1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Adam Schiff piles on after Donald Trump blows it

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In the past three days, Donald Trump has gone from announcing that John Kelly was out as White House Chief of Staff, to preparing to reveal Nick Ayers as his new Chief of Staff just as Ayers was declining the job, to getting turned down by too many other candidates to list. It’s clear that no one wants the job, because everyone around Trump keeps going to prison, and Trump may not be in office much longer anyway. Adam Schiff had something to say about it.




Adam Schiff is the incoming Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, meaning he’ll lead investigations into a number of Donald Trump’s criminal scandals. This has Trump so scared, he’s lashed out at Schiff, calling him “Little Adam Schitt.” After the Chief of Staff debacle, Schiff decided to pile on.




Schiff posted this on Twitter today: “Help wanted: White House Chief of Staff. No experience necessary. Must respond well to infighting, backbiting, dishonesty and dishonor. Excited by the prospect of an impossible work environment? Enjoy humiliation? Apply now! *Background check … negotiable.”



It turns out the whole thing is even more humiliating for Donald Trump than we thought. Not long after Adam Schiff piled on, Trump’s White House had to announce that it had asked John Kelly to stay on indefinitely as Chief of Staff, presumably because literally no one wants the job.



The post Adam Schiff piles on after Donald Trump blows it appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News: Federal judge asks special counsel for more evidence about Manafort’s alleged lies – Yahoo News

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Federal judge asks special counsel for more evidence about Manafort’s alleged lies  Yahoo News

Andy McCarthy, former assistant U.S. attorney, discusses how a federal judge asked prosecutors for more evidence to support their claims that Paul Manafort …

“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Donald Trump screws up and confesses to felony, accidentally waives attorney-client privilege

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Donald Trump’s new interview with Reuters is turning out to be the gift that keeps on giving. The deeper we read into it tonight, the more it becomes clear just how much damage Trump has done to himself here. The most stunning of all: he just flat out confessed to one of the felonies he’s just been formally accused of. In the process he’s also accidentally waived attorney-client privilege.




Here is Trump’s exact quote about his felony campaign finance violations during the election: “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?” In this quote, Trump is flat out admitting that he and Cohen did conspire to make the payoffs in question. Yes, he’s arguing that the payoffs weren’t a crime, but that carries no legal weight; what matters here is that he’s confessing to the criminal action in question.




Why does this matter? The first reason is obvious: if the SDNY does end up putting him on criminal trial for this felony down the road, the jury will have to all but automatically find Donald Trump guilty, based on the fact that he has confessed.



The second reason could end up being relevant sooner. Trump just admitted to having conspired with his former attorney Michael Cohen to commit a felony. This means that attorney-client privilege is out the window. We know that Cohen gave prosecutors a lot of dirt on Trump. But there were likely at least a few matters in which Cohen couldn’t give Trump up, because they fell within the narrow parameters of Cohen’s actions as Trump’s pseudo-attorney. But now Cohen can dish on it after all.

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The post Donald Trump screws up and confesses to felony, accidentally waives attorney-client privilege appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner could profit from real estate tax break they pushed – Chicago Tribune

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Bad news surfaces for Donald Trump in FBI raid of his former longtime tax attorney

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Two weeks later, we still don’t have any conclusive evidence as to whether the FBI raid of Edward Burke’s office was related to the fact that he spent several years working as Donald Trump’s tax attorney. In addition to being an attorney, Burke is also a Chicago Alderman, where he’s accused of widespread corruption. But even as we wait to find out if this is Trump-related, there is a new development which spells very bad news for Burke – and bad news for Trump.




The Chicago Sun-Times is now reporting that the FBI has seized Edward Burke’s cellphone. Why is this a big deal? Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explained via tweet that it “indicates that a federal judge concluded there was a good reason to believe that evidence of a crime was contained on Burke’s phone. That could be texts or emails with a co-conspirator who is now cooperating with the government.” So what does this have to do with Trump?




It’s now fairly clear that the raid wasn’t merely some kind of fishing expedition; the Feds have Burke nailed on something specific. Even if it’s not Trump-related, Burke will probably have little choice left but to cut a cooperating plea deal. His best bargaining chip would be to give up whatever he has on Donald Trump. Keep in mind that if a client and his attorney conspire to commit crimes together, attorney-client privilege goes out the window.



So yeah, it’s looking more like Alderman Burke is going to have to give up Donald Trump. Considering that Trump’s other former attorney Michael Cohen just finished helping the federal government to formally accuse Trump in two felonies, the last thing Trump needs is yet another one of his former attorneys selling him out.

