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First Member of Chumph Cartel Goes to Jail

With the profligate racism of the Chumph Cartel, I don’t imagine any of them convicted and jailed is going to do too much better than your run of the mill white wing child molester…

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Dutch attorney gets 30 days in first sentence for Mueller probe

Alex van der Zwaan had admitted to lying to investigators.

Special counsel Robert Mueller obtained the first sentence in his high-profile investigation Tuesday, as a Dutch attorney who admitted to lying to investigators was ordered into federal custody for 30 days.

Former Skadden Arps associate Alex van der Zwaan, 33, pleaded guilty in February to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with former Trump campaign official Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik, a suspected Russian intelligence operative who worked closely with Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Lawyers for van der Zwaan had asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to give him a fine and pleaded with the court to let him return to his London home by August, when his wife is due to give birth.

However, the judge said some time in jail was appropriate given his offense and the fact that he is an attorney.

“We’re not talking about a traffic ticket,” she said. “This was lying to a federal officer in the course of a criminal investigation.”

In addition to the 30-day sentence, Jackson also gave van der Zwaan a $20,000 fine and two months of probation, but she said she would permit him to reclaim his passport and leave the country as soon as his month in custody is completed. It’s not immediately clear where or in what type of facility he will serve the 30 days.

Van der Zwaan was drawn into the saga in 2012 as his law firm prepared to release a report commissioned by Manafort and Gates for Ukraine’s Justice Ministry in a bid to defend then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who had jailed one of his most prominent political opponents, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Manafort and Gates’ work on behalf of Yanukovych’s political party has drawn Mueller’s scrutiny. Gates has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, and Manafort is awaiting trial.

 

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The Chumph-Russia Cartel Crumbles – Gates to Plead Guilty, Squeal

Yet another of the Chumph Crime Cartel boss, with heavy ties to Putin’s Mob goes down, and will testify against his former co-conspirator, Paul Manafort. Rick Gates if the 5th Chumph cohort to take the lea.

How bad is it for the Chumph Cartel? You know you are in deep, deep isht when they indict your Lawyer too…Along with an “unnamed individual” –

Mueller is not only going to lock up Gates and Manafort…But their lawyers!

Getting closer to nailing the Chumph…Every single day.

 

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The Chumph Family Mob – Money Laundering

You are what you associate with…

The Chumph isn’t the only crook in the family.

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Ivanka Trump’s Old Jewelry Business Is Now Caught Up in an Alleged Fraud Scheme

Throw a dart at a map of the world and there’s a solid chance it will land near a spot where a Trump family business has allegedly gotten caught up in a money laundering scheme.

There’s Panama, where the Trump Ocean Club is said to have washed dirty cash for Russian gangsters and South American drug cartels. There’s Azerbaijan and the Trump Baku, where the money allegedly being laundered was said to belong to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. And of course, there’s the Trump Soho in Manhattan, a magnet for money from Kazakhstan and Russia, and a property that one former executive on the project now calls “a monument to spectacularly corrupt money-laundering and tax evasion.”

In each of those cases, the Trump Organization has denied any wrongdoing and has sought to distance itself—and the Trump family—from the property, saying they merely licensed ​the Trump name. But as it turns out, it’s not just Trump-branded real estate developments that perhaps have attracted the wrong kinds of money.

Thanks to an overlooked filing made in federal court this past summer, we can now add a jewelry business to the list of Trump family enterprises that allegedly served as vehicles to fraudulently hide the assets of ultra-rich foreigners with checkered backgrounds. In late June, the Commercial Bank of Dubai sought—and later received—permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line, claiming its diamonds were used in a massive scheme to hide roughly $100 million that was owed to the bank, according to filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

High-end real estate is a common vehicle for money laundering, in part because, until recently, the industry was effectively exempt from many of the laws that prevent laundering through other types of assets, such as the “Know Your Customer” laws that apply to banking. But diamonds, too, hold an important place in the money launderer’s toolkit. Mountains of dirty money can be converted into tiny diamonds, which are easy to store or smuggle across national boundaries, and convert back into cash when the opportunity arises.

The Trumps are not the only Western business owners whose ventures have been tied to alleged money laundering and fraud schemes, but they are the only ones who are also in charge of American foreign policy, making the entanglements—and possible points of leverage—that arise from such ventures matters of national security.

