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Thread: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration

  1. #141
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    Default Re: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration

    BREAKING: FBI Lawyer Who Altered FISA Docs and His Lover Worked for Current ICIG Who Edited IC WhistleBlower Form to Legitimize Schiff Sham

    by Joe Hoft November 25, 2019



    Barack Obama corrupted everything he could touch over his eight years as President. His military was prosecuting its own soldiers for murdering enemy combatants. Obama’s State Department was a pay-for-play racketeering enterprise and Obama’s FBI and DOJ morphed into sick and criminal gangs.


    What a mess!

    Over the weekend we learned from another leak to the Washington Post, that an individual in Obama’s FBI altered documents that provided support for a FISA Warrant obtained to spy on candidate and President Trump.

    The individual (or individuals) was soon identified as Kevin Clinesmith who worked with his reported lover Sally Moyer for the current Intelligence Community (IC) Inspector General (IG), Michael Atkinson.

    BREAKING: ICIG Michael Atkinson, who modified whistle-blower forms & allowed hearsay CIA leaker, was chief legal counsel for DOJ-NSD over #KevinClinesmith & #SallyMoyer who may have FALSIFIED @FBI DOCUMENTS to Obtain ILLEGAL #FISA WARRANTS Against @realDonaldTrump campaign! pic.twitter.com/ym6mqF0gxz
    — John Basham (@JohnBasham) November 22, 2019
    Conservative Treehouse reported

    If you have followed the case closely, the intentional removal of Peter Strzok in combination with the explanation of the lawyer’s FISA responsibilities; and in combination with prior reporting of FBI lawyer 2; it seems pretty obvious the line-level lawyer was Kevin Clinesmith.

    If the WaPo article had added all the detail and left in how the line-level attorney worked for Peter Strzok everyone would have known who it was. Hence they put in more details about his activity but removed the Strzok reference.

    Kevin Clinesmith was one of the key FBI small group members on the original Clinton investigation known as the “mid-year exam”, or in text messages the “MYE”.

    Within the MYE Clinesmith was one of the key legal staff working with Peter Strzok. Clinesmith was lawyer #2 for Strzok who eventually transferred to the subsequent Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

    Clinesmith was also previously reported to be having an intimate relationship with another member of the FBI team, Sally Moyer, though that is uncertain. [Tashina "Tash” Guahar was also a key legal figure on the Main Justice side of the MYE team.]

    Sally Moyer was FBI unit chief in the Office of General Counsel (counterintelligence legal unit within the FBI Office of General Counsel).

    Ms. Moyer was responsible for the legal compliance within the FBI counterintelligence operations that generated FISA applications.

    When the MYE investigation finished, the Carter Page FISA construction is where Kevin Clinesmith and Sally Moyer come together in their next assignment, the FBI investigation of Trump.
    The interesting connection is that Clinesmith and Moyer both also reportedly worked for Michael Atkinson while he was an attorney with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

    Atkinson next took a position as the ICIG. Recently, it was reported that Atkinson changed the IC whistleblower form in September shortly after a CIA Agent, who was spying in the Trump White House, drafted a complaint on President Trump.

    Atkinson saw to it that the whistleblower form was updated to allow for second hand information, which the ‘whistleblower’ (believed to be Eric Ciaramella) provided in his complaint. Although, the form should not have been accepted based on second-hand information and because it was about the President of the United States (who is not in the IC), Atkinson accepted the complaint.

    The whistleblower later attempted to edit the form he originally provided. The original form stated that the whistleblower did not talk to Congress before filing the form but after it was discovered that he had met with Adam Schiff’s team in Congress, the whistleblower attempted to edit his form.

    The fact that the whistleblower worked as a CIA operative also causes concerns since the CIA is only supposed to work overseas while working on external threats. He is not supposed to be spying in the White House on the President.

    This Obama group of criminals should all be in jail, not running around attempting another coup on the President of the United States. #LockThemAllUp

    Hat tip D. Manny

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  2. #142
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    Default Re: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2...tk11_-ggzy9ilc

    Second Adam Schiff Staffer Linked to Burisma-Backed Think Tank, ‘Close Friends’ with Alleged ‘Whistleblower’

    AARON KLEIN26 Nov 20194,609 [emphasis mine]

    Yet another staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff served as a fellow for the Atlantic Council, a think tank that is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

    Sean Misko has been described as “close friends” with Eric Ciaramella, whom Real Clear Investigations suggests is the likely so-called whistleblower. Misko reportedly joined Schiff’s staff at the House Intelligence Committee in August – the same month the so-called whistleblower’s complaint was filed after first reportedly interfacing with a staffer for Schiff’s office.

    Misko in 2015 was a yearlong “Millennium Fellow” at the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council, which has been under the microscope for its ties to other individuals associated with the Trump impeachment inquiry.

    Misko’s former position marks the second Schiff staffer who worked or currently works with the Atlantic Council.

    Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, is currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.”

    Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to specifically sponsor the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, where Eager serves as a fellow.

    As Breitbart News reported, itinerary for a trip to Ukraine in August organized by the Atlantic Council reveals that Eager held a meeting during the trip with Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, now a key witness for Democrats pursuing impeachment.

    Breitbart News reported that Taylor himself has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.

    Eager’s August trip to Ukraine was billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.

    A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor.

    Spokespeople for Schiff’s office did not reply to multiple Breitbart News requests for comment about Eager’s meeting with Taylor.

    The dates of the pre-planned trip are instructive. Eager’s visit to Ukraine sponsored by the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council began 12 days after the so-called “whistleblower” officially filed his August 12 complaint.

    Schiff and his office have offered seemingly conflicting statements on the timeline of the contact between the so-called whistleblower and the California Congressman’s office.

    Speaking on September 17, Schiff told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

    Schiff’s spokesperson, Patrick Boland, was quoted on October 2 saying, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” Boland said Schiff’s committee received the complaint the night before it publicly released the document.

    On Oct 2, however, the New York Times reported that Schiff received some of the contents of the complaint through an unnamed House Intelligence Committee aide initially contacted by the so-called “whistleblower,” described as a CIA officer.

    The Times reported the aide “shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.” The referenced officer refers to the so-called “whistleblower.”

    The newspaper also reported:

    By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained

    Schiff conceded that he was not clear enough about his contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”

    “I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said.

    Misko and Ciaramella

    Meanwhile, besides serving as a fellow at the Atlantic Council in 2015, Misko is also listed as providing a small donation of up to $999 to the think tank in 2016.

    Other major donors that year include regular Atlantic Council donors Burisma, Google, and billionaire activist George Soros’s Open Society network.

    Another donor that year was Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and also reportedly helped draft the Google-tied CrowdStrike firm to aid with the DNC’s allegedly hacked server. Google’s parent company led a funding drive to provide seed capital to CrowdStrike.

    On behalf of the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, Perkins Coie also paid the controversial Fusion GPS firm to produce the infamous, largely-discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

    Prior to working for Schiff, Misko was director for the Gulf States at the National Security Council from 2015 until mid-2018. Before that, Misko worked in the Obama-era State Department under Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan.

    The Washington Examiner previously described Misko as evidencing a “bro-like” friendship with alleged whistleblower Ciaramella, calling the duo “close friends.”

    The newspaper reported the two “had similarly antagonistic attitudes toward the Trump administration and were witnessed by a former National Security Council official, like Ciaramella, a nonpolitical appointee, to frequently be around one another.”

    “My understanding was that they were friendly with one another,” said the former NSC official, who was described as senior to Ciaramella. “They would walk around the halls. Get lunch together and stuff like that.” He described them as “very much cut from the same cloth,” and their friendship as “bro-like.”

    The Washington Examiner report continued:

    The former official described Ciaramella as “very hostile” toward him when they first met, and he asked the CIA officer about the type of competitive strategies he had put in place to compete with the Russians. “And he looked at me like, ‘What are you talking about? We don’t do that stuff here. We don’t take on our adversaries here. We invite think tanks here to talk about issues.’”

    According to the former official, Trump’s first national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump after 24 days, wanted to “actually take the fight to our enemies and have real strategies, and it was such a contrast because whatever the hell the Obama NSC was doing, they were not taking on our adversaries.”

    He said, “There was this weird cultural hostility to me asking him, ‘You know, are you guys doing your job here?’ He had a lot of arrogance about him,” adding that Ciaramella behaved like he had protection at the NSC, so he could be insubordinate to a more senior official.

    Likely ‘whistleblower’

    A RealClearInvestigations report by investigative journalist and author Paul Sperry named Ciaramella as best fitting the description of the so-called whistleblower.

    Officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings say Ciaramella’s name has been raised in private in impeachment depositions and during at least one House open hearing that was not part of the formal impeachment proceedings.

    Federal documents show Ciaramella also worked closely with Joe Biden and worked under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked with former CIA Director John Brennan, an anti-Trump advocate who has faced controversy for his role in fueling the questionable Russia collusion investigation. Rice participated in Russia collusion probe meetings and reportedly unmasked senior members of Trump’s presidential campaign.

    Sperry cites former White House officials saying Ciaramella worked for Biden on Ukrainian policy issues in 2015 and 2016, encompassing the time period for which Biden has been facing possible conflict questions for leading Ukraine policy in light of Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma.

    Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, the activist attorneys representing the so-called whistleblower, refused to confirm on deny that their secretive client is indeed Ciaramella.

    “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower,” the lawyers told the Washington Examiner in response to an inquiry about Ciaramella.

    Zaid and Bakaj added, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

    Soros funding and ‘whistleblower’ complaint

    Besides Burisma funding, the Atlantic Council is also financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Google, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., and the U.S. State Department.

    Google, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund, and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.

    The charges in the July 22 report referenced in the so-called whistleblower’s document and released by the Google and Soros-funded organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower’s own claims, as Breitbart News documented.

    One key section of the so-called whistleblower’s document claims that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”

    This was allegedly to follow up on Trump’s call with Zelensky in order to discuss the “cases” mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower’s narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.

    Even though the statement was written in first person – “multiple U.S. officials told me” – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

    That footnote reads:

    In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

    The so-called whistleblower’s account goes on to rely upon that same OCCRP report on three more occasions. It does so to:

    Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
    Document that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”

    Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”

    The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced is actually a “joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”

    BuzzFeed infamously also first published the full anti-Trump dossier alleging unsubstantiated collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and was produced by the Fusion GPS opposition dirt outfit.

    The OCCRP and BuzzFeed “joint investigation” resulted in both OCCRP and BuzzFeed publishing similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use connections to have Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals.

    The so-called whistleblower’s document, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP and does not reference BuzzFeed, which has faced scrutiny over its reporting on the Russia collusion claims.

    https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/...14_pA19eZYO56M

    Is Biden guilty of the crimes he accused Trump of committing?
    Posted by Mitch McKinley | Nov 24, 2019 | Must Reads, News, Investigations, Featured
    It appears that we are heading into an election in which Donald Trump will have to defeat someone who should, at the very least, be arrested on felony charges, and at most, sentenced and serving time in prison.

    First, it was Hillary Clinton and the email scandal. Or was it the Benghazi scandal? Or was it weaponizing the IRS for the Democratic party? Or was the Uranium One deal?

    Now, it’s Joe Biden who cannot seem to get out of his own way.

    On multiple fronts, information is surfacing that points to Biden being guilty of doing exactly what he claims Trump has done.

    First, it was the Ukraine ‘quid pro quo’ accusations. Then it was the exonerations of military members accused or convicted of crimes.

    And now, he and son Hunter are in the news again.

    Hunter has been making the news all on his own, but the truth remains: no one would know who this guy was if he wasn’t Joe Biden’s son.

    Poll: 57% of Americans want probe into Biden and son, Hunter, who was kicked out of Navy over cocaine use
    Screenshot: CBS Evening News report on YouTube

    First, ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Republicans would subpoena him to testify in the impeachment hearings.

    Second, it was announced that Hunter Biden was the father of a child by an Arkansas woman according to a DNA match and that the woman was seeking child support from him.

    Third, it was confirmed that Ukraine was expanding the investigation into the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, for allegedly embezzling state funds.

    Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma from 2014 until April 2019. Three lawmakers alleged that Biden had been paid millions not from the legitimate funds of the firm but from money taken from Ukraine. The Ukraine prosecutor did not make any allegations against Hunter Biden in his statement about expanding the investigation.

    Fourth, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding documents relating to conversations Joe Biden had with the Ukrainian president at the time, Petro Poroshenko, about a month before Poroshenko fired the prosecutor Viktor Shokin.

    Fifth, let us not forget that in February of 2014, then Ensign Hunter Biden was handed either a general or dishonorable discharge and booted out of the Navy for testing positive for cocaine use the year before, according to the Inquisitor.

    Now, there’s more interesting Hunter Biden-related news.

    According to the Washington Examiner, an investment firm linked to Hunter Biden received over $130 million in federal bailout loans while his father Joe Biden was vice president and routed profits through a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, according to federal banking and corporate records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.

    Financial experts said the offshore corporate structure could have been used to shield earnings from U.S. taxes.

    Rosemont Capital, an investment firm at the center of Hunter Biden’s much-scrutinized financial network, was one of the companies approved to participate in the 2009 federal loan program known as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).

    Under the program, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank issued billions of dollars in highly favorable loans to select investors who agreed to buy bonds that banks were struggling to offload, including bundled college and auto loans.

    This benefited a lot of well-connected firms in Washington, D.C. and Wall Street.

