Trump would have us Believe all these Investigations are Presidential Harassment…But these civil servants conducting the various probes are just doing their jobs & following the facts wherever they lead. The more evidence they find, the more clues of illegal activities turn up, & the more channels they’re required to explore. The hard part is signs of crimes are popping up all over, so it’s hard to know where to start & what to prioritize. Fortunately, it’s not just Mueller’s team looking into these wrongdoings, but various prosecutors in different districts along with several House committees are all engaged to uncover the truth behind all the suspicious information gathered so far. It’s painstaking work, but the more we learn, the more incriminating the evidence looks. So this is definitely not presidential harassment, but instead it’s investigators doing due diligence to reveal what appears to be a criminal organization headed by our very own president.
So welcome to The VORACS weekday edition, where in Part 1 we tend to cover the relevant Russia scandal news from the past few days. It’s ironic out of our 3 parts, Part 1 is the section we post last. And it’s now evolved beyond Russia, since various financial misdeeds also need looked into. There are different headlines lately coming from a variety of investigations, but we’ve got to start somewhere. So let’s dig into the articles we pulled from the newsfeeds & begin with Cohen, followed by news on Deutsche Bank, Whitaker, Pelosi, Manafort, Flynn & other key figures in these expanding scandals involving Trump. Since we have a limit on the number of outbound links, some of the links below are live, while others you can copy/paste into a search engine & find the articles within seconds.
Cohen offered a Pardon?
It looks like they caught one of Rudy’s hired guns red-handed in a cryptic message where Cohen was originally offered a pardon. Read the message inside the articles below & see if you agree with me, it sounds like a secret message from a mob organization sending a clear signal you’re fine if you stay with us, but you’ll be in trouble if you flip. The communications can only be interpreted as an offer of a pardon, signaling yet more evidence of obstruction & abuse of power, & it’s likely Trump’s henchmen had similar coded language for other witnesses. After being caught over the Cohen message, Rudy’s crony came up with the ridiculous excuse his words were actually just reciting a Garth Brooks song. We posted that song at the bottom of Part 3 & here below are the articles:
The NY AG has subpoenaed records from two banks, Deutsche Bank & a New Jersey based bank, following the money on some rather suspicious loans. It’s interesting Trump had become known as such a financial risk the past couple decades, Deutsche Bank was about the only lender still willing to work with him. That connection & tracing the financial transactions could be where the Russian money will be found. Here are the articles:
The New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, according to a person briefed on the subpoenas. The inquiry opens a new front in the scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, one of the few lenders willing to do business with Donald J. Trump in recent years. The bank is already the subject of two congressional investigations and was examined last year by New York banking regulators, who took no action. The new inquiry, by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony last month of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, the person briefed on the subpoenas said. Mr. Cohen testified under oath that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements, and Mr. Cohen provided copies of statements he said had been submitted to Deutsche Bank.
The inquiry by Ms. James’s office is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although its focus and scope were unclear. The attorney general has broad authority under state law to investigate fraud and can fine — or in extreme cases, go to court to try to dissolve — a business that is found to have engaged in repeated illegality. The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the person said. Investigators also requested records connected to an unsuccessful effort to buy the Bills, the person said. Mr. Trump gave Deutsche Bank bare-bones personal financial statements in 2014 when he planned to make a bid for the team.
Nadler’s Take on Whitaker’s Testimony
I trust committee chair Jerry Nadler’s account of what Matt Whitaker said behind closed doors this week. It appears Whitaker lied to Congress in his public hearing over discussions with Trump which only adds to the case for obstruction. The 3 points Nadler brought up to the media afterwards go something like this, with some news articles below that:
1. Whitaker did not deny talking to Trump about the Cohen case & in particular the campaign finance felonies from which the prez himself has been implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator
2. Whitaker involved in discussions with Trump over possible decisions to fire certain U.S. attorneys
3. Whitaker was also in conversations with the prez about the head U.S. attorney’s recusal in the case involving the Southern District of NY, wanting him to unrecuse
Trump is Forced to Deal with a lot of Schiff
Plenty of Signs the President’s Team did Dangle Pardons & Schiff looks to find out for sure:
Various Tidbits from Breakfast with Schiff:
This story looks more like Pelosi posturing to tamp down the angry rhetoric coming from both the far-right & far-left. With the far-right barking that Dems & the deep state are fervent in their primary commitment to impeach Trump, the far-left really are looking to jump the gun & impeach before the findings from the investigations are complete. Certainly it’s still far before the evidence of crimes is solid enough that GOP senators would even consider convicting. Impeachment won’t amount to much unless there’s a real shot at least 20 of the 53 GOP senators are ready to sign on & vote against their party’s president. So the statement by Pelosi appears to be a calculation to get everyone to cool their jets, which she can turn on a dime should substantial evidence of crimes emerge from the probes. So while dismissing impeachment for now, she did leave the door wide open after she said no impeachment unless there’s some conclusive evidence to take us to that place. Check out these articles, while taking the Palmer Report with a grain of salt if you look it up. They were just picking up on a rumor a few days ago from a conservative British publication stating Mueller wants to indict Trump:
From the Fire to the Frying Pan for Manafort
Manafort was indicted by the Manhattan D.A. for new charges of mortgage fraud, falsifying business records & conspiracy, announced immediately after his sentencing Wednesday on the Mueller charges. Other state jurisdictions may also bring up charges, which any state charges he might be convicted for are beyond the reach of a presidential pardon.
