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Monday, June 26, 2017

One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner's real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan. The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January. The October deal illustrates the extent to which Kushner was balancing roles as a top adviser to Trump and a real estate company executive. After the election, Kushner juggled duties for the Trump transition team and his corporation as he prepared to move to the White House. read more

Friday, June 23, 2017

There's a ticking time bomb built right into the Senate Republican health care bill. The legislation unveiled Thursday, which Republicans dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act, aims to preserve the Affordable Care Act's popular rule forbidding health insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions. But the bill also would repeal that law's unpopular individual mandate that most Americans obtain health coverage or face tax penalties and would significantly scale back financial assistance that helps make health insurance premiums affordable. The problem is, those things work hand in hand, and are often referred to as the "three-legged stool" that keeps the health insurance system steady. Take out one or two of those legs, and the whole thing probably will fall down.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer known for defending government officials in high-profile investigations to help him through probes into whether there were ties between the election campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia, his office said on Thursday. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow interfered in last year's presidential campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor. read more

A recent National Security Agency memo documents a phone call in which U.S. President Donald Trump pressures agency chief Admiral Mike Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia, say reports. The memo was written by Rick Ledgett, the former deputy director of the NSA, sources familiar with the memo told The Wall Street Journal. Ledgett stepped down from his job this spring. The memo said Trump questioned the American intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. American intelligence agencies issued a report early this year that found Russian intelligence agencies hacked the country's political parties and worked to sway the election to Trump. read more

Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and The Commonwealth Fund - The American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office indicates that the AHCA could increase the number of uninsured by 23 million by 2026. The AHCA would raise employment and economic activity at first, but lower them in the long run. It initially raises the federal deficit when taxes are repealed, leading to 864,000 more jobs in 2018. In later years, reductions in support for health insurance cause negative economic effects. By 2026, 924,000 jobs would be lost, gross state products would be $93 billion lower, and business output would be $148 billion less. About three-quarters of jobs lost (725,000) would be in the health care sector. States which expanded Medicaid would experience faster and deeper economic losses. read more


Mueller has hired Lisa Page and Andrew Weissmann. Page is a trial attorney in the Justice Department's organized-crime section whose cases centered on international organized crime and money laundering, and Weissmann is a seasoned prosecutor who oversaw cases against high-ranking organized criminals on Wall Street in the early 1990s and, later, against 30 people implicated in the Enron fraud scandal.

Mueller is also reportedly looking into whether any of Trump's associates engaged in money laundering -- a sensitive subject for the Trump Organization. The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was repeatedly cited by the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, for having inadequate money-laundering controls.

"Mueller recognizes that Russian organized crime and sophisticated financial transactions involving them are going to be right at the center and Page is definitely a leading expert there," Scott Horton, a US lawyer with experience working in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, told The Guardian.

Roughly 400 pages of FinCEN documents obtained by CNN last month show that the Treasury accused the Trump Taj Mahal, which opened in 1990 and closed last year, of breaking anti-money-laundering regulations 106 times in the year and a half after it opened. Specifically, the casino was accused of failing to report to the IRS gamblers who cashed out more than $10,000 in a single day -- a red flag for law enforcement officials tracking illicit cash flows.

The casino -- and others like it in Atlantic City -- was once known as a hot spot for Brooklyn mobsters associated with the Russian mafia. The Trump Taj Mahal had become the "favorite East Coast destination" of top Russian mob boss Vyacheslav Ivankov, according to the 2000 book "Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America."

One of Trump's real-estate advisers in the early 2000s, the Russia-born businessman Felix Sater, was accused nearly two decades ago of being a co-conspirator in a $40 million fraud and money laundering scheme involving four Mafia families. Trump worked with the real-estate firm Sater was an executive at, Bayrock Group, on at least four projects that ultimately failed, including the Trump SoHo in Manhattan.

A lawsuit brought against Sater and others in 2015, which is ongoing, alleges that "for most of its existence it [Bayrock] was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated," engaging "in a pattern of continuous, related crimes, including mail, wire, and bank fraud; tax evasion; money laundering; conspiracy; bribery; extortion; and embezzlement."

