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  1. #4696

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Darren Samuelsohn

    Trump said today Stone "never worked" for his campaign. In fact, they got into a public "you're fired-I quit" dispute that came in the summer of 2015 — two months after Trump formally declared his presidential run.

    During Stone's trial, prosecutors also introduced testimony & evidence showing about 60 separate communications between Stone & Trump from Feb to Nov 2016, including at least one discussion about WikiLeaks' plan to dump information embarrassing to Hillary Clinton.

    Roger Stone sentencing still on for Thursday
    Donald Trump has been calling for his longtime associate to get a new trial, raising concerns about presidential meddling in a judicial proceeding.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #4697

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Kathryn Watson @kathrynw5

    The federal team that prosecuted Blago sent out a statement reminding people that he extorted the CEO of a children's hospital by withholding state funding for sick kids until he got campaign contributions.

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. #4698

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Sam Stein
    NEW — The son of one of Trump’s pardon recipients gave $85k to Trump victory this August. His wife gave $50k that same month. On top of that, they made an in-kind contribution for $75k in air travel.
    In mid-2018, the president repeatedly asked close advisers to explore a Blagojevich pardon and, while doing so, emphatically referenced clips he’d seen on Fox, including a segment on informal Trump adviser Jeanine Pirro’s weekend show, according to two sources who independently discussed the matter with the president at the time.

    According to liberal media-watchdog Media Matters for America, Patti Blagojevich took to Fox programming in April 2018 to push for her husband’s sentence to be reduced, making at least seven appearances on some of Trump’s favorite primetime shows such as Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle.

    The hosts, meanwhile, didn’t even bother with subtlety during the interviews. For instance, Tucker Carlson asked Mrs. Blagojevich what she would say “if you could speak to the president.”

    Kerik, meanwhile, has been a frequent guest of Fox News primetime programming for several years, generally offering on-air criticism of how Democrats handle New York City’s police department and criminal justice in general.

    In what can generously be described as ironic, Kerik appeared the evening before his pardon on Tucker Carlson Tonight to rail against bail reform in New York while urging for harsher punishment for criminals, claiming crime was down when the police department increased arrests for “jumping turnstiles” and other low-level misdemeanors.

    Kerik has also been used as a Trump-friendly critic of the so-called “deep state” on Fox News airwaves, at one point advocating for the arrest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for trying to carry out an “attempted coup” of Trump with the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry.

    According to the White House, Kerik’s pardon was supported by Fox News stars like Geraldo Rivera and Judge Andrew Napolitano. Additionally, the administration said, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani—a frequent Fox News commentator and Kerik's one-time boss—backed the decision.

    Pirro, meanwhile, celebrated Kerik’s pardon and Blagojevich’s commutation on Twitter, personally thanking the president while declaring that “political prosecutions have no place in this country.”

    The pro-Trump Fox News star, who brushed off Blagojevich’s crimes as “just practicing politics” in an April 2018 interview with Patti Blagojevich, has something of a sordid history with Kerik. Back in 2006, Pirro—who was then running as a Republican for New York attorney general—admitted she asked Kerik to bug her then-husband’s boat to see if he was having an affair after federal prosecutors began investigating whether she and Kerik illegally taped conversations.

    While junk-bond king Michael Milken is not a Fox News regular by any measure, his pardon was backed by Bartiromo, yet another Fox star who has morphed into an unofficial mouthpiece of and adviser to President Trump.

    Additionally, Angela Stanton, who was pardoned for her role in a stolen luxury-vehicle ring, has appeared on Fox News as a pro-Trump commentator—much like her godmother Alveda King, who backed her pardon—often arguing that Democrats want more poor women of color to have abortions.

    Appearances on Fox News and Fox Business—two of Trump’s favorite networks—are popular vessels for those seeking to make their cases for pardons or clemency directly to the president, a voracious consumer of TV and cable news.

    The most prominent example was the sustained, successful on-air and behind-the-scenes campaign on Fox to lobby Trump to grant clemency to accused and convicted American war criminals. Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth was a ringleader of that highly controversial effort.

    “[Trump] knows how people play this game,” said one source close to the president. “He’s even told me before something to the effect of, ‘All these people keep getting themselves on Fox News begging me for a pardon,’ so he’s self-conscious about this stuff. But it doesn’t matter, it still has an effect on him.”

