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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer 22:25 - Apr 9 with 21535 viewsShaky

FBI executes 'series of search warrants,' raids Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's office

Story: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/09/politics/michael-cohen-fbi/index.html

Trump is said to be watching a loop of the TV clip covering the raid!

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 23:59 - Aug 28 with 1597 viewsDJack

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 22:13 - Aug 28 by Shaky

I am familiar with the genre

Maybe tomorrow I'll fire up my high security linux based porn browsing virtual machine and take a peek!


Qubes?

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 08:51 - Aug 29 with 1555 viewsShaky

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 23:59 - Aug 28 by DJack

Qubes?


Debian 8 x64!

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:01 - Aug 29 with 1506 viewsA_Fans_Dad

I suppose a Congressman is also below your high standard of reporting.
https://gohmert.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398634

After you guys believe newsites like CNN
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:22 - Aug 29 with 1496 viewsShaky

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:01 - Aug 29 by A_Fans_Dad

I suppose a Congressman is also below your high standard of reporting.
https://gohmert.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398634

After you guys believe newsites like CNN


That wouldn't be from the office of the same Louie Gohmert who last year called for a federal investigation of the race riot in Charlottesville claiming they were financed by “by forces of evil beyond what normal people can think about.”

Was he talking about the Nazis you might wonder? Nope, this was in his view a sinister democratic plot to make the 2018 midterm elections about race.

A crackpot. In the House of Representatives. And there's more than a handful about.

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:37 - Aug 29 with 1490 viewsShaky

But how did nutters like Gohmert enter mainstream US politics?

Here is the adult rated view of one former GOP congressional aide from the archives, only intended for those with an interest in the really hardcore side of US politics:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis

Truthout, Saturday 3 September 2011

Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"
Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"

Double Indemnity" (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten - how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests - no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

Full story: https://truthout.org/articles/goodbye-to-all-that-reflections-of-a-gop-operative

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:56 - Aug 29 with 1476 viewsLohengrin

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:37 - Aug 29 by Shaky

But how did nutters like Gohmert enter mainstream US politics?

Here is the adult rated view of one former GOP congressional aide from the archives, only intended for those with an interest in the really hardcore side of US politics:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis

Truthout, Saturday 3 September 2011

Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"
Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"

Double Indemnity" (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten - how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests - no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

Full story: https://truthout.org/articles/goodbye-to-all-that-reflections-of-a-gop-operative


Yesterday, Shake, you were saying that...”to be honest I am not going to open a link from a site called truthfeednews.com.” Today you are posting a link to truthout.org.

You’re a curious sort of chap.

An idea isn't responsible for those who believe in it.

1
Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 17:27 - Aug 30 with 1396 viewsA_Fans_Dad

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:22 - Aug 29 by Shaky

That wouldn't be from the office of the same Louie Gohmert who last year called for a federal investigation of the race riot in Charlottesville claiming they were financed by “by forces of evil beyond what normal people can think about.”

Was he talking about the Nazis you might wonder? Nope, this was in his view a sinister democratic plot to make the 2018 midterm elections about race.

A crackpot. In the House of Representatives. And there's more than a handful about.


Classic: attack the man and not the Data.
Funny that you should bring up Charlottesville, perhaps you would like to attack this nice young lady's character as well.
https://www.christianpost.com/news/charlottesville-fueling-race-riots-lefts-clev

I am sure that you can find some socialist propaganda outlet to provide you some info.
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:32 - Sep 5 with 1287 viewsShaky

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

NYT Sept. 5, 2018

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.
That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.
From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistanc

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 09:18 - Sep 22 with 1112 viewsShaky

Things heating up nicely for Trump.

Yesterday the NY Times released a story that Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General and #2 at the Department of Justice overseeing the Mueller investigation, had suggested secretly recording Trump and making a constitutional move to have him removed from power under Article 25:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/us/politics/rod-rosenstein-wear-wire-25th-ame

He subsequently came out and strongly denied the substance of the story, whereas others said he had posed a sarcastic rhetorical question "do you want to put a wire on Trump?"

Separately Michael Cohen's lawyer came out with this tweet:



Speculation is now rife that Team Trump leaked the story on Rosenstein as a desperate pretext for sacking him in the very near future, so as to replace him with a Trump loyalist who will end the Mueller investigation before Cohen's assistance can be acted upon.

Watch this space.

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 11:50 - Sep 22 with 1087 viewspeenemunde

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 09:18 - Sep 22 by Shaky

Things heating up nicely for Trump.

Yesterday the NY Times released a story that Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General and #2 at the Department of Justice overseeing the Mueller investigation, had suggested secretly recording Trump and making a constitutional move to have him removed from power under Article 25:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/us/politics/rod-rosenstein-wear-wire-25th-ame

He subsequently came out and strongly denied the substance of the story, whereas others said he had posed a sarcastic rhetorical question "do you want to put a wire on Trump?"

Separately Michael Cohen's lawyer came out with this tweet:



Speculation is now rife that Team Trump leaked the story on Rosenstein as a desperate pretext for sacking him in the very near future, so as to replace him with a Trump loyalist who will end the Mueller investigation before Cohen's assistance can be acted upon.

Watch this space.


You live in hope 🤣

He’s doing a fantastic job.
The greatest American President EVER.

Drain that swamp......👍
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 15:29 - Oct 31 with 842 viewsShaky

Has Mueller Subpoenaed the President?
A careful reading of court filings suggests the special counsel hasn’t been quiet. Far from it.

By NELSON W. CUNNINGHAM 10/31/2018 05:16 AM EDT

POLITICO, 31 October 2018

Nelson W. Cunningham has served as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York under Rudolph Giuliani, general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-chair Joseph R. Biden, and general counsel of the White House Office of Administration under Bill Clinton.

These months before the midterm elections are tough ones for all of us Mueller-watchers. As we expected, he has gone quiet in deference to long-standing Justice Department policy that prosecutors should not take actions that might impact pending elections. Whatever he is doing, he is doing quietly and even farther from the public eye than usual.

But thanks to some careful reporting by Politico, we may have stumbled upon How Bob Mueller Is Spending His Mid-Terms: secretly litigating against President Trump for the right to throw him in the grand jury.

As a former prosecutor and Senate and White House aide, I predicted here last May that Mueller would promptly subpoena Trump and, like Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr back in 1998, bring a sitting president before his grand jury to round out and conclude his investigation. What Trump knew and when he knew it, and what exactly motivated his statements and actions, are central to Mueller’s inquiry on both Russian interference and obstruction of justice.

As the summer proceeded, we certainly heard a great deal from Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, about purported negotiations with Mueller’s office about the propriety and scope of Trump’s potential testimony. On August 15, Giuliani said Trump would move to quash a subpoena and went so far as to say, “[W]e’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.”

