Author Topic: United States of Russia?  (Read 229936 times)

Glenstache

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1700 on: December 18, 2018, 02:05:02 PM »
Not great! That said, federal sentencing hearings are often theater. For a variety of reasons, the judges' comments are meanest when they're about to go light on you.

Except for the part where the judge effectively asked: are you sure you want me to sentence you today?

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1701 on: December 20, 2018, 06:20:21 AM »
The Kremlin, who has been backing Syrian president President Bashar al-Assad at at odds with the US position, must be thrilled that DJT has decided to abruptly pull all troops out of Syria, against the advice of his own Sec of Defense.

Vladdy must be tickled pink.  Merry Christmas Russia!

sol

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1702 on: December 20, 2018, 08:13:58 AM »
The Kremlin, who has been backing Syrian president President Bashar al-Assad at at odds with the US position, must be thrilled that DJT has decided to abruptly pull all troops out of Syria, against the advice of his own Sec of Defense.

Vladdy must be tickled pink.  Merry Christmas Russia!

Russia has already released a public statement praising Trump's decision to abandon Syria.

Aelias

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1703 on: December 20, 2018, 08:18:14 AM »
"'Donald’s right, and I agree with him,' Mr. Putin said."

There's something about just using his first name in that context that is so dismissive.  And I'm absolutely sure it was intended to be so.

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1704 on: December 20, 2018, 08:25:04 AM »
"'Donald’s right, and I agree with him,' Mr. Putin said."

There's something about just using his first name in that context that is so dismissive.  And I'm absolutely sure it was intended to be so.
Putin began his adult life as a KGB agent specializing in counter-intelligence for 25 years.  Since then he's been in politics.  I'm certain his every word in such a statement is intentional.

Glenstache

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1705 on: December 20, 2018, 09:12:35 PM »
The Kremlin, who has been backing Syrian president President Bashar al-Assad at at odds with the US position, must be thrilled that DJT has decided to abruptly pull all troops out of Syria, against the advice of his own Sec of Defense.

Vladdy must be tickled pink.  Merry Christmas Russia!

Russia has already released a public statement praising Trump's decision to abandon Syria.
But was that drafted before the formal announcement? Asking for a friend.

partgypsy

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1706 on: December 21, 2018, 06:48:17 AM »
"If the decision to withdraw was made, then it is a correct one," Putin said. Donnie gets a pat on the head!

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1707 on: January 08, 2019, 02:30:50 PM »
The slow Russian drips continue.

1) Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justice.  If you need a refresher, Veselnitskaya was present at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and is tied to the Kremlin.

2) SCOTUS ruled against the attempt by "Country A" to fight Mueller's subpoena, where 'the grand jury seeks information by the company owned by 'Country A''.  Any guesses where 'Country A' falls on the map?  Hint, it has state-owned companies currently under Mueller's investigation.

3) Manafort admits that he shared polling data with a Russian firm the FBI says had ties to Russian Intelligence during the election, and lied about it to investigators.

DavidAnnArbor

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1708 on: January 09, 2019, 07:40:01 AM »
I assume country A is Russia


But I could also imagine any number of countries have state owned enterprises that might try to influence the US election, China, Iran, etc.

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1709 on: January 09, 2019, 08:03:27 AM »
I assume country A is Russia


But I could also imagine any number of countries have state owned enterprises that might try to influence the US election, China, Iran, etc.
Certainly possible, but I too suspect it's Russia.  But suppose it isn't - holy crap that could be a new can of worms for this WH.

sol

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1710 on: January 09, 2019, 08:29:27 AM »
I assume country A is Russia


But I could also imagine any number of countries have state owned enterprises that might try to influence the US election, China, Iran, etc.
Certainly possible, but I too suspect it's Russia.  But suppose it isn't - holy crap that could be a new can of worms for this WH.

Well it's definitely not Costa Rica.

Other leading possibilities are that it's...

1. Germany and Deutsche Bank, and is related to the loans they gave Trump as part of their ongoing money laundering investigation.  Money they laundered for Russian organized crime, in part by giving it to Donald Trump as loans for properties he then sold back to those same Russians.  It's a classic scheme, familiar to white collar criminals all over the world.

2.  Saudi Arabia and one of the Saudi technology firms that partnered with Cambridge Analytica to influence the election.  Manafort is being indicted for illegally coordinating campaign activities and cooperating with the Saudis (which is sort of like colluding, but according to Trump there is still "no collusion").  Russia paid for much of this cooperation, in ways that have only just come to light in the past week or two.

3.  Russia and Rosneft.  This has been the leading suspicion for some time now, because this deal was described in the Steele Dossier.  Rosneft is a state-owned Russian oil company that transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to a variety of Trump associates concurrently with the campaign and election.  You can read all about it on the internet, for example here.