    For those who didn’t receive the Fox News treatment, it appears that in at least one case, cold hard cash did the talking. Paul Pogue, a construction company owner who pleaded guilty to underpaying his taxes by $473,000 and received three years probation, was issued a full pardon and clemency by the president.

    According to FEC filings, Pogue’s family has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct contributions and in-kind air travel to the Trump Victory Committee. Beginning in August 2019, Ben Pogue—CEO of Pogue Construction and son of Paul Pogue—and his wife Ashleigh made over $200,000 in contributions to the campaign.

    In August alone, Ben Pogue donated $85,000 to Trump Victory while Ashleigh Pogue contributed $50,000 that month. The following month, Ben Pogue made an in-kind air travel contribution of $75,404.40. The couple also made several large donations to the Republican National Committee and each donated $5,600 to Donald Trump for President Inc.

    On the day of their first donation to the Trump campaign, Ashleigh posted an Instagram photo of her and her husband posing with Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, at the Hamptons.

    Prior to the Pogues’ sudden significant donating spree to Trump and the Republicans, the couple was not seen as big campaign spenders, having donated a few thousand dollars for Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign in 2017 and $5,400 for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2016 Republican presidential run.

    Notably, one of the advocates for Pogue’s clemency: Santorum, who is now a CNN contributor.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #4699

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Adam Klasfeld

    ICYMI: The Federal Judges Association, representing more than 1,000 jurists, called an emergency meeting after the DOJ intervened in the Roger Stone case, slated for 1:30 pm on Wednesday.

    Trump tweets out the counterprogramming he wants at their meeting .

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. #4700

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    I saw a comment that I'm sure you are all aware is being suggested that this rash of pardons is being done partly to pave the way for big-time pardons of the various criminals who were very close to him (no need to list them, you know who I mean). GH

  6. #4701

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades


    Shimon Prokupecz @ShimonPro

    FBI in Miami arrested a Mexican national who they say was recruited by the Russian gov’t to locate a “confidential human source who provided information regarding Russian intelligence,” to the US.

    This is fascinating. The Russian official according to the complaint instructed him to rent an apartment in Miami. They provided him with a description of the informants car. The Russian the complaint says wanted the license plate # and description of where the car was parked.


    Replying to
    C’mon Shimon the document is still sealed on pacer you’re not supposed to be this good
    R.L. Bynum

    Replying to
    Serious question: Would the meaning/definition change if you just said a "Mexican" instead of "Mexican national"?

    Mexican can be an ethnicity... Mexican National implies citizenship
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #4702

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Sen. Lamar Alexander
    Good news from
    and the
    will invest $9 million in Tennessee to provide and improve high-speed broadband infrastructure projects for 3,744 rural households, 31 businesses and 41 farms.
    Patricia Arquette

    Interesting after the vote you, Murkowski and Collins all got money for projects. Fascinating timing.

    Replying to
    and 2 others
    got $20M for Alaskan ports for voting to acquit Trumpov* the Impeached. You & Sue Collins only got $9M a piece. Sounds like you got screwed,
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  8. #4703

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Megan Mineiro

    Amid speculation that Trump may pardon Roger Stone, set to be sentenced tomorrow, a London court heard today that the president offered Wikileaks head Julian Assange a pardon in exchange for saying Russia was not tied to the DNC hack.

    Jim Acosta
    Grisham on Assange: “The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC"

    Republican known for defending Putin meets Trump at White House
    The president's decision to host Dana Rohrabacher drew raised eyebrows in D.C.


    Rohrabacher Says Kelly Blocked Trump Meeting
    Congressman says White House chief of staff said meeting could risk charges of collusion if Russia was discussed
    By Eric Garcia
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:53am
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #4704

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Donald Trump 'offered Julian Assange a pardon if he denied Russia link to hack'
    WikiLeaks published emails damaging to Hillary Clinton in 2016
    Offer claim made at WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing

    Owen Bowcott and Julian Borger
    Wed 19 Feb 2020 19.11 GMT

    Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

    The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.

    Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, referred to evidence alleging that the former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange, now 48, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017.

    Assange appeared in court on Wednesday by videolink from Belmarsh prison, wearing dark tracksuit bottoms and a brown jumper over a white shirt.

