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As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…


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Author Topic: As “metal bracelet day” for Donald Trump edges closer…  (Read 154 times)
aDjUsToR
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2017, 12:55:01 am »

Hello? Nobody is reading this spam 😁
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Donald
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2017, 09:26:37 am »

Yup...the only bad thing about democracy.....the risk of not accepting the outcome when you are on the losing side...which can lead to a state of denial in extreme cases...and all the resulting mental implications 🙄
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2017, 12:07:42 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Mueller examining Trump's draft letter firing FBI Director Comey

The document helps show the president's state of mind before the key termination, including
his frustration over FBI Director James B. Comey's unwillingness to say publicly that Trump
was not under investigation in the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


ByROSALIND S. HELDERMAN, CAROL D. LEONNIG and ASHLEY PARKER  | 2:36PM EDT - Friday, September 01, 2017

A draft termination letter could help reveal President Trump's thinking before he fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey in May. — Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A draft termination letter could help reveal President Trump's thinking before he fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey in May.
 — Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


ON the day before President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey, he summoned his vice president, chief of staff, top lawyer and other senior advisers to the Oval Office.

He was ready to get rid of Comey, Trump told them that Monday morning in May, and had prepared a termination letter that laid out in detail his many frustrations, which had boiled over the previous weekend at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The multi-page letter blasted Comey over his investigation of Trump's Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. And, according to a person with direct knowledge of the contents of the letter, it conveyed Trump's displeasure that Comey would not say publicly what he had told the president three times privately: that the FBI's probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election was not focused on him.

Trump ended up shelving that letter in favor of a far shorter one, but the draft has taken on new significance in the probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining it as he determines whether Trump's firing of Comey was part of an effort to obstruct justice, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

The draft, which was first reported by The New York Times, establishes Trump's thinking prior to the firing and contradicts initial statements from White House officials about why he dismissed his FBI director.

In the termination letter Trump sent to Comey, the president described his decision as having been prompted by recommendations from Comey's supervisors — Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein — a rationale embraced at first in public statements by White House officials, including Vice President Pence.

But the draft letter, which was prepared with the help of senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and described by people familiar with it as a “rant”, makes clear what the White House eventually acknowledged: that Trump had essentially decided to fire Comey before he solicited recommendations from Sessions and Rosenstein.

Though the letter is largely about other issues, it could shed light on Trump's state of mind regarding Comey at the time the FBI chief was leading the Russia inquiry that was emerging as a threat to Trump's presidency.

Furthermore, the Oval Office discussion suggests that Pence and other top aides who echoed the initial public explanation for Comey's ouster did not provide a full accounting of Trump's decision process.

Mueller is likely to look into whether Trump, in consulting the Justice Department’s top two officials, was seeking a pretense to fire his FBI director or, as some White House advisers said on Friday, whether he was simply persuaded to consider their opinions before acting.

This account of Comey's firing, including details about the letter, was provided by several people familiar with the events.

“I can't comment on anything the special counsel might be interested in,” White House attorney Ty Cobb said. “But this White House is committed to being open and transparent with the special counsel's investigation.”

A Mueller spokesman declined to comment.

At the Oval Office meeting on Monday, May 8th, Trump described his draft termination letter to top aides who wandered in and out of the room, including then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House Counsel Donald McGahn and senior adviser Hope Hicks. Pence arrived late, after the meeting had begun. They were also joined by Miller and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, both of whom had been with Trump over the weekend in Bedminster. Kushner supported the president's decision.

The letter had been drawn up by Miller, acting as a stenographer to capture Trump's thoughts, according to several people with knowledge of the process. While it did not dwell on Russia, the draft included language similar to what was included in the final version ultimately sent by Trump: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

After hearing about Trump's decision and the contents of the letter, some of the president's aides were shocked and chagrined. They urged caution.

At one point, Trump was warned that firing Comey would not end the Russia investigation but would instead probably extend it. He acknowledged the likelihood but said he believed firing Comey was the right move and wanted to push ahead.

McGahn raised another point: Sessions and Rosenstein were scheduled to visit the White House later the same day, and they had also been expressing displeasure with the FBI director. Shouldn't Trump consult the two Justice officials, who were Comey's supervisors, before moving forward?

Trump agreed, meeting with Sessions and Rosenstein later that day. The president gave them a copy of his draft letter to explain his thinking, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The next day, Sessions submitted to the White House a brief letter outlining his position: He wrote that he had concluded a “fresh start” was needed at the FBI. Rosenstein provided a longer memo, in which he outlined missteps he believed Comey had made in the course of the Clinton email probe, including criticizing Clinton's conduct publicly despite announcing that she would face no criminal charges. Rosenstein called Comey's derogatory comments a “textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

Shortly afterward, Trump dispatched his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, to the Justice Department to hand-deliver his letter formally firing the FBI chief. Attaching the letters from Sessions and Rosenstein, Trump wrote, “I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”

The newly described sequence of events could help the White House bolster its argument that Trump had soured on Comey and wanted him out — and that his decision was not intended to disrupt the Russia probe.

Mueller will weigh the narrative with other events that led up to Comey's firing, including Comey's account of Trump's efforts to intercede by requesting that the FBI director drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But the incidents leading up to Comey's removal also raise questions about how the White House initially explained the firing to the public.

In a hastily called media availability on the night of the firing, then-press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the Russia investigation had played no role in the dismissal, which he said had been led by the Department of Justice. “No one from the White House,” Spicer said, when asked who drove the decision. “That was a DOJ decision.”

Spicer had not been at the Oval Office meeting where Trump's draft letter was discussed and the communications team had been told of the firing — along with the purported justification for it — only moments before it became public. Spicer declined to comment for this report.

Pence, who had been in the Oval Office for part of the meeting, told reporters during a visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 10th, that Trump had acted at Sessions's and Rosenstein's recommendation. “Let me be clear with you, that was not what this is about,” Pence said when asked whether Trump fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation.

Pence's lawyer Richard Cullen said the vice president “stands by his statement.”

“It was true then, and it is true today,” he said.

The events leading to Comey's firing also raise questions for Rosenstein, who now holds authority over the special counsel’s investigation because Sessions recused himself over his role as a Trump campaign adviser.

Rosenstein had been provided Trump's letter prior to submitting his own memo about Comey's conduct.

Rosenstein has previously confirmed that he learned while meeting with Trump on May 8th that the president intended to remove Comey from his post.

“Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader,” Rosenstein said in a statement to Congress.

He said he finalized his memo the next day, asking an ethics expert who had worked in the deputy attorney general’s office during multiple administrations to review it first. He said he told that attorney that Trump was going to remove Comey and that he was “writing a memorandum to the Attorney General summarizing my own concerns.”

“I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it,” Rosenstein said in a statement to Congress.

Rosenstein told the Associated Press in June that he was open to recusing himself from his position of authority over the Mueller probe, if that became necessary because his own actions were part of the investigation.

“I've talked with Director Mueller about this,” Rosenstein told the Associated Press. “He's going to make the appropriate decisions, and if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation, then, as Director Mueller and I discussed, if there's a need from me to recuse, I will.”

Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, said, “The Department of Justice does not comment on communications with the White House.”


Philip Rucker and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

• Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post.

• Carol Leonnig covers federal agencies for The Washington Post with a focus on government accountability.

• Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • The Fix: Mueller has Trump's letter explaining why he fired Comey. Here's why that’s big.

 • Trump charges that Clinton email probe was ‘rigged’, based on when Comey drafted statement about it

 • GRAPHIC: Who’s who in the government’s investigation into Russia ties

 • VIDEO: The fight for control over the special counsel's Russia investigation


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-examining-trumps-draft-letter-firing-fbi-director-comey/2017/09/01/52c6cd8e-8f17-11e7-8df5-c2e5cf46c1e2_story.html
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« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2017, 12:07:57 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Mueller gives White House names of 6 aides
he expects to question in Russia probe


Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and Hope Hicks are among
the current and former Trump officials named.


By CAROL D. LEONNIG, ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN and ASHLEY PARKER | 3:27PM EDT - Friday, September 08, 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting in June with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.
Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting in June with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
about Russian meddling in the election. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.


SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert S. Mueller III has alerted the White House that his team will probably seek to interview six top current and former advisers to President Trump who were witnesses to several episodes relevant to the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the request.

Mueller's interest in the aides, including trusted adviser Hope Hicks, former press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus, reflects how the probe that has dogged Trump's presidency is starting to penetrate a closer circle of aides around the president.

