It was for Jeb. In case anyone remembers him. Jeb Bush? Tall fella?
We are shocked, shocked to learn that Neil Bush was involved in scammy campaign financing in the 2016 election, oh golly. The Federal Election Commission hit "Right to Rise," the super-PAC that fluffed his brother Jeb's campaign, with a record-setting fine after Neil solicited donations from Chinese nationals Neil was in business with. Mother Jones has the deets on the illegal campaign donation:
Well, they are tenacious, we'll give 'em that!
Okay, everybody grab some Goldfish, choose a bus buddy, and lace up your boots. We're going on a little field trip to Wingnutistan. It's time to visit the people who see the Justice Department getting caught lying under oath, followed by Meatball Whitaker's immediate exit and think, "YEAH, BOOOOOY! HILLARY'S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!"
But first, the back story. In 2017, when Republicans still controlled the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte wrote to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Uranium One conspiracy, AGAIN. There has never been any indication that Hillary Clinton knew about the deal at all, much less that she greenlighted it as a favor to donors to the Clinton Foundation. The deal was approved by the State, Treasury, Justice, Energy, Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security departments, as well as the Office of the US Trade Representative. Nevertheless, Trump's posse in Congress was sure that the key to beating back the Mueller investigation was to distract the country with a competing investigation into Hillary Clinton.
At the same time, the Senate Judiciary Committee was showing its great support for law enforcement by shitting all over the FBI and accusing James Comey of having been a secret Hillary lover. Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham -- both of whom KNOW BETTER -- also demanded a special prosecutor be appointed to reinvestigate charges that the FBI did illegal FISA's to Carter Page's stupid red bucket hat.
Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now after they dropped a mountain of cash on the Grifter in Chief.
How many live investigations are there of the Trump inauguration fuckery funtimes? Couple few!
- Manhattan US Attorney's Office, aka SDNY: They got the ball rolling after seizing Michael Cohen's tapes and finding a recording of the head party planner worrying about the Trump Hotels gouging on the room rentals;
- Brooklyn US Attorney's Office, aka EDNY: These guys are wondering if illegal foreign donors used strawmen to funnel cash to the inauguration. More on that in a hot second;
- Special Counsel's Office: Having already indicted and gotten a plea from Manafort's associate Sam Patten for acting as a straw purchaser to buy inauguration tickets for Ukrainian billionaire Pavel Fuchs, Mr. Mueller would like to know why there were so many other shady Ukrainians at the inauguration festivities;
- House Judiciary Committee: Chairman Nadler has questions for the Inaugural Committee, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen about the inauguration;
- New Jersey Attorney General: Gurbir Grewal is making Trump's people an offer they can't refuse to hand over financial documents; and
- DC Attorney General: Karl Racine would like an accounting of money paid by the inaugural committee to Trump hotels and the Trump Organization.
For any of these investigators looking into foreign entities using straw purchasers to illegally donate money to the Trump inaugural gravy train, The Guardian is here to help:
Fam, we are shook!
For people who lie all the goddamn time, these guys are really, really bad at it. For instance, in September, Paul Manafort tried to feed federal prosecutors three different explanations for a $125,000 payment made to his former lawyers by a media company in June 2017. If this was an attempt to stop them from investigating the source of that cash, it failed spectacularly. Manafort might as well have shouted, X MARKS THE SPOT, LOOK HERE FOR MORE CRIMES! It's unlikely that Robert Mueller needed Mr. Smooth to tell him about the kickback scheme at Trump's Rebuilding America Now PAC -- he'd already made contact with a key witness in January of 2018 -- but the dumbass divining rod shaking like a maniac was a pretty good sign to DIG HERE NOW.