    Guess who was a big advocate for this bailout, according to the Washington Examiner? You got it: JOE BIDEN.

    Can you honestly say that nothing criminal took place?

    One of the firms that benefited was Rosemont Capital, a company led by Hunter Biden’s business partners, Chris Heinz and Devon Archer. The firm received the loans at a crucial time for Hunter Biden. The younger Biden had stepped down from his lobbying business in late 2008, reportedly due to pressure on his father’s vice-presidential campaign.

    Biden, Heinz, and Archer incorporated Rosemont Seneca Partners in Delaware on June 25, 2009. The “alternative investment and market advisory firm” was an offshoot of Rosemont Capital, which held a 50% stake in the new venture. Rosemont Seneca and Rosemont Capital shared the same office address in lower Manhattan and the same New York phone number, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

    Three weeks after Rosemont Seneca was incorporated, a subsidiary of Rosemont Capital, called Rosemont TALF SPV, received $23.5 million in federal loans through the TALF program. This included $13.4 million to invest in student loans and $11.1 million to invest in subprime auto loans. Over five months, the company received a total of $130 million from the program in multiple installments for investments in subprime credit cards and residential mortgages.

    Over 100 of these TALF investors incorporate in the Cayman Islands, thus, limiting their tax liability.

    Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to Ben Bernanke complaining about this saying, “Why would the Fed lend to material investigators located in the Cayman Islands, because that allows them to avoid billions in taxes.”
    Federal Reserve records show Rosemont Capital was one of the companies that set up an offshore limited partnership, called “Rosemont TALF Investment Fund LP,” to participate in the TALF program. The fund was incorporated in the Cayman Islands on May 14, 2009, and dissolved on Nov. 14, 2014, according to corporate records in the British territory. The fund was managed by a Delaware-based subsidiary of Rosemont called “Rosemont TALF GP,” SEC records show.

    Another investor in Rosemont’s TALF fund, called “Rosemont TALF Opportunities Fund II,” was also based in the Cayman Islands. Additional Rosemont TALF investors included two Greek shipping magnates, a California class action attorney and a financial trust based in Liberia.

    Joe said his son has nothing wrong. Sounds like it doesn’t hurt to be well connected.



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  3. #143
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    Default Re: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration

    Clinton And Soros Are Behind Violent Riots At Trump Rallies, Not Sanders



    ROGER STONE
    THE DAILY CALLER'S MEN'S FASHION EDITOR
    March 21, 2016
    9:48 AM ET
    The Establishment on both the left and the right, who want to disenfranchise the millions of Republican voters who support Donald Trump, have blamed the staged riots near Trump rallies on Trump or on Bernie Sanders. That’s like blaming the Russians for the Reichstag Fire. Bernie has little to do with these manufactured protests. This is a Clinton operation, a faux protest.

    False flag operations have long been common in politics, but these riots are poisonous to the electorate, intentionally designed to turn violent and stifle free speech.

    This free speech-busting goon squad operation is directed by supporters of Hillary Clinton. It is paid for mostly by George Soros and MoveOn.org and pushed by David Brock at Media Matters for America. It’s also funded by reclusive billionaire Jonathan Lewis, who was identified by the Miami New Times as a “mystery man.” He inherited roughly a billion dollars from his father Peter Lewis (founder of Progressive Insurance Company).

    A march and demonstration against Trump at Trump Tower essentially fizzled Saturday when only 500 “protesters” of the promised 5000 showed up. Infiltrating the crowd, I learned most were from MoveOn or the Occupy movement. Soap was definitely in short supply in this crowd. Several admitted answering a Craig’s list ad paying $16.00 an hour for protesters.

    Hillary understands that Trump would lose the votes of certain establishment Republicans if he were the nominee. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter, because of his crossover outreach. In Michigan, Democrats and independents who have lost their jobs because of disastrous globalist trade deals like NAFTA are lining up to vote for Donald.

    The Clinton camp figured out that Bernie’s economic voters — not the hard-left voters who will stick with her, but blue-collar folks who have just figured out that they have been left out of the new-world-order economy, are already voting for Trump and Hillary is petrified.

    Hillary supports TPP and helped sell us NAFTA. She killed American jobs. It’s her Achilles heel.

    Trump is the only candidate who is a populist nationalist, not a globalist like the Clintons and Bushes (and Cruz). This explains both his appeal and the fear the establishment in both parties have of him. Lots of hardworking, blue-collar people across America have lost their jobs since the 1990’s, victims of the globalist policies of the Bushes and Clintons. Those voters, regardless of party affiliation or race, are fed up and gearing up in massive numbers to support Trump.

    This is why David Brock’s dirty trick solves two problems at once: it helps discredit Bernie because it appears that his followers are violent; and it also disqualifies Trump for a future vote, by portraying him as a racist or a bigot. The whole thing is a kabuki dance. Blaming Sanders for these riots is like blaming the Communists for the Reichstag fire.

    Trump needs to understand that the Clintonistas are doing it — and why. Sanders’ socialism is dangerously wrong, but he is generally forthright, not having the decades of experience in political deceit of the Clinton gang.

    Sanders has nothing to gain by sending his Millennial hipster followers to a Trump rally and for the most part, they wouldn’t tear themselves away from their parents’ basements or trendy wine bars. Some Sanders followers will show up, but it’s mostly professional agitators in a well-organized web of ringers. The Chicago Machine of Rahm Emmanuel (a Clinton supporter) generated bodies as well. Ironic because Rahm’s brother Ari is Trump’s agent in the reality TV business.

    While historically corrupt Chicago was a prime location to start, these phony demonstrators will show up at other Trump events around the country. Massive civil disobedience is already being planned on the East Coast in April. More mainstream media should report the truth behind them and call them what they are: the Clinton/Soros Riots of 2016.


    Letter from Senator Chuck Grassley to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
    https://www.grassley.senate.gov/site...%20FARA%29.pdf

    All of the documents collected by John Solomon.
    https://www.scribd.com/user/259237201/JohnSolomon

    National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine — signed Memorandum of Understanding.
    https://nabu.gov.ua/en/novyny/nabu-h...erstanding-fbi

    FEC 2016 Expenditure connected to Ali Chalupa.
    https://www.opensecrets.org/parties/...xtname=&page=3

    Statement of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to The Hill.
    https://www.scribd.com/document/4282...enko-Statement

    Viktor Shokin Statement
    https://www.scribd.com/document/4276...okin-Statement

    June 2016 State Department memos detailing contacts between George Soros' office and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
    https://www.scribd.com/document/4210...aMemosJune2016

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxxmexUrluk
    President Obama offering assistance to the President of Ukraine. 11:03 min

    https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/3962https
    Email from Ali Chalupa to DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda.

    Audio of Deputy Spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders' off-camera briefing with reporters at the White House.
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?431242...-jr-audio-only

    Recording of Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
    https://www.facebook.com/boryslav.ro...1343333249593/

    (Alternate webpage for documents) https://www.glennbeck.com/glenn-beck...ndal-explained

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    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



  4. #144
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    Default Re: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration

    https://freebeacon.com/uncategorized...p-impeachment/

    Confidential David Brock Memo: Defeat Trump Through Impeachment
    Private memo lays out plan for next four years

    Joe Schoffstall - JANUARY 21, 2017 3:36 PM

    A confidential David Brock memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon lays out the ways the Democratic operative plans to use his numerous organizations to take down President Donald Trump through impeachment.

    Brock is currently at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla. for a weekend conference with more than 100 major liberal donors. Attendees are mapping out a course to combat the newly sworn-in president.

    According to the private and confidential memo, Brock plans to defeat Trump "through impeachment," using American Bridge, his liberal super PAC, as the main vehicle to do so.

    "No other progressive organization has the resources and assets that American Bridge has amassed over the past several election cycles to hold Trump, his administration, and the politicians accountable," the 44-page confidential memo states.

    "Only Bridge stands ready with staff already hired, Trump's web of business ties mapped out, and a massive video archive at our fingertips."

    "The right will bolster Trump aggressively and deceptively. The campaign to stop him must be nonstop. At American Bridge, it has already begun."

    Brock's group claims to have more than 20,000 hours of video, 289 candidate research books, and the largest available archive of Trump research in the Democratic Party. Within weeks of the election, Bridge launched a "Trump War Room," which has already scrutinized Trump's transition team and will continue to watch the personnel, policies, and practices of the administration.

    The "state-of-the-art Trump War Room" will strive to "uncover details of Trump's affection for Russia and Putin." They are tracking Trump's foreign and domestic business partners, construction projects in foreign countries, and negotiations on potential future projects that he "could use to put personal profit ahead of our national security."

    "With so many opportunities for foreign governments and corporations to gain influence over Trump, American Bridge will use every means at its disposal to hold Trump and his administration accountable—including FOIA requests, lawsuits, and regulatory complaints. As the progressive movement's political research clearinghouse, we will arm our allies to join us in taking on the administration through paid advertising, earned media, grassroots efforts, and legal recourse."

    The group laid out its strategic plan for the next four years. The top outcome is to defeat Trump "through impeachment."

    "The number of stories and the value of TV time for anti-Trump media coverage we generate will break all internal records," the memo states. "Multiple Trump nominations will become a drag on his administration due to the research we unearth. Trump's approval rating will remain historically low."

    American Bridge has a 2017 budget of $14.7 million, according to the memo. This figure represents both the work of Bridge's 501(c)(4) and its super PAC staffed by 146 individuals.

    "The 501(c)(4) is creating a 47-person war room to take on Donald Trump with a staff of 25 researchers, a communications team of 16 which is feeding out work to the press and doing rapid-response, and a team of six-media monitors. Bridge will also build out a robust digital program to deliver our content directly to voters. The total cost of the Bridge war will be $7.8 million in 2017."

    The super PAC will also conduct research in 16 to 20 of the most competitive Senate races in the 2018 cycle using two research teams of five people each.

    Bridge will focus on defeating Trump either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020, changing the balance of power by impacting U.S. Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative races and freeing themselves of reliance on the press by reaching voters directly online.

    Brock hopes to build a liberal donor network for the left at his Florida retreat that rivals the network of the Koch brothers.

    Free Beacon reporter Lachlan Markay contributed to this report.

    https://freebeacon.com/issues/david-...-media-entity/

    David Brock’s Shareblue to Be ‘Nucleus’ of Multi-Platform Anti-Trump Media Entity
    'Digital attacker' to delegitimize Trump's presidency by emboldening opposition

    Joe Schoffstall - JANUARY 24, 2017 3:30 PM

    David Brock, the Democratic operative who founded the left-wing Media Matters for America, plans to use a news entity he recently purchased as the nucleus of his efforts to delegitimize President Donald Trump, according to confidential documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

    Brock spent this past weekend gathered with more than 100 deep-pocketed Democratic donors at the posh Turnberry Isle resort in Aventura, Fla., to map out a course to "kick Donald Trump's ass." The Free Beacon obtained the memo at the donor retreat.

    The 44-page confidential memo shows how Brock seeks to defeat Trump through impeachment by using American Bridge, his Super PAC, as the primary vehicle.

    Brock will also use Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to push litigation against Trump and his administration. The group filed two lawsuits last weekend hitting Trump over his alleged violation of a constitutional conflict-of-interest provision.

    Shareblue, formerly called BlueNationRising, was purchased by Brock in 2015 and rebranded the following year. The confidential memo shows how Brock plans to use Shareblue as the "nucleus" to disseminate information to the public to damage Trump and his allies.

    "We will delegitimize Donald Trump's presidency by emboldening the opposition and empowering the majority of Americans who oppose him," the memo states. "Shareblue will be the dynamic nucleus of a multi-platform media company that informs, engages, and arms Americans to fight."

    "Shareblue is positioned to frame opposition research from American Bridge and other progressive groups, as well as leaks and intel from Democrats on House and Senate committees, in our signature punchy, emotive style—and disseminate it directly to our followers in a daily inline persuasion campaign."

    The Washington Free Beacon, along with Breitbart, were singled out as "online smear merchants" who have been cited by numerous Republican campaigns and candidates this past election cycle—success he hopes to emulate in the form of damaging Trump supporters in upcoming elections.

    Brock wants to use Shareblue as a means to "expose Trump allies and collaborators" by having their stories repeated in Democratic communications and political ads.

    "The right has done this effectively (though deceptively) for years. They have brought down progressive organizations and damaged Democrats," the memo says. "In addition, there have been an influx of Republican campaigns and candidates citing bogus news stories from online smear merchants such as the Washington Free Beacon or Breitbart in political ads and communication."

    "Now, we can use our own social media platform to both weaponize oppo research and perfect its delivery system to expose Trump and his allies and collaborators, and to damage Trump. We will aim to have our factual news stories repeated in Democratic communications and paid political ads."

    The group's editorial priorities include exposing Trump as a "weak, thin skinned ‘loser,'" keeping focus on Trump's "conflicts of interests," and propping up Republicans who veer from Trump's positions.

    Shareblue's full editorial priorities are listed as the following:

    Calling out signs of authoritarianism and kleptocracy. Championing voices who have been right to warns us.

    Nonstop coverage of the influence of Vladimir Putin and Russia on Trump and his
    administration.

    Exposing Trump as a weak, thin-skinned "loser" vulnerable to goading.

    Relentlessly beating the drum that he has no mandate, lost the popular vote, and is the least popular president-elect in modern American history.

    Exposing the insidious role of Mike Pence, who is replicating the right-wing governance ideology he inflicted in Indiana.