    A statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC [Democratic National Committee] leaks”, Fitzgerald told Westminster magistrates court.

    District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case at Westminster, said the evidence is admissible.

    White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters: “The president barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”

    “It is a complete fabrication and a total lie,” Grisham said. “This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”

    In September 2017, the White House confirmed that Rohrabacher had called the then chief of staff, John Kelly, to talk about a possible deal with Assange.

    Rohrabacher told the Wall Street Journal that as part of the deal he was proposing, Assange would have to hand over a computer drive or other data storage device that would prove that Russia was not the source of the hacked emails.

    “He would get nothing, obviously, if what he gave us was not proof,” Rohrabacher said.

    The report quoted an unnamed administration official as saying that Kelly had told Rohrabacher that the proposal “was best directed to the intelligence community”. The same official said Kelly did not convey Rohrabacher’s message to Trump, who was unaware of the details of the proposed deal.

    Rohrabacher said at the time he was sceptical of the CIA’s impartiality, as it had been part of the US intelligence community consensus that Russia had meddled in the presidential election.

    Until he was voted out of office in 2018, Rohrabacher was a consistent voice in Congress in defence of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, claiming to have been so close to the Russian leader that they had engaged in a drunken arm-wrestling match in the 1990s. In 2012, the FBI warned him that Russian spies were seeking to recruit him as an “agent of influence”.

    Neither Rohrabacher, who now lives in Maine, nor his lawyer returned calls seeking comment on Assange’s claims.

    The publication of emails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign helped perpetuate an aura of scandal around the Democratic candidate a few weeks before the 2016 election.

    WikiLeaks put them online hours after Trump had suffered an apparent public relations disaster with the emergence of a tape in which he boasted of molesting women.

    Assange is wanted in America to face 18 charges, including conspiring to commit computer intrusion, over the publication of US cables a decade ago.

    He could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty. He is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

    The extradition hearing is due to begin at Woolwich crown court on Monday, beginning with a week of legal argument. It will then be adjourned and continue with three weeks of evidence scheduled to begin on 18 May.

    The decision, which is expected months later, is likely to be appealed against by the losing side, whatever the outcome.

    Assange has been held on remand in Belmarsh prison since last September after serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching his bail conditions while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    He entered the building in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations, which he has always denied and were subsequently dropped.

    Assange’s claims of a deal emerged a day after Trump granted clemency to a string of high-profile figures convicted on fraud or corruption charges, including the former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and the “junk bond king” Michael Milken. Trump has not excluded pardoning Roger Stone, a former aide who was convicted in November of obstructing a congressional investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, and in particular for lying to investigators about his relationship with Assange and WikiLeaks.

    Stone once boasted that he had dinner with Assange but later said the claim was a joke.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  10. #4705

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Scott Dworkin

    Rohrabacher confirms here he met with Assange Aug 2017 and was in touch with White House: "I've talked to senior people at the White House ... I had extended conversation with the Chief of Staff Gen Kelly." Says deal with Assange between him and WH is confidential. What deal?
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  11. #4706

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Top Pentagon policy official who warned against withholding Ukraine aid resigns at Trump's request
    By Jim Sciutto, Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN

    Updated 2:55 PM ET, Wed February 19, 2020

    Washington (CNN)The Pentagon's top policy official who warned against withholding military aid to Ukraine last year resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN.

    John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, is the latest senior national security official involved in the Ukraine controversy to be forced out following Trump's acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, but sources told CNN that he broke with the administration on several issues, in addition to the handling of aid to Ukraine, leading to a loss of support from leadership.

    "It is my understanding from Secretary Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Senior administration officials appointed by the President serve at the pleasure of the President, and therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020," Rood wrote in his letter to President Donald Trump, dated Wednesday.
    CNN was first to report Rood's impending departure which was confirmed by Trump in a tweet Wednesday.

    "I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our Country, and wish him well in his future endeavors!" Trump wrote, also sharing a story from Bloomberg News which indicated that Rood "faced pressure to resign from some who lost confidence in his ability to carry out Trump agenda."

    Defense Department press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement that "Dr. James Anderson, the current senior official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy will take over the responsibilities of Undersecretary Rood until a permanent replacement is appointed by the President and confirmed."