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Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump as danger to National Security” – Google News: On border security, Pelosi and Schumer play politics while Trump fights to protect us – Fox News

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On border security, Pelosi and Schumer play politics while Trump fights to protect us  Fox News

President Trump wants border security to keep us safe, while Democrats Pelosi and Schumer want to score political points.

“trump as danger to National Security” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump electorate” – Google News: Pavlich: The media gets woke on the Women’s March | TheHill – The Hill

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Pavlich: The media gets woke on the Women’s March | TheHill  The Hill

After a year of wall-to-wall coverage, endless profiles, glorification, a TIME magazine cover and Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year award, the media has finally …

“trump electorate” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Mike Pence has clearly given up

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Donald Trump is having one of the worst weeks that any American politician has ever had. Suddenly the national discussion surrounding him involves words like impeachment, resignation, indictment, and prison. But in his own way, Mike Pence is having a rather brutal week as well – and it showed today when he finally surfaced in public.




Last Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a point of not redacting the portions of the Michael Flynn sentencing memo that related to the crimes of the Trump transition team. Mike Pence was the head of that transition team, and it looked like Mueller was sending Pence a signal that he’s got him nailed. Then just days later, Pence’s Chief of Staff unexpectedly announced he was resigning. Interpret all of that however you like, but Pence’s behavior today suggested that he’s interpreted it as his own impending demise.




Mike Pence sat next to Donald Trump today during the press conference with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Even as the rest of them went after each other in hostile fashion, Pence just sat there. It was enough to ask if perhaps Trump had shown up with a Mike Pence wax dummy as a prank. Then Pence closed his eyes, and kept them closed. This prompted too many “Weekend at Bernie’s” jokes on social media to count.



Mike Pence clearly didn’t want to be there today as Donald Trump humiliated himself. But in these kinds of situations, Pence usually tries to passively stick up for Trump, or at least tries to act like he’s alive and has a pulse. Pence clearly had bigger and more troubling things on his mind. Pence thought he’d inherit the presidency, and now it looks more like he’ll end up indicted. Best we can tell, he’s simply given up.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump and intelligence community” – Google News: Roy Blunt has received $19,250 from Saudi lobbyists. Did they get their money’s worth? – Kansas City Star

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Roy Blunt has received $19,250 from Saudi lobbyists. Did they get their money’s worth?  Kansas City Star

Thirty of the 37 senators who voted against advancing a resolution calling for our withdrawal from Yemen have received contributions from the Saudi lobby.

“trump and intelligence community” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “donald trump russia” – Google News: A Primer on the Ongoing Trump-Russia Investigation – U.S. News & World Report

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A Primer on the Ongoing Trump-Russia Investigation  U.S. News & World Report

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is facing escalating criminal investigations in Washington and New York that are examining not only whether his …

“donald trump russia” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News: Trump ally Roger Stone says he still has not been contacted by Mueller’s team – NBCNews.com

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Trump ally Roger Stone says he still has not been contacted by Mueller’s team  NBCNews.com

Stone told supporters in August that “Robert Mueller is coming for me” and that investigators are “examining every aspect of my personal [and] political life.”

“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Yemen Peace Talks Convene in Sweden, Saudi Arabia Grapples with Reduced Influence in Washington, Egypt Under Renewed Scrutiny for Student’s Death

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Yemen Peace Talks Reach Deal for Prisoner Exchange

U.N.-mediated peace talks between the internationally-recognized government of Yemen and Houthi rebels began last Thursday in Sweden. After three days of indirect talks with mediators, the two sides met face-to-face on Sunday. On Tuesday, delegates agreed to a prisoner swap backed by the United Nations and Red Cross that will involve 15,000 detainees. Other arrangements to re-open the airport in Sanaa and de-escalate hostilities in Hodeidah are being discussed, but have reportedly been more difficult to negotiate. The government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, threatened on Friday to continue its offensive against the strategic port city if the Houthis do not hand over control of the area, but Houthi officials have rebuffed the threat and said that Hodeidah is “not on the table.”

The new round of talks, the first in more than two years, is slated to end on December 13. “If we end up without any agreement then this round has failed,” Mohammed Abdusalam, lead negotiator for the Houthi delegation, told Reuters. “But if we have a draft on some general framework, the reopening of Sanaa airport, the prisoners release, keeping the central bank neutral and a de-escalation in Hodeidah … then this will be a good step to hold another round in one or two months.” U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has expressed optimism about the delegates’ “positive spirit” at the talks, but diplomats and analysts have limited expectations. Peter Salisbury, writing for International Crisis Group, notes that, at this point, “[b]oth sides are disinclined to compromise,” but argues that the talks are an opportunity to set the stage for more productive negotiations. “Griffiths nonetheless should use the meeting to try to build momentum behind his peace plan and line up more substantive talks for 2019,” Salisbury writes. “If he can get the parties to at least agree to confidence-building measures—and follow up on them in the weeks and months after the talks—then he will be able to credibly claim that the UN-led process has new relevance.”