Manafort’s lawyers keep bringing up the Trumpian mantra there was no collusion, even though the charges Manafort got convicted over weren’t directly about collusion. It’s transparently obvious Manafort’s entire legal strategy is based around seeking a presidential pardon. The judge actually said the collusion case has not been determined one way or the other by this Manafort case, which Manafort’s lawyer immediately afterwards went to the courthouse steps in front of the media & heckling crowd to blatantly lie about what the judge said. The prez then doubled down on the very same lie. Here are the details inside these articles:
Manhattan District Attorney brings 16 Charges against Manafort
Suspicious payment made to Manafort:
Flynn & Gates
It looks as though Flynn’s days of being a cooperating witness are essentially complete, seen in these articles below. Also expect news on the Rick Gates case today:
Corruption is a family affair:
Signs the Mueller Probe really might be winding down
Mueller’s top prosecutor is moving on, as have other prosecutors on his team previously did, suggesting things could be about to wrap up soon: politico.com/story/2019/03/14/mueller-investigation-weissmann. But many of the pending cases it appears have been farmed out to district/state prosecutors. And we definitely need to see the Mueller report once it’s done & there’s overwhelming, virtually unanimous, bipartisan support to do so in the House, although this resolution was blocked in the Senate:
And there might be another avenue for Congress to get that important evidence:
Claiming Presidential Harassment is just Trump Blowing Smoke
The prez knows better than anyone the actions from his past & what kind of trouble he’s in. These multiple investigations are not presidential harassment as this next article comments on “Lessons from the most important House probes since WWII.” But Dem committees do need to be smart & strategic about how to most effectively go about this:
While Robert Mueller’s investigation is (probably?) approaching its conclusion, many other investigations into Trump’s corrupt or illegal behavior are just getting started. Trump has long dismissed the Russia probe as a “hoax” and “witch hunt,” slogans his supporters have fleshed out with an elaborate conspiracy theory involving a deep state cabal working in tandem with the Clinton campaign to frame him. The task of dismissing all the other investigations is far more diffuse. Trump’s strategy is to aggregate the broad category “miscellaneous non-Russia investigations” into a category he calls “presidential harassment.” This catch-all term encompasses investigations by the House of Representatives, the Southern District of New York, the New York attorney general’s office, and others. His allies are only beginning to articulate a theory of what lies behind all these accusations. As usual, indefatigable conservative reporter Byron York is leading the way. York’s latest column — “Yes, Trump is target of ‘presidential harassment’” — provides the state-of-the-art iteration of the president’s legal defense. “The fact is,” York writes, “Trump has a point.” This is actually an opinion, not a fact, but never mind — let’s proceed to his points, such as they are.
York dismisses the demand that Trump release his tax returns as completely unfounded: “The demand is based primarily on suspicion that Trump must have done something wrong with his taxes or he would have long ago released the returns.” Of course, given the well-established norm of presidential candidates disclosing their tax returns, Trump’s refusal to do so is definitely grounds for suspicion. But York’s idea that this is the primary basis of suspicion is pretty wild. There is a vast body of public evidence that Trump’s tax returns are concealing illegal or compromising relationships. Last fall, the New York Times discovered that Trump received more than $400 million from his father, most of its laundered to evade taxes utilizing a variety of fraudulent schemes. Since his father’s passing, the source of laundered funds has shifted to Russian oligarchs, though he has also engaged in suspicious deals with autocrats and gangsters across the world. York likewise complains that Trump’s insurance broker was subpoenaed by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The subpoena came after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer turned state’s witness, testified that he committed insurance fraud. York deems this unfair, on the grounds that “Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and faces serious questions about the truthfulness of his latest testimony, supplied no details.”
In fact, Cohen’s testimony is not the only evidence here. Just as with Trump’s apparent history of money laundering and tax fraud, there is ample public evidence that he filed false insurance claims. But even if that evidence did not exist, it seems strange that York would complain that Cohen’s testimony spurred an investigation. Yes, Cohen has lied, because that’s what you do when you’re loyal to Trump. Now that he’s not loyal to Trump anymore, there’s much less reason to doubt his veracity. Cohen spoke under oath, thus carrying a penalty of perjury. Cohen has little apparent reason to make up charges against Trump, as evidenced by his decision to refute several charges against his former boss. One of the conservatives who — as recently as a few weeks ago — cited those comments and took them at face value is York himself. For York, the notion that Trump has done nothing wrong, or at least no more wrong than a typical president, is not the conclusion of his argument but the starting point. From this premise, he interprets all the investigations into his conduct as evidence of the unfairness or desperation of the president’s adversaries. York reports that he asked law professor Andrew Coan “whether there is precedent for a U.S. Attorney’s office conducting a wide-ranging, open-ended investigation of a sitting president.” Coan replied, “The short answer is no. I am aware of no comparable prior investigation.” That’s true! But it’s not because he’s being harassed. It’s because, before Trump, the president of the United States has never been a career criminal.
Some in GOP found Their Backbone in Standing Up for the Constitution
Some GOP senators are actually protecting our constitutional balance of power, although Trump will keep trampling all over it:
Scary the way China’s favorability in the world has surpassed ours:
The backdrop to how Russia helped Trump win the presidency:
Trump keeps ignoring & refuses to take cyberattacks against the sanctity of our free elections seriously:
Trump did seem to have some valid ideas for restructuring relationships & obligations throughout the world for the better, which he may have only had a small window of opportunity at the beginning of his presidency to articulate & sell his ideas. But he came out of the gates like a bull in a china shop by reprimanding our allies, while playing patsy & praising some of the world’s most brutal dictators, so any good intentions Trump may have envisioned looks to have been squandered. The prez has been shown to be a lousy negotiator whose word can’t be trusted, so he’s long since blown his credibility & is now being taken advantage of as described inside trumps-insights-about-american-foreign-policy-went-wrong.