And dig they did. Remember a few weeks ago when we played Redaction Bingo with the FBI agent's affidavit and discovered that kickback scheme whereby Multi Media Services Corporation (MMSC), the ad buyer for Trump's grifting Rebuild America PAC, was getting a six percent commission and kicking three percent of it back to Manafort's buddy Laurance Gay, who ran Rebuilding America Now (RAN)? Then, some sort of way, MMSC wound up sending $125,000 to WilmerHale to defray Manafort's legal fees in June 2018? Which is, ummm ... an unorthodox way to fund a legal defense.
Well! Yesterday, NBC's Christina Wilkie pulled back another layer of the giant onion to reveal ...
And we're not celebrating. It's just sad.
SMOOOOOOOTH. But it appears that particular bill is coming due for real now, and Mr. Dwyer is spending a lot of quality time with a grand jury in Alexandria discussing Ecuador's most famous horrible houseguest, who may just be about to get evicted.
If Julian Assange was ever a free speech warrior, he sure as hell isn't now. Lie down with Roger Stone, Jerome Corsi, Vladimir Putin and Guccifer, wake up with ... a whole lot fewer defenders at this here liberal mommy and recipe blog. So we might have been queasy about indicting Assange for publishing leaked documents, but we are very LOCK HER UP about a conspiracy to hack the American election and unleash Donald Trump on the world.
Throw the book at them!
During the second presidential debate in 2016, Hillary was asked to say something nice about Donald Trump. This was just a few days after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape so you have an idea of how off-the-rails that whole election was. Her opponent is caught on tape boasting of sexual assault and Hillary gets the "stump the band" question. She gave what she probably thought was a polite answer.
CLINTON: I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.
Yeah, none of that is correct. We give a perpetual pass to Barron, who's a kid, and Tiffany, who Trump himself forgets half the time, but Trump's three eldest children are a bunch of Marie Antoinette, Patrick Bateman, fake-charity-running sociopaths. This is why we were shocked to read reports that some Democrats were nervous about pursuing the leading members of the Trump crime family.
But you see, Obama made him do it.
As part of his racist "birther" nonsense, Donald Trump liked to insist that Barack Obama had "hidden" his academic records, because how on earth could a Kenyan Muslim ever have qualified for good colleges, huh? So of course it's no surprise to learn that in 2011, just after Trump had once again called on Obama to release all his school transcripts ever, the military academy where Trump learned more about being in the military than many generals came under pressure to hide away all of the Great Man's high school records, because of course it did, according to a story yesterday broken by the Washington Post. Evan Jones, the former headmaster of New York Military Academy, said the pressure came directly from his boss, superintendent Jeffrey Coverdale, who told him the records needed to git gone:
Turns out the rules DO apply to skeevy white dudes. WHO KNEW?
Clearly Roger Stone wants to go to jail. And it looks like he might be getting his wish real soon, hooray! He's got a federal judge so PISSED that she's publicly wondering whether he lied to the court in order to gin up publicity for his warmed-over, reissued Russia polemic. Which is a pretty good sign that Stone's probably about to get himself thrown in the hoosegow. So, big mazel, Rog, on checking off another item on your bucket list!
When last we left this fucking idiot, he was flagrantly daring Judge Amy Berman Jackson to find him in violation of the gag order she'd imposed after he posted a photo of her head next to a crosshairs on Instagram. On February 21, when the order was being crafted, Stone's own lawyer suggested that, "[H]e should not be talking about this Court. He should not be talking about the special prosecutor. He should not be impugning the integrity of the Court. That's what should be done." And since his own counsel admitted in open court that the gag order was appropriate, he's more or less given up the right to claim a First Amendment violation on appeal. Womp womp!
Nice Obstruction Of Justice Investigation. Be A Shame If It Got Screwed Up Because Some Idiot Couldn't Stop Lying For Five Minutes.
Michael Cohen, CUT IT OUT.
We're trying to learn to love Michael Cohen, warts and all. But dammit that guy is gross and wart-y! Last week the president's former fixer swore to the House Oversight Committee that, "I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump." Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cohen's former attorney Stephen Ryan did just that.