    Demystifying Trump's "conflicts of interest" and calling them what they are: Subversions of the nation's interests.

    Spotlighting the Trump administration's vast ties to white nationalists and the ways in which they explicitly empower white supremacy.

    Tracking and fighting back against odious GOP legislation in Congress.
    Following SCOTUS nominations/appointments/major cases.

    Morale-boosting coverage of the grassroots opposition and resistance efforts outside the beltway.

    Positive coverage of Democrats who boldly call out Trump and aggressively work against him. Pressure of Democrats who hold him accountable.

    Fighting outrage fatigue.

    The group says that articles are often shared more than 10,000 times apiece with average daily impressions of 2.1 million. Since July 1, 2016, users saw Shareblue posts 323 million times, which was a 50 percent increase from the first half of 2016, the memo says.

    Brock also wants to focus on funding investigative journalism projects to dig for dirt on the newly sworn in president.

    The American Independent Institute, which was taken over by Brock in 2014, will closely work alongside Shareblue, the memo states. The American Independent will award grants to "top investigative journalists to cover, expose and damage the Trump administration and its allies."

    The memo lists three previous "victories" achieved by the American Independent including a 2014 Rolling Stone profile on the rise of Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, which the groups says earned 570,000 unique visitors and three million page views. The piece ultimately led to follow-up articles from outlets such as the New York Daily News and Roll Call.

    Shareblue has a 2017 budget set at $2 million, which covers a staff of 18, including six full-time content producers. The group will bring in an executive editor and increase their freelance writers budget by 50 percent. Shareblue will re-build their video content program with a part-time producer and optimize their social media presence with a digital manager.

    The group wants to become the go-to news outlet for grassroots Trump opponents and the de-facto news outlet for opposition leaders. They also want to force Trump allies to step down or change course due to news pushed by the group and force Democrats to take a more aggressive stance against Trump.

    Brock hopes that his donor retreat this past weekend will lead to a liberal network that can rival that of the Koch brothers.


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    Default Re: The Left's War Against Trump's Administration


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ion-fell-apart

    After a revolution overthrew Ukraine’s disgraced president, Theresa May promised to help the country’s new leaders recover stolen assets. But the UK’s first case collapsed within a year
    by Oliver Bullough

    Wed 12 Apr 2017 01.00 EDTLast modified on Tue 1 May 2018 10.21 EDT

    On 11 March 2014, a London branch of the French bank BNP Paribas received a request from a Ukrainian lawyer. He asked the bank to close accounts belonging to his client and transfer their balances to Cyprus.

    The accounts contained a mere $23m, and the transaction should have been routine. But although the amount was unremarkable by the standards of the City, the times were not. Ukraine had just overthrown its president, Viktor Yanukovich, and the world was on the lookout for money that Yanukovich and his associates had stashed abroad.

    Yanukovich was a man whose corruption had to be seen to be believed. The colossal greed of the president and his cronies beggared the Ukrainian state and infuriated ordinary citizens. Tens of thousands of people protested in central Kiev throughout the winter of 2013-14, until Yanukovich fled Ukraine that February. After the revolution, protesters who broke into his private residence found vintage cars, ostriches, a drinking den shaped like a galleon. There were stacks of treasures in the garage; he had had no space left for them in his $30m, six-storey, log-built palace.

    The country’s new government accused its predecessors of stealing $100bn, and the west – perhaps embarrassed that so much of this money had ended up in its banks – promised to do what it could to help return it to Ukraine.

    At the end of April 2014, London hosted a summit that would – in the words of then-home secretary Theresa May – “provide practical leadership and assistance to the Ukrainian government as they identify and recover assets looted under the Yanukovich regime ... It is the tangible manifestation of our shared determination to end the culture of impunity, and prevent our open societies and open economies from being abused by corrupt individuals to launder and hide stolen funds.”

    Dozens of countries sent representatives to the summit, from the United States and the United Kingdom down to the tiniest tax havens: Bermuda, Monaco, the Isle of Man. On the summit’s final afternoon, Britain’s then-attorney general, Dominic Grieve QC, made a dramatic announcement: the UK had already joined the fight. A transfer had been flagged as suspicious, and British authorities had frozen the account and initiated a money-laundering investigation.

    “This week the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that it is investigating allegations of corruption linked to the Yanukovich regime and has obtained a court order to restrain assets valued at approximately $23m,” Grieve told the assembled delegates. “There will be no effective deterrent for corruption whilst levels of detection of illicit financial flows and recovery of misappropriated assets remain small.”

    If the frozen $23m was indeed linked to corruption in Ukraine, it would still be only a fraction of what Yanukovich and his associates had been accused of embezzling. But the case was intended to send a message – about the west’s determination to make sure Ukraine could regain what had been stolen, and that its looters be punished. This pleasingly specific number, $23m, dominated headlines from the summit, where it was held up as concrete proof that the rulers of the west were finally helping the rest of the world fight corruption.

    “The message is clear,” May said. “We are making it harder than ever for corrupt regimes or individuals around the world to move, hide and profit from the proceeds of their crime.”

    For decades, hundreds of billions of dollars have vanished from the world’s poorest countries, finding their way – via the tax and secrecy havens of Europe, south-east Asia and the Caribbean – into the banking system, real estate and luxury goods markets of the west. According to the World Bank, between $20bn and $40bn is stolen each year by public officials from developing countries. Rich countries returned only $147.2m worth of these assets between 2010 and 2012 – far less than one cent out of every misappropriated dollar. And that may even understate the scale of the problem. Some lawyers involved in asset-recovery cases estimate the volume of money embezzled globally at around $1tn a year, which makes the tiny amount of money recovered look even feebler.

    As both a financial centre that launders an estimated £100bn a year and a prime real estate market for the investors of crooked cash, London has a special responsibility in the fight against corruption – one that it has rarely accepted. The 2014 summit – much like David Cameron’s highly publicised global Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016 – was intended to show Britain’s determination to live up to its responsibilities.

    Instead, the case of the $23m collapsed within a year – when a British judge ruled that the SFO had built its case on “conjecture and suspicion”, and ordered the money returned to its owner. This is the story of how a very high-profile corruption investigation fell apart – and what it means for Ukraine and the UK.

    Yanukovich was not the first Ukrainian politician to engage in corruption, but he was certainly the best at it. In fact, the word corruption is a misleading one for Ukraine, since it implies a dishonest cancer afflicting an otherwise healthy organism, whereas in this case it was the other way round. Corruption was the system, and it metastasised into any parts of the state apparatus that remained healthy.

    In the three years after Yanukovich took office in 2010, Ukraine slipped from an already disastrous 134th on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index down to 144th – putting it level with countries such as the Central African Republic and Nigeria, which are synonymous with shadiness and mismanagement. But the financial damage that Yanukovich and his predecessors did to Ukraine is hard to measure in simple numbers. At the time of its independence in 1991, Ukraine’s economy was almost as large as Poland’s; now, it is a third of the size.

    Yanukovich and his allies controlled the country’s legal system, within which prosecutors have broad discretionary powers to initiate or block investigations – providing unlimited opportunities for extortion. They could deny export licenses, delay tax rebates, inflate medicine prices – and demand bribes in return. To outside observers, it seemed that the only opposition came from investigative journalists and activists who revealed the backroom deals that had carved up Ukraine’s economy.

    To frustrate any potential investigations, Ukraine’s rulers became masters of the offshore world’s network of tax havens. Once money was stolen, it was invested in European and American assets hidden at the end of intricate chains of shell companies, registered through tax havens in the Indian Ocean, Europe and the Caribbean. It is Cyprus, rather than Russia, Germany or America, that dominates the Ukrainian economy: an astonishing 92% of Ukraine’s outward investment flowed into the Mediterranean tax haven in 2014.

    The secrecy of these offshore centres allowed the oligarchs around Yanukovich to keep the precise details of their deals hidden from the public – but ordinary Ukrainians knew enough to be angry. If Ukraine’s 2014 revolution was about any one thing, it was about this corruption. Yanukovich and his allies had stolen as much as they could; more than they could ever need. And even the most apolitical citizens could see that infrastructure was rotting, medicines were scarce, schools were falling apart. The armed forces were so demoralised by the degeneration of the homeland they were supposed to defend that when Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, a Ukrainian admiral defected as soon as Russia asked him to.

    The UK government trumpeted the freezing of the $23m for two reasons. First, it was meant to be the initial installment of many billions that would eventually help to rebuild Ukraine. If that sum could be confiscated and returned, perhaps so too could the hundreds of millions stashed in London, Latvia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and elsewhere. Second, the successful prosecution of a regime insider would send a message to the world’s kleptocrats: your money isn’t safe in London any more.

    The $23m was held in bank accounts at BNP Paribas belonging to two companies, which were in turn controlled by a Ukrainian politician named Mykola Zlochevsky. A large man with a shaved head, Zlochevsky wears boxy suits, dislikes fastening the top button of his shirt, and has been a fixture of Ukraine’s public life for two decades. In 2013, according to the Ukrainian news weekly, Focus, which almost certainly understated his fortune, he was Ukraine’s 86th richest man and worth $146m.

    In 2010, after Yanukovich won the election, Zlochevsky became natural resources minister. That position gave him oversight of all energy companies operating in Ukraine, including the country’s largest independent gas company, Burisma. The potential for a conflict of interest should have been clear, because Zlochevsky himself controlled Burisma. But there was no public outcry about this, because almost no one in Ukraine knew about it. Zlochevsky owned his businesses via Cyprus, a favoured haven for assets unobtrusively controlled by high-ranking officials in the Yanukovich administration.

    In response to my questions about the freezing of Zlochevsky’s $23m, his London law firm, Peters & Peters, insisted that their client never benefited personally from the decisions that he took while in office. “Mr Zlochevsky has followed the letter and spirit of the law in his role as civil servant and has, at all times, held himself to the highest moral and ethical standards in his business dealings and public functions,” Peters & Peters said in a statement. “Our clients have fallen victim to an entrenched and a cynical programme of smear campaigns and misinformation.”

    “Mr Zlochevsky’s wealth is not a result of corruption or criminal conduct,” the law firm told me. “He made his wealth before entering office.”

    It is true that Zlochevsky was a wealthy man before 2010. Burisma’s website makes clear that the periods when it has performed best have consistently coincided with the high points in its owner’s political career. During a previous Yanukovich government, in 2003-5, Zlochevsky chaired the State Committee for Natural Resources, and companies under his control won licenses to explore for oil. Then Yanukovich fell from grace, and the new government tried to strip Zlochevsky’s companies of their oil exploration rights – and he had to sue the government in order to keep them. Yanukovich won the presidency in 2010 and Zlochevsky became a minister. The good times returned: Burisma gained nine production licenses and its annual production rose sevenfold. After the revolution, Zlochevsky left the administration.

    According to a court judgment from January 2015, the $23m in the account that had been frozen in London was the proceeds of the sale of an oil storage facility, which Zlochevsky had owned via a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven that does not reveal who controls the many thousands of companies based there. The $23m arrived in London from Latvia, a minimally regulated Eastern European country, where banks are famously welcoming towards money from the former Soviet Union.

    On 14 April 2014, the money was frozen at a special court hearing in London requested by the Serious Fraud Office. As described in the later court judgment, the SFO argued that “there were reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant [Zlochevsky] had engaged in criminal conduct in Ukraine and the funds in the BNP account were believed to be the proceeds of such criminal conduct”.

    The SFO investigator Richard Gould claimed in the April 2014 court hearing that Zlochevsky’s dual position in Ukraine as both a politician and a businessman gave “rise to a clear inference of a wilful and dishonest exploitation of a direct conflict of interest by a man holding an important public office such as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in him”.

    The SFO further argued that “the complicated pattern of offshore holding companies established when he was still a serving minister was effectively to conceal his beneficial ownership of Burisma”, which it deemed inherently suspicious.

    By 20 May 2014, Gould had obtained 6,170 electronic documents from BNP Paribas related to Zlochevsky’s money, and assembled a special team to examine them. He also wanted evidence from Ukraine, so he wrote to the head of the international department of the general prosecutors’ office, Vitaly Kasko, in Kiev.

    A lean man with a sharp chin and luxuriant head of black hair, Kasko had been invited into the prosecutor’s office after the revolution, and made responsible for negotiations with all the western countries that had promised to help at the London summit. He had previously served as a prosecutor, but quit when Yanukovich came to power in 2010 – this ensured that Kasko was personally untainted by corruption. He was also popular with activists, since he provided legal support for protesters dragged before Yanukovich’s courts during the revolution.

    Ukraine was at the time in a state of turmoil. Russia had annexed the peninsula of Crimea, and was aiding pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s eastern provinces. Kiev had lost control of Donetsk and Luhansk, two of the country’s most important cities, and protesters’ barricades still dominated the centre of the capital. The country needed a new president and, that May, elected a magnate named Petro Poroshenko. Although he had served as a minister under Yanukovich and was himself a billionaire, Poroshenko pledged to sell his confectionery business, to govern only in the interests of the people, to prosecute the corrupt former insiders and to bring an end to the old way of doing things, including in the prosecutors’ office. For too long, prosecutors had been acting essentially as gangsters in uniform, rather than investigating crimes.

    Considering how central prosecutors had been to Yanukovich’s corrupt regime, there were significant doubts over both the honesty, and competence of Ukraine’s lawmen, but Kasko was hopeful that his colleagues would see the importance of regaining the $23m and thus do all they could to help the SFO. He told me that he translated the British request, sent it to his boss, and awaited results.

