6:08 AM 3/1/2019 - Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public | House Democrats seek interviews with Trump's children and close allies | US news

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Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public | House Democrats seek interviews with Trump's children and close allies | 9:00 PM 2/28/2019 - Mr. President, Methinks humbly that you ought to resign. It will be better for you and for the country in these circumstances.


Get your popcorn: Donald Trump's favorite Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater is testifying in public

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Of all the strange aspects of Donald Trump’s life of crime, one of the most curious is his relationship with convicted Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater. The Trump Organization and Sater partnered on the notoriously shady Trump Soho real estate project, with widespread media reports that Trump’s kids took the lead on the deal. Somewhere in there, Sater became a government informant.

Felix Sater’s name has come up quite a bit in the Trump-Russia scandal, but we still don’t know precisely what his role was in facilitating criminal activity between Donald Trump and the Russians. It looks like that’s about to change. House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff just announced that Felix Sater will publicly testify before the committee on March 14th. This is notable for a few reasons.

First, this is going to be out in the open. This will offer a fascinating look into the Trump family’s relationship with money launderers like Felix Sater in particular, and with Russian organized crime in general. Second, based on his history as a federal informant, you have to figure Sater will be at least partly cooperative during his testimony, with no real desire to protect Trump at the risk of harming himself. Trump has long been pretending he doesn’t know who Sater is, which means Sater isn’t under any delusions about being magically pardoned; his one way out will be to sell Trump out.

But the real upshot is that this is happening a mere two weeks from now. Everything is now happening in increasingly rapid succession. Felix Sater will be far from the only Donald Trump associate to be swiftly hauled in to testify. And as House Democrats choose to put more witnesses on public display, it becomes clear that secrecy is becoming less important, which means prosecutors are closer than ever to busting the Trump-Russia scandal wide open.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

House Democrats seek interviews with Trump's children and close allies | US news

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The House oversight committee chairman, Elijah Cummings, has said he will seek interviews with Donald Trump’s children and some of his closest allies after public testimony by the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Among those the committee will call in for testimony are Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, as well as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
“All you have to do is follow the transcript. If there are names that were mentioned or records that were mentioned during the hearing, we want to take a look at all of that,” Cummings told reporters.
“I’m going to follow the facts and then whatever comes out of it, fine,” he added.
“But what we’re about is just making sure that government is accountable, and this administration, this branch is accountable.”
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, separately announced on Thursday that the former Trump associate Felix Sater will come before his panel on 14 March.
Schiff’s comments came after Cohen testified before the intelligence committee behind closed doors for eight hours.
Sater, a Russia-born business executive who has a past as an American spy tracking terrorists and members of the mob, worked with Cohen on negotiations around the construction of a Trump Tower Moscow project during the 2016 election.
In his public testimony before the oversight committee on Wednesday, Cohen said it was Sater who suggested giving the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a $50m penthouse at the top of the potential building.
Although the plan did not come to fruition, Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison for crimes that included lying to Congress about the duration and timeline of discussions over the Trump Tower Moscow project.
Those negotiations are now a central focus for Democrats in Congress, who have vowed to use their newly minted House majority to more aggressively pursue investigations against the president and his inner circle.
Cohen also told lawmakers on Wednesday that he had briefed Ivanka and Trump Jr on the Trump Tower project approximately 10 times, contradicting the Trump family members’ earlier claims.
Trump Jr testified to the Senate intelligence committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the project, while Ivanka said in an interview earlier this month she knew “literally almost nothing” about it.
Lawmakers are further interested in following up on Cohen’s testimony around the hush money payment made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels to silence her from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump.
Appearing before the oversight committee on Wednesday, Cohen publicly entered as evidence two $35,000 checks from Trump’s personal bank account that he said were reimbursement for the money he paid to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. One of the checks was signed by the president himself, while the other was signed by Trump Jr and Weisselberg.
Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO, is widely known to be the gatekeeper to Trump’s finances. Having worked for the family for more than 40 years, he is said to have intimate and perhaps unparalleled knowledge of Trump’s financial arrangements.
Under questioning from Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday, Cohen acknowledged that Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies. He further noted that Weisselberg was aware that Trump had potentially committed insurance and tax fraud.
Weisselberg was granted immunity last year to testify before a federal grand jury in New York relating to the investigation into the hush money payments.
Gabrielle Canon contributed to this article
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9:00 PM 2/28/2019 - Mr. President, Methinks humbly that you ought to resign. It will be better for you and for the country in these circumstances.