Each of the six advisers was privy to important internal discussions that have drawn the interest of Mueller's investigators, according to people familiar with the probe, including his decision in May to fire FBI Director James B. Comey. Also of interest is the White House's initial inaction after warnings about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn's December discussions with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

The advisers are also connected to internal documents that Mueller's investigators have asked the White House to produce, according to people familiar with the special counsel's inquiry.

Roughly four weeks ago, the special counsel’s team provided the White House with the names of the first group of current and former Trump advisers and aides whom investigators expect to question.

In addition to Priebus, Spicer and Hicks, Mueller has notified the White House he will probably seek to question White House counsel Don McGahn and one of his deputies, James Burnham. Mueller's office has also told the White House that investigators may want to interview Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who works closely with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

White House officials are expecting that Mueller will seek additional interviews, possibly with family members, including Kushner, who is a West Wing senior adviser, according to the people familiar with Mueller's inquiry.

Mueller's probe is seeking to determine whether any Trump associates may have co-ordinated with Russia to influence the election. That investigation is also examining whether the president or others at the White House may have attempted to obstruct justice leading up to the firing of Comey.

Spicer declined to comment, and Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.

Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer focused on the probe, declined to comment on behalf of current White House aides McGahn, Burnham, Hicks and Raffel. Cobb also declined to discuss the details of Mueller's requests.

“Out of respect for the special counsel and his process and so we don't interfere with that in any way, the White House doesn't comment on specific requests for documents and potential witnesses,” Cobb said.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

No interviews have been scheduled, people familiar with the requests said. Mueller's team is waiting to first review the documents, which the White House has been working to turn over for the past three weeks.

People familiar with the probe said the documents Mueller has requested strongly suggest the topics that he and his investigators would broach with the aides.

McGahn and Burnham were briefed by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on January 26th, days after Trump's inauguration, about concerns in the Justice Department and FBI that Flynn could be compromised by the Russians. She warned that the FBI knew he was not telling the whole truth — to Vice President Pence and the public — about his December conversations with then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Russia.

Courts have held that the president does not have attorney-client privilege with lawyers in the White House counsel's office, and their testimony about their Oval Office dealings can be sought in investigations.

Spicer had been drawn into the White House's handling of the Flynn matter before the inauguration. After The Washington Post reported that Flynn had talked with Kislyak about sanctions, Spicer told reporters that Flynn had “reached out to” Kislyak on Christmas Day to extend holiday greetings — effectively rejecting claims that they had talked about U.S. sanctions against Moscow. A few days later, President Barack Obama had announced he was expelling 35 Russian “intelligence operatives” in response to the Kremlin's meddling in the U.S. election.

After Obama's announcement, Spicer said Kislyak had sent a message requesting that Flynn call him.

“Flynn took that call,” Spicer said. But he stressed that the call “centered on the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and [Trump] after the election.”

As chief of staff, Priebus was involved in many of Trump's decisions, including the situations involving Flynn and Comey. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June that Priebus was among a group of White House aides whom Trump instructed to leave the Oval Office before he asked the FBI director to drop the inquiry into Flynn.

Hicks, who is now White House communications director, and Raffel were involved in internal discussions in July over how to respond to questions about a Trump Tower meeting that Donald Trump Jr. organized with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign in June 2016. The two communications staffers advocated being transparent about the purpose of the meeting, which Trump Jr. had accepted after he was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton that he was told was part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign.

Ultimately, according to people familiar with the discussions, the president dictated language for the statement that his son would release to The New York Times, which was preparing a report about the meeting. The response omitted important details about the meeting and presented it as “primarily” devoted to a discussion of the adoption of Russian children.

CNN first reported on Thursday that Mueller has sought interviews with White House staffers related to the preparation of that statement but did not name them.


Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

• Carol Leonnig covers federal agencies for The Washington Post with a focus on government accountability.

• Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post.

• Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: The fight for control over the special counsel's Russia investigation

 • New FBI head says he's not seen ‘any whiff’ of White House interference in the Russia investigation


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/spicer-priebus-hicks-among-six-current-and-former-trump-aides-mueller-has-expressed-interest-in-interviewing-for-russia-probe/2017/09/08/3b32779e-949a-11e7-aace-04b862b2b3f3_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2017, 12:08:09 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump tortured Spicer and Priebus.
Now they get to tell investigators about Trump.


Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is likely to interview both.

By AARON BLAKE | 5:41PM EDT - Friday, September 08, 2017

Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer, left, and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in May. — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.
Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer, left, and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in May.
 — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.


SEAN SPICER and REINCE PRIEBUS are among six current and former White House aides with whom special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is likely to seek interviews in his Russia investigation, as The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman and Ashley Parker reported.

The fact that top Trump aides would be interviewed isn't hugely surprising. The probe has gradually grown in scope in recent months, and given its apparent focus on President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey, it seemed logical that his top spokesman and aide, among others, would be sought out for their versions of events.

But the sub-plots with Spicer and Priebus are particularly interesting.

Both are former Republican National Committee types — not long-time Trump aides — who joined the White House when the campaign was over. Both are also now former aides, having lasted just seven months. And perhaps most notably, both were practically tortured during their time in the White House, directly by Trump or apparently with his blessing.

Spicer resigned after Trump went against his and Priebus's wishes by tapping Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director. And from literally his first full day as White House press secretary — when Trump dispatched Spicer to deliver obvious falsehoods about Trump's inauguration crowd — he seemed to put Spicer in about as many awkward situations as humanly possible. He even seemed to enjoy watching Spicer squirm and contort himself, remarking that he wouldn't fire Spicer, because he got “great ratings” on TV.

Here's a recap of the things Trump made Spicer defend that I put together when he resigned:


Quote
There was the inauguration crowds incident. There was the time he took issue with calling Trump's travel ban a “ban”, despite the White House having repeatedly referred to it as such. There was the time he insisted Trump's tweeting of the clearly mis-spelled word “covfefe” was actually intentional and “a small group of people know exactly what he meant”. There was the time he said Trump doesn't have a bathrobe — only to find plenty of past photographic evidence of Trump's affinity for them. There was the time he suggested the former head of Trump's campaign “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time”. And on and on and on.

Oh, and that doesn't even include when Spicer awkwardly explained that Trump had fired Comey at the recommendation of the Justice Department, which got the ball rolling on its own. Shortly thereafter, Trump blurted out in an NBC News interview that he was going to fire Comey regardless and cited the Russia investigation as being on his mind. You can bet this sequence will be a focus for investigators; it also happened to make Spicer look like a fool.

While Spicer's torture was more public, Priebus got a heavy helping of it, too — particularly in the brief period when Scaramucci came on board, during which Priebus exited. Not only had Priebus opposed the move, but Scaramucci proceeded to call into CNN and publicly attack Priebus, accusing him of leaking information and challenging him to prove that he wasn't. Trump apparently signed off on the appearance, with Scaramucci saying he had just spoken with the president before calling in.

Later that day, the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza published that foul-mouthed interview with Scaramucci, in which Scaramucci called Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” and accused him of “cock-blocking” Scaramucci's hiring. He also acknowledged in the interview that he was going to send a suggestive tweet about Priebus being a leaker to mess with him.

And there were other examples, as New York magazine's Jonathan Chait recapped:


Quote
Now, The Washington Post reveals Trump ordered Priebus to kill a fly. (“As the fly continued to circle, Trump summoned his chief of staff and tasked him with killing the insect, according to someone familiar with the incident.”)

Priebus was apparently the most frequent target of Trump's habitual bullying. The president “told associates that Priebus would make a good car salesman” and “mocked him for expressing excitement when he spotted his house from Air Force One, flying over Wisconsin,” reports Politico.

None of this is to suggest either is bent on revenge or anything like that. And a witness is always compelled to tell the truth to investigators, so any lingering hard feelings toward the president may not even affect their responses. We also don't know exactly how those interviews will be conducted yet. Jack Sharman, who served as special counsel during Bill Clinton's Whitewater scandal, said they will likely result in memos being produced, though those memos may not be shared publicly.

But, as Sharman also noted, Priebus and Spicer could assert their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination or try to assert executive privilege and say their conversations with Trump can't be shared. The latter would likely result in the Supreme Court deciding whether their claims are valid, as it did during Watergate.

In other words, their level of loyalty to Trump could matter. And Trump isn't big on loyalty to others. He is a man who isn't afraid to needle, cajole and often-times embarrass those around him. That approach may not always serve him well.


• Aaron Blake is senior political reporter at The Washington Post for The Fix.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump Jr. testimony on Russia held in private


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/08/trump-tortured-spicer-and-priebus-now-they-get-to-tell-investigators-about-trump
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« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2017, 03:01:31 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The FBI wiretap on Paul Manafort is a big deal. Here's why.

The warrant required a judge to believe that a crime probably had been committed.