And then—nothing. Labor Day came and went without a visible move by Mueller to subpoena the president, and we entered the quiet period before the midterms. Even the voluble Giuliani went quiet, more or less. Mindful of the time it would take to fight out the legal issues surrounding a presidential subpoena, and mindful of the ticking clock on Mueller’s now 18-month-old investigation, many of us began to wonder if Mueller had decided to forego the compelling and possibly conclusive nature of presidential testimony in favor of findings built on inference and circumstantial evidence. A move that would leave a huge hole in his final report and findings.

But now, thanks to Politico’s reporting (backed up by the simple gumshoe move of sitting in the clerk’s office waiting to see who walks in and requests what file), we may know what Mueller has been up to: Since mid-August, he may have been locked in proceedings with Trump and his lawyers over a grand jury subpoena—in secret litigation that could tell us by December whether the president will testify before Mueller’s grand jury.

The evidence lies in obscure docket entries at the clerk’s office for the D.C. Circuit. Thanks to Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, we know that on August 16th (the day after Giuliani said he was almost finished with his memorandum, remember), a sealed grand jury case was initiated in the D.C. federal district court before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. We know that on September 19, Chief Judge Howell issued a ruling and 5 days later one of the parties appealed to the D.C. Circuit. And thanks to Politico’s reporting, we know that the special counsel’s office is involved (because the reporter overheard a conversation in the clerk’s office). We can further deduce that the special counsel prevailed in the district court below, and that the presumptive grand jury witness has frantically appealed that order and sought special treatment from the judges of the D.C. Circuit—often referred to as the “second-most important court in the land.”

Nothing about the docket sheets, however, discloses the identity of the witness. Politico asked many of the known attorneys for Mueller witnesses—including Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer—and every one denied knowledge of the identity of the witness. (What, of course, would we expect a lawyer to say when asked about a proceeding the court has ordered sealed?)

But for those of us who have been appellate lawyers, the brief docket entries tell a story. Here’s what we can glean:

The parties and the judges have moved with unusual alacrity. Parties normally have 30 days to appeal a lower court action. The witness here appealed just five days after losing in the district court—and three days later filed a motion before the appellate court to stay the district court’s order. That’s fast.

The appeals court itself responded with remarkable speed, too. One day after getting the witness’s motion, the court gave the special counsel just three days to respond—blindingly short as appellate proceedings go. The special counsel’s papers were filed October 1.

At this point an unspecified procedural flaw seems to have emerged, and on October 3, the appeals court dismissed the appeal. Just two days later, the lower court judge cured the flaw, the witness re-appealed, and by October 10 the witness was once again before appellate court. Thanks to very quick action of all the judges, less than one week was lost due to a flaw that, in other cases, could have taken weeks or months to resolve.

Back before the D.C. Circuit, this case’s very special handling continued. On October 10, the day the case returned to the court, the parties filed a motion for expedited handling, and within two days, the judges had granted their motion and set an accelerated briefing schedule. The witness was given just 11 days to file briefs; the special counsel (presumably) just two weeks to respond; and reply papers one week later, on November 14 (for those paying attention, that’s 8 days after the midterm elections). Oral arguments are set for December 14.

At every level, this matter has commanded the immediate and close attention of the judges involved—suggesting that no ordinary witness and no ordinary issue is involved. But is it the president? The docket sheets give one final—but compelling—clue. When the witness lost the first time in the circuit court (before the quick round-trip to the district court), he unusually petitioned for rehearing en banc—meaning he thought his case was so important that it merited the very unusual action of convening all 10 of the D.C. Circuit judges to review the order. That is itself telling (this witness believes his case demands very special handling), but the order disposing of the petition is even more telling: President Trump’s sole appointee to that court, Gregory Katsas, recused himself.

Why did he recuse himself? We don’t know; by custom, judges typically don’t disclose their reasons for sitting a matter out. But Judge Katsas previously served in the Trump White House, as one of four deputy White House counsels. He testified in his confirmation hearings that in that position he handled executive branch legal issues, but made clear that apart from some discrete legal issues, he had not been involved in the special counsel’s investigation. If the witness here were unrelated to the White House, unless the matter raised one of the discrete legal issues on which he had previously given advice, there would be no reason to recuse himself.

But if the witness were the president himself—if the matter involved an appeal from a secret order requiring the president to testify before the grand jury—then Judge Katsas would certainly feel obliged to recuse himself from any official role. Not only was the president his former client (he was deputy counsel to the president, remember) but he owes his judicial position to the president’s nomination. History provides a useful parallel: In 1974, in the unanimous Supreme Court decision US v Nixon requiring another witness-president to comply with a subpoena, Justice William Rehnquist recused himself for essentially the same reasons.

We cannot know, from the brief docket entries that are available to us in this sealed case, that the matter involves President Trump. But we do know from Politico’s reporting that it involves the special counsel and that the action here was filed the day after Giuliani noted publicly, “[W]e’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.” We know that the district court had ruled in favor of the special counsel and against the witness; that the losing witness has moved with alacrity and with authority; and that the judges have responded with accelerated rulings and briefing schedules. We know that Judge Katsas, Trump’s former counsel and nominee, has recused himself. And we know that this sealed legal matter will come to a head in the weeks just after the midterm elections.

If Mueller were going to subpoena the president—and there’s every reason why a careful and thorough prosecutor would want the central figure on the record on critical questions regarding his knowledge and intent—this is just the way we would expect him to do so. Quietly, expeditiously, and refusing to waste the lull in public action demanded by the midterm elections. It all fits.

Nelson W. Cunningham has served as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York under Rudolph Giuliani, general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-chair Joseph R. Biden, and general counsel of the White House Office of Administration under Bill Clinton.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/amp/story/2018/10/31/has-robert-mueller-subpoe

Misology -- It's a bitch
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 09:52 - Nov 8 with 753 viewsShaky

“The President Is Very Depressed”: With Don Jr. Facing Possible Indictment, and Endless House Investigations Forthcoming, No Wonder Trump Is in a Bad Mood
He finally got rid of Jeff Sessions—but Donald Trump’s life is about to get much harder.
By GABRIEL SHERMAN

Vanity Fair, NOVEMBER 7, 2018 5:37 PM

Last night, about 100 friends and allies of Donald Trump gathered at the White House for a party to watch the midterm-election results. Trump was in high spirits as the first polls closed, thinking that perhaps he’d defied the laws of political gravity once again. “His mood was great,” one Republican who spoke with Trump said, “but that was before everything went bad.”

How bad it will get is the question the West Wing is debating today. Signaling that perhaps he wants to rein in Mueller before a report is turned over, Trump asked beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. According to a source close to Sessions, Trump waited until this morning to make the request. “He hated Sessions,” the source said, “it all goes back to the recusal.” Sessions’s replacement, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, is a conservative out of central casting. “Trump loves the guy. He’s like six-foot-four and played tight end for Iowa’s Rose Bowl team,” a Republican close to the White House said. Before he’d joined the administration, Whitaker, who will assume authority over the Mueller probe from Rod Rosenstein, wrote an article saying that if the special counsel investigated Trump’s finances it would represent a “red line,” and has suggested that one way to curtail the investigation without firing Mueller would be to starve it of funds.

