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.
This man right here .... !
Whatever they are paying Judge Amy Berman Jackson, it is not nearly enough to compensate her for having to deal with Roger Stone and Paul Manafort in the same week. That woman is a living saint! Having patiently dispatched with Stone's Instagram post of a crosshairs next to her own head, Her Honor got to spend the weekend wading through an 800-page filing from the Special Counsel on why Paul Manafort should stay in jail until he is 100. (Spoiler Alert: It's because he did alllllll the crimes.)
And now she gets to deal with this ridiculous filing from Manafort's lawyers claiming that their client is a patriotic boy scout, a first-time offender, a self-made family man, exporter of Democracy to to the hottentots, and victim of vengeful prosecutors. Also, too NO COLLUSION!
Grab a shovel, kids, because we are deep in the bullshit now.
Where we come from, it's called CHUTZPAH. Let's take a wild shot in the dark that Trumpland lawyer Alan Futerfas has also heard the classic definition of chutzpah as a man who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. This week, Mr. Futerfas, in a transparent bid to sweep the 2019 Yiddish Chutzpah Oscars -- try the veal, it's Glatt kosher! -- sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler demanding that he fire recently hired legal consultant Barry Berke because of CONFLICTS.
Berke is a longtime partner at Kramer Levin, a 375-lawyer firm which has done minor work for the Trump Organization in the past, according to The Washington Post. No one in Trumpland is currently represented by the firm, Berke never worked on Trump matters, and Kramer Levin isn't paying for Berke's time with the Judiciary Committee, which he is offering on a volunteer basis. Nevertheless, Futerfas insists that Berke is "ethically conflicted from representing or advising the Committee." He further demands that Nadler "cease and desist from any and all activities that are adverse to the [Trump] Company," and hand over all communications with Berke. He also sent a similar letter to House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings, who hasn't engaged Berke, but works closely with Judiciary, and thus it is ILLEGAL for Congressman Cummings to investigate the Trump Organization. Did Futerfas also demand they cancel tomorrow's public hearing with Michael Cohen? Because that would be, as they say in the legal profession, fucking perfect.
You can stick that pardon up your ...
While we wait for the clock to strike All Hell Thirty, with the Manafort sentencing memo in DC due this afternoon and whatever else Our Hero Robert Mueller has in store for today, let's enjoy this fun preview from Bloomberg and the New York Times of possible charges against Manafort in New York state court. Because Mueller may be noping out for Ibiza (allegedly!), and we can't rule out the possibility that Commander Spray Tan might issue a pardon for his erstwhile ratfucking campaign manager. But the likelihood that Paul Manafort skates on all the crazy criminal shit he's gotten into is basically zero.
Wonkers, meet your new heroes Cyrus Vance (you take your heroes where you can get them), Mark Herring, Xavier Becerra, Karl Racine, and Brian Frosh. Those would be the Manhattan District Attorney and the Attorneys General from Virginia, California, DC and Maryland. And they are here to make sure Paul Manafort doesn't ride off into the sunset on a presidential pardon.
if it's not in the nonexistent basement of a pizza parlor, does it exist?
Everything is horrible all the time. The stench of corruption pervades, and the miasma rising off the Trump swamp threatens to blot out the sun daily. None of this is news, but yesterday's federal ruling implicating Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in the coverup of serial pedophile Jeffery Epstein's crimes is a useful barometer of just how far we've fallen as a country. In any other administration, Acosta's involvement in 2008 as US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in an active effort to bury the Epstein prosecution in state court would have kept him out of the Cabinet. As the victims' case alleging prosecutorial misconduct proceeded, a rational Justice Department would have tapped Acosta on the shoulder months ago to say, "Alex, you really gotta go." Instead, the sitting Labor Secretary was named yesterday in a federal judge's order finding that his office illegally hid details from the minor victims of a pedophile ring in violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act. It's too glib to say that this is a bad look, but ... this is a really bad look.
Long story short ... eh?
YEAH, HE CAN PROBABLY DO IT. He's probably going to raid funds set aside for military construction and housing to build his stupid Fuck You Mexico monument. Our best hope is to tie this shit up in the courts until 2021, when we send his flabby ass packing off to Florida permanently, God willing and the crick don't rise. Sorry it's not better news.
OMG, What Is Even Happening?