Ivanka Trump launched Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry roughly a decade ago, partnering with a young real estate and diamond heir named Moshe Lax. It was her first independent business venture. She licensed her name for use by Madison Avenue Diamonds, which did business under Trump’s name in exchange for royalties. Trump also owned an equity stake in the business for an unspecified period. Around the time they were going into business together, Lax introduced Trump to Jared Kushner, the man who would become her husband, at a luncheon for real estate heirs he convened in Midtown Manhattan.

Trump and Lax set up a flagship boutique on Madison Avenue and publicly showered praise on each other, but the partnership eventually soured. Lax has been accused of all kinds of wrongdoing, from stiffing creditors to extortion, in numerous lawsuits, some of them related to Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry and some of them unrelated.

Trump terminated her relationship with Lax late last year, and according to the Trump Organization, Lax still owed her money as of August. Meanwhile, the defunct diamond line is getting dragged into court proceedings like this latest Dubai case, which alleges a plot by the family of prominent Emirati oil traders named the Al-Saris.

A decade ago, the high-flying Al-Saris controlled a multibillion-dollar oil-trading empire, but then hit a rough patch, reportedly becoming mired in legal battles over unpaid bills and sanctions imposed in 2012 on the family’s firm, FAL Oil, for selling oil to Iran.

Apparently strapped for cash, the Al-Saris are alleged to have borrowed over a $100 million from the Commercial Bank of Dubai. They defaulted on the debt and, according to court documents, proceeded to hide their assets in a network of shell companies, through which they bought diamonds and Las Vegas real estate. In addition, to Ivanka’s line, the bank—which filed a fraud suit in 2014—says the Al-Saris purchased diamonds from Jacob Arabo—better known as “Jacob the Jeweler”—for the same purpose. As “Jacob the Jeweler,” Arabo became famous as a diamond dealer to the stars (he was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2008 for lying to investigators about Detroit’s “Black Mafia Family” drug trafficking ring).

In this new case, the Commercial Bank of Dubai has not accused the jewelry line or Arabo of any wrongdoing. Arabo’s business did not respond to requests for comment, nor did FAL oil, the Al-Sari- owned enterprise at the center of the dispute. Lawyers for the Dubai bank, which is being represented in New York by Mayer Brown LLP, declined to comment.

Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who fields Ivanka-related inquiries, did not respond to questions about the subpoena request, nor did Alan Garten, the general counsel of the Trump Organization.

The attempt to subpoena the jewelry business has so far escaped public notice, likely in part because court documents name only “Madison Avenue Diamonds”—the corporate entity that was registered to do business as “Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry”—and do not mention the Trump name. Though Trump has since cut all ties to Madison Avenue Diamonds, the timeline of the underlying case suggests any alleged transactions would have taken place when the company was still doing business as Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.

As a practical matter, such a subpoena request—from the Commercial Bank of Dubai—now potentially injects the business dealings of the first family into a vicious legal fight between Arab world power players at a time when the Trumps are also using the power of the presidency to influence the region….

 

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Chumph Cartel Corruption

Took this long for folks to figure out the KKKlown is corrupt?

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White House most corrupt governmental institution: poll

In the year since Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington’s corruption, Americans have become more, not less, convinced that Washington is corrupt, and that the White House is the most corrupt institution in U.S. government.

A new public opinion poll conducted over the last two months found that Americans don’t believe that Trump is cleaning up the government. In fact, the opposite is true: 58 percent of people surveyed say the level of corruption has risen in the past 12 months, up from 34 percent who said the same in January 2016.

And more Americans put the blame at the top: 44 percent now believe that most or all of the officials in the Office of the President are corrupt — up from 36 percent last year, and worse than perceptions of Congress (38 percent of Americans believe Congress is the most corrupt institution).

Americans also suspect big business: 32 percent of those polled believe business executives are corrupt.

Trump’s administration also has not made Americans more confident that the government can stop double-dealing, fraud or dishonesty. Seven out of 10 Americans believe the government is failing to fight corruption—up from half last year.

The poll was commissioned by Transparency International, a Washington-based government oversight nonprofit that gauges conflicts of interests and other corruption in governments worldwide, and publishes an annual ranking of the most corrupt nations. Last year, before the Trump administration took office, the U.S. ranked 18th in terms of perceived corruption, with Denmark at number one, perceived as the most corruption-free nation. Somalia, at 176th, was perceived as the most corrupt.

Since before he took office, Trump and his family’s personal conflicts of interest, and his agencies’ revolving doors, have been widely reported on in the media and heavily criticized by ethics lawyers and government watchdogs.