Trump’s move against Sessions today arrives at a moment when Trump allies are increasingly concerned about Donald Trump Jr.’s legal exposure. In recent days, according to three sources, Don Jr. has been telling friends he is worried about being indicted as early as this week. One person close to Don Jr. speculated that Mueller could indict him for making false statements to Congress and the F.B.I. about whether he had told his father about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to gather “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. This source had heard that the case could revolve around Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, who’s cooperating with Mueller and who was deeply involved in the campaign at the time of the meeting. Trump, this person continued, is “very upset” about the risks Don Jr. faces. “The president is very depressed,” this person said. (“Don never said any such thing, and there is absolutely no truth to these rumors,” said Don Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas.)

As the West Wing confronts fallout from Mueller’s next moves, Trump is also facing a vastly altered political environment in which the Democrats are poised to aggressively investigate the executive branch. “Trump is thinking about it two ways. No. 1, what could they release about me? And No. 2, how does it work politically for me?” a Republican briefed on the president’s thinking said. Inside the White House, there’s a debate about how to deal with Democrats controlling the House. Some advisers fear the White House is not set up to defend itself against the onslaught of hearings. “I would be very concerned about the House investigations,” a former West Wing official said. “I think everyone is worried,” one Republican close to the president told me.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/11/post-midterms-trump-is-in-a-bad-mood/amp

Misology -- It's a bitch
Poll: Greatest PS Troll Hunter of all time

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 10:09 - Nov 8 with 734 viewsomarjack

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 09:52 - Nov 8 by Shaky

“The President Is Very Depressed”: With Don Jr. Facing Possible Indictment, and Endless House Investigations Forthcoming, No Wonder Trump Is in a Bad Mood
He finally got rid of Jeff Sessions—but Donald Trump’s life is about to get much harder.
By GABRIEL SHERMAN

Vanity Fair, NOVEMBER 7, 2018 5:37 PM

Last night, about 100 friends and allies of Donald Trump gathered at the White House for a party to watch the midterm-election results. Trump was in high spirits as the first polls closed, thinking that perhaps he’d defied the laws of political gravity once again. “His mood was great,” one Republican who spoke with Trump said, “but that was before everything went bad.”

How bad it will get is the question the West Wing is debating today. Signaling that perhaps he wants to rein in Mueller before a report is turned over, Trump asked beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. According to a source close to Sessions, Trump waited until this morning to make the request. “He hated Sessions,” the source said, “it all goes back to the recusal.” Sessions’s replacement, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, is a conservative out of central casting. “Trump loves the guy. He’s like six-foot-four and played tight end for Iowa’s Rose Bowl team,” a Republican close to the White House said. Before he’d joined the administration, Whitaker, who will assume authority over the Mueller probe from Rod Rosenstein, wrote an article saying that if the special counsel investigated Trump’s finances it would represent a “red line,” and has suggested that one way to curtail the investigation without firing Mueller would be to starve it of funds.

Trump’s move against Sessions today arrives at a moment when Trump allies are increasingly concerned about Donald Trump Jr.’s legal exposure. In recent days, according to three sources, Don Jr. has been telling friends he is worried about being indicted as early as this week. One person close to Don Jr. speculated that Mueller could indict him for making false statements to Congress and the F.B.I. about whether he had told his father about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to gather “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. This source had heard that the case could revolve around Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, who’s cooperating with Mueller and who was deeply involved in the campaign at the time of the meeting. Trump, this person continued, is “very upset” about the risks Don Jr. faces. “The president is very depressed,” this person said. (“Don never said any such thing, and there is absolutely no truth to these rumors,” said Don Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas.)

As the West Wing confronts fallout from Mueller’s next moves, Trump is also facing a vastly altered political environment in which the Democrats are poised to aggressively investigate the executive branch. “Trump is thinking about it two ways. No. 1, what could they release about me? And No. 2, how does it work politically for me?” a Republican briefed on the president’s thinking said. Inside the White House, there’s a debate about how to deal with Democrats controlling the House. Some advisers fear the White House is not set up to defend itself against the onslaught of hearings. “I would be very concerned about the House investigations,” a former West Wing official said. “I think everyone is worried,” one Republican close to the president told me.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/11/post-midterms-trump-is-in-a-bad-mood/amp


Let's be realistic, no one's getting impeached or indicted (maybe some scapegoat? but not a Trump surely)

The GOP still controls the senate, and the Dems House majority is marginal and I don't think it's enough for a real action, and the the GOP would rather sell their own family down the river than going against their supreme leader.

I'm afraid Americans will have to sit tight for 2 more years, but this time they better get off their @sses and vote in large numbers because the election system obviously favours the GOP as Clinton had more votes in all elections so far. And they better not get too picky about the Democrat candidate this time, no matter how uninspiring the candidate will be, They'll certainly better than the current nutjob in chief they have to put up with.

Poll: England vs Croatia (who's going to win)

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 16:49 - Nov 12 with 660 viewsShaky

Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal
Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws
By Joe Palazzolo, Nicole Hong, Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Rebecca Ballhaus

WSJ, Nov. 9, 2018 1:03 p.m. ET

As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.

What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

Less than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.

The Trump Tower meeting and its aftermath are among several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women, according to interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.

Taken together, the accounts refute a two-year pattern of denials by Mr. Trump, his legal team and his advisers that he was involved in payoffs to Ms. McDougal and a former adult-film star. They also raise the possibility that the president of the United States violated federal campaign-finance laws.

The Wall Street Journal found that Mr. Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, and others. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has gathered evidence of Mr. Trump’s participation in the transactions.

On Thursday, the White House referred questions about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the hush deals to the president’s outside counsel Jay Sekulow, who declined to comment.

In an Oct. 23 interview with the Journal, Mr. Trump declined to address whether he had ever discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen during the campaign.

“Nobody cares about that,” he said. He described Mr. Cohen as a “public-relations person” who “represented me on very small things.”

Mr. Cohen, who left the Trump Organization to serve as the president’s personal attorney in early 2017, and other aides denied Mr. Trump played any role in the two hush-money deals when they were first reported in the Journal.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan came to believe otherwise. In August, they outlined Mr. Trump’s role—without specifically naming him—in a roughly 80-page draft federal indictment they had been preparing to file against Mr. Cohen.

When Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty that month to campaign-finance violations, prosecutors filed a 22-page charging document asserting that Mr. Cohen “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.”

The unnamed campaign member or members referred to Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the document.

The revelations about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the hush-money deals come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian electoral interference, and as a newly elected Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has signaled its intention to investigate the Trump administration when it takes power. Manhattan federal prosecutors who investigated Mr. Cohen are now examining business dealings by the Trump Organization.

Mr. Cohen, who implicated the president in his crimes when he pleaded guilty in August, has met with investigators for Mr. Mueller and with federal prosecutors in New York, seeking to provide information that could mitigate his sentence, which is scheduled for Dec. 12.

He told federal prosecutors he conferred with Mr. Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election about paying Stephanie Clifford, the former adult-film star known professionally as Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about her allegations of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. He told them that Mr. Trump urged him to “get it done.”