By RANDALL D. ELIASON | 6:35PM EDT - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention. — Photograph: Matt Rourke/Associated Press.
Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention. — Photograph: Matt Rourke/Associated Press.

REPORTS that the FBI wiretapped former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort are a further sign of the seriousness of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation. But there's still a great deal we don't know about the implications, if any, for the broader inquiry into possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

CNN reported on Monday night that the FBI obtained a warrant to listen in on Manafort's phone calls back in 2014. The warrant was part of an investigation into U.S. firms that may have performed undisclosed work for the Ukrainian government. The surveillance reportedly lapsed for a time but was begun again last year when the FBI learned about possible ties between Russian operatives and Trump associates.

This news is a big deal primarily because of what it takes to obtain such a wiretap order. The warrant reportedly was issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A FISA warrant requires investigators to demonstrate to the FISA court that there is probable cause to believe the target may be acting as an unlawful foreign agent.

When news broke last month that Mueller was using a grand jury to conduct his investigation, many reported it with unnecessary breathlessness. Although a grand jury investigation is certainly significant, a prosecutor does not need court approval or a finding of probable cause to issue a grand jury subpoena, and Mueller's use of a grand jury was not unexpected.

A FISA warrant is another matter. It means investigators have demonstrated probable cause to an independent judicial authority. Obtaining a warrant actually says much more about the strength of the underlying allegations than issuing a grand jury subpoena.

That's also why the search warrant executed at Manafort's home in July was such a significant step in the investigation. Unlike a grand jury subpoena, the search warrant required Mueller's team to demonstrate to a judge that a crime probably had been committed.

But it's important not to get too far in front of the story. The FBI surveillance of Manafort reportedly began in 2014, long before he was working as Trump's campaign manager. So the initial allegations, at least, appear to have involved potential crimes having nothing to do with the Trump campaign. And most or all of the surveillance apparently took place before Mueller was even appointed and was not at his direction.

Mueller's involvement now does suggest that the current focus relates to Manafort's role in the Trump campaign. But we don't know exactly how, if at all, any alleged crimes by Manafort relate to his work in that role. And we don't know whether any other individuals involved in the campaign are potentially implicated.

We also don't know what evidence was obtained as a result of the surveillance. The fact that warrants were issued does not mean any evidence of criminal conduct was actually found.

The other import of this news involves the possible implications if Manafort is charged. The New York Times reported on Monday that when Manafort's home was searched in July, investigators told him he should expect to be indicted. Even if Mueller were to indict Manafort for crimes not directly related to the Trump campaign, it would be a significant development. A typical white-collar investigation often proceeds by building cases against lower-level participants in a scheme — the little fish — and then persuading them to co-operate in the investigation of the bigger fish. Trump and his associates therefore may have reason to be concerned about what Manafort could tell investigators if he were indicted and chose to co-operate.

Again, much of this is speculation. Due to grand jury secrecy and the secrecy surrounding the FISA process, we don't know many of the details. And given the typical pace of these investigations, whatever happens likely will not happen quickly.

But news of the FISA surveillance is the latest evidence that Mueller's investigation is serious, aggressive and will be with us for some time.


• Randall D. Eliason teaches white-collar criminal law at George Washington University Law School. He blogs at SideBarsBlog.com.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: What the lawmakers want to know from Manafort and Trump Jr.

 • Jennifer Rubin: What does Paul Manafort know?

 • Jennifer Rubin: Three worries for Trump about Mueller's investigation

 • Paul Waldman: The Russia investigation is getting serious — and President Trump is feeling the heat

 • Randall D. Elaison: Why Mueller's use of a grand jury confirms what we already knew

 • Jennifer Rubin: Manafort surprise: Uh-oh, another set of contemporaneous notes?


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-fbi-wiretap-on-paul-manafort-is-a-big-deal-heres-why/2017/09/19/e8c33b9a-9d74-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html
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« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2017, 06:18:16 am »

The russian collusion investigation is a smoke and mirror echo chamber for the spit out the dummy leftist thugs trying to overthrow the election
even the best holly wood writers couldn't make this bullshit up.

the washington post is a deep state troll artist paid by the out of control cia.

JFK was going to tear the cia apart and look what happened to him

the world is run by an elite club doing whatever they need to enslave us
and they are smart.
they have the world chasing it's tail like a mad dog they control the left and the right,they think it is funny to get us all fighting each other for their amusement
while quietly in the background they rip us off and screw us.

That is the truth
they are in a club and we are not in it.Trump is definitely not in their club he is pissing them all off and upsetting their endgame agenda which should get him killed.
The endgame is them in control of the whole world and what remains of us as their servants if we are even allowed to live.

Open your eyes and look at the world without rose coloured glasses you dont need a rocket scientist or an alex jones to tell you any of this  Shocked
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If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
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AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2017, 09:59:24 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Trump will fire Robert Mueller eventually.
What will happen next?


“Each turn of the screw of the Mueller investigation — and there will
be many — increases the pressure on Trump to act pre-emptively.”


By HARRY LITMAN | 4:00AM PDT - Thursday, September 21, 2017

A STRANGE QUIET has settled in at the White House.

President Trump greeted Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation with a steady stream of diatribes, including some 40 bilious tweets. He challenged Mueller's impartiality and called the investigation a “witch hunt”. But for nearly two months, Trump has restrained himself on the subject. His lawyers, meanwhile, have treated Mueller with customary deference.

The lawyers have accomplished what 16 Republican candidates, beauty pageant contestants, military heroes and a federal judge could not: They have muzzled Donald Trump.

How long can it last?

The president's newfound reserve is certainly a smarter policy, and the one that white-collar lawyers routinely order their clients to follow. It's not just a matter of avoiding antagonizing the prosecutor who holds the power to bring charges against you; every tweet can come back to bite you at trial, where skillful prosecutors can mine small inconsistencies.

But there's no doubt that the Mueller investigation continues to rankle. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon argued in a recent “60 Minutes” interview that the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which resulted in Mueller's appointment, was one of the worst mistakes in modern political history. “I don't think there's any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired,” Bannon opined “we would not have the Mueller investigation and the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going for.”

The recent report that Trump savaged Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he learned of Mueller's appointment — calling him an “idiot” and telling him he should resign — brings home the president's extreme fear and loathing of the Russia investigation.

Which spurs three questions: 1.) Will Trump one day try to oust Mueller? 2.) If he does, will he get away with it? and 3.) What consequences would that have for our political culture?


HERE'S predicting flat out that yes, at some point Trump will try to oust Mueller.

As the probe advances, the likelihood increases that Mueller will uncover evidence of a serious offense by Trump. With the recent search of former campaign manager Paul Manafort's home, Mueller has shown his willingness to follow the money trail aggressively. (The latest reports suggest that Mueller's team is planning to indict Manafort for possible tax and financial crimes.) And Mueller has begun to negotiate interviews with up to a dozen White House aides as well as former White House officials. Trump likely fears that Mueller will zero in on something sleazy or criminal whose revelation could cripple his presidency. Each turn of the screw of the Mueller investigation — and there will be many — increases the pressure on Trump to act pre-emptively.

The odds also seem great that the erratic, power-consumed and thin-skinned Trump, who every week launches a new Twitter attack on a real or imagined enemy, will be unable to stay his hand month after month as the Mueller investigation unfolds. Like the fabled scorpion who stings the frog even though it dooms him, Trump, being Trump, won't be able to endure domination by Mueller over the long term. Of course, Trump likely fails to appreciate that it is not Mueller personally, but the law, that is asserting its dominance.

Let's say Trump snaps.

To fire Mueller, Trump would need to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove him. But Rosenstein, a career prosecutor with a strong dedication to the values of the Department of Justice, would likely resign his office rather than comply with the order, as would the department's third-ranking official, Rachel Brand.

Eventually Trump, moving down the hierarchy, would find someone willing to fire Mueller (as Nixon found Robert Bork, the then-solicitor general, to fire Archibald Cox).

From there, Mueller could launch a legal challenge to the ouster (potentially with the support of the Department of Justice). It's by no means clear that Mueller, an ex-Marine of legendary rectitude, would choose to sue. Assuming he did, though, he would need to overcome a series of constitutional arguments by the president's lawyers that any restrictions on the president's ability to terminate him would impinge on presidential power under Article II.

In any event, any pushback from the courts would likely be procedural and incremental. Only Congress is positioned to pass broad judgment on Trump. But a congressional response — for example, a statute to create an independent counsel — would be tempered by political compromise, and would have to withstand a presidential veto. In particular, it's hard to envision a scenario in which Congress successfully forced Trump to reinstate Mueller.

