Thursday, October 18, 2018

Russiagate Leaking Air

The top Treasury Department employee who was charged Wednesday with leaking confidential financial documents pertaining to former Trump officials was apprehended the previous evening with a flash drive containing the allegedly pilfered information in her hand, prosecutors said in court papers.

The dramatic arrest late Tuesday came on the heels of other high-profile, leak-related prosecutions under the Trump administration, which has pledged to go on the offensive against leakers that the president has called "traitors and cowards."

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 40, a senior official at the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is accused of illegally giving a reporter bank reports documenting several suspicious financial transactions, known as Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”), from October 2017 to the present.

The financial transactions involved Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina and the Russian Embassy, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

An unidentified, higher-ranking Treasury colleague was cited in court papers as a co-conspirator with Edwards, but was not charged. That person, identified only as an "associate director" at FinCEN to whom Edwards reported, exchanged more than 300 messages with a reporter via an encrypted messaging application.
One presumes they are squeezing Natalie for more goodies on her superior. You could read the WaPo article on it from this morning (Senior Treasury employee charged with leaking documents related to Russia probe), but you'd have to read way more than five short paragraphs to find any mention of Manafort, Gates or Butina. Victory Girls: Treasury Official Arrested & Charged With Leaking Info On Russia, Manafort More here and here.

And speaking of Manafort, is Mueller still trying to squeeze him to get to Roger Stone? Stone thinks so. Special counsel pushing Paul Manafort for information on Roger Stone. Another leak from the Mueller team?
Prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office have been asking former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — their newest cooperating witness — about his friend and former business associate Roger Stone, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Stone, a longtime political adviser to President Donald Trump and onetime partner of Manafort’s at the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, has come under increasing scrutiny from the special counsel in recent months. Nearly a dozen individuals close to Stone have been brought in for interviews with the Mueller team, and many of those same individuals have also appeared before a federal grand jury.

Mueller’s interest in Stone appears to be focused on whether Stone or his associates communicated with Julian Assange or WikiLeaks about the release of damaging emails allegedly hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign by Russian intelligence officers masquerading as hacker persona “Guccifer 2.0.”

Some of Stone’s public statements from that time appeared to indicate that he knew in advance that WikiLeaks was preparing to publish information damaging to Clinton’s campaign.
Stone has already admitted trading a few emails with Guccifer 2.0 back when he thought he was a Romanian hacker, and claims to have turned everything over to Mueller. This one seems like a vendetta. Rep. Gohmert claims Mueller Leaked News of Report to Affect Midterms
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office leaked news that a report on his investigation into President Donald Trump will be completed after November’s midterm elections in order prepare Democrats for disappointment and to do “as much damage” as possible to Trump, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) charged Wednesday.
In an interview on Fox News Channel, Rep. Gohmert said that, since “there’s no way” the investigation will end before the election, this is all Mueller could do to help Democrats win:
“There’s no way they’re going to wrap this up before the election. They need this to help the Democrats in the election.
“Why in the world do you have to release a statement saying you’re pretty well through, you’re coming out with a report right after the election? To affect the election – that’s all Mueller cares about.”
What’s more, if Mueller can help enough Democrats win, he can avoid Congressional scrutiny of his own legally suspect behavior, Gohmert said:
“If he can help the Democrats take the majority in the House, then some of his potential crimes can go unobserved and uninvestigated.
“So, he’s wanting to make the Trump Administration just as difficult as possible. He’s still got some revenge motive, because the president didn’t appoint him to be head of the FBI, again. So, you know, he’s leaking that now to try to affect the election.”
And Rep. Sean Duffy says ‘We’ll Never Know’ Truth on DOJ ‘Partisanship’ if Schiff Chairs Intel Panel
A Democratic midterm election win that puts Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in charge of the House Select Committee on Intelligence will forever hide “the whole truth” about “the partisanship and politics” that led to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) warned Wednesday on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“I think it’s so important that we find out what was going on inside the FBI and the DOJ [Department of Justice],” Duffy told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “Devin Nunes has been a dog on a bone, trying to figure out who the bad actors were.”

“Adam Schiff will scrap that investigation and we’ll never know the partisanship and politics in the lead-up to 2016 and how that transitioned into the Mueller investigation that’s still going after [President Donald] Trump today,” he warned.
Rod Rosenstein is much more comfortable talking to the press than to the Congress. Byron York: Rosenstein talks to press, but not to Congress; Republicans irate
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein doesn't give many press interviews. But he did, on Wednesday, invite a Wall Street Journal reporter to the Justice Department for what the Journal called an "expansive" conversation.

Rosenstein talked about the Robert Mueller Trump-Russia special counsel investigation, calling it "appropriate and independent." He stressed that he serves at the pleasure of the president. He said he tries to avoid media speculation about both the investigation and his job.

Rosenstein had time to discuss a lot of things. One thing apparently not mentioned in the interview was the fact that, at that very moment, Rosenstein was putting off appearing before the House Judiciary-Oversight task force that wants to question him, not just about the Trump-Russia investigation, but about reports that he last year suggested wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump in the White House and that he also discussed invoking the 25th Amendment in an effort to remove the president from office.

Republicans thought that Rosenstein had agreed to talk with them last week. Then they learned he would not show. That prompted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to threaten a subpoena.
I'd be pissed too. They should throw him in the congressional dungeon for a few days to make the point. And speaking the DOJ under Rod Rosenstein's leadership, Federal judge 'shocked' Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was granted immunity by DOJ
A federal judge said he was "shocked" to find out that longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills had been granted immunity from the Justice Department during the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's server.

During a hearing in D.C. on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth made the comment about Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff, during his opening remarks, referring to when he read the DOJ inspector general report.

"I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case," Lamberth said. "So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview."
Apparently, in the Loretta Lynch/Sally Yates/Rod Rosenstein DOJ, immunities were left in a little bowl on the desk in the front office, like M&Ms.

And of course, your Russiagate reading pleasure would not be complete with out something from the Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti clown show. Matthew Walther at Da Week: Trump's Stormy Daniels complex.  And via Wombat-socho's In The Mailbox: 10.17.18: Da Tech Guy has Everything NeverTrump Touches Is Destroyed, Stormy Daniels Edition.
Bottom line, based on the evidence (old magazine article, non disclosure agreement etc) it is a reasonable, if unproven, conclusion that back when he was a private citizen Donald Trump had sex with Stormy Daniels, but it took the anti-Trump left to really f*** her over.
Still looking for a golden ticket, or at least a get out of jail free card Michael Cohen meets with prosecutors investigating Trump's family business, charity (CNN). Via Wombat-socho's In The Mailbox: 10.16.18, JustOneMinute brings us Is Avenatti Getting Sick Of Winning Yet?  Da Beast: Michael Avenatti Is Making Concrete Moves to Run for President in 2020 Against Trump. Sure, why not? He may be the best the democrats have to offer.

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