While the president handed off day-to-day oversight of his company to his sons Eric and Donald, Jr., his hotels and golf courses have become vehicles for lobbyists and foreign dignitaries to curry favor with the administration, and, in the case of the golf courses, actually meet and play with the golf-loving president.

Shortly before his election last year, the Trump campaign trotted out a new slogan and a five-point plan for ethics reform that featured new lobbying restrictions. The plan was called “drain the swamp.”

 

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Michael Flynn Charged With Lying – Pleads Guilty

Joining Manafort and Gates, the third person in the Chumph criminal cartel has been charged. Michael Flynn with lying about contacts with the Russians, and will plead guilty today.

Looks like Mueller has Flynn in his pocket to testify against the Chumph. This is the first of many charges that Flynn can be indicted for.

Flynn is the first Trump administration official and the fourth connected to the campaign to be charged as part of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team, as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.
Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted last month; they pleaded not guilty. And Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI over contacts with officials connected to the Russian government.
The charge against Flynn is the first in Mueller’s probe that has reached someone in the Trump White House and is the latest sign that the special counsel’s investigation is intensifying.

Here is a Copy of the Criminal Charge against Flynn.

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Michael Flynn charged with making false statement to the FBI

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged Friday with making a false statement to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, marking another monumental development in the wide-ranging probe of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Flynn was expected to enter a plea at 10:30, according to the special counsel’s office. The charge relates to false statements Flynn made to the FBI on January 24, four days after President Trump was inaugurated, about his meeting with Kislyak during the transition.

Flynn is accused of making false statements to the FBI about asking the ambassador in late December to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.” Flynn also told authorities he did not recall the ambassador saying the Russians would moderate their response to Obama administration sanctions after the conversation.

Separately, authorities say Flynn lied about asking the ambassador to delay a vote on United Nations Security Council resolutions.

 

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The Chumph Criminal Cartel – “The fish rots from the head”

The number of Chumph appointees and staffers now either indicted, going to be indicted, accused, and under investigation has reached historic proportions.

The Chumph and his acolytes are criminals.

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“The fish rots from the head”: a historian on the unique corruption of Trump’s White House

“Politicians lie, but this is different.” 

“Politicians lie, but this is different,” says a historian who studies presidential history and estimates the Trump administration easily ranks among the most corrupt in American history.

Robert Dallek is a presidential historian and the author of several books, including his latest about FDR titled Franklin Roosevelt: A Political Life. Writing recently for the Guardian, Dallek lamented the “disaster” that is the Trump presidency but also reminded readers that American democracy is surprisingly resilient and has survived far worse.

Despite Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp,” the first year of his administration has been plagued by resignationsinvestigations, and scandals. Dallek estimates that historical examples of corruption, like that of the Warren G. Harding administration, don’t hold a candle to how Trump and his people have conducted themselves in the White House.

History will judge Trump, and it will not be kind.

I spoke with Dallek about the history of corruption in American presidential politics and why he sees the Trump administration as “a low point in our history.” What makes Trump exceptionally dangerous, Dallek argues, is how effortlessly he lies and what kind of tone he has set in this White House.

“The fish rots from the head,” he told me, “and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.”

Our conversation, lightly edited for clarity, appears below.

Sean Illing

You’ve studied a lot of presidents and White Houses. Is the corruption and the lying in this administration unique in your mind?

Robert Dallek

This administration is a low point in our history. We’ve been through scandals before, going as far back as the Grant administration in the 19th century and the Harding administration in the early 20th century. Presidents have been accused of bribery and shady gift-giving. So it’s not entirely unique to see scandals subsume a White House.

But the shamelessness of this administration, the dishonesty, the total indifference to facts, is something I haven’t seen before — at least not this blatant. I think it’s demoralized people and made them even more cynical about politics.

Sean Illing

Is this the most dishonest administration you’ve ever seen or studied?

Robert Dallek

The short answer is yes. Politicians lie, but this is different. I suppose if you wanted to be generous, you might say this is the least effective and trustworthy administration since Warren G. Harding, whose administration was overwhelmed by the Teapot Dome scandal in 1921, in which Harding’s secretary of the interior leased Navy petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California to private oil companies at incredibly low rates without a competitive bidding process. That was a massive scandal, one of the biggest we’ve seen at the level of politics.