Well, earlier this week, Congress hammered out a compromise budget and crossed their fingers hoping that Sean Hannity would sign off on it and not shut the government down again. Looks like that goat they sacrificed in the Senate cloakroom must have done the trick, because the government will remain open. But everything has a price, and President Couch Potato refused to sign unless Mitch McConnell agreed to support a national emergency declaration for WALL. So Yertle inched back to the Senate where he interrupted a pissed-off Chuck Grassley to announce the joyous news that their party had WON! Or, you know, "won." Not only did they get their budget blessed by the Dear Leader, they also were getting a shiny new usurpation of congressional authority, HOORAY! Literally no one was fooled -- they all knew McConnell had gotten played, and they were about to be yanked ever deeper into the cold abyss. Which is what happens when you lash your party to a giant sea demon racing toward the bottom of an ocean of corruption. You pays your money, and you takes your chances.
It's a flat circle, or a tesseract or some shit.
Roger Stone has filed another "legal pleading" alleging that the Deep State FBI is plotting to murder him with arrest warrants. And we use those scare quotes deliberately, because this Motion to Show Cause is derived from law as methane is derived from cows. It's inflammatory, mostly non-toxic, and reeks of bullshit.
Having synched his legal filings up with the Right Wing Scream Machine, Stone is now alleging that Robert Mueller tipped CNN off to the impending arrest and raid on his house. Besides the fact that Roger Stone himself has been predicting that the DEEP STATE was a-comin' to git him for months -- so send money now! -- there were some hints that Friday, January 25 was the big day. CNN reports:
The first clue that the indictment was imminent came last week from CNN's Sara Murray, who was reporting on the upcoming grand jury appearance of Jerome Corsi's stepson. As the stepson's legal team negotiated a date for testimony, they were told to pick any day but Friday -- an indication Mueller's team expected to be busy Friday, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Mueller's grand jury usually meets on Fridays, so veteran CNN reporters Katelyn Polantz and Laura Robinson pricked up their ears. Then on Thursday, January 24, prosecutors Andrew Goldstein and Aaron Zelinsky spent an hour with the grand jury after Corsi's stepson left. As superfans will remember, the stepson was there to testify about deleting emails to and from Stone off Corsi's hard drive to obscure the fact that those two numbnuts spent all of 2016 discussing the Wikileaks dumps of stolen Democratic emails. If anyone was getting arrested off the kid's testimony, it was either Corsi or Stone. So CNN took a flyer and parked a crew outside Stone's house in Florida the following morning, and they got lucky.
But that hardly fits in with the GOP narrative of a deranged FBI out to get Trump and all the rest of the sainted angels in his holy retinue.
Because it worked out GREAT the last time!
Remember that hilarious time when Donald Trump tried to shut up Stormy Daniels with an arbitration lawsuit, and instead ended up spilling the tea on David Dennison, Peggy Peterson, Essential Consultants, Karen McDougal, and Ol' Yeti Pubes's peculiar agreement with his pal David Pecker at the National Enquirer? Well! President Slow Learner and his Team of Geniuses are at it again, trying to punish former White House aide Cliff Sims for his mean book, Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House, where he blabbed that Trump uses TRESemmé Tres Two, extra hold hairspray, and everyone in Trumpland is a garbage lizard person. Which isn't exactly news, but the anecdote about Kellyanne Conway text-leaking to reporters all day long, "perennially cloaked in an invisible fur coat, casting an all-knowing smile, as if she'd collected 98 Dalmatians with only 3 more to go," was very chef's kiss, as the kids say.
The Trump Campaign -- which is totally separate from the White House, wink wink -- filed an arbitration claim against Sims seeking to extract millions of Ameros and have him hand over his personal notes from his time working for the federal government. They tried this shit with Omarosa, who just laughed and waved her pen-microphone at them, presumably. And they tried this shit with Sam Nunberg, who sued them right back, but quietly. And now they're trying it with Cliff Sims, who said, "Oh, thank you! I was hoping to go on another round of morning shows to flog my book and maybe get some free publicity for a Senate challenge to Doug Jones next year in Alabama. Really appreciate the chance to look like the good guy and differentiate myself from the Titanic Administration. Blessed!" More or less, Wonkette may be paraphrasing.
