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Member since: Mon Nov 8, 2004, 09:21 PM
Number of posts: 15,627

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Four Commerce Department appointees lose their posts after problems in background checks

Four Commerce Department appointees lose their posts after problems in background checks

Four Commerce Department political appointees working on interim security clearances lost their jobs Tuesday because of problems in their background checks, the latest fallout from the intensifying public scrutiny on administration officials working without permanent clearances.

The department determined that the four appointees — including one who worked for the agency for nearly a year and served for several months as a senior adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — should not be given access to classified information, according to multiple officials who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

... snip

Among the Commerce appointees who lost their jobs Tuesday was Fred Volcansek, who served as a senior adviser to Ross for several months last year. Since last April, he has worked as executive director of SelectUSA, a program that promotes foreign investment in the United States.

Volcansek, who served in the Commerce Department in the George H.W. Bush administration, is a former mayor of Clifton, Tex. He worked as an advance staffer organizing events for Trump’s campaign, according to his LinkedIn page.

More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/four-commerce-department-appointees-lose-their-posts-after-problems-in-background-checks/2018/02/27/f96b2666-1bdb-11e8-9de1-147dd2df3829_story.html?utm_term=.ab74a5a9194a

Robert Mueller himself walked into the room several times to talk to Steve Bannon.

Am told Robert Mueller himself walked into the room several times to talk to Steve Bannon. Not surprising given Bannon's seniority but it's quite rare for Mueller to attend interviews.

This story keeps getting crazier and crazier.

This story keeps getting crazier and crazier. The Russian 'model' who exposed Russian oligarch Deripaska and Deputy prime minister Prihodko on Deripaska's yacht, has now been arrested in Thailand for running a 'sex seminar'

A model named Nastya Rybka says she will spill information on Trump and Russia to get out of a Thai jail

MOSCOW -- A self-described sex expert whose videos highlighted the ties between one of Russia’s richest men and the Kremlin has been jailed in Thailand and is calling for U.S. help, claiming she has information about links between Russia and President Donald Trump.

Anastasia Vashukevich, an escort-service worker from Belarus who catapulted to a certain measure of fame after filming a yacht trip with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, was detained in Thailand over the weekend in a police raid on her “sex training” seminar. While still in custody on Tuesday, she published Instagram videos asking U.S. journalists and intelligence agencies to help her.

Deripaska, with whom Vashukevich said she had an affair, used to employ former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. But Vashukevich, better known by the alias Nastya Rybka, provided no evidence on Tuesday to back up the claim that she had new information to offer related to the investigation into Russian election interference. A post to her Instagram account showed her sitting on the floor of what was described as a Thai jail and said she was sick.

“I am the only witness and the missing link in the connection between Russia and the U.S. elections -- the long chain of Oleg Deripaska, Prikhodko, Manafort, and Trump,” Vashukevich said in a live Instagram video Tuesday, apparently shot as she was driven in an open-air police van through the Thai resort city of Pattaya. “In exchange for help from U.S. intelligence services and a guarantee of my safety, I am prepared to provide the necessary information to America or to Europe or to the country which can buy me out of Thai prison.”

More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/27/in-thai-jail-after-sex-training-a-model-who-rattled-russian-elite-asks-u-s-for-help/?utm_term=.76df75d481e6

Trump so desperate to sell nuclear reactors to Saudis, willing to waive non-proliferation req.

The administration reportedly so desperate to sell nuclear reactors to Saudis they are willing to waive non-proliferation requirements banning enrichment that could produce weapons....raises big policy questions

The White House has asked Rick Perry to cancel his trip to India and instead go to London to work out a deal with Saudi Arabia to build nuclear reactors in the kingdom, sources tell @AriNatter and me.

Edited to say, see post 2. This is what Mike Flynn was texting about during the Inauguration.

Article here: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/06/michael-flynn-texted-nuclear-plans-whistleblower-282070

Tomorrow: Hope Hicks set to appear before House Intel Committee after month-long delay

Hope Hicks set to appear before House Intel Committee after month-long delay

One of President Trump's closest political aides is slated to appear before the House Intelligence Committee to testify behind closed doors in its ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, multiple sources say. White House communications director Hope Hicks was supposed to appear before the committee in January, but her interview was abruptly postponed while counsel for the White House and committee sorted out the scope of her testimony.