Israel is also higher on the suspect list than is China.  There are a few Russian technology and hacking firms that I've seen mentioned as suspects, too.  My guess is that the real story is some combination of all of the above, though the current court battle over Country A is just a part of it.  Mueller appears to be piecing together a complex web of connections in which Russian assets were used to fund coordination between a variety of international partners to hack and then release DNC emails and then use that information on social media in coordination with the campaign's public messaging.  Trump's family and several of his top aides were paid handsomely for their cooperation, though some of them were merely promised payments that then never materialized. 

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1711 on: January 09, 2019, 08:57:30 AM »
I assume country A is Russia


But I could also imagine any number of countries have state owned enterprises that might try to influence the US election, China, Iran, etc.
Certainly possible, but I too suspect it's Russia.  But suppose it isn't - holy crap that could be a new can of worms for this WH.

Well it's definitely not Costa Rica.

Other leading possibilities are that it's...
...
Israel is also higher on the suspect list than is China.  There are a few Russian technology and hacking firms that I've seen mentioned as suspects, too.  My guess is that the real story is some combination of all of the above, though the current court battle over Country A is just a part of it.  Mueller appears to be piecing together a complex web of connections in which Russian assets were used to fund coordination between a variety of international partners to hack and then release DNC emails and then use that information on social media in coordination with the campaign's public messaging.  Trump's family and several of his top aides were paid handsomely for their cooperation, though some of them were merely promised payments that then never materialized.

Good input Sol. 
You've touched on one of my fears from this whole investigation.  Based on the sheer number of indictments, the longstanding (and busy!) grand jury and the size and complexity of Mueller's team I'm pretty confident that he's going to uncover an absolute hoard of illicit and illegal behavior by multiple persons.
My fear is simply that the web he reveals will be too big, too complex and too disjointed for most people to do anything but bury their heads and ignore it.  Like a layperson being given the unfiltered code for a computer operating system the public will be like a blind person encountering an elephant for the first time (sorry if that mixes too many metaphors). Several countreis, dozens of individuals, hundreds of meetings, thousands of emails.

I suspect that that - while the DJT campaign was breaking rules and laws left and right - it was all poorly coordinated and lacked any real focus, at least from their end (Russia was likely highly coordinated and intently focused). Manafort, Gates and Flynn were busy making themselves rich with a minor side effect of selling out their country.  Cohen was off semi-autonomously putting out any fires using any methods that came to mind.  Eric and Jr. were trying to expand the Trump empire (even if meant making deals with dictators). etc.  Tons of illegality but lacking a cohesive thread. In which case it'll get brushed off - because 100 unfocused crimes is somehow not as damning as a a dozen highly coordinated ones.

Maybe that won't be the case - time will tell.


sol

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1712 on: January 09, 2019, 10:10:41 AM »
Based on the sheer number of indictments, the longstanding (and busy!) grand jury and the size and complexity of Mueller's team I'm pretty confident that he's going to uncover an absolute hoard of illicit and illegal behavior by multiple persons.

Some of the allegations contained in the Steele Dossier have already been verified by the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers, and the Bahamas Leaks.  They revealed that there is definitely a coordinated international white collar crime system in which state-assets from countries controlled by dictators (Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc) have been funneled to US citizens in violation of US banking sanctions, tax laws, and elections laws.  Manafort has already pled guilty to being part of this system, accepting foreign government funds to sway US policy and influence the election, and folks like Carter Page seem not far behind.  Some of them, like Roger Stone and wikileaks, appear to have facilitated this effort without being paid directly for it.

The internet has finally laid bare the types of global corruption that have probably been common since the 1800s, and we're only now getting a glimpse into how the world's richest and most powerful people pull the strings from behind the scenes.  This is Dan Brown style conspiracy, except instead of the Catholic Church it's run-of-the-mill autocrats and their plutocrat friends that are swaying entire nations into things like Brexit and Donald Trump.  The "Illuminati" of popular mythology are sort of kind of a real thing, and we got to see them high five in Argentina last month.  Donald Trump desperately wants to be part of this club, so he's letting himself be a pawn in their game in hopes of joining their ranks in the future.

I don't think the Mueller report is going to be an easy read.  It's definitely going to include some version of  "Donald Trump's campaign coordinated illegal activities with foreign governments" but it's also going to back that up with an entire laundry list of specific instances of money changing hands in exchange for illegal activity, tax fraud and bank fraud and money laundering efforts to facilitate those payments, and the paper trails of people like Don Jr. and Jared Kushner explicitly trying to break the law by appealing to the existing global elite with promises of favorable treatment by the US government. 

The problem with upsetting the existing global power structure is that I don't think the US Justice Department is really prepared to handle the prosecutions of people like Putin and MbS.  Whether or not these people have broken US laws, there is an issue of jurisdiction when it comes to guys so powerful that they routinely murder their enemies and get away with it.  I think the best we can hope for is that Mueller puts a bunch of US citizens behind bars for their role, and then publicly exposes the crimes of people like the Saudis and the Russians who directed those crimes in the hopes of educating the American public about the importance of electing ethical leaders in the future.