There are new pressures to wind down the stalemated war. The U.S. Congress has soured on the Saudi intervention, including some Senate Republicans who were convinced that Saudi Arabia’s aggressive foreign policy had gone too far after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in October. There are also signs of strain within the Saudi coalition. The Washington Post reports that militias on the Saudi payroll have skirmished with one another in Taiz, a contested city under a partial blockade from Houthi forces. Mark Perry, writing in The American Conservative, reports that Sudanese mercenaries, sent by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in exchange for Saudi aid and open access to Emirati gold markets, are turning on their Saudi and Emirati officers after being used as “cannon fodder” and going without pay for months.

It also appears that the U.S. military has not followed the proper procedures for the refueling operations it has provided to the Saudi coalition, and now does not know how much the Saudis and Emiratis owe the United States. According to reporting by Samuel Oakford and Ryan Goodman published by The Atlantic, the Pentagon initially provided refueling support to the Saudis via a third-party arrangement with the Emiratis, but that arrangement only covered the first year of the war and third-party deals have since been banned by Congress. Since 2016, the United States has nominally been providing support under an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA), which Oakford and Goodman describe “essentially bilateral treaties between the United States and a partner country that allow for the provision of military and logistical support.” According to a Department of Defense letter obtained by Oakford and Goodman, the Pentagon has now admitted to Congress that Saudi Arabia never completed the “internal procedures necessary for an Agreement to enter into force.” No formal arrangement has been in place, and as a result, Congress was never notified. In addition to not following the legal procedures for the providing logistical support to the Saudi coalition, the Pentagon has lost track of how much these operations have cost. “U.S. Central Command recently reviewed its records and found errors in accounting where DoD failed to charge the SLC [Saudi-led coalition] adequately for fuel and refueling services,” a Pentagon spokesperson told The Atlantic.

Members of Congress received the Pentagon letter last month, just before considering a bill calling for the United States to wind down its support to the Saudi coalition. “It is clear that the Department has not lived up to its obligation to keep Congress appropriately informed or its responsibility to secure timely reimbursement,” Sen. Jack Reed told The Atlantic.

 

Saudi Influence Wanes Despite Administration Ties

Congress’ growing opposition to the disastrous Saudi intervention, which most members have been willing to turn a blind eye to for the last three years, is just the most apparent manifestation of Saudi Arabia’s reduced influence in Washington. The scrutiny of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive foreign policy and domestic repression that has followed the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October has undermined Saudi efforts to influence the U.S. government.

New reporting sheds light on the extent of Saudi efforts to influence the Trump administration. Saudi diplomats identified Jared Kushner early on as an easy mark because of his “scant knowledge about the region, a transactional mind-set and an intense focus on reaching a deal with the Palestinians that met Israel’s demands,” according to a Saudi government report on the president’s son-in-law obtained by the New York Times. The Times details how MBS, Saudi officials, and other interlocutors including Trump campaign advisors and Emirati diplomats, cultivated a friendship between Kushner and the crown prince that has made him an advocate for Riyadh within the administration. The MBS-Kushner connection remains strong, despite efforts by White House officials to exercise more control over their communications, and that Kushner has even advised MBS on how to respond to reports of Khashoggi’s killing, “urging him to resolve his conflicts around the region and avoid further embarrassments,” the Times reports.

The Washington Post reported last week that Saudi lobbyists have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump International Hotel, the Trump-owned establishment just blocks from the White House. Starting in December 2016, lobbyists hired by the Saudi government to block legislation critical of the Kingdom have booked about 500 nights at the hotel, spending more than $270,000 in the process. The Post previously reported that Saudi money also buoyed sagging profits at the Trump International in New York, which hosted much of MBS’ entourage in March 2018.

Those efforts to influence the Trump administration may have helped prompt Trump’s enthusiastic affirmation of support for maintaining status quo U.S.-Saudi relations, but have not persuaded Congress. Senators emerged from a closed-door briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel last Tuesday outraged about testimony that many said left them convinced that MBS had been “complicit” in the operation that killed Khashoggi. According to Politico, Saudi officials recognize how toxic their lobbying efforts have become and scaled back, despite legislation on the Yemen intervention making its way through Congress. “The only voice that’s really been supporting the Saudis at this point has been the administration,” one Senate staffer told Politico. There are signs that the Saudis may be hoping things might slowly return to normal, though; Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States and brother of the crown prince who may have helped lure Khashoggi to the consulate in Istanbul, quietly returned to Washington last week after a two month absence.

