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As Number of Russian Spies at Chumph Jr. Meeting Rise…So Does the Heat

That Chumph Jr meeting with the Russian Lawyer?

Turns out that wasn’t a cozy one on one – it involved 7 to 8 people…

4 of them Russian with ties to the FSB/KGB/

I like Keith Olbermann’s view…

 

Now the Chumph’s are spending campaign money on lawyers to the tune of over $215,000 a month…

Yeah…There is nothing to see here…

 

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Asking the Right – Why Are Republicans Hiding the Evidence of Trump Treason

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Been saying for a while that the Russian hacking and collusion treason went far beyond just the Chumph and his merry band of morons and nitwit children.

Here, Digby begins asking the right questions at least.

Russia scandal goes well beyond Trump: GOP leaders definitely knew about hacking — did they benefit too?

Leading Republicans knew about Russian hacking long before Trump’s nomination. They said nothing and did nothing

Despite Europe’s clear disdain for President Trump it seems as though he’s over there every other week. In fact he’s arriving in France on Thursday at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron to help celebrate Bastille Day and have dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Considering that Trump has implied repeatedly that Paris is nothing but a hellhole these days, it’s a testament to just how desperate he is to get out of Washington. The heat is on and he wants out of the kitchen.

You have certainly heard that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer to get some promised dirt on Hillary Clinton that was represented as being part of a Russian government program to help Trump get elected. Now we know their breathless protestations that they didn’t know nothin’ about no Russians were lies, and we also know that this particular tawdry scheme reached into the highest levels of the campaign. We’ll have to wait for the next shoe to drop. There is always another shoe.

There was one new story on Wednesday that added an interesting detail to the saga and points to a possible larger conspiracy. McClatchy reported that House and Senate investigators as well as the Justice Department are looking at the Trump campaign’s digital operation, one of Jared Kushner’s pet projects (financed by big-daddy benefactor Robert Mercer), to determine if it may have worked with Russia’s sophisticated micro-targeting and propaganda program during the 2016 campaign.

McClatchy also reported that the Justice Department is looking into “whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton.” That’s an issue I’ve written about previously here on Salonbased on some post-election investigative reporting by the New York Times.

This raises once again the question of just what was going on in the Republican Party during this period. After all, it wasn’t just Donald Trump who benefited from Russian hacking. The GOP-dominated House majority was a major beneficiary as well.

Remember, the congressional leadership knew in 2015 that it was happening. Reuters has reported that the so-called Gang of Eight (Republican leaders in Congress) was told that Russian hackers were attacking the Democratic Party but that the information was so top secret they could not share it. As we know, hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee and the personal email of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. But they also hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and information gleaned from that hack was put to use in some 2016 campaigns for Congress.

Also recall that one month before Donald Trump Jr. took that meeting with the Russian lawyer, House Majority Leader Kevin “loose lips” McCarthy was talking about Trump’s connections to Vladimir Putin in a room full of Republicans:

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. […]

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

This was the day after news had broken that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Ryan and McCarthy had just come from a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, who “had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.”

Republican leaders kept this from the public for a year, then lied repeatedly about it when confronted until someone produced an audiotape, at which point McCarthy, Ryan, et al., said it was just a joke. Maybe it was. But we know for sure that this idea about Trump being under Putin’s thumb was in the ether in GOP circles even as the party was getting ready to nominate him as its presidential candidate.

Fast forward to late August when the intelligence community was becoming frantic over the evidence of Russian interference and Director of National Intelligence John Brennan held private classified briefings with eight top congressional leaders, telling then that there was evidence the Russians were helping Donald Trump and that unnamed advisers to the Republican nominee might be working with them. In September, intelligence officials convened a big meeting with the Gang of 12, meaning the House and Senate leadership along with chairmen and ranking members of committees on intelligence and homeland security. It was assumed this would result in a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” to protest this threat to the integrity of the American democratic process.

That was an erroneous assumption. The Republicans refused to sign anything that implicated the Russian government, only agreeing to tell state elections officials to beware of “malefactors” attempting to hack election software. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly “an act of partisan politics.” That was that.

Since the election, when Republican officials aren’t actively helping the White House cover up and misdirect, as House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes did, with a few exceptions they still dismiss the scandal, even in the face of documentary evidence like the Donald Trump Jr. emails.

There’s a lot of punditry every day bemoaning the fact that President Trump refuses to admit that the Russian interference in the campaign happened, seeing it as a stubborn (and insulting) rejection of the U.S. intelligence community and a dangerous unwillingness to take needed action to prevent it happening again. But really, why is Trump the only one on the hook? The Republican leadership has turned a blind eye to what was happening since 2015. They knew. They may have even known more about it than Trump did, at least in the beginning. They did nothing about it then and have shown no signs that they plan to do anything in the future.

It’s not all on Donald Trump. He may been the principal beneficiary but the leaders of his party aided and abetted the crime. We may just learn that they benefited from it too. 

 

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All of Putin’s Bitch’s Men Who Lied About Meeting With Russian Spies

Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean. It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean.

Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean. It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean.

Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean. It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean. 

