Representative Nunes has got some splaining to do!

As seen on Crooks & Liars on 3/27/17: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/03/representative-nunes-has-got-some

The Daily Sabah, a Turkish daily newspaper, is reporting that disgraced former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn met with the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu on January 18th of this year. The breakfast meeting was held at Trump’s new Washington D.C. hotel. Cavusoglu even attended the inauguration just a few days later.

That’s all very interesting but, the real news is that the Daily Sabah is also reporting that a certain someone who is currently leading a congressional investigation into to the Trump administration was present as well – Representative Devin Nunes! The article gives no further information on why Nunes was there or what he may have said or done.

As yet we don’t know if this has anything to do with Nunes’ escapades this past week, but it’s raising some eyebrows for sure. As a member of the Trump transition team, it’s conceivable that he may have information on the campaign’s contacts with Russian agents or government officials. It’s even plausible that he may be one of the Trump advisers that was caught by the FBI in their surveillance of foreign officials.

Flynn wasn’t always so enamored with the Turkish dictator

As late as July of 2016, he could be heard criticizing Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, for turning our long time ally from a secular nation to a more Islamic one. Proof of this, according to the conspiracy loving Flynn, was that Erdogan had become “very close to Obama.”

Not that Flynn cared , but this was not true. Especially when it was Obama who cut off Erdogan’s cash cow, Iran. In 2013, the U.S. closed a loophole in the sanctions against Iran. This loophole had allowed Erdogan to trade gold for oil and gas with Iran. Contrary to Flynn’s propaganda, Obama was not considered a friend

Additionally, the Turkish president, his sons and his political allies were accused of profiting illegally from these trades. Erdogan responded by purging the police and judicial system. He fired thousands of police officers and reassigned judges and prosecutors who were involved in the investigations into his corruption. His main accuser was Muhammed Fethuallah Gulen, a well known Turkish iman and writer. Erdogan labeled Gulen a terrorist and demanded his arrest, forcing him to then flee to the U.S. Erdogan repeatedly requested the Obama administration return Gulen to Turkey, but Obama refused stating that it was a decision left up to the courts.

Flynn praises Erdogan

Flynn quickly changed his tune on president Erdogan in August 2016. Documents filed with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) show that Flynn was hired and paid $530,000 to obtain intelligence on Erdogan’s mortal enemy, Gulen. The contract extended from August 15, 2016 to November 16, 2016. Technically, as reported by the Daily Caller, he was not hired by the Turkish government. Instead Flynn was hired by the Inovo BV company which is owned by Ekim Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council.

The fact that Flynn had an inside track to government officials and agencies was paramount to his hiring as can be seen in the FARA documents that stated the Flynn Intel Group was chosen because it was “…led by senior defense, diplomacy, development and intelligence professionals.”

FARA documents further indicated that:

“In early September 2016, Flynn Intel Group was invited by Mr. Alptekin to meet with a group of government officials from Turkey for the purpose of understanding better the political climate in Turkey at the time, as background for the project. Officials of Turkey attending the meeting on September 19, 2016 in New York were the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mevlut Covusoglu – the same who attended the meeting in D.C.) and the Minister of Energy (Berat Albayrak – Erdogan’s son-in-law).”

We now know this meeting was also attended by former Director of the CIA, Woolsey who was acting as an advisor for the Flynn Intel Group. According to the Wall Street Journal this last week, Woolsey stated that the topic of conversation was how to get around the U.S. extradition laws and return Gulen to Turkey. It is not known what exactly they were planning, but “getting around extradition laws” makes one think they were investigating how they might kidnap Gulen.

Flynn planted propaganda in op-ed article

On Election Day, November 8, 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed on the subject for The Hill. It is important to recall that at this time, no one knew he was under contract with Inovo BV. In this article, he argued for the U.S. to have better relations with Turkey and claimed that they were our “strongest ally against ISIS.” Whereas just four months prior he’d been claiming Erdogan and Obama were buddies, now he claimed Obama was being disrespectful to him by keeping Turkey at “arms length.”