Mr. Cohen has also described to prosecutors his discussions with Mr. Trump and a Trump Organization executive about how to pay Ms. Clifford without leaving the candidate’s fingerprints on the deal.

Mr. Trump’s involvement in the payments, by itself, wouldn’t mean he is guilty of federal crimes, according to Richard Hasen, a law professor at University of California, Irvine, who specializes in election law. A criminal conviction would require proof Mr. Trump willfully skirted legal prohibitions on contributions from companies or from individuals in excess of $2,700, he said.

When the Justice Department accused John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, of using illegal campaign contributions to conceal an affair during his 2008 presidential run, he argued the money was meant to hide his mistress from his wife, not to influence the election. A jury acquitted him of one charge and deadlocked on the rest.

Managing bad press

Mr. Trump was leading in most polls for the Republican presidential nomination in the summer of 2015 after announcing his candidacy for president. His past behavior with women—flings with models and divorces that played out in the New York tabloids—caused concern among his advisers.

Mr. Pecker could help manage bad press. The men’s relationship dated to the 1990s, when Mr. Pecker’s former employer, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, put out “Trump Style,” a quarterly magazine for guests at Trump properties.

When Mr. Pecker took over as chief executive of American Media in the late 1990s, he imposed a moratorium on negative stories about Mr. Trump, who was known among Enquirer staff as an “F.O.P.,” or Friend of Pecker.

In May 2016, Ms. McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the year, began to consider telling her story of a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump. She believed the story would come out regardless, after another former Playboy model posted a tweet alluding to a relationship between the two.

Ms. McDougal retained Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer specializing in representing women who’d had affairs with celebrities. Mr. Davidson reached out to Dylan Howard, American Media’s New York-based chief content officer, to gauge the company’s interest in buying Ms. McDougal’s story.

Messrs. Pecker and Howard alerted Mr. Cohen, who in turn warned Mr. Trump, by then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who in turn phoned Mr. Pecker for help.

On June 20, 2016, Mr. Howard flew to Los Angeles to meet Ms. McDougal at her lawyer’s office.

Mr. Howard spent hours interviewing Ms. McDougal, pressing her for every detail of the alleged affair. Ms. McDougal seemed reluctant to go public with her story.

“I don’t want to be the next Monica Lewinsky,” Ms. McDougal said, referring to the young White House intern who was vilified after her affair with President Bill Clinton became public. Mr. Howard told her that without documents corroborating her story, it wouldn’t be worth more than $15,000.

When Mr. Howard finished interviewing Ms. McDougal that day, he and Mr. Pecker got on a three-way call with Mr. Cohen to discuss what she had said. They noted she had produced no proof of an affair with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Howard told Mr. Davidson that Ms. McDougal should get back in touch if she found any evidence of the alleged affair.

After the meeting, Messrs. Pecker and Howard learned Ms. McDougal had also been meeting with investigative reporters at ABC News about sharing her story in a televised interview.

Mr. Cohen updated Mr. Trump on developments throughout. The ABC talks prompted American Media to offer to buy Ms. McDougal’s story for $150,000 in early August.

The contract gave the publisher the exclusive rights to her story, and guaranteed Ms. McDougal and American Media two magazine covers on which she would appear as a model. As part of the deal, American Media had the option of publishing health and fitness columns under Ms. McDougal’s name.

In a Skype call, Mr. Howard told Ms. McDougal the covers and columns would help resuscitate her modeling career.

Mr. Pecker researched campaign-finance laws before entering into the McDougal deal. The question was: Would American Media’s payment amount to an illegal campaign contribution to Mr. Trump? Corporations are barred under federal law from giving directly to candidates, either in cash or in-kind contributions.

After speaking with an election-law specialist, Mr. Pecker concluded the company’s payment to Ms. McDougal wouldn’t violate the law, because the magazine covers and health columns gave him a business justification for the deal.

The contract had an effective date of Aug. 5, 2016. Ms. McDougal signed it the following day.

Mr. Cohen assured Mr. Pecker that Mr. Trump would reimburse the publisher, and they began to devise a repayment plan at the end of that month.

‘All the stuff’
Concerned Mr. Pecker might leave American Media, Mr. Cohen wanted to buy other materials the company had gathered on Mr. Trump over the years, including source files and tips. In a meeting at the Trump Organization offices in early September, Mr. Cohen told Mr. Trump of his plan.

Mr. Cohen, who complained to associates about Mr. Trump’s frugality, was also worried his boss would balk at reimbursing Mr. Pecker. He secretly recorded Mr. Trump discussing the deal.

“Um, I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that—I’m going to do that right away,” said Mr. Cohen, according to a copy of the audio file.

As Mr. Cohen explained his plans, Mr. Trump spoke over him: “So, what are we gonna pay…One-fifty?” Mr. Trump asked. Mr. Cohen paused and replied, “Yes.”

Mr. Cohen said he would be getting “all the stuff,” meaning the other files on Mr. Trump he had been seeking. They discussed the uncertainty about what might become of the files if Mr. Pecker no longer ran American Media. “Yeah, I was thinking about that,” Mr. Trump said. “Maybe he gets hit by a truck.”

Messrs. Pecker and Cohen signed a contract for the transfer of the McDougal story in late September. Mr. Cohen set up a shell company in Delaware for the transaction on Sept. 30.

The publisher would assign the rights to Ms. McDougal’s story to Mr. Cohen for $125,000—the value they put on Ms. McDougal’s agreement with American Media minus the magazine covers and fitness columns, the rights to which the publisher would retain.

Mr. Pecker called off the Trump-reimbursement deal in October 2016 on the advice of his lawyer. Accepting reimbursement from Mr. Trump, the executive worried, could undermine any argument that the McDougal payment was made for editorial and business reasons, rather than as an in-kind campaign contribution.

Mr. Pecker told Mr. Cohen to tear up the reimbursement agreement, but Mr. Cohen kept a copy. Federal agents found it in a search of Mr. Cohen’s office earlier this year.

Stormy surfaces
As the McDougal deal came together, another woman was shopping her story of an alleged tryst with Mr. Trump.

Earlier in 2016, an agent for Ms. Clifford, the adult-film actress, had approached Mr. Howard about selling her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. The agent, Gina Rodriguez, was seeking upward of $200,000 for the story, but Mr. Howard passed.

Ms. Clifford’s story—she said she had sex with Mr. Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe a decade earlier—had already been told in 2011 on a gossip blog, The Dirty. Mr. Howard reminded Ms. Rodriguez that Ms. Clifford had called the report “bulls—” when contacted five years earlier by entertainment channel E!.

Ms. Clifford gained more leverage on Oct. 7, when The Washington Post published previously unaired footage from a 2005 appearance by Mr. Trump on NBC’s “Access Hollywood.” Mr. Trump could be heard on the video chatting with host Billy Bush about groping women.