From the H2O Gate Blues by Gil Scott Heron

It sounds like Treason, you know what I mean.

These top Trump associates have all lied about contacts with Russia — and the list is growing

The recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney with close ties to the Kremlin is just another in a long line of coincidental meetings that President Donald Trump’s friends, family, and associates had with Russians.

A number of people close to Trump have claimed they never had contact with Russian operatives — only for their denial to be proven wrong later. Below is a list of some of the most prominent people:

1. Donald Trump Jr.

The most recent in the list of Trump allies is Trump’s own son. In a March interview with the New York Times, he denied having any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals.

“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did,” he said. “But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly, none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”

That was a lie.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump Jr., Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had claimed that she had information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. has admitted he attended the meeting to see what the “dirt” was, but that the conversation resulted in nothing meaningful.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) noted that the meeting is important because it was the first indication that someone in the campaign demonstrated they were willing to collude with Russians.

2. Jeff Sessions

While under oath in his Jan. 10 confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) about any connections to Russians.

Sessions replied that he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the campaign. He also made the same statement in writing on the official questionnaire. He was told that any communications he had “as a senator” did not need to go on the form since that was as his capacity as an elected official.

That was a lie.

Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice during 2016. One meet up was even photographed during the Republican National Convention, where Sessions was taking meetings for Trump. The second took place in September.

3. Mike Pence

No one has denied the Russian collusion or connections more publicly than Vice President Mike Pence, who was allegedly setup to lie on national television just before Trump was inaugurated. Specifically, Pence claimed that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn never discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their introductory phone calls.

That was a lie.

While Pence might try to maintain plausible deniability, the evidence is stacking up that over and over Pence was warned about Flynn’s contacts with Russia. In May, it was revealed that Flynn was warned by the transition team about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador on the day then-President Barack Obama issued sanctions against Russia for hacking. Pence was the head of the transition team after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) was replaced.

Before the inauguration, Pence was sent a letter by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) warning the transition that Flynn had concerning lobbying contracts.

It was also revealed that acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn’s communications with Russians put him in a compromised position. She had two in-person meetings and one phone call specifically because she was concerned about Pence’s comments on “Face the Nation.”

When Yates testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May, she said that she told White House officials on Jan. 26 that Pence deserved to know that Flynn had not been truthful about his communications with Russian officials. Flynn was not asked to resign until Feb. 13.

“Either they were criminally negligent — or they weren’t and they knew,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said about Pence and the Trump team in March.

4. Michael Flynn

Flynn told anyone who asked him about his communications between the Russian Ambassador Kislyak that he didn’t recall the issue of sanctions coming up, but “isn’t completely certain.”

That was a lie.

It was further found that Flynn lied to investigators about payments from work that Flynn had done with Russians so that he could get his security clearance.

5. Jared Kushner

To gain his top-secret security clearance, Trump’s son-in-law was required to disclose any encounters with foreign government officials for the past seven years. Kushner did not list at least three such meetings.

Kushner’s attorney said that the omission of dozens of contacts with Russians was nothing more than an error. It’s also a lie.

Kushner’s first meeting that we know of came during that June 9, 2016 meeting with Veselnitskaya, in which he, Trump Jr. and Manafort were told the Kremlin-linked lawyer had damaging information on Clinton.

Another meeting was in December with Ambassador Kislyak and the third was with the leader of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank, which was arranged at Kislyak’s command.

Kushner’s attorney claims that the form was submitted prematurely and that they informed the FBI they would be sending supplemental information. In the absence of that information, Kushner was issued an interim clearance.

After the evidence was revealed that Kushner lied about the meetings, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for Kushner to lose his top-secret clearance until questions can be answered.

6. Paul Manafort

In a July 2016 interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Paul Manafort claimed that there were no ties between him or Trump’s campaign and Putin.

“That’s absurd…there’s no basis to it,” Manafort said.

In another July interview, this time with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Manafort swore that any allegations about links between Putin and Trump, including his own personal role, was “crazy.”

Also around that time, Manafort was asked in a “CBS This Morning” interview if Trump had any financial relationships with Russian oligarchs.

“That’s what he said. That’s what I said, uh, that’s obviously what my position is,” Manafort stammered.

All of that was a lie.

In March, the Associated Press broke a story that Manafort “secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.”

The AP quoted “interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP,” who revealed that Manafort’s secret work for Putin. It “appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests,” the AP said.

7. Carter Page

In a Feb. 2017 interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS NewsHourforeign policy advisor Carter Page said that he had “no meetings” with Russian officials last year.

That was a lie.

Page later told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, “I do not deny” meeting with the ambassador last summer in Ohio at the RNC convention.

“I will say I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland. Let’s just say that much,” he added.

It was then revealed that Page went to Russia with a secret recording of Trump asking Putin to hack 2016 election to be hacked.

While close friend and ally of Roger Stone had communications with those involved in the Russian hack, he didn’t lie about it, in fact, he bragged about it. It is unclear if there are others close to Trump, but the list might expand as the investigations continue.

