Following the Money to the Tune of $107 Million…The Southern District of New York is investigating highly suspicious donations made to the Trump inauguration & has issued a subpoena to the inaugural committee for documents. The $107 million raised far exceeds any other presidential inauguration, which certainly far exceeded what Trump’s inauguration actually cost. So his inauguration got roughly twice as much funding for around half the events of previous presidential inaugurations. Investigators are looking at the source of the money to see if it was illegally funneled from foreign entities as part of a pay-to-play scheme, & also where did all that money go? So following the money may turn out quite enlightening, since it seems about half the money went poof into thin air.
Federal prosecutors in New York on Monday delivered a sweeping request for documents related to donations and spending by President Trump’s inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal investigation into activities related to the nonprofit organization. A wide-ranging subpoena served on the inaugural committee Monday seeks an array of documents, including all information related to inaugural donors, vendors, contractors, bank accounts of the inaugural committee and any information related to foreign contributors to the committee, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post. Only U.S. citizens and legal residents can legally donate to a committee established to finance presidential inaugural festivities. “We have just received a subpoena for documents. While we are still reviewing the subpoena, it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry,” a spokesman for the committee said in a statement. The subpoena — issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York — indicates that prosecutors are investigating crimes related to conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, false statements, wire fraud and money laundering.Trump’s inaugural committee raised a record $107 million to fund events and parties surrounding his assumption of office in January 2017, more than twice the amount raised to fund President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural. Contributions were made by a wide array of corporate interests and wealthy Trump supporters, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The request for documents, first reported by ABC News, is a sign of another widening legal headache for Trump, whose business, personal charitable foundation and campaign are all under investigation by state and federal authorities. The latest subpoena seeks information related to broad topics, including information about benefits provided to top donors, training documents for fundraisers and information related to any payments made directly by donors to vendors.Much of the committee’s fundraising and operation was headed by Rick Gates, a former senior Trump campaign official who served as a deputy chairman of the inaugural committee and is cooperating with prosecutors as part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. Gates, a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty last February to various charges related to his work with Manafort as a political consultant in Ukraine. At Manafort’s trial in Virginia in August, Gates testified that it was “possible” that he stole money from the inaugural committee by submitting false expense reports for his work.After Trump’s election, Zuberi, a longtime Democratic donor, swiftly emerged as a major contributor to the new president and Republicans. Along with the $900,000 his firm Avenue Ventures gave to the inaugural committee on Dec. 28, 2016, it donated an additional $100,000 to the host committee for the 2016 Republican National Convention on Jan. 13, 2017, campaign finance records show. Internal Democratic emails released by WikiLeaks in October 2016 show that Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta met with Zuberi in September 2015 to thank him for his support of Clinton. The internal Podesta memo is part of a cache of hacked emails that prosecutors have said were stolen by Russian operatives and provided to WikiLeaks in an effort to help elect Trump.On his Facebook page, Zuberi indicated that he visited Trump Tower in New York in December 2016 as the president-elect prepared to take office, writing that he was with incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn. That was the same day that a delegation from Qatar, including the country’s foreign minister, visited Trump Tower and met with Flynn and campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon. Rabinowitz said Zuberi met with the Qataris that day, walked with them to Trump Tower and rode up the elevator with them, but did not participate in their meetings with Trump officials. Zuberi indicated on his Facebook page that he met with the Qatari foreign minister at the Plaza Hotel in New York the following day. Days later, he visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, his Facebook posts show.The inaugural committee has also been scrutinized by the special counsel, whose prosecutors have explored the possibility that foreign money helped fund Trump’s inaugural festivities, according to people familiar with the inquiry. It is not clear whether Mueller is still investigating the committee or referred the case to other prosecutors to pursue. One such case has been prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, which in August secured a guilty plea from lobbyist W. Samuel Patten, who admitted to acting as an unregistered federal agent for a Ukrainian political party. As part of a plea deal, Patten acknowledged that he steered an illegal foreign donation to Trump’s inaugural committee, using an American straw donor.
Drain the Swamp
The swamp does need to be drained, but the swamp I’m referring to is the corrupt criminal enterprise run by Trump! Trump & all his riffraff hanger-ons need flushed down the drain. As I mentioned, I’ve long speculated cracking the case in linking numerous felonies to Trump & his family, beyond just the proven crimes committed by his campaign staff, would come about by following the money. Among the suspicious payments, what is a Russian lobbyist doing receiving a half-million dollars around the time he attended the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting? Check out these articles which are head-scratchers:
And see this article posted from:
A lobbyist who attended the 2016 Trump Tower meeting received half a million dollars in deposits linked to a Russian businessman before and after the time of the meeting, BuzzFeed reported Monday. The outlet reports that Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer, deposited large sums of the cash in the months before and after the meeting. The deposits were flagged by bank investigators as suspicious. It is not clear whether the payments were related to the meeting’s timing. Akhmetshin downplayed his participation in the meeting in testimony to Congress in 2017, saying he was actually in New York City to see a play. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had promised compromising information on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Akhmetshin, who attended the meeting with Veselnitskaya, received several payments around the Trump Tower meeting that were flagged by bank investigators for being unexplained. One was a large payment directly from Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, according to BuzzFeed, as well as several others through a foundation funded by Katsyv and from the firm BakerHostetler, which was hired by Katsyv’s company Prevezon. Katsyv’s company Prevezon Holdings was previously
accused of laundering money in a Russian tax fraud scheme by the Department of Justice, BuzzFeed noted. That case was settled in 2017. The documents BuzzFeed reviewed were also given to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team for its investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to tell BuzzFeed whether Mueller is investigating the transactions. Congressional investigators have also reportedly requested the financial information from the Treasury Department. Akhmetshin and his lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BuzzFeed. Reached in person, the lobbyist told the outlet to “Get the f— out of here, okay?” “Don’t bother with questions,” Veselnitskaya told BuzzFeed. “Your article is paid for and you have your text ready. Don’t be distracted from what you consider the meaning of life.”