Sater was evidently still in touch with Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as recently as late January. The two met at a New York hotel on January 27 to discuss a peace plan for Russia and Ukraine that was drafted by a Ukrainian politician, Andrey Artemenko, The Times reported. Cohen is said to have delivered the plan directly to Michael Flynn before he resigned as national security adviser on February 13, though Cohen has disputed that in subsequent interviews.


There's a theme emerging in Mueller's Russia probe that could prove damning for Trump

Robert Mueller in recent days has hired lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with fraud, racketeering, and other financial crimes to help him investigate whether President Donald Trump's associates colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel last month to lead the probe into Russia's election interference, is also homing in on money laundering and the business dealings of Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The developments indicate Mueller is taking a follow-the-money approach to the investigation that could leave Trump's sprawling business empire hugely vulnerable.

You can't look at each piece as a stand alone, you have to look at the known history and arch of Trump's documented business practices. He has no blanket presumption of innocence because he has an actually trail of proven guilt:
Do Trump's Murky Financial Ties to Russia Connect to Money Laundering?

Trump has blazed a decades-long trail of questionable financial dealings with Russian sources that could provide investigators with the grist they need for legal action. A wide array of Russian oligarchs with links to Vladimir Putin have invested tens of millions of hard-to-explain dollars in Trump properties. And Trump professes never to know who these people are or where they got the big bucks for their mostly cash deals.

Money laundering is the process of taking proceeds from criminal activity (dirty money) and making them appear legal (clean). Although the news didn't make much of a splash during the 2016 campaign, Trump paid a $10 million fine to the U.S. Treasury in 2015 for his bankrupt Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City because it failed to meet anti-money-laundering requirements. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Regulators said the casino failed to establish and implement an effective anti-money-laundering program, failed to implement an adequate system of internal controls, and failed to properly file currency transaction reports or keep other required records."

The Democrats and all of the Obama appointees are losing so badly that they are attacking everyone in the Trump Administration.

This shows the abject ignorance of many Trump sympathizers. As has been said and re-said since the day the Electoral College vote was certified, even if Trump goes down, the GOP will decide the next President and the Democrats can't do a damn thing about it. So the fact that any and every American should want to see the completion of an investigation into a foreign government actively influencing our election process is in no way a partisan issue, it's a patriotic issue and one of national security. The Senate voted 98-2 today to sanction the Russians for their interference. By my count, that leaves only 3 elected people on record that don't believe Russia interfered and the most prominent happens to be the President possibly only joined by 2 of 52 within his own party.

Mike Pence (if he really isn't criminally caught up in this too) would be far more effective in getting the GOP agenda through Congress by every reasonable measure known to man, mainly because he won't shoot his own mouth off everyday like Trump. But even faced with that, it's far more important to find out what happened and how we can take considerable measures to keep it from happening again.

And one of those measures is waking up the far too many citizens who believe any inquiry into these matters is only being done for political gain. The stupid reality is the GOP would stand to gain more with Trump gone and the Democrats would lose their biggest asset in proving the GOP is incapable of governing. But the true believers are too brainwashed to realize that Trump is holding them back by his insistence that everything in government begin and end with him beyond the fact he's likely implicated in criminal acts of his own and those who surround him.

I'm not aware of Russian arrests....

Of course you aren't, but you should be. Maybe you should do some research while we wait for this convoluted conspiracy to play out. Watergate took over 2 years, Trump and his cohorts have only been investigated for a few months at this point, but many are connecting dots that you don't even know exist.

Another part of the story only rumored about under the surface further implicates Trump in potential obstruction and abuse of power, another avenue Mueller is certainly well aware of:

Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara cryptically suggests he was investigating Trump or his allies

CNN's Jeffrey Toobin also noted on Saturday night that Bharara "has been involved in a lot of investigations that are at least peripherally related to Donald Trump," apparently including "some investigations that involve the Trump Organization and Russia."

This whole thing is an onion, not a grape. There are layers and layers to go and only LE knows when they'll decide they have enough evidence to round up their suspects.Trump's business network reached alleged Russian mobsters

To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics -- several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.

Just another piece in a widening puzzle. And by the way, Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor revealed most all of this months before the MSM, but of course, their sources aren't credible, right?

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