Mr. Cohen's attorney at the time, Stephen Ryan, discussed the possibility of a pardon with lawyers for Mr. Trump in the weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Cohen's home, office and hotel room, the people said. The pardon discussions occurred while Mr. Ryan was working alongside lawyers for Mr. Trump to review files seized from Mr. Cohen's premises by the FBI to determine whether they were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Cohen is still insisting that his testimony last week was truthful.
Now, we don't mean to get all galaxy brain on you, but either this is true, or it isn't. That is to say, either someone from Trumpland planted this story to discredit Cohen, or it actually happened. And if it is true, then ...
It's always the stupid lies with these people! Like Cohen swearing that he hadn't been trying to get a White House job when every reporter in DC knows that he wanted to be chief of staff. Cohen may have eventually convinced himself that he was content to remain the trusted fixer in New York -- to preserve attorney client privilege, as he said in last week's hearing -- but that doesn't magically disappear the people who heard him whining, "Boss, I miss you so much ... I wish I was down there with you. It's really hard for me to be here." That's like insisting your doctor ignore the scale and go by the weight on your driver's license. That shit's not gonna fly!
Play it again, Sam Nunberg! You played it for him, now you can play it for me.
Yes, there really is a Santa Claus. Only sometimes he waits for March, when he appears in the form of a jolly Jewish Judiciary Chairman from Manhattan who brings us sacks upon sacks of glorious document demands to be litigated, docketed, savored, and finally unwrapped in open hearing. HO HO L'CHAYIM!
Yesterday Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York dropped requests for documents -- because he's nice, and he asks politely before busting out those subpoenas -- on 81 different people and entities in Trumpland. Don't you ever let anyone tell you your vote doesn't matter. As Mr. Nadler put it in the Committee's announcement of the investigation:
Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms. Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee. We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight. Congress must provide a check on abuses of power.
Put that shit directly in our veins, babeeee!
Who Among Us Hasn't Sold Hoohoo-Peener Pics Of Our Sister And Jeff Bezos To The National Enquirer For $250K?
With friends like these ...
If Jeff Bezos's wandering dick winds up taking out Trump, it will be the surprise ending we all deserve. We elected a tabloid president who likes to play footsie with murderous Saudi dictators. Trump's pals at the National Enquirer also like to rub up against the Saudis and their giant money bags. Enquirer publisher David Pecker seems to have bollixed his attempt to neutralize America's richest man, possibly in an attempt to suck up to Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman and Donald Trump. And now Jeff Bezos is reportedly threatening to bring the whole sordid edifice crumbling down with a "90-page investigative report that will make the case that the Enquirer published the Bezos exposé to curry favor with Saudi investors." U-S-A! U-S-A!
Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman has been talking to Lauren Sanchez's brother Michael since the story broke in January. When last we left the Trash Twins, Michael Sanchez had been confirmed as AMI's source for both the texts and the photos of his sister and her boyfriend Jeff Bezos. Although he was originally coy as to who might have leaked the texts, Sanchez had previously insisted to Sherman that he didn't send pictures of his sister's crotch to the National Enquirer.
"I'm not saying I didn't do something. [...] Until I go under oath, what I can tell you now is that ever since April 20, when I met Jeff, my only goal has been to protect Jeff and Lauren."
LOCK HIM UP.
Roger Stone WANTS to go to jail. It's the only plausible explanation. No one could possibly be stupid enough to violate Judge Amy Berman Jackson's order so flagrantly and so often and think that he could stay out of the pokey. Not even a guy who's been subsisting on tailpipe fumes from alt-right loony land for a decade. Clearly, Stone fancies himself a sacred martyr, the great patron saint of ratfuckers and conmen.