As for a more definitive rebuke such as impeachment, for now it is a barely conceivable fantasy. Even if Democrats were to gain control of the House in the 2018 elections, chances are remote that Democrats in the Senate would be able to muster the 67 votes needed to convict and remove. The trial would be a sort of opéra bouffe with Trump at the center at his most melodramatic. And when Trump is acquitted, he will find a cheap salesman's way to declare victory, to the exasperation of his critics.

Impeachment without removal, then, looks to be the worst-case scenario for Trump. He'll still get away with firing Mueller, but expect him not to run for a second term. Expect him also to be a fixture on, and probably atop, lists of the nation's worst presidents.

Still, once Trump is out of office, and assuming he hasn't left visible wreckage beyond an ousted independent counsel, can we then count ourselves lucky and move on from the misadventure?

Hardly. The difference between robust societies such as the U.S. and United Kingdom and autocratic ones such as Turkey and Russia is not the degree of formal constitutional protections. Russia's Constitution purports to protect and empower its citizens every bit as much as ours. But weary experience leads Russian citizens to doubt that the law applies equally to all persons, or that political institutions are strong enough to prevent despotism. The result is a deep social and political cynicism.

In the scenario outlined above, in which Trump faces, at the very worst, impeachment without removal, he won't have completely undone the norms, but he will have eroded them. His tenure will have moved the line of the conceivable.

We think that autocratic interludes are impossible here; they will seem a bit less so after Trump. After Trump, it will seem to many a little less certain that the rule of law will win out even against the rich and powerful; that government is transparent; that the free press can hold elected officials accountable; and that leaders cannot profit from government service. Restoring these assumptions to their pre-Trump levels will take time and good fortune.


Harry Litman, a former United States attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, teaches at UCLA Law School and practices law at Constantine Cannon.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-litman-mueller-firing-20170921-story.html
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« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2017, 07:29:26 am »

Ktj....."A STRANGE QUIET has settled in at the White House"

..well...we can't have that...let's make up some fake news😜
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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2017, 11:30:19 am »

I find Alex Jones rather rabid.
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« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2017, 11:35:28 am »

Yup...he's a retard extremist......in the same category as a certain North Korean leader😉

.........Should be put out of their misery 😜
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« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2017, 11:50:23 am »

He acts like he smokes a lot of crack. Pause him on YouTube and look at his eyes. Crazy!
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« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2017, 12:05:59 pm »

...yeah....nah...I have seen him before when sexy has posted his stuff....I think he has...."issues"

...I am more inclined to believe a person who appears to be calm and rational....😉
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2017, 10:27:07 am »


from CNN....

First charges filed in Mueller investigation

By PAMELA BROWN, EVAN PEREZ and SHIMON PROKUPECZ | 3:11PM GMT - Sunday, October 28, 2017

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel on the Russian investigation, leaves the US Capitol building following a meeting with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee. — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel on the Russian investigation, leaves the US Capitol building
following a meeting with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
 — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal grand jury in Washington on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared on Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. The White House also had no comment, a senior administration official said on Saturday morning.

Mueller was appointed in May to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval, according to people familiar with the matter.

On Friday, top lawyers who are helping to lead the Mueller probe, including veteran prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, were seen entering the court room at the DC federal court where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation.

Reporters present saw a flurry of activity at the grand jury room, but officials made no announcements.

Shortly after President Donald Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel. Mueller took the reins of a federal investigation that Comey first opened in July 2016 in the middle of the presidential campaign.

Mueller is authorized to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” according to Rosenstein's order.

The special counsel's investigation has focused on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as obstruction of justice by the President, who might have tried to impede the investigation. CNN reported that investigators are scrutinizing Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia.

Mueller's team has also examined foreign lobbying conducted by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and others. His team has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony to a handful of figures, including some people close to Manafort, and others involved in the Trump Tower meeting between Russians and campaign officials.

Last year, the Comey-led investigation secured approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the communications of Manafort, as well as former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as part of the investigation into Russian meddling.

In addition to Mueller's probe, three committees on Capitol Hill are conducting their own investigations.


CNN's Marshall Cohen, Mary Kay Mallonee, Laura Robinson and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.

• Pamela Brown is based in CNN's Washington, D.C. bureau and serves as the network's Justice and Supreme Court correspondent covering law enforcement, as well as issues related to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown also serves as a key fill-in anchor for CNN Newsroom.

• Evan Perez is a CNN justice correspondent based in the Washington, D.C. Bureau.

• Shimon Prokupecz is a CNN crime and justice reporter covering the FBI and law enforcement and is based in Washington, D.C.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Little chance Congress can kill Mueller's funding


http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/27/politics/first-charges-mueller-investigation/index.html
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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2017, 10:29:55 am »


Mueller will be starting at the periphery and gradually working his way towards the centre.

Naturally, some of those at the periphery who are the first to be arrested and charged (most likely tomorrow, NZ-time) will squeal their heads off to save their own miserable skins, implicating those closer to the centre, and at the centre itself to Mueller and his investigators.

The next several months (and possibly years) are going to be extremely interesting, amusing and entertaining.

Trump has already kicked off on Twitter overnight, lashing out at everything and everybody. He is obviously feeling the heat. Good bloody job!!
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« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2017, 06:52:44 pm »


from The New York Times....

Trump Tries to Shift Focus as First Charges
Reportedly Loom in Russia Case


President Trump attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter as he and his advisers
braced for the first public action from the special prosecutor in the
Russia inquiry, who is reportedly poised to issue an indictment.


By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS | 8:41PM EDT — Sunday, October 29, 2017

President Trump, in a series of Sunday morning tweets, attacked Hillary Clinton, saying Republicans were pushing back against the Russia allegations by looking into her. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Trump, in a series of Sunday morning tweets, attacked Hillary Clinton, saying Republicans were pushing
back against the Russia allegations by looking into her. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON — Pushing back against the accelerating criminal investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, President Trump argued on Sunday that its focus should instead be on his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, even as the special counsel's inquiry was reportedly poised to produce its first indictment.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump said Republicans were now fighting the Russia allegations by looking into Mrs. Clinton, apparently referring to new House investigations into her email practices and an Obama-era uranium deal with Russia. But the president made it clear he believed that Mrs. Clinton should be pursued more forcefully, writing, “DO SOMETHING!”

He did not say who should take action or what it should be, though critics have accused him of trying to sway the congressional and special counsel inquiries into Russian ties. Still, the outburst suggested that Mr. Trump, increasingly angry and frustrated about the investigations, is waging a concerted campaign to shift the focus to Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats.

After long expressing anger that his allies have not done enough to protect him from the inquiries, he is now enlisting White House and administration officials, employing his vast social media presence, and putting pressure on the Republican-led Congress to deflect any potentially damaging reports.

Last week, Mr. Trump asserted that it was Mrs. Clinton who was guilty of having colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election, endeavoring to turn the tables on the crux of the allegations against his campaign, and then sent his spokeswoman to the White House briefing room to repeat that charge. He urged the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an informant in a federal investigation involving Russia's efforts to gain a foothold in the American uranium industry during the Obama administration.

And on Sunday, in tweets to his more than 40 million followers, he offered a litany of accusations against Mrs. Clinton and seemed to praise Republicans for starting the new congressional investigations.

“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?), the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia ‘collusion’, which doesn't exist.”

“The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R's,” he added, “are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to reports last week that Mrs. Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid for research that was included in a salacious dossier made public in January by BuzzFeed. The dossier contained claims about connections between Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia.

The president was also reviving unproved allegations that Mrs. Clinton was part of a quid pro quo in which the Clinton Foundation received donations in exchange for her support as secretary of state for a business deal that gave Russia control over a large share of uranium production in the United States.

And he was returning to questions about Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email server and how James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, handled an investigation into the matter, which was closed with no charges being filed. Mr. Trump initially cited the email case as a reason for firing Mr. Comey, before conceding that it was because of the Russia inquiry.

The president's Twitter fusillade came as he and his advisers braced for the first public action by Robert S. Mueller III, the special prosecutor named after Mr. Comey's ouster to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. As part of his inquiry, Mr. Mueller is believed to be examining whether there was collusion between Mr. Trump's campaign and Moscow, and whether the president obstructed justice when he fired Mr. Comey.

CNN reported on Friday that a federal grand jury in Washington had approved the first charges in Mr. Mueller's investigation, and that plans had been made for anyone charged to be taken into custody as early as Monday. CNN said the target of the charges was unclear. The New York Times has not confirmed that charges have been approved.

Multiple congressional committees have undertaken their own investigations into Russian meddling in the elections, following up on the conclusion of United States intelligence agencies that Moscow sought to sway the contest in favor of Mr. Trump — an idea that he has frequently dismissed as a hoax.