Jerome Corsi Pretty Sure Roger Stone Gonna Heart Attack Him To Death, If The Boobies Don't Get To Him First
The stupid, IT BURNS!
Ready for your Monday Morning Moron Maelstrom? Forgive the goofy alliteration -- we just read Jerome Corsi's defamation complaint against Roger Stone, and NOW WE IZ DUM. Apparently, Roger has been saying mean stuff about Jerry, in a blatant attempt to cause his old pal "to have heart attacks and strokes," rendering him unable to testify in Stone's criminal trial. When Roger calls him an alcoholic Deep State plant, it hurts Jerry's wee fee fees. Plus it besmirches his good name and makes it hard for Jerry to flog his very serious literary works arglebargling about Hillary Clinton murdering Donald Trump with Obama's fraudulent birth certificate and John Kerry's fake Purple Hearts. And so Roger Stone must now remit $25,000,000 henceforth, forthwith, and hereinafter, as is only right and proper under the law. HE CAN HAZ MUNNEE NOW, PLZ?
Far be it from us to hop out of the car and referee this bumfight in the nation's strip mall parking lot, but in fact Rog and Jer do have legitimate beef. See Corsi, Stone, and wingnut loons Randy Credico and Ted Malloch (because, shit, why not!) were all trying to snuggle up to stinky cat lady Julian Assange during the 2016 election. Russian hackers were using WikiLeaks to weaponize stolen emails against the Clinton campaign, and the Aging Rascals Gang wanted in on the action. On August 26, Stone predicted that Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails would be in the next Wikileaks dump, and he turned out to be more or less right.
And she's letting us play redactin bingo AGAIN! :D
Get your chips out, kids, it's time for another round of Redaction Bingo Funtimes! Because in addition to the eleventy other HOLEESHIIIT stories today, we just got the transcript from Paul Manafort's sentencing hearing Monday in DC District Court. So let's hurry up and see if we can make sense of this gobbledygook before the clock strikes indictment-thirty again. Ready?
The [REDACTED] Scheme. And by [REDACTED] we mean 'KICKBACK.'
When last this dipshit graced these pages, prosecutors had just entered a heavily redacted 100-page affidavit by an FBI agent attesting to Manafort's lil' lying problem. We stared at the black bars until we saw spots, and then decided that prosecutors had inadvertently stumbled upon a kickback scheme at Trump's Rebuilding America PAC, set up by the president's good pal Tom Barrack, who shows up errrrywhere in this mess -- the inauguration, the PAC, schemes to enrich his company off connections to the Trump administration. This guy is BAD NEWS.
But back to the PAC! It looked to us like Manafort put his two buddies Laurance Gay and Ken McKay in charge of hoovering up unlimited Ameros from big money Trump donors, but he'd worked out a side deal to get a 3 percent cough, cough commission on the ad buys, most of which went through GOP favorite Multi Media Services (MMS). MMS then turned around and paid $125,000 directly to Manafort's lawyers at WilmerHale in the summer of 2017. Which is very, extremely not normal.
Oh, National Enquirer, did you want to play?
Keyser Söze is REAL, y'all! He's HERE! And he will burn this shit to the ground before he lets a couple of two-bit tabloid hacks blackmail his ass. You threaten to publish Jeff Bezos's dick pics? He will whip that sucker out and unroll it right across the table. And he'll put it on the internet, because FUCK YOU IS WHY.
In case you missed Bezos's little bombshell, our nation's second favorite mommyblogger penned a Medium post last night.
"Something unusual happened to me yesterday," he began. What had happened was those vampires at the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), emailed him an explicit threat to publish semi-naked selfies of Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez if the Washington Post didn't kill a story suggesting that the Enquirer's coverage of Bezos was politically motivated. Yes, the magazine that was just six months ago granted an immunity deal after admitting to participating in a criminal conspiracy to help Donald Trump's campaign, the same magazine that accused Ted Cruz's father of being part of the plot to assassinate JFK and flogged ten thousand lies about Hillary Clinton's health after Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone suggested that might be a good plan, the guys who spent decades killing stories that might be embarrassing to publisher David Pecker's pal Donald Trump -- those assholes are GRRRR SO MAD that anyone would suggest their editorial decisions are based on something other than the highest journalistic ethics? How very dare you!