    “The investigation began but, no matter how much we pushed the investigators, it was not effective,” Kasko told me. Even when Zlochevsky’s lawyers announced they would contest the freezing of the $23m in a London court, the Ukrainian prosecutors still failed to send the SFO the evidence it needed to maintain the freezing order. “First the British wrote to me, then the Americans, with questions about what was happening with the investigation,” Kasko remembered.

    It was hardly the mutual trust and cooperation supposedly created by the London summit. US and British diplomats were begging Ukraine to investigate a case, which, if it were successful, would benefit Ukraine, and yet nothing appeared to be happening. Eventually, six months after Gould first wrote to him, Kasko stepped decisively outside his area of responsibility, and wrote to his boss in the prosecutor’s office to demand action.

    “I said I wanted this to be investigated properly, that the Brits be told about it, and they get what they wanted,” recalled Kasko. “He said, ‘If you want, get on with it.’” It was hardly the most enthusiastic of endorsements, but it was enough for Kasko. He forced investigators to work evenings, and weekends. They put together a dossier of evidence that Kasko felt supported the SFO’s argument “that the defendant’s assets were the product of criminal wrongdoing when he held public office”, sent it to the SFO, and announced officially that Zlochevsky was suspected of a criminal offence in Ukraine.

    It was only thanks to Kasko that the SFO had received any useful documents from Ukraine at all. “I asked the Brits, ‘What else do we need to do?’” Kasko remembered. “And they said: ‘That’s fine, that’s more than enough to defend the freezing order in court’.”

    Their confidence was misplaced. In January 2015, Mr Justice Nicholas Blake, sitting in the Old Bailey, rejected the SFO’s argument. “The case remains a matter of conjecture and suspicion,” he wrote in his judgment. To confiscate assets, prosecutors have to prove that the frozen money related to a specific crime and, he ruled, the SFO had totally failed to do so.

    It was a humiliating reverse for British law enforcement, and for Gould, the lead investigator, who then moved to another agency. (Gould told me in July 2015 that he was “personally disappointed”, but declined to comment further.) The judge unfroze the $23m and handed it back to Zlochevsky.

    The British government had made a big announcement of the original decision to seize the funds, but did not publicise this reversal. It is not hard to understand why. It was, after all, an embarrassing setback for the UK, which had held up this particular case as a sign of its commitment to confiscate money belonging to Yanukovich’s allies and return it to the people of Ukraine.

    When I contacted the SFO in May 2015, a spokeswoman told me: “We are disappointed we were not provided with the evidence by authorities in the Ukraine necessary to keep this restraint order in place”, but declined to comment further because she said the investigation was ongoing. In January of this year, I contacted Dominic Grieve, who had made the dramatic announcement of the asset freezing. He is still an MP, but no longer in the government. He told me he had no recollection of the case.

    Zlochevsky’s lawyers at Peters & Peters told me that the judge had “ruled unequivocally that there was not reasonable grounds to allege that our client had benefited from any criminal conduct”. Burisma’s lawyers have since repeatedly referred to the ruling as evidence of their client’s vindication, which calls into question the decision of the UK government to use this particular case as an example of its determination to recover assets and return them to Ukraine, when it had been unable to prove that there were sufficient grounds to keep the $23m frozen.

    When Kasko read the judge’s ruling, he had questions, but of a rather different nature. At the hearing, the tycoon’s lawyers had not just attacked the case against their client, but also produced evidence of his innocence, evidence that came from the unlikeliest of sources. Justice Blake’s 21-page judgment made reference half a dozen times to a letter, dated 2 December 2014, signed by someone in the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office, which stated baldly that Zlochevsky was not suspected of any crime.

    Kasko felt this was bizarre. Everyone in a senior position at the prosecutor’s office must have known he was leading a frenzied investigation into Zlochevsky at that precise time, so how could anyone have signed off on a letter saying that no investigation was going on? The letter appeared to be crucial to the judge’s ruling, which stated that Zlochevsky “was never named as a suspect for embezzlement or indeed any other offence, let alone one related to the exercise of improper influence in the grant of exploration and production licenses”.

    As Kasko saw it, his colleagues had failed to help him when he begged them to investigate Zlochevsky. But when it came to writing a letter to help the tycoon, he believed they had happily done so.

    According to Kasko, there were really only three possible reasons for why a senior Ukrainian prosecutor would have written a letter for Zlochevsky rather than assisting Kasko. He was either incompetent, corrupt or both. Peters & Peters did not respond to specific questions about the letter (“the allegations implied by your questions … are untrue and entirely without foundation”).

    Whatever the explanation for this mysterious letter, the case highlighted a crucial flaw in countries’ efforts to cooperate across borders. Even in the rare cases when the UK does freeze a foreign official’s property, it is dependent for evidence from colleagues abroad who usually have fewer resources, less training and a decades-long tradition of institutionalised corruption. That means that any misconduct or incompetence by the Ukrainian prosecutors can undermine a case in the UK as surely as if the same actions were committed by the SFO.

    Zlochevsky is not the only former Ukrainian official to have assets frozen abroad. As part of western assistance to the new Ukrainian government, European countries have blocked the assets of Yanukovich and a couple of dozen others. The asset freeze was intended to give Ukrainian prosecutors time to investigate and prosecute, and thus prevent the individuals involved burying assets in their favourite tax havens. The totals involved – around £220m in cash and property – would buy a lot of medicine and build a lot of roads.

    The man in Ukraine responsible for gathering the evidence against many of the individuals whose assets have been frozen abroad is Sergei Gorbatyuk, head of the prosecutors’ special investigations department. When we met in April last year, he looked tired and crumpled in a baggy grey suit; it was late in the evening, the only time he had free after a long day. Unusually for a high-ranking official in the prosecutors’ office, he has a reputation for honesty, which is why several anti-corruption activists recommended that I talk to him.

    “Our main problem is that these high-ranking officials’ assets are all registered abroad, in Monaco, or Cyprus, or Belize, or the British Virgin Islands, and so on, and we write requests to them, we wait for three or four years, or there’s no response at all. And that’s that, and it all falls apart,” he said. “The asset has been re-registered five times just while we’re waiting for an answer.”

    Even when foreign officials did reply to his letters, Gorbatyuk explained, he then had to find a way to understand what they had written. The authorities in Monaco for example had forwarded him 4,000 pages of documentation relating to one oligarch in French, Arabic and English, which he had received eight months previously but was yet to read. The official translators had waited for four months to tell him they were too busy to do the job, then an outside contractor proved incapable of managing it, and, he says, his bosses kept blocking the other suggestions he brought them. “This is the insanity of our whole system, this is everywhere. I get the impression no one wants anything to happen,” he said.

    And if previous cases are any guide, progress will continue to be slow. In one of the few examples of a Ukrainian corruption-related charge that has gone to court, ex-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko was found guilty in California in 2004 of money laundering, and sentenced to 97 months in prison. Lazarenko had fled Ukraine back in 1999, when he fell out of favour with the then-president. He tried to claim asylum in the United States but instead became the first foreign leader convicted of laundering money through the American financial system.

    Although the conviction was successful, the asset recovery process remains blocked. A total of $271m of Lazarenko’s money is frozen in Guernsey, Antigua, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania, but Washington has been unable to recover it for a decade. And this is not an unusual case. The World Bank has an asset recovery database, which shows that cases have dragged on in western courts for more than 10 years in connection to money from Liberia, El Salvador, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Zambia and elsewhere.

    In evidence submitted to a parliamentary committee last year, the Serious Fraud Office said the obstacles put in its path by offshore jurisdictions were a key cause of these delays. “Top tier defendants are highly sophisticated and operate internationally. They are likely to be acutely aware of those jurisdictions with an environment that is favourable to them, and from which it is very difficult (and in some cases impossible) to either trace benefit or recover assets,” the SFO said. “Such defendants are also likely to be astute in their use of financial products and other devices which they use to disguise their economic benefit from any crime.”

    On 8 March 2015, David Sakvarelidze, then Ukraine’s first deputy general prosecutor, appeared on a Ukrainian news programme and made a dramatic accusation – that Ukrainian prosecutors had taken a bribe to help Zlochevsky.

    The source for Sakvarelidze’s claim was an unnamed foreign consultant working within Ukrainian law enforcement. “A high-ranking official in the prosecutors’ office told him [the consultant] he suspected that one official had taken a bribe of $7m,” Sakvarelidze alleged in his television appearance. “It’s shameful of course. People like that should not represent this country.” (Sakvarelidze did not respond to interview requests. The allegation has not been proven, but it is the subject of an investigation by the newly established National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.)

    Sakvarelidze, an ethnic Georgian, had been hired just weeks earlier to help clean up the law enforcement system and he set to work. Progress was slow, however. In fact, it was so slow that the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, decided to make an astonishingly forthright interjection. In September 2015, speaking in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, Pyatt stated that prosecutors “were asked by the UK to send documents supporting the seizure” of the $23m, but “instead sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting there was no case against him”. “Those responsible for subverting the case by authorising those letters should – at a minimum – be summarily terminated,” he said.

    The allegation was part of a long and damning speech, in which he laid out just how little Ukraine had reformed its law enforcement bodies, something that makes recovering the millions stashed overseas unlikely if not impossible.

    Ukraine’s national finances are currently dependent on the International Monetary Fund, where the dominant voice belongs to the United States. Pyatt was not just any ambassador therefore, but the local representative of the government’s paymaster. He was putting Ukraine on notice – sort out the prosecutor’s office, because America is getting annoyed. But it didn’t work. Rival prosecutors opened criminal cases against two of Kasko’s investigators, and their allies in other institutions. “Sadly, the protection racket we uncovered … turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg,” Sakvarelidze wrote on Facebook in October 2015.

    Change could only be won when international lenders forced President Poroshenko to act. It was tough talk from the west that obliged Ukraine’s parliament – long referred to sarcastically as the biggest business club in Europe – to create the anti-corruption bureau and a dedicated anti-corruption prosecution service. And it was only the bluntest of language from US officials that forced the Ukrainian government to fire crooked prosecutors. According to a valedictory interview by the former vice president Joe Biden in the Atlantic, Poroshenko only sacked the lawman blocking Kasko’s reforms because Biden made a direct threat. “Petro, you’re not getting your billion dollars,” Biden said he had told Ukraine’s president. “You can keep the [prosecutor] general. Just understand, we’re not paying if you do.”

    Biden was Washington’s point man on Ukraine throughout the Obama administration, and consistently encouraged reformers and chided their opponents. In a speech in Ukraine’s parliament in December 2015, he said the country could not hope to reform itself on European lines or regain its money, if it did not do something about its entrenched corruption. “You cannot name me a single democracy in the world where the cancer of corruption is prevalent,” he told parliament. “It’s not enough to set up a new anti-corruption bureau and establish a special prosecutor fighting corruption. The Office of the General Prosecutor desperately needs reform.”

    By then, however, almost two years had passed since the revolution and many Ukrainians had become disillusioned. The credibility of the United States was not helped by the news that since May 2014, Biden’s son Hunter had been on the board of directors of Burisma, Zlochevsky’s company.

    The White House insisted the position was a private matter for Hunter Biden, and unrelated to his father’s job, but that is not how anyone I spoke to in Ukraine interpreted it. Hunter Biden is an undistinguished corporate lawyer, with no previous Ukraine experience. Why would a Ukrainian tycoon hire him?

    Hunter Biden failed to reply to questions I sent him, but he told the Wall Street Journal in December 2015 that he had joined Burisma “to strengthen corporate governance and transparency at a company working to advance energy security”. That was not an explanation that many people found reassuring. The Washington Post was particularly damning: “The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst,” it wrote, shortly after Hunter Biden’s appointment. “You have to wonder how big the salary has to be to put US soft power at risk like this. Pretty big, we’d imagine.”

    In September last year, a court in Kiev cancelled the arrest warrant against Zlochevsky, ruling that prosecutors had failed to make any progress in their investigation. That same month, the Latvian media reported that Ukraine had not helped a police investigation into money laundering, so 50m frozen euros had passed into the Latvian state budget instead of being returned to Ukraine.

    “I get the impression our foreign partners are disappointed by our failure to make progress tackling corruption, and that’s why they are paying us less attention,” said Kasko, who is now back in private practice, as he was during the Yanukovich years. Meanwhile, President Poroshenko’s approval rating is stuck in the low teens. He has failed to fulfil his promise to sell off his business empire, and was revealed in the Panama Papers leaks to be still engaged in structuring his assets offshore. His London law firm has recently been sending out threatening letters to journalists tempted to repeat accusations of corruption levelled at him by a former insider who has fled to the UK.

    Kasko resigned on 15 February last year, accusing the prosecutor’s office of being a “hotbed of corruption”. Sakvarelidze was sacked a month later and charged with a “gross violation of the rules of prosecutorial ethics”. The whole reforming team came and went, without jailing anyone or recovering a single oligarch’s foreign fortune. Kasko told me he had resigned because he saw no point in waiting around impotently while his superiors undermined his cases. “I didn’t want to stay there like the Queen of England and watch,” he said. “The biggest problem in the prosecutor’s office is corruption. Sakvarelidze and I went in to fight against it, and they threw us out.”

    Last year, Kasko’s successor formally apologised to the SFO on behalf of the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office for its role in the failure of the case of the $23m.

    All in all, the UK chose an unfortunate way to demonstrate “a strong commitment to the people of Ukraine”, as Theresa May stated in April 2014. But this unseemly episode highlights many of the reasons why so little of the cash stolen from poor countries is ever returned to them. Money can flow unhindered between countries, but police officers cannot, so it is always more difficult to prosecute a crime than to commit one.