Some Republicans have been reluctant to embrace Mr. Trump's efforts to shift the spotlight away from Russia's interference, arguing that the episode should be scrutinized as a foreign policy and national security issue, not a matter of personal grievance for the president.

Speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press on Sunday, Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that Mr. Trump had been “too defensive” about Mr. Mueller's inquiry. “We ought to instead focus on the outrage that the Russians meddled in our elections,” said Mr. Portman, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, urged his fellow Republicans on “Fox News Sunday” to give Mr. Mueller “a chance to do his job.” But a Trump ally, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, said on ABC's “This Week” that if unspecified “new facts” put Mr. Mueller in a “compromised position,” he must recuse himself.

Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer handling the response to the Russia investigation, said that the president's tweets were “unrelated to the activities of the special counsel, with whom he continues to cooperate.”

But they reflected a habit of Mr. Trump's in which he seeks to tar an opponent with the same accusations leveled at him. He did so last year during a presidential debate when Mrs. Clinton called him “Putin's puppet,” responding: “No puppet, no puppet. You're the puppet. No, you're the puppet.”

The tweets came days after House Republicans announced that they were opening new investigations into two of Mr. Trump's most frequently cited grievances: the Obama Justice Department's investigation of Mrs. Clinton's emails and the uranium deal.

Mr. Trump is working to fuel those inquiries. The White House acknowledged on Friday that the president had urged the Justice Department to release the informant in the uranium investigation from his confidentiality agreement so he could speak to Congress. Critics called the move improper presidential interference in a federal criminal inquiry, but Mr. Trump's advisers said he was merely encouraging transparency.

In recent days Mr. Trump has suggested that he believes that the questions he has been raising about Mrs. Clinton's conduct should put to rest any allegations about his own actions, and end the scrutiny of Russia's meddling in the election.

“This was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing an election,” Mr. Trump told reporters last week. “They lost it by a lot. They didn't know what to say, so they made up the whole Russia hoax. Now it's turning out that the hoax has turned around, and you look at what's happened with Russia, and you look at the uranium deal, and you look at the fake dossier. So that's all turned around.”

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said on CBS's “Face the Nation on Sunday that while she had yet to encounter “any definitive evidence of collusion,” she had seen “lots of evidence that the Russians were very active in trying to influence the elections.”


Emily Cochrane contributed reporting to this article.

• Julie Hirschfeld Davis is a White House correspondent at The New York Times. She has covered politics from Washington for 19 years, writing on Congress, three presidential campaigns and three presidents. She joined The N.Y. Times in 2014 after stints at Bloomberg News, the Associated Press, The Baltimore Sun and Congressional Quarterly. Julie is the 2009 winner of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress for her coverage of the federal response to the 2008 financial meltdown. She grew up in New York City and attended Yale University.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Russia Uses Its Oil Giant, Rosneft, as a Foreign Policy Tool

 • Roger Stone Suspended From Twitter After Expletive-Laden Tweets


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/29/us/politics/trump-clinton-mueller-russia.html
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« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2017, 12:47:37 am »


from The Washington Post....

A history of Donald Trump's business dealings in Russia

What's clear, reviewing the facts, is that Trump's claim he had
“nothing to do with Russia” over the years is nonsense.


By DAVID IGNATIUS | 1:05PM EDT - Thursday, November 02, 2017

President Trump takes questions from reporters before boarding Marine One. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
President Trump takes questions from reporters before boarding Marine One. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

MOSCOW — An ice-blue 14-story office tower called Ducat Place III is the building that President Trump might have constructed here, with help from a business friend named Howard Lorber who came with him to scout the market in 1996. But like so many other Trump adventures in Russia, this one proved a tantalizing but futile dead end.

Trump is angrily dismissive when questions are raised about his Russian contacts. He calls the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III a “witch hunt” and media reports about his Russia connections “fake news” and “fabrication”. He tweeted in January, shortly before his inauguration: “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

As the Mueller investigation accelerated this week with the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the plea deal reached with former campaign foreign-policy aide George Papadopoulos, the context of the probe becomes newly important. How did Trump accumulate his network of Russian business contacts in the years before the 2016 campaign? What's the prehistory of Trump and Russia?

The Mueller investigation is still in its opening round, and it's far too early to make any judgments about Trump's own actions. A member of Trump's inner circle told me that he advised the president recently, “This is the most innocent you've ever been of any allegation.” But to reach a judgment, you first must understand the history of Trump's fascination, bordering on obsession, with Russian business deals.

The simple truth is that Trump has been hungry for Russia projects for more than three decades. He has repeatedly touted plans for a Moscow mega-development and has courted a steady stream of investors from the former Soviet Union for ventures in New York, South Florida and other locations. Trump has enjoyed playing the “big guy” in Moscow. As he bragged to a New York real-estate publication after a November 2013 dinner with prominent business leaders: “The Russian market is attracted to me.”

Trump's Russia connections helped sow the seeds of Mueller's investigation. The best example is the now-famous June 9th, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower organized by Donald Trump Jr. with Russians who had links with the Kremlin. Mueller is investigating whether that meeting was part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election. But any potential criminal issues aside, the gathering embodied the Trump family's 30-year involvement with wealthy tycoons from the former Soviet Union.

What follows is an attempt to explain Trump's encounter with Russia as a narrative. Most of the details have surfaced before, but it has been hard to see the story whole, as a business saga. With Russia, as with so many other aspects of Trump's business and political life, he has been more pitchman than builder. What's clear, reviewing the facts, is that Trump's claim he had “nothing to do with Russia” over the years is nonsense.

Trump's business interest in Russia began in 1986. The flashy young tycoon met Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a luncheon and, as he recounted in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, the two began “talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”

With Dubinin’s encouragement, Trump flew to Moscow in July 1987 with his Czech-born first wife, Ivana, to check out potential sites. Trump wrote in his book: “It was an extraordinary experience…. We stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, and I was impressed with the ambition of the Soviet officials to make a deal.”

But Trump was preoccupied with other business projects in the late 1980s, including buying an airline and the Plaza Hotel (which he lost after bankruptcies in 1991 and 1992, respectively), and the Russia hotel deal stalled.

Trump explored the Russian market again in 1996, with help from his friend Lorber, who is chief executive of Vector Group, a holding company that back then owned a Russian cigarette company and now owns Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the leading brokerage firms for super-rich Russians seeking property in the United States.

Lorber is a fascinating, little-noted member of Trump’s inner circle. Trump described him last year as one of his two closest friends; they’ve helped each other’s children in business, and Lorber introduced Trump to David Friedman, who is now U.S. ambassador to Israel; Friedman’s former partner, Marc Kasowitz, became Trump’s lawyer. Lorber even made a cameo appearance in a 2005 episode of “The Apprentice”.

The Trump-Lorber foray in Moscow began with Lorber's business partner (and close Trump friend) Bennett LeBow, who had acquired the Liggett tobacco company in 1986. One subsidiary, called Liggett-Ducat, marketed the company's cigarettes in Russia. And Liggett-Ducat had a 98-year lease on a prime development site in central Moscow.

With his usual panache, Trump announced plans for a $250 million investment that would include a “Trump International” complex on the Liggett-Ducat site at a November 1996 news conference in Moscow. “We have an understanding we will be doing it,” he said.

Trump bragged about his plans in January 1997, when he and Lorber met visiting Russian politician Aleksandr Lebed in New York. A 1997 New Yorker profile of Trump captured their exchange and showed the breadth of Trump's hopes for Moscow investment and business connections.

“We are actually looking at something in Moscow right now, and it would be skyscrapers and hotels, not casinos. Only quality stuff…. And we're working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow, and the mayor's people. So far, they've been very responsive…. I always go into the center.”

The Moscow mayor Trump cultivated was Yuri Luzhkov. John Beyrle, then U.S. ambassador to Russia, offered this blunt summary of Luzhkov's approach in a 2010 cable to Washington: “Corruption in Moscow remains pervasive with Mayor Luzhkov at the top of the pyramid. Luzhkov oversees a system in which it appears that almost everyone at every level is involved in some form of corruption or criminal behavior.” Beyrle's cable was published by WikiLeaks.

Whatever inside track Trump thought he had with Luzhkov in 1996, the deal petered out. Trump's business troubles were mounting at home, and financing may not have been available. Handsome towers were built at sites called Ducat Place II and III, but not by Trump.


The Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles. — Photograph: Angel Valentin/The Washington Post.
The Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles. — Photograph: Angel Valentin/The Washington Post.

The Russian moneymaker for Trump in the 2000s turned out, instead, to be investment in U.S. properties bearing his name. Russians were eager to move their capital into fancy condo apartments in New York and Florida. Here, again, his friend Lorber was well connected.