After the tape surfaced, nearly upending Mr. Trump’s campaign, Ms. Rodriguez reached out to Mr. Howard and told him Ms. Clifford was prepared to go public. Ms. Clifford, through her agent, was in preliminary talks with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Mr. Howard alerted Mr. Pecker, and they separately spoke to Mr. Cohen about Ms. Clifford. The Trump camp at the time was scrambling to contain fallout from the tape, as women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct by the candidate, all of which he denied.

Ms. Clifford had taken a polygraph test in 2011, when another celebrity publication, Life & Style, was vetting her claims of a sexual encounter. When asked whether she had unprotected sex with Mr. Trump, she answered “yes,” and the examiner found no signs of deception.

Mr. Cohen had been able to kill that earlier story with a legal threat. Ms. Clifford and Ms. Rodriguez wouldn’t be intimidated this time.

Mr. Cohen asked American Media to buy Ms. Clifford’s story. Mr. Pecker refused on the grounds that he didn’t want his company to pay a porn star.

Messrs. Cohen and Trump would have to handle the payment themselves. Mr. Cohen told federal prosecutors he relayed the news to Mr. Trump in his Trump Tower office in the second week of October 2016.

That is when Mr. Trump, smarting from the “Access Hollywood” tape, told Mr. Cohen to “get it done,” according to Mr. Cohen’s account to prosecutors.

Within days, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Davidson had negotiated a nondisclosure agreement for Ms. Clifford.

The money was slow in coming because Mr. Trump, Mr. Cohen and the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, couldn’t settle on a plan for getting it to Mr. Davidson without anyone being able to trace it back to Mr. Trump, according to Mr. Cohen’s account to prosecutors. Among the options they considered: routing the payment through a Trump-owned property, Mr. Cohen told prosecutors.

Mr. Cohen offered a suggestion: Why not have Mr. Weisselberg make the payment? “You’re the CFO,” he told the longtime Trump aide, according to Mr. Cohen’s account to prosecutors. “You pay this.” Mr. Weisselberg said he couldn’t come up with the money.

Mr. Cohen had told Mr. Davidson to expect a $130,000 wire transfer by Oct. 14, but missed the deadline, as well as an extension, prompting Ms. Clifford to walk away.

While Mr. Cohen considered a path forward, he offered excuses to Ms. Clifford’s camp. He told Mr. Davidson banks were closed for the Jewish holidays and he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump on the campaign trail. “My guy is in five states today,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Davidson told Mr. Howard on Oct. 25, 2016, that Ms. Clifford would soon speak publicly. Mr. Howard texted Mr. Cohen that they needed to coordinate “or it could look awfully bad for everyone.”

In a tense three-way call on an encrypted app, Messrs. Pecker and Howard urged Mr. Cohen to complete the deal before Ms. Clifford disclosed the hush-money negotiations.

Out of options and time, Mr. Cohen decided to cover the payment himself. “F— it, I’m just going to do it,” he told Mr. Davidson in a phone call.

He drew down his home-equity line and transferred $130,000 to Mr. Davidson on Oct. 27. Ms. Clifford signed a fresh nondisclosure agreement the next day.

That month, a news site called “The Smoking Gun” published an account of Ms. Clifford’s alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Then-Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon confronted the candidate. Mr. Trump told them the encounter never happened.

Four days before the 2016 election, The Wall Street Journal revealed the $150,000 payment to Ms. McDougal by American Media. The company said at the time Ms. McDougal had been paid for magazine covers and fitness columns and denied buying her story to protect Mr. Trump.

The Trump campaign professed ignorance. “We have no knowledge of any of this,” Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, said of the McDougal deal. Ms. Hicks, who discussed the matter with Mr. Trump before issuing the comment, was relaying what she had been told, according to people familiar with the conversation. She also denied Mr. Trump had sex with Ms. McDougal.

As Mr. Trump headed to victory on Nov. 8, Mr. Howard joined Mr. Cohen at the candidate’s election night celebration at the New York Hilton.

Repaying Cohen
Later that month, after Mr. Trump’s election win, Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Weisselberg to discuss reimbursement for the payment to Ms. Clifford, Mr. Cohen has told federal prosecutors.

While Mr. Cohen waited, he asked Mr. Pecker to lobby Mr. Trump to pay him more money.

Mr. Pecker visited Trump Tower twice during the presidential transition. When he raised Mr. Cohen’s request during a meeting in the first week of December 2016, Mr. Trump demurred, saying Mr. Cohen had plenty of money. During Mr. Pecker’s second visit, in January 2017, Mr. Trump thanked him for suppressing the McDougal story.

Mr. Weisselberg soon completed the reimbursement plan.

It would turn out to be a costly deal for Mr. Trump.

Had he just paid the ex-adult film star himself, Mr. Trump would have been out of pocket $130,000. Instead, Mr. Weisselberg authorized a reimbursement of twice that much, characterized in Mr. Trump’s records as legal fees, to cover the income tax hit Mr. Cohen would take. He also added a $60,000 bonus. Mr. Cohen received the money in monthly installments of $35,000.

In the first year of Mr. Trump’s presidency, American Media continued to feature him on the Enquirer cover. In July 2017, Mr. Trump hosted Messrs. Pecker and Howard at the White House for dinner, an Oval Office visit and a private tour of the Lincoln Bedroom led by the president.

After the Journal reported on the payment to Ms. Clifford in January 2018, the relationships between Messrs. Trump, Cohen and Pecker began to fracture.

Ms. Clifford, initially willing to keep quiet, began to seek more exposure and threatened to break the agreement after Mr. Cohen acknowledged paying her in a February statement to the news media. Mr. Trump instructed Mr. Cohen to coordinate with his son Eric Trump to silence Ms. Clifford in arbitration. It didn’t work; Ms. Clifford ignored the arbitrator’s restraining order.

Mr. Cohen continued to insist he had done the deal with Ms. Clifford on his own, while Mr. Trump said he knew nothing about it when talking to reporters on Air Force One on April 5.

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” the president said. “Michael is my attorney.”

Days later, on April 9, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room. Agents approached Messrs. Pecker and Howard. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed American Media and the Trump Organization, among others.

As Mr. Trump continued to distance himself from Mr. Cohen and the payment, American Media turned on Mr. Cohen, with a National Enquirer cover featuring the headline, “Trump Fixer’s Secrets & Lies.” Mr. Cohen learned he had been let go as Mr. Trump’s personal attorney when he saw it on television.

Both Messrs. Cohen and Pecker began seeking to minimize their exposure. Mr. Pecker, granted immunity for his grand jury testimony, told investigators about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the McDougal deal.

Three years after Mr. Pecker began working with Mr. Cohen to help Mr. Trump, the deals they made have unraveled. Ms. McDougal and Ms. Clifford have both been let out of their hush agreements after filing lawsuits.

The three men no longer speak to one another.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-played-central-role-in-hush-payoffs-to

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Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, sources say
Trump ally met WikiLeaks founder months before emails hacked by Russia were published
By Luke Harding and Dan Collyns in Quito

Guardian, Tue 27 Nov 2018 14.23 GMT

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.