There are other examples, of course. Most obviously, there’s Nixon and Watergate, which was a watershed moment in American political history. Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation as a Civil War general was shattered by the Whiskey Ring scandal in 1875, in which Treasury officials basically stole tax dollars from alcohol distillers. Other presidents, like Bill Clinton, have lied shamelessly as well.

Still, I think what we’re seeing right now will, eventually, rise above these examples, with the possible exception of Watergate. But a lot of this depends on the outcome of the Russia investigation. If it goes the way it appears to be going, it will exceed even Watergate.

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Sean Illing

Do administrations tend to pay a political price when they deceive and overstep in this way?

Robert Dallek

Typically they do. Look at Trump’s numbers right now. For a president in the first year of his term to have never achieved 50 percent approval rating is something of a political disaster. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt never saw his approval rating dip below 50 percent during his 12-year presidency. Truman’s popularity slipped to 32 percent near the end of this administration due to the stalemate in Korea. Nixon’s support collapsed and went down to 25 percent during Watergate.

But Trump has been historically unpopular since the day he took office, in part because of how dishonestly he conducted himself during the campaign. What we’re seeing now is very ugly and, I think, very corrupting to our political system.

Sean Illing

How so?

Robert Dallek

Well, our system depends upon something like a consensus, something like majority rule. But now we have a president who outright lies about … everything. He lies about the number of votes he received, about the size of his inauguration crowd, about his own achievements, about Muslims cheering in the streets after 9/11, and so on. He lies about basic observable facts.

I think the cumulative effect of all this lying is to make people deeply cynical about our entire system, and that’s very corrupting.

Sean Illing

What, exactly, is so unique about this administration in terms of the corruption and the graft?

Robert Dallek

Obviously the examples of corruption are numerous: Trump refused to divest from his business interests; there are questions about whether he’s violating the emoluments clause by running Trump International Hotel in DC; there’s the indictment of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort; there’s the looming indictment of his former national security adviser Michael FlynnJared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, failed to disclose $1 billion in loans connected to his real estate company; and of course several of his Cabinet heads are being investigated for profligate travel expenses.

But here’s what I think is unique: Often you see a lot of corruption result from a lack of oversight, but I think this administration is quite different in that Trump really sets the tone for all this. He encourages it, really. The fish rots from the head, and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.

Sean Illing

In what ways does he set the tone?

Robert Dallek

Trump is the head of government, and people know they can get away with things. Look at all the incidents of corruption I just laid out, and that’s not even close to a complete list. Like Nixon, Trump has created a culture in his administration in which people feel comfortable with corruption. Trump himself has shown a complete indifference to democratic norms, to rule of law, and that sends a pretty clear signal to the people beneath him.

Again, Trump’s lying is a big facilitator of all this corruption. This is a guy who will look right into the camera and lie without any hesitation at all. It’s hard to overstate what kind of tone that sets in an administration; it makes everyone more comfortable when they lie, when they deceive, when they cover things up…

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Feds Apparently Have Flipped Witness Against Michael Flynn

Yeah they got him, squealing away in a Federal hideout.

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Did the Feds Flip Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab—and Could He Bring Down Michael Flynn?

Reza Zarrab, whose trial for allegedly cheating U.S. sanctions is scheduled to begin in days, was secretly removed from a federal prison and may be working with prosecutors.

A man who may be part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged misdoings by President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration was secretly removed from a federal prison this month.

Mueller is reportedly looking at a December meeting blocks from Trump Tower where Michael Flynn—shortly before Trump became president and named him national security adviser—was reportedly offered upward of $15 million if he could help Turkey win the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen as well as the release of gold trader Reza Zarrab.

Now it appears Zarrab, whose trial for allegedly cheating U.S. sanctions by facilitating gold-for-gas deals between Turkey and Iran is scheduled to begin in just days, may be working with federal prosecutors.

Last month, lawyers for his co-defendant, bank manager Mehmet Atilla, remarked sardonically in court filings that Zarrab, the man at the root of the charges facing their client, had all but vanished, and it seemed “likely that Mr. Atilla will be the only defendant appearing at trial.”

The Bureau of Prisons website shows that Zarrab was released from BOP custody on Nov. 8. He had been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal administrative prison near the Southern District of New York courthouse, before then.

Zarrab has not filed any court documents in the last month. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told The Daily Beast he would not be at the final pre-trial conference on Thursday. Flynn’s lawyer did not return a request for comment Wednesday evening.

“All I can tell you is that he is in federal custody,” Nick Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, told The Daily Beast.

 

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