More Russian Probe News
The lessons are clear: If an administration commits crimes without being held accountable, the next commander in chief feels emboldened to keep skirting the rules and violating the public trust. It should not be a total surprise that Trump, who came of age in the decades surrounding the pardon, believes that he can skirt the formal limits of power without having to fear any sort of real blowback. Turning a blind eye to abuses of power might heal the political careers of individual partisans, but it does nothing to heal the nation. Indeed, a lack of accountability only makes the popular resentment over Washington more pronounced and the partisan divide more deeply felt. As evidence continues to mount about all that President Trump and his advisers have done to violate the public trust, Democrats won’t have much choice. If they want to heal the nation, not just for what’s happened under Trump but also for what’s happened in the decades before, they should make sure that wrongdoing is set right. Holding their noses and hoping for the best.
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s renewed attacks on the U.S. intelligence community this week, senior intelligence briefers are breaking two years of silence to warn that the President is endangering American security with what they say is a stubborn disregard for their assessments. Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible. What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds. Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.
The intelligence officials criticizing Trump requested anonymity because the briefings they described, including the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, are classified. The PDB is one of the most highly restricted products produced by U.S. intelligence analysts. A select group of intelligence officials is involved in preparing these briefings. A small number of senior officials, often including the Director of Central Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence or the heads of other agencies depending on the topic, usually deliver it. The reporting for this story is based on interviews with multiple officials who have first hand knowledge of the episodes they describe, and multiple others who have been briefed on them. Asked in detail about the officials’ concerns, senior White House and National Security Council officials declined to comment. The problem has existed since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the intelligence officials say, and for a time they tried to respond to the President’s behavior in briefings with dark humor. After a briefing in preparation for a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, for example, the subject turned to the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia. The island is home to an important airbase and a U.S. Naval Support Facility that are central to America’s ability to project power in the region, including in the war in Afghanistan. The President, officials familiar with the briefing said, asked two questions: Are the people nice, and are the beaches good? “Some of us wondered if he was thinking about our alliance with the Brits and the security issues in an important area where the Chinese have been increasingly active, or whether he was thinking like a real estate developer,” one of the officials said wryly. In another briefing on South Asia, Trump’s advisors brought a map of the region from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, according to intelligence officers with knowledge of the meeting and congressional officials who were briefed on it. Trump, they said, pointed at the map and said he knew that Nepal was part of India, only to be told that it is an independent nation. When said he was familiar with Bhutan and knew it, too, was part of India, his briefers told him that Bhutan was an independent kingdom. Last August, Politico reported on president’s mispronunciation of the names of the two countries during the same briefing. But the disconnect between Trump and his intelligence briefers is no joke, the officials say.
Several pointed to concerns regarding Trump’s assessment of the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. After Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un last summer, the North claimed to have destroyed its major underground nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, and Trump has gone out of his way to credit the claim. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which oversees the spy satellites that map and photograph key areas, had tried to impress upon Trump the size and complexity of the North Korean site. In preparing one briefing for the President on the issue early in his administration, the NGA built a model of the facility with a removable roof, according to two officials. To help Trump grasp the size of the facility, the NGA briefers built a miniature version New York’s Statue of Liberty to scale and put it inside the model. Intelligence officials from multiple agencies later warned Trump that entrances at the facility that had been closed after the summit could still be reopened. But the president has ignored the agencies’ warnings and has exaggerated the steps North Korea has taken to shutter the facility, those officials and two others say. That is a particular concern now, ahead of a possible second summit with the Kim Jong-Un later this month. The briefers’ concerns are spread across multiple areas of expertise. Two briefers worry that a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping could produce a trade agreement that the President can trumpet but that fails to address China’s espionage, its theft of intellectual property that ranges from circuit boards to soybean hybrids, its military buildup, and its geopolitical ambition. Three other officials worry about what one of them calls “precipitous troop withdrawals” from Syria and Afghanistan and a peace deal with the Taliban that in time would leave the extremist Islamic group back in charge and wipe out the gains made in education, women’s rights and governance since the U.S. invaded the country more than 17 years ago.