 

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Treason Most Foul

Yet another meeting by the Chumph Campaign team with Russian spies to get stolen info on Hillary Clinton…

 

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Pro-Trump Websites Colluded With Russian Spies

The circle of people known to have colluded with Putin’s spies keeps widening. Websites tied to the Chumph campaign were also colluding in passing disinformation in the form of “news”.

Image result for pro-trump fake news website

‘What are they hiding?‘: Pro-Trump websites fall under investigation for Russia collusion

Investigators looking into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election are now exploring whether pro-Trump websites coordinated with the Russian government to release fake news aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Guardian reports that investigators are examined the role that fake news websites, many of which were based in eastern Europe, played in depressing Democratic voter turnout by hyping anti-Clinton news stories on social media.

John Mattes, a former reporter who ran online campaign operations for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last year, tells the Guardian that he believes Russian-linked websites specifically targeted Sanders supporters with misinformation about Clinton to make them less likely to support her after the contentious 2016 Democratic primary.

“In a 30-day period, dozens of full-blown sites appeared overnight, running full level productions posts,” he told the Guardian. “It screamed out to me that something strange was going on.”

Mattes estimates that 95% of these new websites went dark shortly after the election, which leads him to believe that they were part of some kind of foreign intelligence operation.

“So my question is: what are they hiding and why did they run as soon as the investigation began?” he asked.

Former FBI counter-terrorism expert Clinton Watts shares Mattes’ observation that many of these websites were so in sync in pushing the same kinds of fake news stories that it would be hard to believe there wasn’t some centralized coordination involved.

“They synchronise so quickly it looks as if they know when a particularly story was going to come out,” Watts told the Guardian. “And they all parrot the Kremlin narrative.”

Image result for pro-trump fake news website

 

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New Report – The Russians Broke Into 39 State Voting Systems

All to make the Chumph win.

I don’t now, and have never bought the conclusion that the vote wasn’t tampered with.

Considering that some of these state systems are “isolated” with no connection to the Internet, and their only common connection to the Federal Voting database – how exactly did these guys get in?

The extensiveness strongly suggests local help.

The “mystery” of how the Chumph “won” gets clearer every day.

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Russian hackers breached voting systems in 39 states: report

A new report reveals that Russian hackers breached voting systems in 39 different states, which means that Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election appears far more widespread that what has been previously disclosed.

According to Bloomberg, Russian “incursions into voter databases and software systems” occurred in “almost twice as many states as previously reported.” Among other things, Bloomberg says that Russian hackers tried to delete or alter voter data in Illinois; successfully accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on election day; and accessed a campaign finance database in at least one state.

The report claims that investigators were most disturbed by failed Russian attempts to alter voter data in Illinois, as they believed that it was a trial run for what could have been a disruptive cyber attack on election day that would have thrown the entire process into mass chaos.

“That idea would obsess the Obama White House throughout the summer and fall of 2016, outweighing worries over the DNC hack and private Democratic campaign emails given to Wikileaks and other outlets, according to one of the people familiar with those conversations,” Bloomberg reports. “The Homeland Security Department dispatched special teams to help states strengthen their cyber defenses, and some states hired private security companies to augment those efforts.”

Read the whole report at this link.

 

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House Intelligence Member – “80,000 Voter Records Hacked in Illinois”

As I said to our resident Trumpazoid… The issue is a bit bigger than “spearphishing”.

House Intel Committee member: Russian hackers may have accessed over 80,000 Illinois voter records

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said Monday that Russian operatives hacked into the State Board of Elections last year to view voter database files, a potential move toward trying to make voters distrust the state and federal election system.

Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also warned of a potential “constitutional crisis” over executive privilege between President Donald Trump and the U.S. Supreme Court as part of multiple investigations into possible collusion between agents of the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign.

Quigley’s declaration of Russian involvement in the hacking of the state elections board marked the first time the country had been definitively identified as behind the attack last year, though it had been widely suspected.

“The Russians hacked into the Illinois State Board of Elections,” Quigley said after a meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

“They got into the database,” he said. “I believe they’re on the doorstep to hacking into our voting systems. That is my educated guess.

“I’m not saying I know they’ll do this, (but) think about what you could do. You could check and say, ‘Oh no, all these people already voted, or these people voted absentee.’ Once you get into that, then there’s all kind of mischief,” Quigley said.

The Democrat, who represents the North Side and north and west suburbs, said the intelligence committee should look at classifying election systems as a “target” that should be hardened and given federal resources.

Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the State Board of Elections, said no voter information had been manipulated by hackers. The identification of 3,000 voters was viewed, and hackers may have viewed up to 80,000 more. Those 80,000 received letters letting them know that their driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security number may have been seen.

Menzel said the state elections board does not tabulate votes, something that occurs in each of the state’s 102 counties and seven special local election boards. Any toughening of tabulation would involve those local election officials. Menzel said that the manipulation Quigley theorized about would have minimal effect on balloting compared with normal human error at local precincts.

“A lot of election administrators would like more resources and more help, but what kind of help is he talking about? What kind of hardening of things? The election administrators would not be happy with a pile of additional unfunded mandates,” Menzel said.

As for the House Intelligence Committee investigation, Quigley said, “I am concerned we will face a constitutional crisis,” adding it was something he was not saying lightly.

 

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