It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.

Manafort, 69, denies involvement in the hack and says the claim is “100% false”. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian’s questions about the visits.

In a series of tweets WikiLeaks said Assange and Manafort had not met. Assange described the story as a hoax.

Manafort was jailed this year and was thought to have become a star cooperator in the Mueller inquiry. But on Monday Mueller said Manafort had repeatedly lied to the FBI, despite agreeing to cooperate two months ago in a plea deal. According to a court document, Manafort had committed “crimes and lies” on a “variety of subject matters”.

His defence team says he believes what he has told Mueller to be truthful and has not violated his deal.

Manafort’s first visit to the embassy took place a year after Assange sought asylum inside, two sources said.

A separate internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency and seen by the Guardian lists “Paul Manaford [sic]” as one of several well-known guests. It also mentions “Russians”.

According to the sources, Manafort returned to the embassy in 2015. He paid another visit in spring 2016, turning up alone, around the time Trump named him as his convention manager. The visit is tentatively dated to March.

Manafort’s 2016 visit to Assange lasted about 40 minutes, one source said, adding that the American was casually dressed when he exited the embassy, wearing sandy-coloured chinos, a cardigan and a light-coloured shirt.

Visitors normally register with embassy security guards and show their passports. Sources in Ecuador, however, say Manafort was not logged.

Embassy staff were aware only later of the potential significance of Manafort’s visit and his political role with Trump, it is understood.

The revelation could shed new light on the sequence of events in the run-up to summer 2016, when WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of emails hacked by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency. Hillary Clinton has said the hack contributed to her defeat.

The previously unreported Manafort-Assange connection is likely to be of interest to Mueller, who has been investigating possible contacts between WikiLeaks and associates of Trump including the political lobbyist Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr.
One key question is when the Trump campaign was aware of the Kremlin’s hacking operation – and what, if anything, it did to encourage it. Trump has repeatedly denied collusion.

Earlier this year Mueller indicted 12 GRU intelligence officers for carrying out the hack, which began in March 2016.
In June of that year WikiLeaks emailed the GRU via an intermediary seeking the DNC material. After failed attempts, Vladimir Putin’s spies sent the documents in mid-July to WikiLeaks as an encrypted attachment.

According to sources, Manafort’s acquaintance with Assange goes back at least five years, to late 2012 or 2013, when the American was working in Ukraine and advising its Moscow-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Why Manafort might have sought out Assange in 2013 is unclear. During this period the veteran consultant was involved in black operations against Yanukovych’s chief political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, whom Yanukovych had jailed. Manafort ran an extensive lobbying operation featuring European former politicians.

He flew frequently from the US to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev – usually via Frankfurt but sometimes through London, flight records seen by the Guardian show.

Manafort is currently in jail in Alexandria, Virginia. In August a jury convicted him of crimes arising from his decade-long activities in Ukraine. They include large-scale money laundering and failure to pay US tax. Manafort pleaded guilty to further charges in order to avoid a second trial in Washington.

As well as accusing him of lying on Monday, the special counsel moved to set a date for Manafort to be sentenced.

One person familiar with WikiLeaks said Assange was motivated to damage the Democrats campaign because he believed a future Trump administration would be less likely to seek his extradition on possible charges of espionage. This fate had hung over Assange since 2010, when he released confidential US state department cables. It contributed to his decision to take refuge in the embassy.

According to the dossier written by the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, Manafort was at the centre of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia’s leadership. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating Clinton, Steele wrote, whom Putin “hated and feared”.

In a memo written soon after the DNC emails were published, Steele said: “The [hacking] operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.”

As a candidate Trump warmly welcomed the dump of DNC emails by Assange. In October 2016 he declared: “I love WikiLeaks.” Trump’s comments came after WikiLeaks released a second tranche of emails seized from the email account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

The Trump White House subsequently sent out mixed messages over Assange and his legal fate. In 2017 and behind the scenes Assange tried to reach a deal with Trump’s Department of Justice that might see him avoid US prison.

In May 2017, , Manafort flew to Ecuador to hold talks with the country’s president-elect Lenín Moreno. The discussions, days before Moreno was sworn in, and before Manafort was indicted – were ostensibly about a large-scale Chinese investment.

However, one source in Quito suggests that Manafort also discreetly raised Assange’s plight. Another senior foreign ministry source said he was sceptical Assange was mentioned. At the time Moreno was expected to continue support for him.

Last week a court filing released in error suggested that the US justice department had secretly charged Assange with a criminal offence. Written by the assistant US attorney, Kellen Dwyer, the document did not say what Assange had been charged with or when the alleged offence took place.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/27/manafort-held-secret-talks-with-a

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Mueller has emails from Stone pal Corsi about WikiLeaks Dem email dump
"Word is (Julian Assange) plans 2 more dumps...Impact planned to be very damaging," Jerome Corsi said in email to Stone, say draft court documents.
By Anna Schecter

NBC, Nov. 27, 2018 / 8:57 PM GMT

Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging."

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.

As NBC News reported on Monday, Corsi said he has rejected the deal. He has described Mueller's team as "thugs" and insisted that he did not "intentionally lie" about his communications related to WikiLeaks.

The draft court documents obtained by NBC News provide the most extensive account to date of Corsi's contact with Mueller's prosecutors.

The interviews began on Sept. 6 when Corsi told investigators that an associate, identified by Corsi as Stone, asked him in the summer of 2016 to get in touch with an organization, identified by Corsi as WikiLeaks, about unreleased materials relevant to the presidential campaign, the draft court papers say.

"Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails," read the email to Corsi dated July 25, 2016, according to the draft court documents.

Corsi said he declined the request and made clear to Stone that an attempt to contact WikiLeaks could put them in investigators' crosshairs, according to the draft court documents.

But Mueller's team said that was a lie.

Instead of turning down the request, Corsi in fact passed it along to a person in London, according to the draft court documents. Corsi said that person was conservative author Ted Malloch.

Eight days later, Corsi sent the email to Stone saying that WikiLeaks possessed information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign and planned to release it in October.

"Time to let more than (Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta) to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton)," Corsi added in the Aug. 2, 2016, email, according to the draft court papers. "That appears to be the game hackers are now about."

On Oct. 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released the first of two batches of emails that Russian hackers stole from Podesta, altering the trajectory of the presidential race.

Mueller's team says in the court papers that Corsi scrubbed his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks and Corsi's email to Malloch.

Corsi remained in contact with Stone in 2017 when the former Trump adviser's connections to WikiLeaks came under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees, according to the draft court papers.

On Nov. 30, 2017, Stone emailed Corsi asking him to write about a person whom Stone had told congressional investigators was his "source" or "intermediary" to WikiLeaks, according to the draft court papers.

Corsi and Stone have identified that person as Randy Credico, a radio host and one-time friend of Stone.

"Are you sure you want to make something out of this now?" Corsi responded, according to the draft court papers. "Why not wait to see what (Credico) does? You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more."