The Paul Manafort Pardon Me Tour continued on Friday with a big NO COLLUSION jamboree in the Eastern District of Virginia. There's a fine line between nakedly begging for a presidential Get Out Of Jail Free Card and getting 20 years because you pissed off the trial judge by describing your eight-count jury conviction as a WITCH HUNT. But with his health failing, Manafort's swinging for the fences. Not only is there NO COLLUSION -- and, hey, paging Commander Pardon Pen, no mention of Donald Trump's campaign -- there was NO RUSSIA at all. If you buy Manafort's sentencing memo, he was really just ratfucking the Ukrainian election to bring that country into the European Union and away from Vladimir Putin's sphere of influence. Also, you should probably find a grown up to hold your wallet, since you will buy literally anything.
It's always the quiet ones.
Remember yesterday when Evan spent eleventy million hours liveblogging the Michael Cohen hearings? Remember how every time Jim Jordan stopped flinging his own shit and let a real Congress person ask a question, the answer was ASK ALLEN WEISSELBERG, HE'LL KNOW THE ANSWER? Because he's the Trump Organization's CFO, and has been doing Donald Trump's books since 1970. So Allen Weisselberg knows where alllll the bodies are buried. As Adam Davidson wrote in The New Yorker:
Weisselberg has worked exclusively for the Trump family for his entire adult life. Shortly after graduating from college, he began working for Fred Trump, in 1970, and then for the young Donald when he entered the business. Weisselberg's son Barry works at the Trump-run Wollman Skating Rink, in Central Park; his other son, Jack, works at Ladder Capital, which has been a primary lender to the Trump Organization in recent years, when few other lenders would work with a company that had experienced several bankruptcies.
Want to know about the plan to launder the Stormy Daniels payment through the Trump Organization? That is, after they'd discussed routing the payment through a padded invoice for one of the clubs or getting a club member to pay Daniels or Cohen directly, to keep it off the books. (OMG, WTF kind of company is this?!?!?) Ask Executive 1, aka Allen Weisselberg, since he and Executive 2, aka Don Jr., were the ones who signed 10 of the checks to pay Michael Cohen off after the fronted the cash.
Slow news day, huh? JKLOLFML we are dead now! Okay, don't punch the teevee because Jim Jordan's ugly mug is back on AGAIN. Let's quicklike look over Cohen's statements so far and the receipts he brought to Congress, and maybe see what cray criminal cray shit might be coming down the pike.
First up, why exactly has Team Treason been screaming its collective brains out about Michael Cohen's falsified loan documents? Here's Congressman Jody Hice, the pride of Georgia, who actually thought he did a GREAT job interrogating Cohen.
Michael Cohen just walked in the room and dumped three years of Donald Trump's financial statements on the table. It's not a crime to lie to get on the Forbes Let Them Eat Cake List, but it is a crime to submit false loan documents. Just ask Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. And if, as Michael Cohen says, these inaccurate financial statements were submitted to Deutsche Bank to secure financing, then Donald Trump can also be prosecuted for falsifying loan documents. The fact that DB just LOL'd and didn't finance his purchase of the Buffalo Bills is irrelevant.
Oh, looky looky! It's Michael Cohen saying that these inflated financial statements were submitted to Deutsche Bank with his loan applications. And that means, dear ones: LOCK HIM UP!
Matt Gaetz Isn't Threatening Michael Cohen, He's Just Saying Something Bad Might Happen If He Testifies
Matt Gaetz, CALL YOUR LAWYER! Or call your mother so she can ground you and take away your phone. Or maybe call a plumber to caulk your stupid mouth shut, for the love of God.
In just minutes, the entire internet will glue its collective finger to the refresh key for Evan's liveblog of Michael Cohen's testimony to the House Oversight Committee. On the eve of that testimony, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted this at the witness:
Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. She's about to learn a lot...
Wow! That sounds a lot like witness intimidation. Only to prove it, you'd have to prove intent to intimidate, and a congressman who went to IRL law school would nev---
REPORTER: Congressman, does your tweet amount to witness tampering?
GAETZ: Absolutely not. It's witness testing. When people come before the Congress with an intent to perpetuate their continuous lies, we have an opportunity and I would say an obligation to test who those people lie to.
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