What happens to Donald Trump after that is kind of a footnote.  America has already lost this game, for now.

Paul der Krake

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1713 on: January 09, 2019, 10:14:13 AM »
What happens to Donald Trump after that is kind of a footnote.  America has already lost this game, for now.
He's a 72 year old fat bastard with a terrible diet and lifestyle. I doubt he will be around by the time the wheels of justice are done turning, if ever.

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1714 on: January 09, 2019, 10:39:28 AM »
What happens to Donald Trump after that is kind of a footnote.  America has already lost this game, for now.
He's a 72 year old fat bastard with a terrible diet and lifestyle. I doubt he will be around by the time the wheels of justice are done turning, if ever.

We've never sent a US president to jail - not even Nixon.  The framers made it clear that they preferred a special public trail ('impeachment') and removal from office but were less enthusiastic about the possibility of former leaders getting locked up after they left office - no doubt because they were weary of the then-British tradition of locking up political rivals to secure power.

The part of me that wants to see illegal deeds go punished would love to see jail time.  however, when it comes to the office of the president I worry that this could establish an uncomfortable precedent.  Thus, I think a far more fitting punishment would be censure and dissolution of the entities involved.  If the Trump Organization used its properties to host illegal meetings (Trump Tower) and funnel money from dictators for favors (Trump Hotel in DC) and push a pro-Russian agenda (the Trump Moscow projects) then sever them from the Trump Family and fine the businesses accordingly.  If we've decided that corporations have rights just like citizens, then they have responsibilities as well.

In a way it would seem more just, as Trump was advised to put all of his assets into a blind trust, but didn't (because he wanted to continue to make money and leverage his presidental bid)

GuitarStv

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1715 on: January 09, 2019, 11:10:28 AM »
A more fitting punishment would be to sentence Donald Trump to personally build the wall between the US and Mexico with his own hands and money.

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1716 on: January 09, 2019, 11:16:14 AM »
A more fitting punishment would be to sentence Donald Trump to personally build the wall between the US and Mexico with his own hands and money.

that would still be a waste of money for at least 1,000 miles of border.
It would also be an environmental catastrophy, fragmenting the habitat of a whole suite of wild and often endangered creatures.

GuitarStv

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1717 on: January 09, 2019, 11:19:38 AM »
A more fitting punishment would be to sentence Donald Trump to personally build the wall between the US and Mexico with his own hands and money.

that would still be a waste of money for at least 1,000 miles of border.
It would also be an environmental catastrophy, fragmenting the habitat of a whole suite of wild and often endangered creatures.

I think you are vastly overestimating the productivity and work ethic of Mr. Trump.

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1718 on: January 09, 2019, 11:25:06 AM »
A more fitting punishment would be to sentence Donald Trump to personally build the wall between the US and Mexico with his own hands and money.

that would still be a waste of money for at least 1,000 miles of border.
It would also be an environmental catastrophy, fragmenting the habitat of a whole suite of wild and often endangered creatures.

I think you are vastly overestimating the productivity and work ethic of Mr. Trump.
I'm pretty certain if left to Trump there would be a big gawdy ribbon cutting ceremony around a guilded concrete barrier of enormous proportions, and only later would we learn that most of it was cardboard and that it tapered into nothingness only a few miles away.  Like the Disney Theme-park (or Trump Casino) version of a wall - all show , little substance and no function.

rocketpj

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1719 on: January 09, 2019, 12:22:42 PM »
So the big takeaway from all of this insanity is that there exists a tremendous amount of white collar corruption and crime in the world.  I suspect Trump is just a wee fraction of the overall mess.

I am also pretty sure he and his associates could have carried on blithely breaking laws and barely covering them up for the rest of their lives if they hadn't gotten overconfident and decided that the next smart thing to steal would be the White House. One by one all of these crooked thieves are 'looking astonished' that the FBI and others are actually paying attention to their shenanigans instead of ignoring them to focus on simpler crimes (i.e. murder, bank robbery etc) that are easier to prosecute.

The best possible outcome for this process is a wholesale cleaning house and a massive daylight process of cleaning up international finance.  If we need to toss a significant percentage of Wall Street and K Street into jail to do it then more the better.

The more likely outcome is a fizzling out of Trump's presidency, a few token convictions (likely including some Trumps) and a 'looking forward not back' sellout of justice by whoever is elected next.  The white collar crime world will be a bit more careful until the heat dies down, then they will get back to their old shenanigans and we will all carry on as if it never happened (until the next time, at which point we will be shocked and astonished all over again).

nereo

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1720 on: January 09, 2019, 01:56:30 PM »
So the big takeaway from all of this insanity is that there exists a tremendous amount of white collar corruption and crime in the world.  I suspect Trump is just a wee fraction of the overall mess.