    At the start of each year, Ukraine budgets for the money it plans to reclaim from its deposed rulers, and at the end of the year activists from the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (an NGO that oversees recruitment of Ukraine’s new anti-corruption detectives) calculate how much of that money prosecutors actually found.

    In the first nine months of 2016, the government intended to confiscate £250m. They actually retrieved just £4,500 – 0.0018% of the planned total.

    They are not alone in struggling to get a grip on fraud. In its report to parliament last year, the SFO said it was failing to retain key investigators in the face of competition from banks, private investigators and other well-resourced City companies, something that complicates already tricky cases. If even the SFO considers itself under-resourced and out-gunned in the battle against the kleptocrats and their offshore empires, then the problem is still more severe in Ukraine. Things are likely to get worse as the window of opportunity provided by enthusiastic foreign assistance is closing fast. Joe Biden is gone now from the White House (although Hunter remains on the Burisma board), and Pyatt has left Kiev for a new ambassadorial posting.

    With Donald Trump in power, the tiresome American pressure for reform in Ukraine may well be a thing of the past. Among European allies, France and Germany have elections this year and thus other things to worry about, as of course does post-Brexit Britain. When I sought comments on what the government was now doing to help Ukraine regain its assets, I was batted back and forth between the Home Office and the Foreign Office for a few days, before they eventually provided a joint statement sourced to a “government spokesperson”, confirming that Britain was committed to everything it has always been committed to.

    “The UK is a strong supporter of the Ukrainian government’s reform process, and in particular the fight against corruption, which needs to proceed quickly,” they said, by email. That is undoubtedly true, but sadly the global situation is looking ever less favourable.

    Ukrainian politicians have consistently failed to keep their resolutions without foreign governments stiffening their resolve and, with that pressure fading away, there will now be little to stop them returning to their old ways. The old oligarchs appear to be feeling as secure as they have done for a while, and Ukrainians who have long been on the defensive are reaching out for new friends.

    On 19 January, the day before Trump’s inauguration, Zlochevsky’s gas company announced it was becoming a funder of the Atlantic Council, a prominent Washington thinktank. The Atlantic Council declined to say exactly how much money the tycoon had offered, only that his donation had been between $100,000 and $249,000. A month later, Burisma hired a new director. Joseph Cofer Black does not appear to have any more experience of Ukraine than his colleague Hunter Biden but – as an ex-ambassador and a former director of the CIA’s counterterrorism centre under George W Bush – he is likely to have lots of useful contacts in Washington.

    Zlochevsky’s last public appearance was in June 2016 at a Burisma-organised alternative energy forum, co-hosted in Monaco by Prince Albert II, who made the keynote speech. Photographs of the event showed Hunter Biden posing with various comfortably retired ex-politicians, wearing a blue suit twinned with highly-polished brown shoes. Zlochevsky was tanned and healthy in an open-necked shirt, while a more formally dressed Prince Albert placed a solicitous hand on his back.

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    https://freebeacon.com/politics/dark...tives-in-2018/

    Dark Money Network Funneled $600 Million to Liberal Initiatives in 2018
    Democrats adopt once-derided strategy, building a massive money network that shields donors from scrutiny

    Joe Schoffstall - NOVEMBER 26, 2019 5:00 AM

    Democratic donors have built a formidable dark money network to obscure the source of more than $600 million funneled to liberal groups and initiatives last year, tax forms show.

    The massive cash flow came from Arabella Advisors, a D.C.-based organization that says it provides "strategic guidance for effective philanthropy." In reality, the group does far more, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in anonymous donations to some of the most influential advocacy groups on the left.

    Entities traced back to Arabella have invested more than $1 billion powering liberal activist and interest groups since President Donald Trump took office. The establishment of the complex network of nonprofits marks the Democrats' adoption of a once-derided Republican strategy: building a massive funding network that provides donors anonymity.


    David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.

    The practice came under heavy criticism from President Barack Obama and other top Democrats, who lambasted the use of dark money from right-leaning financiers such as the Koch brothers. Yet liberal groups have fully embraced its usage and are now doing so at a much higher level than Republicans: More than $150 million in dark money was spent throughout the 2018 election cycle, 54 percent of which came from liberal groups and only 31 percent from conservative groups.

    Eric Kessler, a former Bill Clinton appointee and member of the Clinton Global Initiative, is the founder and head of Arabella Advisors. Kessler also established a series of so-called fiscal sponsors, groups that offer their legal and tax-exempt status to other groups that are not yet recognized as nonprofits by the IRS, including the New Venture Fund and the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

    A host of liberal advocacy groups sit beneath those two organizations using the tax-exempt status they provide. While a Politico report indicated that the Sixteen Thirty Fund spent $141 million on Democratic causes in 2018, that represents just a fraction of the total sum of money passed through Arabella and its fiscal sponsors to smaller activist groups last year.

    According to the latest tax forms from the New Venture Fund, $373 million flowed through the group, making it by far the largest entity operating under Arabella's auspices. The Hopewell Fund, also managed by Arabella, spent $78 million. Another group devoted to environmental causes, the Windward Fund, spent $13 million. In total, liberal donors combined to pour $622 million into the four Arabella groups in 2018.

    More than $605 million of that money was then funneled to several different initiatives, including Demand Justice, a group established to push back against Trump's judicial nominations. Led by former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon, the group was at the forefront of the battle against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

    Demand Justice does not have to disclose its donors or file individual tax forms to the IRS thanks to its affiliation with the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which acts as its fiscal sponsor.

    But some information about its funding can be gleaned from the tax forms of other organizations, which show a connection to liberal billionaire George Soros's network of left-leaning groups.

    The Washington Free Beacon previously reported that Demand Justice received $2.6 million from Soros's Open Society Policy Center, for example. Fallon also appeared around the same time at a gathering of the Democracy Alliance, an invite-only club of progressive millionaire and billionaire donors that was cofounded by Soros. Sixteen Thirty previously paid the Democracy Alliance hundreds of thousands in consulting fees. The alliance also lists the fund in confidential documents instructing donors on where to route money for part of its $275 million spending plan for the 2020 election cycle.

    Sixteen Thirty Fund director Douglas Hattaway also runs a strategic communications firm that previously advised Soros's Open Society Foundations, according to a cached version of the website.

    The Sixteen Thirty Fund is pumping significant cash into state-level endeavors for the 2020 election cycle. The Omaha World-Herald reported earlier this month that the fund gave $500,000 to Nebraskans for Responsible Lending to get a payday lending measure on the 2020 ballot and has done so in a number of other states. Many groups housed at Sixteen Thirty are state-based initiatives, including Arizonans United for Health Care, Colorado United for Families, Michigan Families for Economic Prosperity, North Carolinians for a Fair Economy, and Ohioans for Economic Opportunity, according to its records with D.C.'s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

    Arabella's New Venture Fund also contains dozens of left-wing groups, including pro-choice initiatives that have received millions in funding in recent years.

    Other 2020 efforts from billionaire donors are similarly housed at Arabella.

    The Heartland Fund, a collaborative effort focused on building "power across the divides" of the Midwest, has received funding from Soros and Scott Wallace, a failed candidate in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District during the 2018 midterm elections. The fund began organization and issue advocacy efforts earlier this year and has disbursed money to at least nine left-wing groups. The Heartland Fund is contained within Arabella's Windward Fund. Wallace is also linked to the Democracy Alliance.

    Scott Nielsen, the managing director of advocacy at Arabella, has worked with a number of donor institutions in the past, including Open Society Foundation and the Democracy Alliance.

    In addition to housing a plethora of liberal groups, the funds at Arabella also pass hefty amounts in the form of grants to outside liberal organizations.

    Groups that have received grants from the Arabella-managed funds in 2018 include America Votes ($27 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and $2.3 million from the New Venture Fund), American Bridge ($200,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund), the Center for American Progress ($500,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund), and the Center for Popular Democracy ($700,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and $475,000 from the New Venture Fund).

    Arabella did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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    https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/26...was-a-hit-job/

    New Fusion GPS Info Confirms The Special Counsel Probe Was A Hit Job
    The renewed focus on the Steele dossier are cementing the case that the special counsel probe served as a taxpayer-funded political hit on President Trump.
    Margot ClevelandBy Margot Cleveland

    NOVEMBER 26, 2019

    In April, when the special counsel’s report on Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election was released to the public, a glaring omission quickly made clear indicating Robert Mueller was either incompetent or a political hack. As I wrote at the time: “Not once in the 448-page tome does Mueller mention an investigation into whether Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele misinformation.”

    Today’s release of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch’s book on the Steele dossier, “Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump,” has put the former MI6’s collection of anti-Trump memoranda back in the news. The renewed focus on the Steele dossier are cementing the case that the special counsel probe served as a taxpayer-funded political hit on President Trump and not a true investigation into Russia’s election interference.

    A Serious Investigation Would Have Included the Dossier

    Former Wall Street Journal reporters who co-founded Fusion GPS, Simpson and Fritsch appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The bit was intended as a PR push to increase sales for their new book on Steele. Whether the media blitz that began in stride over the weekend will prove successful is unclear. But one thing the interview made clear is that a serious investigation into Russia’s interference in our elections would have focused on the Steele dossier.

    This point became evident when host Chuck Todd confronted the Fusion founders with a video of the impeachment testimony of Fiona Hill. Hill, an expert on Europe and Russia and a former member of Trump’s National Security Council, testified that the Steele dossier was a “rabbit hole” and “very likely” contained Russian disinformation. Hill also testified that she “thought he got played.”

    Simpson responded that Hill is entitled to her opinion and that while Hill is a Russia expert, she is not a disinformation specialist, like Steele. The Fusion GPS founders sought to further bolster Steele’s work during the interview by stressing that he ran the Russian desk for MI6. “This is one of the most capable and one of the most knowledgeable experts on Russia in the world today,” Fritsch said, adding that Steele “spent a lot of time going through the dossier to separate information from disinformation, credible facts from non-credible facts.”

    That Fusion GPS continues to sell the dossier and Steele as solid is baffling. After all, the dossier got a pretty straightforward and easily verified (or refuted) detail wrong—that Michael Cohen was in Prague in August of 2016. Steele also bought into the “pee tapes” scene painted by the Russian sources. So much for separating “information from disinformation” and “credible facts from non-credible facts.”

    Mueller Was Curiously Uninterested in Steele

    Given that “one of the most knowledgeable experts on Russia in the world today” got these facts (and others) wrong, the question remains: Why? Was Steele pushing a disinformation campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton in his dossier? Or was Steele “played” by the Russians, as Hill thought?

    It’s hard to know. But you know who should have found out? Robert Mueller!

    Yet, as I wrote shortly after the release of the special council’s report: “Even though Mueller was authorized, as he put it in the special counsel report, to investigate ‘the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,’ the report is silent of efforts to investigate Russia’s role in feeding Steele misinformation.”

    Hill made this same point in her closed-door deposition testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month. During her October appearance before that Democratic-controlled Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan asked Hill whether she though the Steele dossier was Russian propaganda.

    The Russian expert said that she was not “in a position to assess that,” but “that I felt that it [should] also be looked at and investigated.” Hill added that she believed “that the Mueller report and Mr. Mueller and his team did look at some of this information.”

    But Hill then noted that she would “have much preferred to see . . . [the] Mueller report focusing at the outset on what was in [the Steele] dossier that the Russians were doing and then, as the course of that, following the ‘investigative leads, which, you did in any case to find out what doors were opened for them into our political system.”

    Was Steele Played by the Russians?

    While Mueller ignored these questions, in her deposition testimony Hill also expanded on why she believed Steele had been “played” by the Russians. After seeing the dossier in BuzzFeed, “I expressed the misgivings and concern that he could have been played,” Hill told the House Committee.

    “If you also think about it,” the Russian expert explained, “the Russians would have an ax to grind against [Steele] given the job that he had previously. And if he started going back through his old contacts and asking about, that would be a perfect opportunity for people to feed some kind of misinformation. He’s obviously out there soliciting information. What a great opportunity to, basically, you know, present him with information that he’s looking for that can be couched—some truth and some misinformation.”

    Hill then illustrated how this works by explaining that when she was working on a book, her phone was hacked repeatedly and that it became clear that a draft of her manuscript had been accessed. “After this, I started to get emails from people who purported to have met me at different points in my career. . . . And they’d start offering me information, you know, that somehow pertained to, strangely enough, some of the chapters that I was actually working on.”

    They were trying to play me, Hill explained to the House Intelligence Community, and from her testimony that’s what Hill believed the Russians had done to Steele. But after nearly two years and more than $30 million wasted, Mueller’s team didn’t even consider these questions.

    Mueller Didn’t Only Ignore Steele

    While the absence of any discussion concerning whether Steele had been played by the Russians was an obvious omission in the special counsel report, Simpson and Fritsch’s Sunday sit-down with Todd revealed another area of inquiry ignored by Mueller’s crack team.

    In that interview, Todd quizzed the Fusion GPS founders about Natalia Veselnitskaya. Veselnitskaya is a former Russian prosecutor who served as a lawyer for the Russian company Prevezon. After the DOJ instituted a civil forfeiture case against Prevezon in New York, Veselnitskaya hired an American law firm to represent her client. In turn, the American law firm hired Fusion GPS to assist in their representation of Prevezon.