 

New Attention to Security Forces Targeting Researchers in Middle East

Egyptian authorities released Muhammed Fathi Abulkasem, a 19-year-old British citizen, last week after detaining him since November. Egyptian authorities arrested Abulkasem at the airport in Alexandria and accused him of being a spy and “collecting information of a military facility” because he had taken a picture of a military helicopter. Abulkasem called his detention a “hellhole” in an online post and said that he “was ready to give up mentally and physically.”

Egypt is facing renewed pressure from the Italian government over the 2016 death of doctoral candidate Giulio Regeni. After years of obstruction from Egyptian investigators, Italian authorities have begun naming Egyptian security forces as suspects in his death. The Guardian reports that Italian prosecutors have identified 20 Egyptian individuals, including several senior officers in Egypt’s National Security Agency. Regeni is believed to have been targeted by government agents for his research on trade unions.

The renewed attention to the Regeni case follows the release of Matthew Hedges, another PhD student who was held by the United Arab Emirates on espionage charges until last month. Hedges has told reporters that he was tortured while in Emirati custody, suffered panic attacks that induced him to sign a false confession, and that Emirati authorities demanded that he spy on the British Foreign Ministry for them.

“The risks of research in countries across the Middle East have changed in recent years, in ways that may not be visible to academics who did their research in an earlier era,” Marc Lynch, professor at George Washington University, wrote recently for Monkey Cage. “The murder of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni in Egypt and Hedges’s detention in the UAE are only the most prominent recent cases of escalating threats against academic research. Turkey has arrested thousands of its own academics as part of a broader crackdown on civil society. Iran holds several Western academics in its prisons on vague charges of espionage. Saudi Arabia has arrested many prominent civil society activists, including noted academics such as Hatoon al-Fassi. In this context, many academics now question the feasibility of doing politically sensitive research in many countries in the Middle East.”

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Manafort” – Google News: Trump-Mueller investigation – LIVE: New Manafort hearing as President lashes out over chief of staff, border wall and Democrats – The Independent

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Trump-Mueller investigation – LIVE: New Manafort hearing as President lashes out over chief of staff, border wall and Democrats  The Independent

President Donald Trump is scrambling to find a new chief of staff after his first choice to replace John Kelly rejected the role at the last minute and several other …

“Manafort” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Maria Butina’s lenient Trump-Russia plea deal sentence means she gave up EVERYONE

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One day after Russian operative Maria Butina’s cooperating plea deal in the Trump-Russia scandal was announced, we’re now getting details of that deal. No, we don’t yet have confirmation of the names of the people she gave up. But considering the lenient sentence she just received, we don’t even need names, because it means she gave up everyone.




If Maria Butina had refused to cut a deal, she could have ended up charged with any number of espionage-related felonies. In fact, according to NBC News, her plea deal spells out the severity of her crimes, stating that she worked to “establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics … for the benefit of the Russian Federation.” Yet she’s getting little to no prison time.




Yet federal prosecutors are only requiring her to plead guilty to a single comparatively minor charge, which will likely carry a zero to six month prison sentence. In other words, this is essentially the same deal that Michael Flynn was given. He cooperated fully, and prosecutors ended up recommending no prison time at all. This is different in that she’s currently being denied bail because she’s a flight risk, but if she lives up to her end of the deal, she’ll likely go free once her cooperation is complete. And while deportation is usually a part of these kinds of deals, prosecutors aren’t going to send her to her death in Russia.



The bottom line is that prosecutors working in league with Robert Mueller just gave a potential free pass to a Russian spy who conspired with various Americans to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. This can only mean that, during her proffer session, she gave up so much valuable information on so many bigger fish, they decided it was worth giving her a free pass. Everyone in the GOP and NRA with ties to Butina should be panicking right now.

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The post Maria Butina’s lenient Trump-Russia plea deal sentence means she gave up EVERYONE appeared first on Palmer Report.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “crime and terror link” – Google News: Former Ford Argentina executives sentenced in torture cases – SF Gate

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Former Ford Argentina executives sentenced in torture cases  SF Gate

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine court on Tuesday sentenced two former Ford Motor Co. executives to prison for helping agents of the country’s …

“crime and terror link” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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