Stone responded by telling Corsi that Credico will "take the 5th — but let's hold a day," the draft court document says.

The draft court documents says that Corsi met with the special counsel's office for several additional interviews and provided access to his email accounts and electronic devices.

In the interviews, the draft court papers say, Corsi said that his claims to Stone, beginning in 2016, that he had a way of obtaining confidential information from WikiLeaks were false.

Corsi, the former Washington bureau chief of the conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars, has told NBC News that he had no direct or indirect contact with WikiLeaks. Corsi claims to have anticipated WikiLeaks' release of the hacked emails by "connecting the dots" between public statements from Assange and other available materials.

"Why did I think they were coming out in October? Because I said to myself if I had these emails I'd use them as the October surprise," Corsi told NBC News on Tuesday. "And why did I think they would come out serially, drip by drip? Because Assange is very strategic. He understands the news cycle."

A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment. Corsi's lawyer, David Gray, also declined to comment.

But in a letter drafted by Gray and addressed to Mueller's team, Corsi's lawyer argued that he should not be charged with a crime based on a faulty memory.

"I understand that this plea to making a false claim is predicated on the fact that Dr. Corsi had emails and phone calls wherein he was in fact interested in WikiLeaks," Gray wrote.

"He had not had the benefit of reviewing all of his emails prior to the interview and you graciously allowed him to review his emails and amend his statements — which he did. Now, after various amendments to his statements, Dr. Corsi is being asked to affirmatively state that he lied to FBI agents. The issue is that the statements that Dr. Corsi made were, in fact, the best he could recall at the time."
Gray also noted that if Corsi were to plead guilty, he would have to give up his securities license and cease his online chats until sentencing, depriving him of crucial sources of income.

Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, said the documents suggest that Mueller has more on Corsi than is laid out in the draft court papers.

"Based on reviewing these documents, I believe that the office of the special counsel may have more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Corsi beyond the false statements, and that is why they engaged in plea negotiations," Goldman said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/mueller-has-emails-stone-pal

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Jerome Corsi Says Roger Stone Sought ‘Cover Story’ for 2016 Tweet
By Shelby Holliday, Peter Nicholas and Rebecca Ballhaus
WSJ, Nov. 28, 2018 12:26 a.m. ET

Conservative activist Jerome Corsi, a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, said Tuesday he told a federal grand jury he helped longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone create a “cover story” for a 2016 tweet that appeared to foreshadow email releases by WikiLeaks.

Mr. Stone’s tweet on Aug. 21 of that year read: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Weeks later, emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta were dumped online by WikiLeaks, raising questions about whether Mr. Stone had early knowledge of the emails and the plans to release them. Officials say the messages were stolen by Russia and turned over to WikiLeaks for release in hopes of damaging Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

Mr. Stone has long said his tweet was related to the lobbying activities of Mr. Podesta and his brother Tony, and that it was inspired by research done for him by Mr. Corsi in mid-August. He denies having advance knowledge about the acquisition of Mr. Podesta’s emails by WikiLeaks.

Mr. Corsi, a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Stone, is contradicting that version of events. He said in an interview Tuesday that Mr. Stone called him on Aug. 30, 2016—nine days after the tweet—and asked Mr. Corsi for help in creating an “alternative explanation” for it.

Shortly after that conversation, Mr. Corsi said he began writing a memo for Mr. Stone about Mr. Podesta’s business dealings. In the following months, both Mr. Stone and Mr. Corsi said the memo was the inspiration for his tweet, even though it was in fact written afterward, Mr. Corsi said

“What I construct, and what I testified to the grand jury, was I believed I was creating a cover story for Roger, because Roger wanted to explain this tweet,” Mr. Corsi said. “By the way, the special counsel knew this. They can virtually tell my keystrokes on that computer.”

Mr. Stone sharply denied this account, calling it “devoid of logic” in a text message. Mr. Stone said he believes Mr. Corsi is contradicting him because he’s being “squeezed” by Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors.

“I steadfastly maintain that Jerry, who had been researching the Podesta brothers, brought their business dealings to my attention, and that is what prompted my tweet,” Mr. Stone said.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any potential coordination between Moscow and persons in Mr. Trump’s circle. As part of the inquiry, Mr. Mueller’s investigators have been focusing in recent weeks on whether any of Trump’s associates had advance knowledge of the email hacking and release.

In another development Tuesday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Kevin Downing, a lawyer for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, has continued to brief the president’s legal team on his dealings with the special counsel even after Mr. Manafort pleaded guilty—an arrangement that is highly unusual.

“They shared with me what they thought was appropriate and what their client authorized them to tell us,” Mr. Giuliani said. Asked how often Mr. Manafort’s lawyers briefed the president’s legal team, he said: “often enough.” The briefings were first reported by the New York Times.

Among other things, Mr. Downing told Mr. Trump’s lawyers about questions that the Mueller team asked regarding a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between campaign aides and a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin, Mr. Giuliani said.

“The special counsel gave me immunity on this testimony because I allowed Roger to submit my memo…to the House Intelligence Committee,” he said. “I did not object. So I was allowing him to continue using the cover story.”
A spokesman for Mr. Manafort’s legal team declined to comment. Mr. Mueller’s office said late Monday that Mr. Manafort had lied to investigators after pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate in the investigation. Mr. Manafort’s lawyers have said he didn’t lie.

Mr. Stone said he stands by his testimony before the Intelligence Committee.

“The special counsel gave me immunity on this testimony because I allowed Roger to submit my memo…to the House Intelligence Committee,” he said. “I did not object. So I was allowing him to continue using the cover story.”
Mr. Stone said he stands by his testimony before the Intelligence Committee.

Russia has denied interfering in the election, and Mr. Trump has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a witch hunt. Mr. Corsi’s testimony to the grand jury on Mr. Stone’s purported cover story was first reported Tuesday by the Daily Caller.

Mr. Corsi also said he had rejected an offer from Mr. Mueller’s office to plead guilty to lying to investigators about his interactions with WikiLeaks and Mr. Stone. “I was constantly amending testimony because I was constantly making mistakes,” he said, but he believes he never made intentional misstatements.

Draft court documents shared by Mr. Corsi, which were written by Mr. Mueller’s office to be filed in case of a plea deal, quote emails from 2016 that Mr. Corsi says he exchanged with Mr. Stone, who is identified in the documents as “Person 1.” In the emails, the two men discuss WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s plans to release emails damaging to Mrs. Clinton.

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Mr. Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, referring to Mr. Assange, who lives in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. “One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
In the documents, the special counsel’s office alleges that Mr. Corsi “knowingly and intentionally made…materially false statements” related to the emails. Mr. Corsi denied that, saying, “My memory was terrible, but I was trying to tell them the truth.” The draft court documents were first reported by NBC.

Mr. Corsi said he merely “figured out” that WikiLeaks had Mr. Podesta’s emails by using publicly available information, and he denies being in touch with Mr. Assange directly or indirectly. Mr. Stone has denied discussing Mr. Podesta’s emails with Mr. Corsi.