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The Criminal Pattern of the Trump Presidency becomes clearer and comes into the relief  more and more every day. The question is: where is the line when it becomes intolerable and obviously harmful to the country? We are very close to this line. Every insanity should meet its limits imposed  by the collective mind of the Society. And so does the insanity of the Trump Presidency. Mr. President, Methinks humbly that you ought to resign. It will be better for you and for the country in these circumstances. Give it a thought. - M.N. - 2.28.19

Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? - Google Search

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New clues as records confirm ‘mystery case’ involves Mueller probe

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Verifying the reports of news organizations over the past few months, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. unsealed redacted court documents on Thursday which confirmed that a secret legal battle over a grand jury subpoena does involve the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"The SCO is investigating foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion in those efforts by American citizens," wrote Judge Beryl A. Howell, who unsealed six different documents - with redactions - on the secret docket of this case, which involves an unnamed foreign company owned by an unidentified country.
The documents show that the Special Counsel's office issued a grand jury subpoena for information to the unknown company owned by "Country A" on July 11, 2018 - seeking records 'in the United States or abroad.'
"As many members of the media have speculated, and the parties are plainly aware, this case arises from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation," the judge wrote in one document. "Consequently, this case has attracted and continues to attract inordinate media attention."
The newly unsealed documents give no clues on what company - or what country - is involved in this litigation, which is now active in various ways at the district, appeals, and Supreme Court levels.
Buried in the details of the newly released documents - which are filled with repeated redactions of key information - the Special Counsel's office had asked for the unidentified company to be fined $10,000 per day for not turning over documents related to the subpoena.
But the judge decided that wasn't enough, and instead levied a $50,000 per day sanction, which began on January 15, 2019.
That would mean the total bill is now over $2 million.
The company and country have argued that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not allow for such legal sanctions. So far, lower courts have rejected the argument.
The 71 pages of documents released on Thursday include an order from Judge Howell to the law firm defending the unknown company/country that it not make public statements about this legal matter.
"ORDERED that Alston & Bird may not make any public comment that this case pertains to [REDACTED]."
The documents also used a different format of redactions - instead of blacking out individual words, phrases, lines, and/or paragraphs, the document simply used [REDACTED] - without any indication of how much text, or how little, is being kept from public view.
While there are no details revealed about what the Special Counsel is seeking - there are additional clues in the newly released documents.
"The subpoena at issue cannot be faulted for insufficient specificity, and the SCO does not argue that the information sought originated in the United States," the judge writes on page 22 of the document, part of a ruling in which she denied a motion to quash the Mueller subpoena on September 19, 2018.
In that decision, the judge indicates that evidence provided by the Special Counsel - and not shared with the mystery defendant - had convinced her that the subpoena was necessary.
"The SCO's ex parte, in camera submission, meanwhile, persuades the Court that the materials sought are important to the grand jury's investigation and that failure to secure the materials would undermine important issues of the United States," Judge Howell wrote.
"For those reasons, under the circumstances presented, the Court concludes that the subpoena should be enforced," she concludes.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.
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4:47 PM 2/28/2019 - Is Russian SBERBANK the "unnamed foreign government-owned company"?

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Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? - Google Search

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Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? - Google Search

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Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from Politico

Mystery firm takes Mueller-linked subpoena fight to Supreme Court

Politico-Dec 22, 2018
foreign-government-owned company that appears to be locked in a ... The unidentified firmpresented an application Saturday to Chief ...
Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from New York Times

How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian ...

New York Times-Dec 15, 2018
This year's McKinsey & Company retreat in China was one to remember. ... It has consulted in many sectors of the Russian economy, including mining, ... whether the company, in pursuing legitimate business opportunities abroad, ..... Sberbank — a state-controlled bank that is on the sanctions list and that ...
Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from Center For American Progress

Cracking the Shell: Trump and the Corrupting Potential of Furtive ...

Center For American Progress-Feb 15, 2018
And in interdicting possible vectors of foreign influence beyond elections, legislators .... Similarly, Russia's government-owned banking giants, such as .... This property was purchased through an anonymous shell corporation, initially .... as evidenced by state-owned Sberbank of Russia's reported efforts to ...
Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from The New York Review of Books

Putin: From Oligarch to Kleptocrat

The New York Review of Books-Feb 1, 2018
Putin was relatively unknown outside of Russia when President Boris ... In 1992, while working for the mayor of St. Petersburg, he hired a production company to make a .... Foreign investment poured in, pushing Russia into the top three ... By then, the Russian government owned 80 percent of the country's ...
Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from Cointelegraph

From Qatar to Palestine: How Cryptocurrencies Are Regulated in the ...

Cointelegraph-Sep 9, 2018
For instance, in January 2018, a local fintech company QPAY launched ... reportedly met with Russianofficials to discuss how crypto can help bypassing ... Additionally, they stated: “...the proceeds of Bitcoin that are wired from abroad to .... For instance, in May, a government-owned entity called Blockchain ...
Story image for Russian SBERBANK: unnamed foreign government-owned company? from The Epoch Times

As FBI Chief, Special Counsel Robert Mueller Watched and Allowed ...