Lorber's real-estate firm Douglas Elliman, hoping to profit from the Russian market, hired a string of Russian-speaking agents who could help rich clients find high-end properties.

“If you didn't target the Russian billionaires, then you shouldn't be in the business,” said Dolly Lenz, a former Douglas Elliman broker, in a 2008 article in the New York Observer. Lenz told USA Today last year that she had sold about 65 apartments in Manhattan's Trump World Tower to Russian buyers. “They all wanted to meet Donald,” she said.

One magnet for Russian money was a private resort called Fisher Island in Biscayne Bay, just off Miami. Lorber has been a director of the Oceanside at Fisher Island Condominium Association since 2000 and is currently a director of the Fisher Island Club.

Among Fisher Island's many Soviet-born property owners have been Aras Agalarov, a Russian-Azerbaijani magnate who sponsored Trump's Miss Universe 2013 pageant and whose pop-singer son Emin organized the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower; and Felix Sater, a Russian-born former adviser to Trump who worked with the Bayrock Group that helped develop the Trump SoHo project in New York.

(Lorber declined to comment through Vector's public-affairs consultant, Emily Claffey of Sard Verbinnen & Co.)

Trump's business deals in South Florida illustrated his blend of panache and caution, his hunger for Russian cash and his ability to skirt disaster. He sold his name to condo projects in an area called Sunny Isles Beach, helped pump up the market there and walked away unscathed when it crashed.

“The city has earned the nickname ‘Little Russia’ for its high percentage of Russian-speaking residents,” notes the Douglas Elliman website, pitching high-rises there to prospective buyers. The Miami Herald reported that according to U.S. Census data, nine percent of Sunny Isles Beach households have Russian origins, the largest percentage of Russians in Miami-Dade County.

Sunny Isles is a case study in how Trump does business. It was once a decidedly un-chic beachfront north of Miami, “a place where your uncle who lives on Social Security would go on vacation,” says Peter Zalewski, a Florida real-estate consultant. But after it incorporated as a separate jurisdiction within Miami-Dade County, with business-friendly local managers, it became a magnet for investment — and was rebranded as “Florida's Riviera”.

Trump's name graces a string of sleek buildings along this strip of coast. First was the Trump International Beach Resort, a complex completed in 2004. Then came Trump Palace in 2006; Trump Towers I, II and III, built in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and Trump Royale in 2008. But Trump's developer friends plunged into Sunny Isles at the wrong time. According to a 2010 article at SouthFloridaCondos.blogspot.com, unit prices at the three Trump Towers buildings dropped nearly 40 percent from the 2005 pre sales period. As the market crashed, the construction loan for Trump Towers had to be restructured. Trump Hollywood, another glitzy project further north, was driven into foreclosure in 2010.

Trump deftly distanced himself from the developers' troubles, telling the Sun-Sentinel that he questioned their “timing”. But the condo market gradually improved, thanks in part to Russian buyers. A Reuters investigation found that 63 people with Russian addresses or passports have purchased $98.4 million of property in Trump-branded condos in South Florida.

Trump also had a personal infusion of Russian cash in the liquidity-starved 2008 market. That year he sold for a handsome $95 million a Palm Beach waterfront mansion he bought at auction in 2004 for just $41.35 million — more than doubling his money at a time when much of the South Florida market was underwater. The buyer was Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Dezer Development, the real-estate company that helped attach Trump's name to six projects in Sunny Isles Beach, saw Trump's presidential campaign as a promotion opportunity. “It's a free press release,” Gil Dezer told Bloomberg News in August 2016.


Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City. — Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters.
Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City. — Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters.

Helping build the Trump-Russia pipeline in the fragile 2008 market was Donald Trump Jr. He was a keynote speaker at the June 2008 Russian Real Estate Summit in Moscow, where he touted the Trump Organization's plans to build condos and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. At a New York real-estate conference in September 2008, Trump Jr. was frank about the tide of Russian money supporting the family business.

“In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” said the young Trump, according to a September 15th, 2008, article about the conference. He said he had made a half-dozen trips to Russia during the previous 18 months.

A project that had significant financing from former Soviet Union investors was Trump SoHo, a 46-story condo-hotel project in Lower Manhattan that opened in September 2007. One development partner was the Sapir Organization, founded by Tamir Sapir from Georgia. Another partner was Bayrock, founded by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh-born businessman who brought in Sater. As has been widely reported, Sater went to prison in 1993 after stabbing a man, and later became an FBI informant.

For the elder Trump, these ex-Soviet investors were important assets for the future. He said in a deposition in a Trump SoHo lawsuit: “Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors…. And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.”

Trump Jr. continued traveling to Russia and Eastern Europe, prospecting for business. He was interviewed in May 2012 before giving a speech to a real-estate conference in Riga, Latvia. His comments, captured on YouTube, explain why the Trump Organization saw the former Eastern Bloc as crucial: “It's a part of the world that now you're starting to see some amazing architecture, some incredible real estate, you're seeing a real big boom in wealth…. We have something that's very relevant in that sector.”


Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trumpat the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia. — Photograph: Irina Bujor/Associated Press.
Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trumpat the 2013 Miss Universe pageant
in Moscow, Russia. — Photograph: Irina Bujor/Associated Press.


The apex of Trump's personal fascination with Russia may have been 2013, when he brought the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow and talked, yet again, of building a “Trump Tower” there. His business partner in the pageant was Aras Agalarov, president of Crocus Group, a shopping-mall developer. Forbes magazine notes that he has been called “the Trump of Russia” because of his glitzy personal marketing.

Trump and Agalarov formed an ebullient partnership over a dinner in Las Vegas on June 15th, 2013, captured on the Internet. As Trump began hyping the pageant, he even tried to draw in Russia's president himself, tweeting on June 18th, 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”

The Miss Universe red carpet was rolled out November 9th, 2013. Emin Agalarov sang a song, and Miss Venezuela was crowned the winner. A story published that day by RT touted Trump's latest business plans for Russia, quoting him: “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.” Aras Agalarov was quoted saying he was participating in talks to be Trump's partner in the project.

Agalarov hosted a dinner for Trump at the Moscow branch of Nobu, which he owned. The co-host was Herman Gref, the chief executive of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, and a close adviser of President Vladimir Putin. An ebullient Trump saluted Agalarov in a November 11th tweet: “I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

The Trump-Agalarov contacts continued. Trump's daughter Ivanka visited Moscow in February 2014 and toured Crocus City Hall. Emin Agalarov performed at a golf tournament the next month at the Trump National Doral, near the family property at Fisher Island. Like so many seemingly imminent Trump-Moscow deals over the years, the skyscraper plan stalled.

And then, finally, came an event that special counsel Robert Mueller is said to have examined carefully — the meeting in June 2016 where Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Trump's inner circle. It helps to recall the long history of Trump's business dealings with Russia when you read this June 3rd, 2016, email to Trump Jr. from Rob Goldstone, the publicist for Emin Agalarov:

Emin just called me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.

To which Trump Jr. answered: “I love it.” The meeting took place on June 9th with, among others, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort and Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with links to the Kremlin. Veselnitskaya says her real goal was to lobby the Trump team to oppose the Magnitsky Act, which she described in a May 31st, 2016, memo as “the beginning of a new round of the Cold War,” echoing Putin's line.

As the new president was taking office, the Trump brand sparkled brighter than ever for Russians. The Miami Herald reported on January 30th that in November 2016, Russians topped the list of foreigners looking for homes in the Miami area.

Oren Alexander, one of the top brokers at Douglas Elliman, explained the post-election trend to the Herald: “There's no doubt that Russian buyers think America is a good place to be again.” Among the places that attracted Russian purchasers, he said, were Sunny Isles Beach and Fisher Island.

Mueller's investigation might tell us whether any of these Trump-Russian business connections improperly melded into the 2016 campaign. But at the core of Trump's interaction with his Russian friends is an insight they have shared ever since Soviet days: Politics may be transitory, but real estate is forever.


• David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs column for The Washington Post and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Anne Applebaum: Russia is furious. That means the sanctions are working.

 • Ruth Marcus: The deal Trump wanted with Russia

 • David Ignatius: What does Russia think about all this? ‘Washington has gone crazy’.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-history-of-donald-trumps-business-dealings-in-russia/2017/11/02/fb8eed22-ba9e-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2017, 12:58:26 am »


from The Washington Post....

A history of Donald Trump's business dealings in Russia

What's clear, reviewing the facts, is that Trump's claim he had
“nothing to do with Russia” over the years is nonsense.