In another twist, Mr. Giuliani said a member of the president’s legal team, Jay Sekulow, received a packet of court papers two weeks ago relating to Mr. Corsi that included the draft plea document. The sender was anonymous, Mr. Giuliani said.

The president’s legal team notified the Justice Department that it had received the documents, Mr. Giuliani said.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump picked up the theme that Mr. Mueller’s team was pressuring witnesses to give false testimony. “Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie,” he tweeted, adding, “Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats.”

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Mueller is subjecting Messrs. Corsi and Manafort to inordinate pressure. Mr. Mueller is keeping Mr. Manafort in solitary confinement, he said, as if he were “the head of the mafia or a terrorist bomber.” A more appropriate punishment for Mr. Manafort would be home detention, Mr. Giuliani said.

It isn’t clear whether Mr. Manafort is in solitary confinement.

Asked if the president might pardon Mr. Manafort, or potentially Mr. Corsi, Mr. Giuliani said, “Right now would not be the time.”

He added, “It’s my job as his private lawyer to tell him you should not even consider it now because it will be misunderstood. That doesn’t mean you give away your presidential prerogative to do it at the right time…Manafort should get the same consideration as anyone else.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/jerome-corsi-says-roger-stone-sought-to-cover-up-po

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 18:45 - Nov 28 with 439 viewsShaky

Trump answers key Mueller questions on WikiLeaks and Trump Tower meeting
By Dana Bash, Kara Scannell and Evan Perez, CNN

CNN, Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT) November 28, 2018

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

One source described the President's answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection.

This is the first insight into how the President responded to the Mueller team's written questions -- a key unknown as Mueller aims to wrap up his investigation and prepare his final report.

These two points -- WikiLeaks and the Trump Tower meeting -- are critical to Mueller's central mission: investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

The President's lawyers previously told CNN the answers would match his public statements. Still, these written answers could be subject to criminal charges if false.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. CNN did not get a full readout of all of the President's answers to Mueller's questions.

According to many lawyers who have experience in cases such as this, adding the caveat that he has no recollection, as the President apparently did with these written answers to Mueller, is standard procedure as a way to try to shield a client should their recollections be challenged.

"It's well-documented how frequently he says or tweets false things, and there's no criminal exposure for that," said CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. "The difference is, if he lies in his statement to federal investigators, he is potentially exposing himself to criminal liability, assuming he attested to the accuracy of the information."

On WikiLeaks, Mueller's team has been investigating whether Stone, a Republican political operative and longtime Trump ally, knew in advance about WikiLeaks' dumps of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta at key times during the 2016 campaign.

Investigators have questioned multiple Stone associates in the past few months. Stone has denied having any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks releases.

"I never discussed any of this with Donald Trump. It's one of the questions that Mr. Mueller wants the President to answer -- one of the written questions. I'm highly confident that his answer will be that he knew nothing about it. We just never discussed it," Stone recently told CNN.

Stone's denial matches with what Trump told Mueller: that the two never spoke about WikiLeaks.

Trump vehemently denies colluding with Russia. He told The Associated Press in an interview last year, "When WikiLeaks came out ... never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it. When WikiLeaks came out, all I was just saying is, 'Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff.'"
On the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the President has publicly said he didn't know about the meeting.

"I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr," Trump tweeted in July.
The President's son told lawmakers he did not tell his father about the meeting in advance. He said he took the meeting to listen to what the Russians had to offer on Clinton.

Before the answers were submitted, Mueller had asked Trump's lawyers for call logs and visitor logs related to Stone from Trump Tower, CNN reported earlier this month. The request this late in the investigation surprised Trump's legal team.

Stone told CNN he has not been contacted by Mueller's team. Trump Jr. testified under oath to several congressional committees and provided documents to Mueller's investigators. His lawyer has declined to comment on whether Trump Jr. was interviewed by the special counsel.

CNN's Sara Murray and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-to

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 11:16 - Nov 29 with 405 viewsShaky

Very, very low probability this is related to Trump. But it just might be. . .


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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:21 - Nov 29 with 386 viewssotonswan

Further evidence that The Guardian "entirely fabricated" a report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in 2013, 2015 and the spring of 2016; his passports...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-29/guardian-faceplants-manaforts-passport

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We are the NORTH BANK POPULAR FRONT ! (in no way affiliated to those splitters the North Bank Alliance.) WWG1WGA

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 18:35 - Dec 10 with 291 viewsShaky

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to reach plea deal
By Sara Murray and Katelyn Polantz, CNN

CNN, Updated 1751 GMT (0151 HKT) December 10, 2018
Washington (CNN)Maria Butina, an accused Russian spy who nuzzled up to the National Rifle Association before the 2016 election, appears to have reached a plea deal with the Justice Department, according to a new court filing in her criminal case.

Her attorneys and prosecutors filed a two-page request on Monday for a "change of plea" hearing before a federal judge as soon as Tuesday. "The parties have resolved this matter," the filing in DC federal court said Monday morning. Butina's case was brought by federal prosecutors in DC and not by Robert Mueller's team in the special counsel's office.

A plea hearing has not yet been set. The notice Monday comes after several weeks of hints that Butina might negotiate an end to her case -- and after bumps in the case where federal prosecutors, at the height of attention on Russia's influence in American politics, accused the former graduate student of infiltrating Republican organizations in order to advance Russian interests.

Until now, Butina, 30, maintained her innocence and insisted she was simply a foreign student interested in bettering relations between the US and Russia. Butina previously pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and a second count of acting as an agent of a foreign government when she was arrested in July.

Full story: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/10/politics/maria-butina-plea/index.html

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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 18:54 - Dec 10 with 272 viewsShaky

US senator comments (president only has the power to pardon federal crimes, not those prosecuted by US district attorneys):


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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 19:28 - Dec 10 with 255 viewsLeonWasGod

Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 21:21 - Nov 29 by sotonswan

Further evidence that The Guardian "entirely fabricated" a report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in 2013, 2015 and the spring of 2016; his passports...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-29/guardian-faceplants-manaforts-passport

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That’s not evidence. It’s an unproven claim that there is evidence, but even from the reports of 3 passports and conveniently losing one it should be fairly obvious the claim should be questioned.

Is this the same Manafort that been accused of lying about his role in Trump’s campaign, lying about payments made at this time and lying about ongoing relationships with the Trump administration? Who’s actions Mueller has described as “criminal and breached his plea agreement”.

He sounds as dodgy as feck to me.

Edit- and just to add, a quick media bias check says this about that zero hedge site.
“A factual search reveals a terrible track record with IFCN fact checkers. There are too many failed checks to list here.

Overall, we rate Zero Hedge an extreme right biased conspiracy website. ”

So that also sounds as dodgy as feck.
[Post edited 10 Dec 2018 20:00]
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Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 18:45 - Dec 12 with 170 viewsShaky

[Post edited 12 Dec 2018 18:46]

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