The Epoch Times-Oct 23, 2017
As the FBI watched, the campaign led Russia to the Clintons and to a deal that gave ... An unnamedsource familiar with the FBI evidence told The Hill, “There is not ... the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA. ... from Rusnano, a Russian government-owned joint-stock company.
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unnamed foreign government-owned company - Google Search

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Document: DC District Court Releases Partially Redacted Tranche of ...

Lawfare (blog)-1 hour ago
... opinions in In Re Grand Jury Subpoena, the case involving Robert Mueller's subpoena of an unnamed foreign government-owned company.
Story image for unnamed foreign government-owned company from CNN

Supreme Court ruling means more information on mystery Mueller ...

CNN-Feb 19, 2019
The case concerns an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation that is fighting a grand jury subpoena. Lower courts said the company ...
Story image for unnamed foreign government-owned company from CNN

Supreme Court says mystery company must pay fines while it ...

CNN-Jan 8, 2019
Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court Monday turned away an effort by an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation to resist a ...
Supreme Court: Company must pay fines while resisting Mueller ...
International-<a href="http://UPI.com" rel="nofollow">UPI.com</a>-Jan 9, 2019
Story image for unnamed foreign government-owned company from CNN

Mystery company involved in Mueller investigation appeals to ...

CNN-Dec 22, 2018
Washington (CNN) An unnamedforeign government-owned company in a mystery court case is asking the Supreme Court to pause a grand ...
Story image for unnamed foreign government-owned company from The Hill

Mueller probe filings raise prospect of more indictments

The Hill-Feb 6, 2019
Mueller last week objected to the company's request that “sensitive” ... While Mueller appears to be investigating unnamed potential targets, that does ... with witnesses, including a mystery foreign government-owned company ...
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4:11 PM 2/28/2019 - "President Trump Signs Order To Spur Artificial Intelligence..." | M.N.: And how about replenishing the natural one? Prescription for all your troubles, Donny-Ronny: RESIGN!!! And check yourself into a mental institution, it may help you with your future insanity defense.

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"President Trump Signs Order To Spur Artificial Intelligence..." | M.N.: How about replenishing the natural one? Prescription for all your troubles, Donny-Ronny: RESIGN!!! And check yourself into a mental institution, it may help you with your future insanity defense.

President Trump Signs Order To Spur Artificial Intelligence | Texas ...
Texas Public Radio
President Donald Trump signs the “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence” Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. 

Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠

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The Trump Organization's coming "proctology exam" - Axios

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The Trump Organization's coming "proctology exam"

Near the end of Michael Cohen's testimony yesterday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked the former fixer whether President Trump had ever run an insurance fraud. Cohen said yes, naming three Trump Organization executives: Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.
Why it matters: Cohen offered no proof for this allegation — and given his record of lying, his claims can't be believed without evidence. But by making this allegation — and coughing up the names of the executives — Cohen gave House investigators and federal prosecutors yet another trail to chase.
  • Unless you're a student of The Trump Organization — the thinly-staffed Trump family business — you may never have heard of Weisselberg, Lieberman or Calamari. 
  • But over the next year, these men and their colleagues may become household names as they endure a far-reaching, multi-armed investigation into Trump's family business and personal finances.
The bottom line: "This organization has never had a proctology exam like it's about to get," Bloomberg's Timothy O'Brien told me shortly after watching Cohen's testimony. "It's going to surface records. That's going to become problematic for all of them to keep their stories straight." 
  • O'Brien is in a good position to know. In 2006, Trump tried — and failed — to sue O'Brien for $5 billion for writing that Trump had a much lower net worth than he claimed.
  • In the course of that litigation, because Trump went after O'Brien on financial grounds, O'Brien got his tax returns and financial records.
Here's what Trump's businesses face: 
  • Five House committees (Financial Services, Intel, Judiciary, Oversight, Ways and Means) plan to look at Trump's business deals and finances.
  • The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia are suing Trump, alleging he violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by taking gifts from foreign governments through his properties.
  • The New York attorney general has a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, alleging Trump misused his charitable foundation in a "shocking pattern of illegality." Cohen may have bolstered that case yesterday.
  • The Southern District of New York has dealt with Trump Organization executives in its investigation of Cohen.
By all accounts, Trump still has Weisselberg's loyalty. NBC reported yesterday that Weisselberg still works with The Trump Organization and has never been a cooperating witness against Trump.
  • "Any law enforcement person who's trying to build a case around insurance fraud, tax fraud, money laundering is going to have to wind up spending a lot of time [with] ... Allen Weisselberg," says O'Brien, who spent time with Weisselberg while writing his book "TrumpNation."
  • "It's the classic thing: Follow the money."
Axios reached out to senior Trump Organization executives Alan Garten and George Sorial for comment on Cohen's allegations against Weisselberg, Lieberman and Calamari. They didn't respond.
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