By DAVID IGNATIUS | 1:05PM EDT - Thursday, November 02, 2017

President Trump takes questions from reporters before boarding Marine One. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
President Trump takes questions from reporters before boarding Marine One. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

MOSCOW — An ice-blue 14-story office tower called Ducat Place III is the building that President Trump might have constructed here, with help from a business friend named Howard Lorber who came with him to scout the market in 1996. But like so many other Trump adventures in Russia, this one proved a tantalizing but futile dead end.

Trump is angrily dismissive when questions are raised about his Russian contacts. He calls the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III a “witch hunt” and media reports about his Russia connections “fake news” and “fabrication”. He tweeted in January, shortly before his inauguration: “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

As the Mueller investigation accelerated this week with the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the plea deal reached with former campaign foreign-policy aide George Papadopoulos, the context of the probe becomes newly important. How did Trump accumulate his network of Russian business contacts in the years before the 2016 campaign? What's the prehistory of Trump and Russia?

The Mueller investigation is still in its opening round, and it's far too early to make any judgments about Trump's own actions. A member of Trump's inner circle told me that he advised the president recently, “This is the most innocent you've ever been of any allegation.” But to reach a judgment, you first must understand the history of Trump's fascination, bordering on obsession, with Russian business deals.

The simple truth is that Trump has been hungry for Russia projects for more than three decades. He has repeatedly touted plans for a Moscow mega-development and has courted a steady stream of investors from the former Soviet Union for ventures in New York, South Florida and other locations. Trump has enjoyed playing the “big guy” in Moscow. As he bragged to a New York real-estate publication after a November 2013 dinner with prominent business leaders: “The Russian market is attracted to me.”

Trump's Russia connections helped sow the seeds of Mueller's investigation. The best example is the now-famous June 9th, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower organized by Donald Trump Jr. with Russians who had links with the Kremlin. Mueller is investigating whether that meeting was part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election. But any potential criminal issues aside, the gathering embodied the Trump family's 30-year involvement with wealthy tycoons from the former Soviet Union.

What follows is an attempt to explain Trump's encounter with Russia as a narrative. Most of the details have surfaced before, but it has been hard to see the story whole, as a business saga. With Russia, as with so many other aspects of Trump's business and political life, he has been more pitchman than builder. What's clear, reviewing the facts, is that Trump's claim he had “nothing to do with Russia” over the years is nonsense.

Trump's business interest in Russia began in 1986. The flashy young tycoon met Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a luncheon and, as he recounted in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, the two began “talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”

With Dubinin’s encouragement, Trump flew to Moscow in July 1987 with his Czech-born first wife, Ivana, to check out potential sites. Trump wrote in his book: “It was an extraordinary experience…. We stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, and I was impressed with the ambition of the Soviet officials to make a deal.”

But Trump was preoccupied with other business projects in the late 1980s, including buying an airline and the Plaza Hotel (which he lost after bankruptcies in 1991 and 1992, respectively), and the Russia hotel deal stalled.

Trump explored the Russian market again in 1996, with help from his friend Lorber, who is chief executive of Vector Group, a holding company that back then owned a Russian cigarette company and now owns Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the leading brokerage firms for super-rich Russians seeking property in the United States.

Lorber is a fascinating, little-noted member of Trump’s inner circle. Trump described him last year as one of his two closest friends; they’ve helped each other’s children in business, and Lorber introduced Trump to David Friedman, who is now U.S. ambassador to Israel; Friedman’s former partner, Marc Kasowitz, became Trump’s lawyer. Lorber even made a cameo appearance in a 2005 episode of “The Apprentice”.

The Trump-Lorber foray in Moscow began with Lorber's business partner (and close Trump friend) Bennett LeBow, who had acquired the Liggett tobacco company in 1986. One subsidiary, called Liggett-Ducat, marketed the company's cigarettes in Russia. And Liggett-Ducat had a 98-year lease on a prime development site in central Moscow.

With his usual panache, Trump announced plans for a $250 million investment that would include a “Trump International” complex on the Liggett-Ducat site at a November 1996 news conference in Moscow. “We have an understanding we will be doing it,” he said.

Trump bragged about his plans in January 1997, when he and Lorber met visiting Russian politician Aleksandr Lebed in New York. A 1997 New Yorker profile of Trump captured their exchange and showed the breadth of Trump's hopes for Moscow investment and business connections.

“We are actually looking at something in Moscow right now, and it would be skyscrapers and hotels, not casinos. Only quality stuff…. And we're working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow, and the mayor's people. So far, they've been very responsive…. I always go into the center.”

The Moscow mayor Trump cultivated was Yuri Luzhkov. John Beyrle, then U.S. ambassador to Russia, offered this blunt summary of Luzhkov's approach in a 2010 cable to Washington: “Corruption in Moscow remains pervasive with Mayor Luzhkov at the top of the pyramid. Luzhkov oversees a system in which it appears that almost everyone at every level is involved in some form of corruption or criminal behavior.” Beyrle's cable was published by WikiLeaks.

Whatever inside track Trump thought he had with Luzhkov in 1996, the deal petered out. Trump's business troubles were mounting at home, and financing may not have been available. Handsome towers were built at sites called Ducat Place II and III, but not by Trump.


The Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles. — Photograph: Angel Valentin/The Washington Post.
The Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles. — Photograph: Angel Valentin/The Washington Post.

The Russian moneymaker for Trump in the 2000s turned out, instead, to be investment in U.S. properties bearing his name. Russians were eager to move their capital into fancy condo apartments in New York and Florida. Here, again, his friend Lorber was well connected.

Lorber's real-estate firm Douglas Elliman, hoping to profit from the Russian market, hired a string of Russian-speaking agents who could help rich clients find high-end properties.

“If you didn't target the Russian billionaires, then you shouldn't be in the business,” said Dolly Lenz, a former Douglas Elliman broker, in a 2008 article in the New York Observer. Lenz told USA Today last year that she had sold about 65 apartments in Manhattan's Trump World Tower to Russian buyers. “They all wanted to meet Donald,” she said.

One magnet for Russian money was a private resort called Fisher Island in Biscayne Bay, just off Miami. Lorber has been a director of the Oceanside at Fisher Island Condominium Association since 2000 and is currently a director of the Fisher Island Club.

Among Fisher Island's many Soviet-born property owners have been Aras Agalarov, a Russian-Azerbaijani magnate who sponsored Trump's Miss Universe 2013 pageant and whose pop-singer son Emin organized the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower; and Felix Sater, a Russian-born former adviser to Trump who worked with the Bayrock Group that helped develop the Trump SoHo project in New York.

(Lorber declined to comment through Vector's public-affairs consultant, Emily Claffey of Sard Verbinnen & Co.)

Trump's business deals in South Florida illustrated his blend of panache and caution, his hunger for Russian cash and his ability to skirt disaster. He sold his name to condo projects in an area called Sunny Isles Beach, helped pump up the market there and walked away unscathed when it crashed.

“The city has earned the nickname ‘Little Russia’ for its high percentage of Russian-speaking residents,” notes the Douglas Elliman website, pitching high-rises there to prospective buyers. The Miami Herald reported that according to U.S. Census data, nine percent of Sunny Isles Beach households have Russian origins, the largest percentage of Russians in Miami-Dade County.

Sunny Isles is a case study in how Trump does business. It was once a decidedly un-chic beachfront north of Miami, “a place where your uncle who lives on Social Security would go on vacation,” says Peter Zalewski, a Florida real-estate consultant. But after it incorporated as a separate jurisdiction within Miami-Dade County, with business-friendly local managers, it became a magnet for investment — and was rebranded as “Florida's Riviera”.

Trump's name graces a string of sleek buildings along this strip of coast. First was the Trump International Beach Resort, a complex completed in 2004. Then came Trump Palace in 2006; Trump Towers I, II and III, built in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and Trump Royale in 2008. But Trump's developer friends plunged into Sunny Isles at the wrong time. According to a 2010 article at SouthFloridaCondos.blogspot.com, unit prices at the three Trump Towers buildings dropped nearly 40 percent from the 2005 pre sales period. As the market crashed, the construction loan for Trump Towers had to be restructured. Trump Hollywood, another glitzy project further north, was driven into foreclosure in 2010.

Trump deftly distanced himself from the developers' troubles, telling the Sun-Sentinel that he questioned their “timing”. But the condo market gradually improved, thanks in part to Russian buyers. A Reuters investigation found that 63 people with Russian addresses or passports have purchased $98.4 million of property in Trump-branded condos in South Florida.