    Not just Ukraine

    Officials tell CNN that Rood has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Officials have said Rood often was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted.

    One official said some examples of Rood's differing views from some of Trump's key policy stances included being skeptical about peace talks with the Taliban as well as the administration decision to scale down military exercises with South Korea during talks with North Korea and him pushing for a more aggressive approach to Russia by supporting Ukraine.

    Rood is the Pentagon's top policy official and oversees aspects of the Pentagon's relationship with US allies and partners.
    He was involved in certifying to Congress that Ukraine had embarked on significant reforms to justify its receipt of $250 million in security assistance.

    That certification undermined one of the justifications -- concerns about corruption in Kiev -- that some members of the Trump administration made to defend blocking aid to Ukraine.

    Hours after Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a conversation that was at the center of impeachment proceedings, Rood emailed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper -- who had been in the job two days -- informing him about an upcoming deputies meeting, "to discuss the President's concern about endemic corruption in Ukraine and his reported view that US should cease providing security assistance," according to emails reviewed by CNN.

    Rood notes in his email to the secretary that "placing a hold on security assistance at this time would jeopardize this unique window of opportunity and undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia."

    Responding to a question Wednesday about a possible link between Rood's resignation and his role in certifying aid to Ukraine, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said that it "sounds speculative."

    "I have no information that would lead me to that conclusion," he added.

    Earlier this month,Trump fired two key impeachment witnesses who were involved in the controversy over aid to Ukraine, dismissing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, who was reassigned to another Pentagon position after being pushed out of his White House role months ahead of schedule and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

    An adviser to Trump said at the time that the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated.

    "Flushing out the pipes," the adviser told CNN. "It was necessary."

    Another Defense Department departure

    As head of policy at the Pentagon, Rood helped oversee implementing the Trump administration's National Defense Strategy, which placed a greater emphasis on countering China and Russia, as well as overseeing the Nuclear Posture Review, which called for changes to the US nuclear arsenal, including the addition of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

    "I would like to thank John Rood for his service to the Department," Esper said in a statement Wednesday. "John has played a critical role on a wide range of DoD issues including modernizing our nuclear deterrence capability, efforts to increase burden sharing by our NATO allies, our Missile Defense Review and implementing the National Defense Strategy. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

    Rood is just the latest senior officials to leave the Defense Department in recent months. Others include:

    Secretary of Defense chief of staff Eric Chewning
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver
    Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Kari Bingen
    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Director Steven Walker
    Navy Secretary Richard Spencer
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Middle East Mick Mulroy
    Acting Assistant Defense Secretary for Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Mark Mitchell
    Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jimmy Stewart
    Rood joined the administration in January 2018 serving under then-Defense Secretary James Mattis. He has had numerous policy jobs at the Pentagon in previous administrations and also previously worked for the CIA as an analyst. He has also held senior roles with major defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

    This story has been updated with additional information.
    CNN's Vivan Salama and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  12. #4707

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    David Waldman-1, of Yorktown LLC™

    I once again beg you all to re-read the whole transcript from the beginning. This is the best-known line, but it’s actually a conversation among Republican leaders about how much trouble Russian propaganda was causing in Ukraine and all over the West at the time.

    They knew.
    Spiro Agnew’s Ghost
    “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on a recording of Republican leaders made on June 15, 2016. Some of the lawmakers on the tape laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  13. #4708

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Rachel Maddow MSNBC

    NYT says Trump is poised to name Richard Grenell as Director of National Intelligence.

    Here's Lev Parnas telling the Daily Beast that Grenell agreed to give a "heads up" to Kremlin-connected oligarch Dmitry Firtash if DOJ was about to move to extradite him to face trial here:

    “During the situation that was going on with the Firtash case, Victoria [Toensing] called Ric Grenell...

    “She basically asked him, if he sees any pressure coming from DOJ to extradite Firtash, if he could let us know. She told me he said he would.”

    "A spokesperson for Grenell at the US embassy in Berlin did not respond to multiple requests for comment, which included detailed visibility of this reporting. State Dept officials in Washington also did not respond to multiple requests for comment."

    Firtash is wanted in this country on multiple felony corruption and bribery charges.

    DOJ prosecutors say Firtash is an "upper-echelon associate" of Russian Organized Crime.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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