    As Todd noted in last weekend’s “Meet the Press” interview, Simpson saw Veselnitskaya on the same day as the “infamous Trump Tower meeting.” That was the June 2016 meeting which Trump Jr., Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law), and then-Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort attended in hopes of obtaining “some information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” And the supposed source of that information? The same Veselnitskaya.

    The promised dirt, however, merely served as “a pretext to provide Veselnitskaya access to Trump Jr. so she could lobby against the Magnitsky Act—a law establishing sanctions against Russian human rights abusers—and to discuss Russian adoptions.” Yet Veselnitskaya’s connection with Fusion GPS and the fact that the evening before the Trump Tower meeting she had dinner with Simpson and then dined with him again after the Trump Tower meeting seems entirely too coincidental.

    Was Veselnitskaya Playing Simpson?

    Simpson has long maintained that he did not know of the Trump Tower meeting and had never discussed with Veselnitskaya Fusion GPS’s investigation into Trump. He repeated that claim on Sunday, prompting Todd to note, “You even write in the book that now you’re starting to wonder that maybe you were drawn in and worked in a way,” by Veselnitskaya.

    If Simpson truly did not know of the Trump Tower meeting and Veselnitskaya’s efforts to meet with Trump Jr., his reaction makes sense. Maybe Veselnitskaya was playing Simpson.

    And you know who else should have pondered Veselnitskaya’s connection to Simpson and Fusion GPS? Robert Mueller!

    Yet for all the investigation into the Trump Tower meeting and for all the many references to Veselnitskaya in the special counsel report, no mention is made of this dual role. There is also no suggestion that Mueller’s team even considered the possibility that Veselnitskaya was somehow “working Fusion GPS” while other Russians were “playing Steele,” with the possible goal being to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

    Notwithstanding Mueller’s incompetence or partisanship, we may nonetheless find out the truth when the various Department of Justice investigations into the Russia collusion hoax conclude. We may also learn more about what Mueller did—and did not—deign to investigate, as shortly after his confirmation, Attorney General William Barr told the Senate Judiciary committee that he was also reviewing the special counsel investigation to determine what the special counsel looked at.

    The public and the legacy press may have forgotten that pledge, but here’s hoping Barr hasn’t.

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/12/02/j...campaign=11143

    US John Podesta Set Up Fundraising Meetings For Fusion GPS After Trump’s Election Victory

    CHUCK ROSS
    INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
    December 02, 2019

    Former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was one of Fusion GPS’s “most helpful” resources in an effort to raise money after the 2016 election to continue investigating President Donald Trump, the co-founders of the opposition research firm revealed in a book released on Nov. 26.

    Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the co-founders of Fusion GPS, wrote in “Crime in Progress” that Podesta provided welcome support in early 2017 for an effort to raise money to fund The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), a nonprofit group former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel Jones created on Jan. 31, 2017.

    Podesta agreed during a meeting with Simpson in early 2017 to contact potential donors to help arrange meetings with Fusion GPS and Jones, according to the book.

    “In mid-February [2017] and then again in early March, Jones — supported by Fritsch and Simpson — took prospecting trips in the West. They didn’t know the tech community well, so before heading out, they sought some door openers and validators from the world they knew best,” the authors wrote. (RELATED: Firms Tied To Fusion GPS, Steele Were Paid $3.8 Million By Soros-Backed Group)

    “One of the most helpful” resources turned out to be Podesta, according to Simpson and Fritsch.

    “Podesta agreed to contact some friends out west on Jones’s behalf and told him to drop his name in talks with other potential supporters,” they said. “It was a brave gesture: He could have easily chosen to stay out of it altogether, given the fact that he had served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.”

    Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
    Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on Capitol Hill on Oct. 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

    The Fusion GPS book provides the most detailed account to date of the Simpson-Podesta meeting, which The New York Times first reported on Nov. 10, 2017. The book also raises questions about what Podesta knew of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign funding the dossier.

    Podesta reportedly told the Senate Intelligence Committee in October 2017 that he did not know who paid Fusion GPS to investigate Trump. Days after Podesta’s interview, news outlets reported that Perkins Coie, the law firm for the Clinton campaign and DNC, was the Fusion GPS client. Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie partner who hired Fusion, represented Podesta in the Senate interview.

    Simpson met with Jones just after Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 and briefed him on Fusion’s work during the campaign, according to Simpson and Fritsch. Jones eagerly agreed to continue the investigation and formed TDIP on Jan. 31, 2017.

    Jones told the FBI in March 2017 about his partnership with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British spy who wrote the anti-Trump dossier. Jones said the consortium had secured $50 million in funding from between seven and 10 wealthy donors in California and New York, according to a summary of his FBI interview.

    Jones told the FBI that the group planned to provide information to lawmakers, government investigators and the media.

    Simpson and Fritsch do not identify TDIP’s donors in the book, but a spokesman for George Soros told The NYT in 2018 that the billionaire financier gave $1 million to TDIP in 2017. A nonprofit group called Fund for a Better Future contributed about $2.1 million to TDIP.

    TDIP paid more than $3.3 million to Fusion GPS and more than $250,000 to Steele in 2017, according to the group’s tax returns.


    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog...rge_soros.html

    November 14, 2019
    Ukraine and the fine hand of George Soros

    By Thomas Lifson

    There was a missing person in yesterday's testimony in the "impeachment inquiry": George Soros. One person who noticed was Joe DiGenova, who brought up the involvement of the Hungarian-born billionaire yesterday on Lou Dobbs's Fox Business Network show, only to be attacked viciously for daring to mention Him Who Must Not Be Named, on Mediaite by Reed Richardson, who called it a "bonkers conspiracy."

    The husband-and-wife Trump defense team of Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing appeared on Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight to push an outlandish conspiracy theory about Ukraine, baselessly alleging that left-wing billionaire George Soros "controls a large part of the foreign service part of the State Department and the activities of FBI agents overseas."

    Here's what was said:

    Transcript via Grabien:

    RUSH TRANSCRIPT:
    Lou: Let's go to Ukraine. Rudy Giuliani, I love the fact he's defending the president in an op-ed. All the work he has done. I hear all the testimony today at least from those who want to quiet him and quiet the president, and try to state that they think this is outrageous that people should have truth and justice in far away places like sue crane. Crane — places like Ukraine. What do you think, Victoria?

    >> That what Rudy Giuliani has been doing since he has begun representing the president. He called me earlier this year to tell me what he discovered about Ukraine. He was told that these people in Ukraine were working to frame the president. You. Our sweet Ambassador told everyone not to talk to us, and so did George kernt. Kernt — George Kent. He flew into Kiev to do that.

    Lou: As I watch and I'm thinking, I am going to give them credit for being well intentioned public servants. But for all the world it was because they weren't in the special super duper irregular chain and no one patted them on the back or had a sip of tea with them. That's what they seemed upset about. It was outrageous to me that they have this sort of petty reaction to not being in the regular chain as well as the irregular chain. And it didn't seem either were too disturbed by it. George Kent is a separate issue. His motives seem peculiar to me. John Solomon reported in March that George Kent pressured Ukrainian investigators to back off an investigation from the anti-corruption center that George Soros group sponsored. This is a complicated deal here. And it seems he wanted to keep an investigation of Ukrainian corruption with limits on it, even as he answered questions today.

    >> There is no doubt that George Soros controls a large part of the foreign service part of the State Department and the activities of FBI agents overseas who work with ngos. That was very effort in Ukraine. Kent was part of that. He was a big protector of Soros. His testimony today shows his stern kind of discomfort with not being included in certain discussions. But George Soros had a daily opportunity to tell the State Department through Victoria Newland what to do in the Ukraine. Soros ran it. He corrupted FBI officials and foreign service officers. George Soros wants to run Ukraine and he's doing everything he can to use every lever of the United States government for business purposes.

    >> His organization is anti-competitive. It goes after people who compete with George Soros in the name of anticorruption.

    Lou: It was quite a moment in which he walked right up to the boundary but wouldn't say this should be a comprehensive investigation of these activities that of course is precisely what the president of the United States made clear to president zelensky that he wanted, bringing in the U.S. Justice Department to work with the Ukrainian authorities and government.

    [emphasis added]

    John Solomon yesterday published further information about Soros, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and "foreign influence in elections" in a piece titled "The real Ukraine controversy: an activist U.S. embassy and its adherence to the Geneva Convention."

    Key Soros-related excerpts (you should read the whole thing):

    I had focused months of reporting on Ukraine on the U.S. government's relationship with a Ukraine nonprofit called the AntiCorruption Action Centre, which was jointly funded by liberal megadonor George Soros' charity and the State Department. I even sent a list of questions to that nonprofit all the way back in October 2018. It never answered.

    Given that Soros spent millions trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in 2016, I thought it was a legitimate public policy question to ask whether a State Department that is supposed to be politically neutral should be in joint business with a partisan figure's nonprofit entity.

    State officials confirmed that Soros' foundation and the U.S. embassy jointly funded the AntiCorruption Action Centre, and that Soros' vocal role in Ukraine as an anticorruption voice afforded him unique access to the State Department, including in 2016 to the top official on Ukraine policy, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. (That access was confirmed in documents later released under FOIA to Citizens United. https://thehill.com/opinion/white-ho...y-of-democrats )

    Soros' representatives separately confirmed to me that the Anti-Corruption Action Centre was the leading tip of the spear for a strategy Team Soros devised in 2014 to fight corruption in Ukraine and that might open the door for his possible business investment of $1 billion. You can read the Ukraine strategy document here and Soros' plan to invest $1 billion in Ukraine here. [snip] https://money.cnn.com/2015/03/30/inv...sia/index.html

    George Kent, the embassy's charge d'affaires in 2016 and now a deputy assistant secretary of state, confirmed in impeachment testimony that he personally signed the April 2016 letter demanding Ukraine drop the case against the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. https://www.washingtonpost.com/conte...-db837c42a67b/

    He also testified he was aware of pressure the U.S. embassy also applied on Ukraine prosecutors to drop investigations against a journalist named Vitali Shabunin, a parliamentary member named Sergey Leschenko and a senior law enforcement official named Artem Sytnyk.

    Shabunin helped for the AntiCorruption Action Centre that Soros funded, and Leschenko and Sytnyk were criticized by a Ukrainian court for interfering in the 2016 US election by improperly releasing or publicizing secret evidence in an ongoing case against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-pol...urt-rules.html

    It's worth letting Kent's testimony speak for itself. "As a matter of conversation that U.S officials had with Ukrainian officials in sharing our concern about the direction of governance and the approach, harassment of civil society activists, including Mr. Shabunin, was one of the issues we raised," Kent testified. https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-pol...urt-rules.html

    As for Sytnyk, the head of the NABU anticorruption police, Kent addded: "We warned both Lutsenko and others that efforts to destroy NABU as an organization, including opening up investigations of Sytnyk, threatened to unravel a key component of our anti-corruption cooperation."

    As the story of the U.S. embassy's pressure spread, a new controversy erupted. A Ukrainian news outlet claimed Lutsenko recanted his claim about the "do-not-prosecute" list. I called Lutsenko and he denied recanting or even changing his story. He gave me this very detailed response standing by his statements. https://www.scribd.com/document/4282...enko-Statement

    But American officials and news media eager to discredit my reporting piled on, many quoting the Ukrainian outlet without ever contacting Lutsenko to see if it was true. One of the American outlets that did contact Lutsenko, the New York Times, belatedly disclosed today https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/u...-the-hill.html that Lutsenko told it, like he told me, that he stood by his allegation that the ambassador had provided him names of people and groups she did not want to be targeted by prosecutors. You can read that here. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/u...-the-hill.html

    It is neither a conspiracy theory nor a debunked or retracted story. U.S. embassy officials DID apply pressure to try to stop Ukrainian prosecutors from pursuing certain cases.

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    Companion Thread:






    ’60 Minutes:’ More Than 300 Ads by Trump Campaign Taken Down by Google and YouTube



    More than 300 of President Donald Trump’s political ads have taken down by Google and its video platform YouTube, mostly over the summer, according to a report by 60 minutes.

    The CBS reporters were unable to find specific reasons for the mass takedowns of Trump ads, a common problem with social media companies, which are often reluctant to explain precisely why a ban or other act of censorship has happened. “We found very little transparency in the transparency report,” concluded 60 Minutes.

    CBS reporters investigated the removal of pro-Trump ads after YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki highlighted the company’s decision to ban some of the President’s ads during an interview.

    Google Is ‘Subverting our Republic’

    Via CBS News:



    60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl asked Wojcicki, “Have you taken down any of President Trump’s ads at all?” YouTube’s CEO responded, “There are ads of President Trump that were not approved to run on Google or YouTube.” When pressed for an example, Wojcicki added, “Well, they’re available in our transparency report.”

    In response to concerns raised after the 2016 election cycle, Google and YouTube, like Facebook, keep a searchable archive of political ads that have run on the site.

    60 Minutes reviewed the archive to learn more about President Trump’s problematic political ads. We found that over 300 video ads were taken down by Google and YouTube, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. But the archive doesn’t detail what policy was violated. Was it copyright violation? A lie or extreme inaccuracy? Faulty grammar? Bad punctuation? It’s unclear. The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. We found very little transparency in the transparency report.

    The GOP and the Trump campaign have condemned Google’s recent rule-changes around political ads, calling them a “blatant attempt to suppress voter information” ahead of the 2020 election.

    Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

    Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.
    Last edited by vector7; December 3rd, 2019 at 02:34.

