people who have in a broad sense “advised” the WH in some matter. Most likely in the process of Kushner’s security clearance. I’m sure the NYT is reveling in all the speculation when it knows that they were just subordinate ranks.

However, I’m surprised how unscathed the figure of Rob Goldstone has been surviving this affair so far. I mean, who could invent a “Crown prosecutor of Russia” if not a Briton? And who could promote his client Veselitskaya with such a pretentious title if not a music promoter? Clearly Goldstone, for some reason that wasn’t of his own invention, trapped the Junior into this meeting. And I find it very, very odd that he attended the meeting himself (especially after having written to Don Jr: “I won’t sit in”).

I haven't seen this oddity noticed anywhere. Please consider: Kushner and Manafort were willing to discuss “highly sensitive information” that “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” - while some nondescript British music promoter was sitting in the room and listening??? Whatever it is, something can't be right here.
-Brumel
 
Michigan has had a long history of changing election outcomes in dubious ways. Is there something inherently wrong with the system there? Or is it such a swing state that it is targeted by those wanting to game the system?
 
If Natalia Veselnitsakaya doesn't know English, what was she doing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 14 June 2016, sitting behind former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul?

What client would pay for a lawyer to attend a legislative inquiry conducted in a language the lawyer doesn't understand"?

And by that time, had the hearing been completed for which, according to Rob Goldstone, her presence in court was supposedly required on 9 June? What case was that, anyway? What was her role in it?

I know she says in the document filed in the Prevezon case in January 2016 that she doesn't read or write English, but is it true?

The purpose of the story that when she went to meet Trump Jr and Manafort she was accompanied by "an interpreter", rather than being to support what she wrote in that earlier document, may be to pre-empt the revelation of the "interpreter's" identity.

"Who the fuck is THAT?" "Oh, that's just the interpreter".
 
Jr's emails were not campaign emails. It seems to me that there are really only four people with access to those emails, Jr, Kushner, Manafort and Goldstone. Trump did not raise the issue of sanctions at the G-20, Trump is talking about increased oil production here and Trump has not reversed the Magnitsky Act. It seems to me that Russia is letting Trump know who is boss and that they can destroy him any time they want.
 
Stephen: "Whelpling" is what I meant. Damn. I made the mistake TWICE. What next? Am I going to forget how many Ns are in "Cannon"?

Thanks.

Brumel: I've seen a few people notice the "crown prosecutor" oddity. I think that most people have simply decided that Rob isn't all that brilliant. I would love to know precisely what he did in Trump Tower. Did he hand with Der Donald himself? I mean...why NOT?

b: Thanks for the link. I've been doing some research into Natalia Veselnitsakaya. While I don't know how much English she really knows, I'm sure that she ties into the case of William Browder, which is really the business that gave rise to the Magnitsky case. I don't know what you may or may not have read about Browder, but there are several YouTube videos in which he talks about his experiences in Russia. He's a good speaker and the subject is fascinating. I think that Veselnitskaya wanted to tie Hillary in with Browder, not realizing that -- although Browder is considered a bad guy in Russia, he's considered a good guy here.
 
Brumel: I meant to write "Did he HANG with.."
 
What are the odds that DT was listening in to every word in that meeting room? He rushed back to Trump Tower in order to be in the building at the time of the meeting, and he's never had a problem with snooping before, include teenage beauty contestants. He regards everyone around him as an employee, or the potential target of a scam (or both).
 
No idea whether Goldstone hung with the Godfather but I am quite sure Fredo hung with Emin, who was also in New York (you can see him behind Veselitskaya in the congressional hearing video). After all, Emin had been the one to initiate the meeting in the first place, apparently using a special connection to Fredo. Who knows maybe this solves the mystery of the interpreter?
-Brumel
 
I'll have to read up on Browder and Hermitage.

I think Stone's "JK" hint was pre-prepared. Nobody thinks that fast.

Another candidate for leaker is Rob Goldstone. The following lines from one of his emails suggests that he is putting something on record for purposes other than communication with the other party:

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump (...). What do you think is the best way to handle this information (...) "

Emphasis added.

"Crown prosecutor" is strange usage. It makes me wonder what experiences Goldstone may have had with the criminal justice system in one or more of the very few jurisdictions that use this term.

I was going to write that although the Russian "republic" has as one of its symbols the double-headed eagle, it doesn't have a crown. But I would have been mistaken: it has three crowns, and an orb and sceptre too. The Bulgarian "republic's" arms go one better and have four crowns. We live in very strange times.

Got to wonder whether Trump believes he can make Don Jr his crown prince and hand over to him in 2025.

The NYT reports that the Trump Org took the coat of arms of Joseph Davies, third husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post, who had Mar-a-Lago built. They also spot that in Scotland he adds the two-headed eagle.
 
That stuff written by the Palmer report is 100% garbage. For God's sake, Joe I read your column all the time and you're better than this. I get it. You hate Bernie. You shouldn't because articles like the one you mentioned are designed to get people to hate Bernie. First off, he didn't win by 18 points. Second. there were dozens of states that were way off from the exit polls and ALL gave the win to Hillary. I do polling for a living. Here in MA, I watched in real time how they stole the election when Boston areas whose previous polls and exit polls showed a huge surge for Bernie, yet he lost by a huge margin instead. The same went for Iowa. Nate Silver himself could not figure out how Hillary won in these two states as well. There were at least a dozen states that Hillary way over performed. Bernie had two (OK was way higher than polls suggested). This is not debatable but fact. Look it up if you don't believe me. There are two cults going on right now and both are freaking dangerous. One is for Trump. The other is for Hillary. There is a lawsuit going on right now that alleges Hillary AND Trump both cheated. I would also like to say the general election was rigged AGAINST Hillary, as 23 states had their exit polls also not match Why do we bother doing exit polls if we keep ignoring the results? Bernie and his supporters are not the devil. As a matter of fact, I found them to be way more sane than the delusional Trump and Hillary supporters lately. I keep getting flack for reminding people HILLARY CHEATED! Again, an absolute fact. Bernie didn't. Please research your stuff better because this article was crap.
 
omg, it's going on 100 degrees here, do we have to also suffer St. Bernie cultitsts? Hillary won Massachusetts in 2008, too, dood, and the bros in power ignored the voters and handed the nomination to Obama. I was on the ground in 2008 and saw all the trucked-in Obama and Ron Paul bot traveling bros, and watched the campaigns freak out like headless chickens. The local support was all Hillary, bubble boy, as anyone on the ground could plainly see.

I suppose the preceding post was passed thru as a lark, but I'm just not in the mood to laugh at lunatics who think if Hillary won the states with ballots and voters of color, she "overperformed" and only the bully-caucus states were "fair" because loud white men, yay! The only chuckle I've gotten out of this was a recent meme showing a box of Crayola crayons in a special Bernie edition: all white. Berniebros' bald white savior with the hat...Palast...has been found by PolitiFact, the Nation, LA Times, etc, to be a liar. Pants on fire liar. Looks like he was desperate to make a comeback after his brief Florida 2000 recount fame, and he counted on you St Bernheads to be just enough, if not to catapult him back to minor notoriety, to at least keep him afloat. Run along now, and keep the...dream...aka delusion...alive!

 
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