Trump also had a personal infusion of Russian cash in the liquidity-starved 2008 market. That year he sold for a handsome $95 million a Palm Beach waterfront mansion he bought at auction in 2004 for just $41.35 million — more than doubling his money at a time when much of the South Florida market was underwater. The buyer was Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Dezer Development, the real-estate company that helped attach Trump's name to six projects in Sunny Isles Beach, saw Trump's presidential campaign as a promotion opportunity. “It's a free press release,” Gil Dezer told Bloomberg News in August 2016.


Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City. — Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters.
Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City. — Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters.

Helping build the Trump-Russia pipeline in the fragile 2008 market was Donald Trump Jr. He was a keynote speaker at the June 2008 Russian Real Estate Summit in Moscow, where he touted the Trump Organization's plans to build condos and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. At a New York real-estate conference in September 2008, Trump Jr. was frank about the tide of Russian money supporting the family business.

“In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” said the young Trump, according to a September 15th, 2008, article about the conference. He said he had made a half-dozen trips to Russia during the previous 18 months.

A project that had significant financing from former Soviet Union investors was Trump SoHo, a 46-story condo-hotel project in Lower Manhattan that opened in September 2007. One development partner was the Sapir Organization, founded by Tamir Sapir from Georgia. Another partner was Bayrock, founded by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh-born businessman who brought in Sater. As has been widely reported, Sater went to prison in 1993 after stabbing a man, and later became an FBI informant.

For the elder Trump, these ex-Soviet investors were important assets for the future. He said in a deposition in a Trump SoHo lawsuit: “Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors…. And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.”

Trump Jr. continued traveling to Russia and Eastern Europe, prospecting for business. He was interviewed in May 2012 before giving a speech to a real-estate conference in Riga, Latvia. His comments, captured on YouTube, explain why the Trump Organization saw the former Eastern Bloc as crucial: “It's a part of the world that now you're starting to see some amazing architecture, some incredible real estate, you're seeing a real big boom in wealth…. We have something that's very relevant in that sector.”


Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trumpat the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia. — Photograph: Irina Bujor/Associated Press.
Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trumpat the 2013 Miss Universe pageant
in Moscow, Russia. — Photograph: Irina Bujor/Associated Press.


The apex of Trump's personal fascination with Russia may have been 2013, when he brought the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow and talked, yet again, of building a “Trump Tower” there. His business partner in the pageant was Aras Agalarov, president of Crocus Group, a shopping-mall developer. Forbes magazine notes that he has been called “the Trump of Russia” because of his glitzy personal marketing.

Trump and Agalarov formed an ebullient partnership over a dinner in Las Vegas on June 15th, 2013, captured on the Internet. As Trump began hyping the pageant, he even tried to draw in Russia's president himself, tweeting on June 18th, 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”

The Miss Universe red carpet was rolled out November 9th, 2013. Emin Agalarov sang a song, and Miss Venezuela was crowned the winner. A story published that day by RT touted Trump's latest business plans for Russia, quoting him: “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.” Aras Agalarov was quoted saying he was participating in talks to be Trump's partner in the project.

Agalarov hosted a dinner for Trump at the Moscow branch of Nobu, which he owned. The co-host was Herman Gref, the chief executive of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, and a close adviser of President Vladimir Putin. An ebullient Trump saluted Agalarov in a November 11th tweet: “I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

The Trump-Agalarov contacts continued. Trump's daughter Ivanka visited Moscow in February 2014 and toured Crocus City Hall. Emin Agalarov performed at a golf tournament the next month at the Trump National Doral, near the family property at Fisher Island. Like so many seemingly imminent Trump-Moscow deals over the years, the skyscraper plan stalled.

And then, finally, came an event that special counsel Robert Mueller is said to have examined carefully — the meeting in June 2016 where Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Trump's inner circle. It helps to recall the long history of Trump's business dealings with Russia when you read this June 3rd, 2016, email to Trump Jr. from Rob Goldstone, the publicist for Emin Agalarov:

Emin just called me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.

To which Trump Jr. answered: “I love it.” The meeting took place on June 9th with, among others, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort and Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with links to the Kremlin. Veselnitskaya says her real goal was to lobby the Trump team to oppose the Magnitsky Act, which she described in a May 31st, 2016, memo as “the beginning of a new round of the Cold War,” echoing Putin's line.

As the new president was taking office, the Trump brand sparkled brighter than ever for Russians. The Miami Herald reported on January 30th that in November 2016, Russians topped the list of foreigners looking for homes in the Miami area.

Oren Alexander, one of the top brokers at Douglas Elliman, explained the post-election trend to the Herald: “There's no doubt that Russian buyers think America is a good place to be again.” Among the places that attracted Russian purchasers, he said, were Sunny Isles Beach and Fisher Island.

Mueller's investigation might tell us whether any of these Trump-Russian business connections improperly melded into the 2016 campaign. But at the core of Trump's interaction with his Russian friends is an insight they have shared ever since Soviet days: Politics may be transitory, but real estate is forever.


• David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs column for The Washington Post and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Anne Applebaum: Russia is furious. That means the sanctions are working.

 • Ruth Marcus: The deal Trump wanted with Russia

 • David Ignatius: What does Russia think about all this? ‘Washington has gone crazy’.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-history-of-donald-trumps-business-dealings-in-russia/2017/11/02/fb8eed22-ba9e-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #43 on: Today at 12:36:29 pm »


Jared Kushner appears to have a natural propensity to obfusecate, LIE and not quite tell the entire truth whenever he is asked about something. Just like his father-in-law, the Clown-in-Chief of the USA, and his brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. The whole lot of them need to be tried, convicted and locked up in jail.



from The Washington Post....

Senate Judiciary panel: Kushner had contacts about WikiLeaks,
Russian overtures he did not disclose


Committee leaders Grassley and Feinstein insist that Trump's son-in-law
Jared Kushner turn over missing records to committee investigators.


By KAROUN DEMIRJIAN | 4:07PM EST - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, attends a Cabinet meeting at the White House on November 1st. — Photograph: Reynold/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia-EFE.
Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, attends a Cabinet meeting at the White House on November 1st.
 — Photograph: Reynold/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia-EFE.


PRESIDENT TRUMP's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner received and forwarded emails about WikiLeaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” that he kept from Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, according to panel leaders demanding that he produce the missing records.

Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (Republican-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-California) sent a letter to Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell on Thursday charging that Kushner has failed to disclose several documents, records and transcripts in response to multiple inquiries from committee investigators.

In the letter, Grassley and Feinstein instruct Kushner's team to turn over “several documents that are known to exist” because other witnesses in their probe already gave them to investigators. They include a series of “September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks,” which the committee leaders say Kushner then forwarded to another campaign official. Earlier this week, Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. revealed that he had had direct communication with WikiLeaks over private Twitter messages during the campaign.

Committee leaders said Kushner also withheld from the committee “documents concerning a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite’” that he had forwarded to other campaign officials. And they said Kushner had been made privy to “communications with Sergei Millian” — a Belarusan American businessman who claims close ties to the Trumps and was the source of salacious details in a dossier about the president's 2013 trip to Moscow — but failed to turn those records over to investigators.

“You also have not produced any phone records that we presume exist and would relate to Mr. Kushner's communications,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote.

Grassley and Feinstein demanded that Kushner comply with their request for documents by November 27th, but stopped short of issuing a formal threat to subpoena those records if Kushner misses the deadline.

Kushner's team last produced documents to the committee November 3rd, according to Grassley and Feinstein, who stressed that what they received “appears to be incomplete.” They noted that their letter was an effort “to clarify the scope” of the committee's request, after Lowell asked for more details about precisely what the committee was searching for.

In addition to the emails and records that Grassley and Feinstein noted as missing, the Judiciary Committee is waiting for Kushner to turn over promised transcripts from his interview with other committees. Kushner has spoken with investigators from both the Senate and House intelligence committees, but has not met with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley and Feinstein also wrote that Kushner's team “should produce” his SF-86 security clearance forms, which Kushner had to update on more than one occasion because he left out contacts with foreign individuals. Kushner's team has argued that the forms are confidential — an argument the committee leaders do not accept.

The committee leaders also expressed general frustration that Kushner's team had left out communications about individuals they had identified when asking Kushner to turn over his records.

Finally, the committee leaders asked Kushner's team to search for a series of records of communications with and about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, including any that Flynn may have simply been copied on involving many of the Russian individuals and businesses that were known to have contact with members of Trump's campaign team.


• Karoun Demirjian covers defense and foreign policy for The Washington Post and was previously a correspondent based in The Post's bureau in Moscow, Russia.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Donald Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign

 • VIDEO: Untangling the web of Jared Kushner

 • Kushner questioned by Senate investigators on Russia


https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-judiciary-panel-kushner-had-contacts-about-wikileaks-russian-overtures-he-did-not-disclose/2017/11/16/402586b4-cb05-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html
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