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    https://johnsolomonreports.com/the-r...va-convention/

    The real Ukraine controversy: an activist U.S. embassy and its adherence to the Geneva Convention
    NOVEMBER 13, 2019

    The first time I ever heard the name of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was in early March of this year. It did not come from a Ukrainian or an ally of President Trump. It came from a career diplomat I was interviewing on background on a different story.

    The diplomat, as I recall, suggested that Yovanovitch had just caused a commotion in Ukraine a few weeks before that country’s presidential election by calling for the firing of one of the prosecutors aligned with the incumbent president.

    The diplomat related that a more senior State official, David Hale, was about to travel to Ukraine and was prepping to be confronted about Yovanovitch’s comments. I remember the diplomat joking something to the effect of, “we always say that the Geneva Convention is optional for our Kiev staff.”

    The Geneva Convention is the UN-backed pact enacted during the Cold War that governs the conduct of foreign diplomats in host countries and protects them against retribution. But it strictly mandates that foreign diplomats “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State” that hosts them. You can read the convention’s rules here. https://treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties.../Ch_III_3p.pdf

    I dutifully checked out my source’s story. And sure as day, Yovanovitch did give a speech on March 5, 2019 calling for Ukraine’s special anticorruption prosecutor to be removed. You can read that here. https://ua.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-...ters-founding/

    And the Ukraine media was abuzz that she had done so. And yes, Under Secretary of State Hale, got peppered with questions upon arriving in Kiev, specifically about whether Yovanovitch’s comments violated the international rule that foreign diplomats avoid becoming involved in the internal affairs and elections of their host country.

    Hale dutifully defended Yovanovitch with these careful words. “Well, Ambassador Yovanovitch represents the President of the United States here in Ukraine, and America stands behind her statements. And I don’t see any value in my own elaboration on what they may or may not have meant. They meant what she said.” You can read his comments here. https://ua.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-...rence-in-kyiv/

    Up to that point, I had focused months of reporting on Ukraine on the U.S. government’s relationship with a Ukraine nonprofit called the AntiCorruption Action Centre, which was jointly funded by liberal megadonor George Soros’ charity and the State Department. I even sent a list of questions to that nonprofit all the way back in October 2018. It never answered.

    Given that Soros spent millions trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in 2016, I thought it was a legitimate public policy question to ask whether a State Department that is supposed to be politically neutral should be in joint business with a partisan figure’s nonprofit entity.

    State officials confirmed that Soros’ foundation and the U.S. embassy jointly funded the AntiCorruption Action Centre, and that Soros’ vocal role in Ukraine as an anticorruption voice afforded him unique access to the State Department, including in 2016 to the top official on Ukraine policy, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. (That access was confirmed in documents later released under FOIA to Citizens United.) https://thehill.com/opinion/white-ho...y-of-democrats

    Soros’ representatives separately confirmed to me that the Anti-Corruption Action Centre was the leading tip of the spear for a strategy Team Soros devised in 2014 to fight corruption in Ukraine and that might open the door for his possible business investment of $1 billion. You can read the Ukraine strategy document here and Soros’ plan to invest $1 billion in Ukraine here. https://money.cnn.com/2015/03/30/inv...sia/index.html

    After being tipped to the current Yovanovitch furor in Ukraine, I was alerted to an earlier controversy involving the same U.S. ambassador. It turns out a senior member of Congress had in spring 2018 wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleging the ambassador had made anti-Trump comments and suggesting she be recalled. I confirmed the incident with House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions and got a copy of his letter, which you can read here. Yovanovitch denies any such disloyalty to Trump.

    Nonetheless, I had a career diplomat and a Republican lawmaker raising similar concerns. So I turned back to the sources I had developed starting in 2018 on Ukraine and began to dig further.

    I learned that Ukrainian officials, particularly the country’s prosecutors, viewed Yovanovitch as the embodiment of an activist U.S. embassy in Kiev that ruffled feathers by meddling in internal law enforcement cases inside the country.

    My sources told me specifically that the U.S. embassy had pressured the Ukraine prosecutors in 2016 to drop or avoid pursuing several cases, including one involving the Soros-backed AntiCorruption Action Centre and two cases involving Ukraine officials who criticized Donald Trump and his campaign manager Paul Manafort.

    To back up their story, my sources provided me a letter then-embassy official George Kent wrote proving it happened. State officials authenticated the letter. And Kent recently acknowledged in this testimony he signed that letter. You can read the letter here. https://www.scribd.com/document/4025...spondence-2018

    With the help of a Ukrainian American intermediary and the Ukraine general prosecutor’s press office, I then secured an interview in mid-March 2016 with Ukraine’s then top prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko. In the interview that was videotaped and released for the whole world to see, Lutsenko alleged that in his first meeting in 2016 with Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador conveyed the names of several Ukrainians she did not want to see investigated and prosecuted. He called it, colloquially, a “do not prosecute list.” https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/43...-not-prosecute

    The State Department denied such as list, calling it a fantasy, and I quoted that fair comment in my original stories. But before I published, I held the Lutsenko interview for a few days to do more reporting. State arranged for me to talk to a senior official about the Lutsenko-embassy relationship.

    I provided the names that Lutsenko claimed had been cited by the embassy. That senior official said he couldn’t speak to what transpired in the specific meeting between Yovanovitch and Lutsenko. But that official then provided me this surprising confirmation: “I can confirm to you that at least some of those names are names that U.S. embassy Kiev raised with the General Prosecutor because we were concerned about retribution and unfair treatment of Ukrainians viewed as favorable to the United States.”

    In other words, State was confirming its own embassy had engaged in pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors to drop certain law enforcement cases, just as Lutsenko and other Ukrainian officials had alleged.

    When I asked that State official whether this was kosher with the Geneva Convention’s prohibition on internal interference, he answered: “Kiev in recent years has been a bit more activist and autonomous than other embassies.”

    More recently, George Kent, the embassy’s charge d’affaires in 2016 and now a deputy assistant secretary of state, confirmed in impeachment testimony that he personally signed the April 2016 letter demanding Ukraine drop the case against the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. https://www.washingtonpost.com/conte...-db837c42a67b/

    He also testified he was aware of pressure the U.S. embassy also applied on Ukraine prosecutors to drop investigations against a journalist named Vitali Shabunin, a parliamentary member named Sergey Leschenko and a senior law enforcement official named Artem Sytnyk.

    Shabunin helped for the AntiCorruption Action Centre that Soros funded, and Leschenko and Sytnyk were criticized by a Ukrainian court for interfering in the 2016 US election by improperly releasing or publicizing secret evidence in an ongoing case against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    It’s worth letting Kent’s testimony speak for itself. “As a matter of conversation that U.S officials had with Ukrainian officials in sharing our concern about the direction of governance and the approach, harassment of civil society activists, including Mr. Shabunin, was one of the issues we raised,” Kent testified. https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-pol...urt-rules.html

    As for Sytnyk, the head of the NABU anticorruption police, Kent addded: “We warned both Lutsenko and others that efforts to destroy NABU as an organization, including opening up investigations of Sytnyk, threatened to unravel a key component of our anti-corruption cooperation.”

    As the story of the U.S. embassy’s pressure spread, a new controversy erupted. A Ukrainian news outlet claimed Lutsenko recanted his claim about the “do-not-prosecute” list. I called Lutsenko and he denied recanting or even changing his story. He gave me this very detailed response standing by his statements. https://www.scribd.com/document/4282...enko-Statement

    But American officials and news media eager to discredit my reporting piled on, many quoting the Ukrainian outlet without ever contacting Lutsenko to see if it was true. One of the American outlets that did contact Lutsenko, the New York Times, belatedly disclosed today that Lutsenko told it, like he told me, that he stood by his allegation that the ambassador had provided him names of people and groups she did not want to be targeted by prosecutors. You can read that here. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/u...-the-hill.html

    It is neither a conspiracy theory nor a debunked or retracted story. U.S. embassy officials DID apply pressure to try to stop Ukrainian prosecutors from pursuing certain cases.

    The U.S. diplomats saw no problem in their actions, believing that it served the American interest in combating Ukrainian corruption. The Ukrainians viewed it far differently as an improper intervention in the internal affairs of their country that was forbidden by the Geneva Convention.

    That controversy is neither contrived, nor trivial, and it predated any reporting that I conducted. And it remains an issue that will need to be resolved if the Ukraine and U.S. are to have a more fruitful alliance moving forward.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/201...ssians-in-may/

    WAIT A MINUTE!… If Crowdstrike Didn’t Determine ‘Russians’ Hacked DNC/Hillary’s Emails Until June, How Did Downer Know It Was the ‘Russians’ in May?

    Joe Hoft by Joe Hoft October 19, 2019

    Sometimes the obvious just slips by you. This is one of those times. Crowdstrike reportedly didn’t determine that ‘Russia’ hacked Hillary’s emails until June 2016. So how could Australia’s Alexander Downer know that ‘Russia’ hacked her emails in May 2016?

    The dates just don’t add up. In May 2016 George Papadopoulos was contacted by Australian Alexander Downer and told you that Russia had Hillary’s emails.

    But Crowdstrike didn’t investigate Hillary’s emails until June 2016 when they somehow claimed that the Russians had hacked into the DNC.

    WikiLeaks claimed that they did not receive Hillary’s emails through a state actor.

    This whole Russia sham stinks to high heaven.

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/te...ecidedly-swing

    Google Funds 29 US Journalism Projects That Decidedly Swing Left

    By Corinne Weaver | October 29, 2019 9:24 AM EDT

    The same day Facebook launched its “News” tab, Google quietly poured money into news projects around the world. But many of these projects are aimed in one political direction.

    The new project, the Google News Initiative North American Innovation Challenge, announced 34 news projects to be funded on Oct. 25. Twenty-nine of these projects were located in the states, while the other four were in Canada. One of the projects was unlisted. The first name on the list for the U.S., The Dallas Morning News, ran editorials announcing its endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Beto O’Rourke for Senate in 2018.

    One of the outlets, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, received $535,000 from liberal billionaire George Soros between the years 2010-2013. The Center runs op-eds that claims that “Dems Back More Openness” than Republicans.

    Some of the other projects did not seem to have a political bent (or hadn’t been started yet.) But those that were more established, like The Salt Lake Tribune, were definitely tinged with blue. The Tribune endorsed President Obama back in 2012, and in 2017 called for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to retire.

    Typically, the projects were city daily papers or newsletters that promoted Democrats over Republicans.

    Maine Today Media, a conglomerate of local Maine newspapers, has a policy of not endorsing candidates, but the editorials still embrace left-wing views on climate change, immigration, and abortion.

    Detour Media LLC was not overtly political, but it was founded by Ashley C. Woods, a former Huffington Post Editor. And the Vermont Journalism Trust had an entire section dedicated to Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Another tab was dedicated to Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

    The ASU Cronkite School of Journalism, another recipient, is the home of the west coast version for PBS Newshour.

    The Lensfest Institute of Journalism is partnered with Facebook, The Washington Post, and the Knight Foundation. It plans on delivering more newsletters to people in Philadelphia. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is one of the biggest left-wing media outlets.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...-on-local-news

    November 25, 2019, 1:00 AM PST

    The Left’s Plan to Slip Vote-Swaying News Into Facebook Feeds
    Democratic strategist Tara McGowan’s Courier Newsroom is out to counter the right-wing echo chamber with a dose of hypertargeted “hometown news.”

    In the days after the White House released a readout of Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, setting off the impeachment saga, Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee made a major financial move designed to shape public opinion. Operating jointly, they dumped millions of dollars into Facebook and Google ads to send a counter-narrative coursing through the internet. In this alternate reality Trump was the victim, not the perpetrator, of an effort to enlist foreign interference in a U.S. election. He was fighting, not encouraging, Ukrainian corruption. And Democrats were the bad guys. (“When President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption,” went one ad, “the Democrats want to IMPEACH him—and their media lapdogs fall in line!”)

    Almost instantly, conservative websites and Facebook pages with millions of followers lit up with Trump’s exculpatory storyline, creating a kind of a parallel universe in which a reader seeking to understand the day’s headlines would come away learning roughly the opposite of what the facts of the Ukraine scandal appear to show.

    A Democratic strategist named Tara McGowan watched all this unfold with particular alarm. McGowan, 33, is the founder of Acronym, a nonprofit digital strategy group that organizes progressives online to vote and volunteer. Lately she’s gained notoriety for her outspoken criticism of her party’s inability to challenge, or even clearly comprehend, Trump’s dominance of the digital landscape—and the threat it poses to Democrats’ chances in 2020. Facebook’s decision to allow political ads with false information has only intensified her worry.

    “The information ecosystem has changed,” she said recently in the bustling hipster-corporate WeWork office that houses Acronym’s headquarters in Washington. McGowan is hyperintense and talks about Democratic politics in a tone of alarmed disbelief, as if she’s the only person at a party who realizes the house is on fire. “We live in a distributed, digital media environment. There’s no regulations. Misinformation not only runs rampant but is now being condoned by the most powerful social media platform in the world.”

    Coming out of the 2016 election, the question she wrestled with was how Democrats can defeat the huge right-wing echo chamber. The answer she’s landed on is that they don’t need to. Hillary Clinton lost because Trump beat her by fewer than 80,000 votes in three critical swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Ousting him in 2020 would probably come down to a similar sliver of voters—so Democrats wouldn’t have to drown out all of the conservatives’ efforts on social media, but only capture and persuade a small portion of strategically situated swing-state voters, to avoid the same fate.