Hicks' uniquely close and longstanding relationship with President Trump makes her an essential witness to many key moments in the Trump campaign, the transition period, and the presidency. Before she joined his campaign in 2015, Hicks handled public relations for Ivanka Trump at the Trump Organization.

The committee will want to question Hicks about any and all contact Trump campaign members might have had with Russian intermediaries. However, one of the most charged issues likely to be addressed is Hicks' knowledge of the White House's initial statement, drafted aboard Air Force One, in response to press reports of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and Trump campaign officials. Committee members will presumably want to probe what role the president himself had in the process – which is also an area said to be of special interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Hicks' own role in responding to reports of the meeting may also be scrutinized. According to a report in the New York Times, a former spokesman for President Trump's legal team, Mark Corallo, planned to tell Mueller's team that Hicks said on a conference call that emails written by the President's son, Donald Trump, Jr., about the Trump Tower meeting, "will never get out."

More: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hope-hicks-is-to-appear-before-house-intel-committee-after-month-long-delay/

Report: Russia Laundered Millions via Danske Bank Estonia (Actually Billions of dollars)

Report: Russia Laundered Millions via Danske Bank Estonia

The Estonian branch of Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest bank, closed the accounts of several companies in 2013 after realizing they had been used by a member of Vladimir Putin’s family and Russia’s intelligence service, FSB, to launder huge amounts of money, according to a leaked report.

A whistleblower had informed the bank’s Executive Board that the anti-money laundering procedures at its Estonia branch had completely failed and that the bank may “have committed a criminal offence” by aiding a company that had made several suspicious transactions and whose actual owners “included the Putin family and FSB.”

Danske Bank Estonia is already implicated in other money-laundering schemes, involving billions of dollars from Azerbaijan flowing through the branch, some of which ended up in the pockets of European politicians who praised the Baku regime, a chronic human rights abuser.

Another investigation - the Russian Laundromat - revealed that US $20–80 billion was moved out of Russia through a network of global banks, including Danske.

More: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/7698-report-russia-laundered-billions-via-danske-bank-estonia

Let me explain how Paul Manafort's TrumpRussia indictments are rolling rapidly from election infere

*** THREAD *** Let me explain how Paul Manafort's #TrumpRussia indictments are rolling rapidly from election inference into a replay of the Jack Abramoff scandal, but on STEROIDS, involving the secretive sale of American foreign policy for dark money.


Well worth the time and click to read this thread.

NBC News: The unnamed Congressman in the Gates information is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

NBC News: The unnamed Congressman in the Gates information is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher @TracyConnor reports. More here:

Feb 23 2018, 5:10 pm ET
Mueller probe: Manafort hit with new charges after Gates pleads guilty

... snip

In addition, Gates admits that even while he was negotiating a deal with Mueller, he lied about a March 19, 2013, meeting attended by Manafort, a lobbyist, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. He told investigators that Ukraine had not been discussed when he knew it was.

Rohrabacher's press secretary said the meeting was a dinner with longtime acquaintances. "The three reminisced and talked mostly about politics. The subject of Ukraine came up in passing," the press secretary, Ken Grubbs, said.

"It is no secret that Manafort represented [former Ukraine president] Viktor Yanukovych’s interests, but as chairman of the relevant European subcommittee, the congressman has listened to all points of view on Ukraine. We may only speculate that Manafort needed to report back to his client that Ukraine was discussed."

More: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/former-trump-campaign-aide-rick-gates-set-plead-guilty-n849256

Put a fork in Rohrabacher...

Note: Please see the document below in posts 2 & 8.

Mueller at work

Trump-appointed judge who donated to campaign refuses to recuse himself from dossier matter

Trump-appointed judge who donated to campaign refuses to recuse himself from dossier matter

A Trump-appointed federal judge who donated to the Trump campaign and worked on his presidential transition team has rejected requests to recuse himself from overseeing a legal battle involving Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned the so-called “dossier” of unverified intelligence that contains claims about Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, who sits on the bench in Washington, D.C., made two donations to Trump’s presidential campaign totaling $1000 in October 2016 – both coming within three weeks of Election Day, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

“Fusion’s argument that I should look beyond the traditional grounds of disqualification to consider President Trump’s alleged political interests proves too much,” McFadden wrote in an opinion. “Such an argument would lead to the disqualification of numerous judges appointed by the sitting president on a wide range of cases.”

Attorneys for Fusion GPS were not immediately available for comment to ABC News about McFadden’s decision.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-appointed-judge-donated-campaign-refuses-recuse-dossier/story?id=53273577

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