I am also pretty sure he and his associates could have carried on blithely breaking laws and barely covering them up for the rest of their lives if they hadn't gotten overconfident and decided that the next smart thing to steal would be the White House. One by one all of these crooked thieves are 'looking astonished' that the FBI and others are actually paying attention to their shenanigans instead of ignoring them to focus on simpler crimes (i.e. murder, bank robbery etc) that are easier to prosecute.
...

One of the more notable defense strategies coming out of the Manafort papers is how his lawyers are actually arguing that "most" of the things he has done didn't break any laws, and that should be considered when assigning him guilt for the times he did break the law.

Really?  WTF?!  His position is so bad that he's resorted to the defense of 'most of what I did wasn't illegal'!
That's like saying: "I have a constitutional right to have a gun, there's no laws against wearing a ski mask, and anyone can go into a bank, so most of what i did all day was legal, except for about 60 seconds when I told the teller "give me all your money or I'll blow your head off'.  other than that I technically didn't break any laws, so the judges should consider that and just give me a warning or something"

ETA: The other 'defense' strategy Manafort is using is to say that he 'probably' shared campaign information with his Russian counterpart, Kilimnik, but that he couldn't be sure because sitting in jail for violating his plea deal has been extremely stressful on him and is affecting his memory. Gee, turns out prison is not a fun place to be.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:08:09 PM by nereo »

aspiringnomad

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1721 on: January 09, 2019, 09:01:10 PM »
I assume country A is Russia


But I could also imagine any number of countries have state owned enterprises that might try to influence the US election, China, Iran, etc.
Certainly possible, but I too suspect it's Russia.  But suppose it isn't - holy crap that could be a new can of worms for this WH.

Well it's definitely not Costa Rica.

Other leading possibilities are that it's...

1. Germany and Deutsche Bank, and is related to the loans they gave Trump as part of their ongoing money laundering investigation.  Money they laundered for Russian organized crime, in part by giving it to Donald Trump as loans for properties he then sold back to those same Russians.  It's a classic scheme, familiar to white collar criminals all over the world.


Deutsche Bank has a history of laundering with Trump, but it's not owned by Germany and the ruling refers a "corporation owned by Country A." So that would rule out DB. But other countries mentioned are definite possibilities - notably VEB in Russia - or it could be from a small tax haven island somewhere in Europe or the Caribbean. That the corporation cares about compliance with a US ruling enough to appeal to our Supreme Court suggests that it might be a pawn in all this rather than directly backed by Putin.

Alfa Bank would be another intriguing Russian possibility given the research in this article, but it's supposedly privately owned (I'm guessing there are blurry ownership lines in Russia): https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/15/was-there-a-connection-between-a-russian-bank-and-the-trump-campaign



Just Joe

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1722 on: January 11, 2019, 09:02:54 AM »
So the big takeaway from all of this insanity is that there exists a tremendous amount of white collar corruption and crime in the world.  I suspect Trump is just a wee fraction of the overall mess.

I am also pretty sure he and his associates could have carried on blithely breaking laws and barely covering them up for the rest of their lives if they hadn't gotten overconfident and decided that the next smart thing to steal would be the White House. One by one all of these crooked thieves are 'looking astonished' that the FBI and others are actually paying attention to their shenanigans instead of ignoring them to focus on simpler crimes (i.e. murder, bank robbery etc) that are easier to prosecute.

The best possible outcome for this process is a wholesale cleaning house and a massive daylight process of cleaning up international finance.  If we need to toss a significant percentage of Wall Street and K Street into jail to do it then more the better.

The more likely outcome is a fizzling out of Trump's presidency, a few token convictions (likely including some Trumps) and a 'looking forward not back' sellout of justice by whoever is elected next.  The white collar crime world will be a bit more careful until the heat dies down, then they will get back to their old shenanigans and we will all carry on as if it never happened (until the next time, at which point we will be shocked and astonished all over again).

I'm so proud that DJTrump has worked so diligently to "drain the swamp" and to "lock her up".

bacchi

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1723 on: January 11, 2019, 10:43:36 AM »
That the corporation cares about compliance with a US ruling enough to appeal to our Supreme Court suggests that it might be a pawn in all this rather than directly backed by Putin.

Or that the corporation has assets in the US that it doesn't want to risk.

aspiringnomad

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Re: United States of Russia?
« Reply #1724 on: January 13, 2019, 06:03:38 PM »
That the corporation cares about compliance with a US ruling enough to appeal to our Supreme Court suggests that it might be a pawn in all this rather than directly backed by Putin.

Or that the corporation has assets in the US that it doesn't want to risk.

Fair point. Also a possibility.