    To McGowan, whose professional expertise lies in reaching voters online, the rise of misinformation coincides dangerously with another trend: the death of local news. Since 2004 more than 2,000 newspapers have shuttered, leaving millions of people without a trusted local news source. Many turn to Facebook and are inundated by conservative propaganda outlets whose stories consistently rank atop the platform’s most-shared material. This affects how people think—and vote. The $28 million Trump and the RNC have spent on Facebook and Google since last year’s midterm election isn’t just drowning out Democrats, who are being badly outspent. It’s also filling a news void with partisan information.

    “As local news dies, we’re seeing civic engagement and participation decrease,” says McGowan. “It’s all interconnected. You can’t build an informed electorate that you can count on for votes if they can’t get good information. Amid all these fake news and misinformation channels, we’re just not reaching people with the facts.”

    In response, McGowan is spearheading what may be the most audacious project this election cycle. She’s raising $25 million from a host of wealthy liberals to establish a for-profit media company, Courier Newsroom, that has already started rolling out digital newspapers with local reporters and editors in six key swing states—Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—to fill the news deserts, deliver the facts favorable to Democrats that she thinks voters are missing, and counter right-wing spin.

    While the articles she publishes are based on facts, nothing alerts readers that Courier publications aren’t actually traditional hometown newspapers but political instruments designed to get them to vote for Democrats. And although the articles are made to resemble ordinary news, their purpose isn’t primarily to build a readership for the website: It’s for the pieces to travel individually through social media, amplifying their influence with persuadable voters.

    To make this happen, McGowan is doing something else small newspapers don’t: she’s using her sizable war chest and digital advertising savvy to pay to have her articles placed into the Facebook feeds of swing-state users she’s identified as most likely to respond to them, then using that feedback to find more people like them. In digital advertising, this is known as “building a custom audience.” Applied to politics, it’s more like finding and activating the 80,000 swing-state voters Clinton was missing, who could potentially put Democrats over the top in next year’s election. “This is the most interesting, and potentially important, thing happening on our side right now,” says one unaffiliated Democratic organizer. “If it works, it will change the whole ballgame of how we reach and motivate our people.”

    Several months ago, without fanfare, McGowan launched the first of her newspapers, the Virginia Dogwood (“Your source for Virginia news”). The next, Arizona’s Copper Courier, followed in early October, and the rest are scheduled to make their debuts sometime around year’s end. For all its ambition, the Dogwood appears quite modest. A spartan web page offers an assortment of Virginia politics and policy stories juxtaposed with gauzy “local news” features like the “Dogwood Dog of the Week”—on this particular week, it’s Cambridge, a 2-year-old black terrier who “loves to go for walks and explore” and awaits adoption at the Animal Welfare League.

    To McGowan, emulating the homespun, hyperlocal style of the fast-vanishing small-town newspaper is important for building familiarity and trust. Survey research has found that American adults consistently rate local news as the most trustworthy source of information.

    Here’s how the whole thing is supposed to work: Political campaigns are always constrained by the cost of winning new voters. TV ads are expensive and diffuse, and most people don’t watch them anymore. Digital ads are cheaper and targeted, but few people click on them. “People’s brains shut off when they see an ad,” says Kyle Tharp, Acronym’s communications director.

    But it’s clear that voters read and share news stories. Some of the more digitally sophisticated Democratic presidential candidates, including Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, have already paid Facebook to amplify local news articles in New Hampshire and Iowa that reflect well on them. McGowan’s plan is essentially to bring that idea in-house and franchise it to individual swing states as a cheap, hypertargeted, more efficient way of acquiring new voters.

    Instead of boosting a news article on Facebook as a one-off promotion, as the presidential candidates are doing, McGowan and Courier will continually gather data on interested readers, which Facebook—for a price—will use to find more of them. “Everybody who clicks on, likes, or shares an article,” says McGowan, “we get that data back to create a lookalike audience to find other people with similar attributes in the same area. So we continually grow our ability to find people.” What’s more, it’s suddenly clear that targeting voters through the guise of a media company could provide an important edge over other methods. Last week, Google imposed tight restrictions on microtargeting political ads, and Facebook is weighing similar measures. But because Courier Newsroom is a for-profit media company, McGowan says those restrictions wouldn’t apply.

    McGowan—a former journalist herself, who worked at 60 Minutes and CBS News—says she sees Courier Newsroom as a continuation of that work. Despite her obvious political motivations, she says that her newspapers will supply objective, fact-based reporting no different from what appears in mainstream outlets. That claim will almost certainly inflame those on the right and left who already believe that much of what passes for news, especially on social media, is driven by political agendas intended to manipulate unwitting readers.

    McGowan forcefully rejects this criticism. “A lot of people I respect will see this media company as an affront to journalistic integrity because it won’t, in their eyes, be balanced,” she says. “What I say to them is, Balance does not exist anymore.” In her view, there are only facts and lies. She cites Trump’s impeachment narrative as an example—and as a justification for what she’s embarked on with Courier. “Without new innovative models for journalism at scale,” she says, “we’re losing the information war to verified liars pouring millions of dollars into Facebook.”

    Her pitch has resonated with a certain breed of liberal donor: younger, tech-centric, and drawn into politics out of horror at Trump’s victory and a suspicion that Democrats have no clue what they’re doing in the online world. Investors in her company include Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin; SoulCycle ex-co-Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Cutler; and Carley Roney, co-founder of the Knot. Other investors have chosen to remain anonymous.

    McGowan has also won the support of a celebrated Democratic strategist: David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and recently joined Acronym’s board. “There’s a lot of truth to Tara’s critique,” says Plouffe, who laments that during Obama’s rise Democrats had the technological advantage in politics—and they’ve since lost it. “Strategy-wise, we’re still stuck in the last decade. So many of the problems in our country I trace back to the strength of the conservative distribution network—on TV, but especially, as Trump showed, online. Democrats have never been able to get velocity there.”

    The idea for Courier Newsroom grew out of a 2017 white paper McGowan wrote after studying the reasons her party was blindsided by Trump the year before. Her conclusion is embedded in the paper’s title, “Rethinking Investing in Media to Build Political Power.” Surveying the wreckage, McGowan saw that Trump had been a far more effective communicator than Democrats realized, reaching underserved populations—often through Facebook and Twitter—with a constant, self-reinforcing message.

    Her own party, by contrast, had lost sight of these people and therefore failed to develop the methods and message to persuade them. Where Republicans had built channels from Fox News to Facebook to Sinclair Broadcast Group that supplied a consistent, around-the-clock message, Democrats still approached elections much as they had decades earlier, opening up communication with voters in the few months before an election by flooding television airwaves with ads that research shows have only a fleeting effect on voter sentiment. “Democrats,” McGowan wrote, “are losing politically because they have invested in reaching the wrong audiences through the wrong mediums and formats at the wrong times.”

    One reason for the steep Democratic falloff in 2016, she argued, had to do with the disappearance of mainstream news outlets, particularly smaller ones. “The ‘liberal’ media that we know of today is built largely to serve a relatively homogenous segment of white educated people in urban areas,” she wrote. “It is not incentivized to create content for or try to reach the disengaged and disenfranchised audiences that Democrats need to capture to win elections.” Trump’s pronounced strength in rural areas underscored the electoral cost of a media landscape evolving away from Democrats. It also, McGowan felt, illuminated an obvious path forward. “If Democrats have any chance of catching up,” she wrote, “we need to change our mindset and turn to creating smart, sustainable, [and] trusted, always-on channels to reach these constituencies.”

    To make that happen, she left her job as digital director for Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC, and hit the road. Traveling the country, she found that her message connected with two distinct groups of Democrats: longtime donors grown frustrated by the party’s inability to evolve, and new donors, many from Silicon Valley, to whom the TV-centric method of Democratic politicking seemed bafflingly outmoded. “What I noticed is that the best messaging and most innovative work is coming from outside the party,” says Cutler, the co-founder of SoulCycle. “What was most disturbing to me about 2016 was the poisoning of the system, the attacks on ‘fake news,’ and the dismissal of real facts for alternative ones. We all have to do our part as citizens to counter that.”

    One thing that set McGowan’s pitch apart from other Trump-era efforts to revive progressivism was that it could be tested and measured. She knows exactly how many people are reading and sharing her content, where they live, and what it cost to engage them.

    “That’s the beauty of digital that I really nerd out on,” she says. To a degree most outsiders can’t fathom, political consulting is built on blind faith that the person you’re writing a big check to knows how to effectively deploy it the service of winning an election. McGowan says that’s bunk. Trump’s victory, after he was outspent by Clinton, shattered much of that donor trust and opened a door for McGowan to get Courier off the ground. “The common denominator for all of them was Trump,” she says of her investors. “How he won was so unorthodox, and countered all the conventional wisdom they’d been told on how you win an election, that they were looking for new models. I didn’t have to convince them that the world has changed.”

    As she began building plans to staff up her newsrooms, McGowan found that her project—particularly the underlying digital targeting—also appealed to another group worried about the evolving digital landscape: people desperate to preserve and revive local news outlets. “Journalism has collapsed faster than the steel industry in the United States,” says Nicco Mele, the former director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, who joined the Courier Newsroom advisory board. Mele’s interest in the project is more about journalism than politics. A former executive at the Los Angeles Times, he believes McGowan’s tactics for identifying and reaching readers could potentially work outside politics, helping traditional news organizations survive. “It’s a four-alarm fire for the future of democracy in this country,” he says. “We’re at a stage where we have to try everything.”

    On Nov. 5, Virginia held a statewide election that gave McGowan’s project something of a trial run. In recent years, Virginia has been rapidly trending from red to blue as diverse, college-educated suburbanites in the northern part of the state and outside Richmond abandon the GOP in droves. In the last statewide election, in 2017, Democrats made large gains, nearly winning back the state Senate and House of Delegates from Republicans in one of the earliest signs of the Trump backlash that would shape national elections a year later.

    In the months leading up to this year’s election, the Dogwood published a series of articles spotlighting what was at stake for many of the demographic groups that Democrats are eager to get to the polls, including African-Americans, working mothers, LGBTQ people, students, and ex-felons. It localized major policy issues driving the Democratic upsurge, such as gun control, policing, and impeachment. And it focused heavily on directing readers’ attention to the state elections, running articles on how to volunteer for local campaigns and an easily sharable voter guide to facilitate everything from registration to mailing absentee ballots, with automatic iPhone and Google calendar reminders of key deadlines.

    “Our goal was to speak to readers in an ongoing, sustainable way with a focus on the long term,” says Lindsay Schrupp, editor in chief of Courier Newsroom, who was recently hired from Vice News, “not to parachute in a couple weeks before the election and then pack up when it’s over.”

    While story selection may have tilted toward a progressive readership, none of these articles or the voter guide would have seemed out of place in a local paper. (“A record number of Virginia college students are expected to participate in the Nov. 5, 2019 elections,” read one representative example that ran shortly before the election. “Nearly 11,000 students have applied for absentee ballots this year, according to the Virginia Department of Elections, more than double the number of absentee ballots received in 2015, the last time all 140 seats were up for reelection in the Virginia General Assembly.”)

    The big differentiator was that McGowan paid to ensure that these articles wound up in the feeds of Virginians whom her audience development team believed were likely to share and act on them. According to Facebook, the Dogwood spent about $275,000 on Facebook ads through election week.

    On Election Day, Virginia Democrats won in a rout, gaining majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and taking unified control of state government for the first time in a generation. While the Dogwood, in its digital infancy, probably didn’t play a decisive role, its articles trended on Election Day, were shared by a number of Democratic elected officials, and made their way into the feeds of thousands of Virginians, both organically and through paid promotions.

    That process of finding and reaching out to potential new voters is what McGowan and her allies think Democrats need to do much more of. “Where my urgency comes from,” says Plouffe, “is that there’s probably 50,000 voters in Wisconsin we should be talking to today about tariffs, another 150,000 in Arizona we’d want to be talking to about Mitch McConnell saying the next president will probably have to cut Social Security and Medicare. We need to be in these states talking to persuadable voters, talking to third-party flight-risk voters, because the campaign is happening right now.”

    It won’t be easy. As she sifted through the rubble after Clinton’s loss, McGowan says, “it became clear that a very small group of people had an unbelievable amount of power and control over keeping things the way they are in terms of preserving this broken, outdated model of turning polling and research into script lines for high-production-quality 30-second television ads.” Democrats were trapped in the past. But for all the anger that followed the 2016 collapse, there’s been no broad-scale repudiation of the system that produced it or a top-down rethinking of party strategy that McGowan believes is necessary to revive a Democratic Party that’s fallen behind. “The stranglehold of consultants who have cultivated power, influence, and money,” she says, “has affected our ability to stay nimble and evolve with the new media landscape.”

    While Courier intends to help tip statehouse races and electoral votes to Democrats, McGowan’s broader hope is that this approach and other Acronym projects, including a $75 million digitally focused super PAC she’s starting with Plouffe, prove effective enough to force change on a Democratic consulting cartel that’s been reluctant to adapt. “That’s the war within the war,” says one Democratic strategist, who is intrigued, though not yet fully persuaded, by McGowan’s approach.

    Building a digital media network that mitigates Trump’s Facebook advantage and helps deliver the states Democrats need to capture the White House would go a long way toward shifting the gravitational center of Democratic strategy from TV to digital. “This is the moonshot moment,” McGowan says, before hurrying off to the airport for another fundraising swing. “We’ll try it, see if we can make it work, and hopefully become a permanent piece of the new infrastructure.”


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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