We're not going to go back over the weird connection between Lauren Sanchez's Trump-loving brother Michael and wingnut demi-monde figures Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes. We already talked about those dipshits -- twice. But when The Daily Beast reported that Bezos's security chief, Gavin de Becker, strongly suspected Sanchez of leaking his sister's texts and that the Enquirer's publication was politically motivated, we weren't exactly FOR SHOCKED. Donald Trump certainly seems to have appreciated the favor.
We're gonna investigate so much, you may even get tired of investigating. (NOPE.)
Corrected and updated below!
President Snifflesnort will never get his stupid WALL. But he's definitely getting walls upon walls closing in on him, tighter every day. So ... winning! Yesterday's big story was about the eleventy different investigations into Trump's griftapalooza inauguration -- come for the Ukrainian oligarchs, stay for the Qataris rubbing shoulders with Devin Nunes over the breakfast buffet. But the afternoon brought news of two other inquiries breaching the firewall of Trump's business interests. Because SLOW NEWS DAY, WHAT EVEN IS THAT?
CNN reports that SDNY's attack dogs have started banging on doors at the Trump Organization, which is a thing that happens when you launder a payment made to silence a porn star during a presidential campaign through your business's books and call it a legal retainer.
Trump and his legal team have long harbored concerns that investigations by New York federal prosecutors -- which could last throughout his presidency -- may ultimately pose more danger to him, his family and his allies than the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to people close to Trump. Prosecutors' recent interest in executives at Trump's family company may intensify those fears.
YEAH, NO SHIT. It doesn't take Chris Christie to work out that lawyers with guns are a lot scarier than the craven whores of the GOP, who wouldn't vote to impeach if they were holding a canceled check from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with "services rendered" in the memo line. Federal prosecutors in New York have already LOCK HER UPPED Michael Cohen, so Don Jr., or whichever Trump executive greenlighted reimbursing Cohen through the president's trust, should enjoy every minute on the outside. Not for nothing, but Trump's CFO Allen Weisselberg flipped last year and has been spilling all the company shit for six months. So, tick fucking tock!
Just kidding, of course he is.
What do Roger Stone's bank records have to do with his lying to Congress and witness tampering? That's the $64,000 question! Because Special Counsel Robert Mueller hoovered up every piece of Roger Stone's digital life, including his financial records. And if he really does intend to use that evidence at trial, it sure as hell isn't to prove that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee about his communications with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass.
Yesterday the special counsel filed two motions in DC District Court. The first was a request to abate the speedy trial requirement to prosecute within 70 days, allowing time for lawyers on both sides to sort through the giant mountain of evidence against Stone.
This discovery is both voluminous and complex. It is composed of multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information consisting of, among other things, FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results (e.g., Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts), bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices (e.g., cellular phones, computers, and hard drives). The communications contained in the iCloud accounts, email accounts, and physical devices span several years. The government also intends to produce to the defense the contents of physical devices recently seized from his home, apartment, and office.
First they have to send it through the taint team to filter out any privileged files; then the government has to read every text, email, DM, and letter the old ratfucker sent in the past five years. Which should definitely net them hardship pay, since Stone's a nasty perv. Blech.
Whole lotta strange coincidences here!
You got some 'splainin' to do, Counselor Eric Dubelier! How the hell did court documents from the Russian troll farm case wind up tweeted out from a Russian shitpost account? Those documents are only supposed to be used for purposes of defending your client in DC. How exactly did they escape your file cabinet and hop across the Atlantic?
Let's rewind the tape. Remember last year when Robert Mueller indicted Russian oligarch Yevgeniy "Putin's chef" Prigozhin, two of his companies, Concord Catering and Concord Management, and 13 hackers from the "Internet Research Agency"? The rest of the defendants stayed safely out of Mueller's reach in Russia, but Concord Management actually showed up to defend itself in American court, using the proceedings to throw dirt on the Special Counsel while simultaneously extracting maximum info on the investigation through the discovery process.
Concord's litigator Eric Dubelier, of the well-respected firm Reed Smith, has done everything short of leap onto the courtroom table and proclaim himself Qanon in this gonzo case. Remember that time he filed a brief quoting the frat flick Animal House, then accused the judge of bias when she reprimanded him?
The Special Counsel's argument is reminiscent of Otter's famous line, "Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up . . . you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it."
Just your normal lawyer stuff, NBD!
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