Flynn’s op-ed continued into a nonsensical rant on how Gulen was a terrorist akin to the Muslim Brotherhood. He offered no evidence of his claims and referred to him as a “shady character.” He even went to far as to compare Gulen to Osama bin Laden stating, “From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden.”

The Hill has since added an editor’s note to the article stating that Inovo BV reviewed the article before it was submitted to them. They further stated that Flynn never revealed he was under contract with Inovo BV.

It is absurd that Nunes is allowed to be on the investigative committee that is looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia when he was a member of the Trump transition team. We know what Flynn was doing at these meetings.

The question that remains: What was Devin Nunes doing there?

 

Democrats Must Proclaim Trump Presidency Illegitimate

Spy Museum, future home of Trump Campaign.

As seen on Crooks & Liars on 3/23/17: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/03/democrats-must-proclaim-trump-presidency

Now that Comey has finally come clean and admitted that Trump was and still is under FBI investigation for colluding with Russia during the election, it’s time for Democrats to start obstructing. There’s no reason to debate or even vote. Anything and everything coming from this administration is spurious at best and downright treasonous at worst.

Playing by their rules:

Democrats would only be following Republican rules should they do so. Trump, Cruz, Rubio…they all sang the chorus of how Hillary could not run for president if she was under FBI investigation for her private email server fiasco. She would be illegitimate they said. They would obstruct her in every way possible claiming the moral high ground. Chaffetz even claimed to have two years worth of investigations should she win. That alone is cause enough for Chaffetz to be investigated himself; there either is a crime or there isn’t. You don’t get to choose to investigate should someone from the other side of the aisle win.

Then there’s the whole Supreme Court nominee threat. Republicans actually threatened to never allow a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee even reach the senate floor. Without even mentioning a nominee’s name, Republicans declared that SCOTUS could function with eight members. Ted Cruz stated there was no law dictating that there had to be nine members.

I don’t like playing their game. I don’t believe in tit for tat, and I firmly believe the obstruction of Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland, was unconscionable. That being said, this is not the same.

Trump investigation is not the same as Clinton’s:

Hillary Clinton was cleared by Director Comey before the election. Regardless of Chaffetz’ and Gowdy’s desires to hold endless hearings, she was cleared. Trump and his campaign are being investigated for colluding with Russia. To be polite, Russia is considered an adversary to the U.S. We know for a fact that Russia hacked the DNC and RNC. Apparently, now they’ve even hacked the CIA, if we are to believe WikiLeaks. We also know for a fact that many members of his campaign had and continue to have Russian ties, and we know that the FBI, CIA and NSA are investigating these crimes.

This means that anything coming from Trump and his administration are illegitimate until cleared. It’s not as if he became president and then colluded with them. His campaign did so in order to gain the upper hand and win the presidency. To be clear, the investigation is considering whether or not the Russian government assisted the Trump campaign in winning the presidency. That is treason! Should this be true, we cannot simply get rid of Trump and let Pence take over. The entire election would be invalid.

What to do:

Therefore, until this investigation is concluded, Democrats must not work with Republicans on any bills, referendums, nominees…on anything.

If the Trump campaign is guilty, how do we know that his cabinet appointees are not colluding with Russia? Rex Tillerson and Michael Flynn come immediately to mind when considering this. How do we know that Trump is not signing executive orders that were actually written with the Russian government’s wishes in mind? After all, Trump is not even aware of what they say or do. The executive order placing Steve Bannon as head of national security is a great example of this. Trump is currently dismantling our systems of government. Does this not sound like an objective that would benefit the Russians? How do we know that any bills being brought forward by the Republican Party members are not influenced by Russian interests? Paul Ryan did say that Trump helped them write their Trumpcare bill. They keep saying that Trump’s Russian collusion is fine by them, and that they are more interested in investigating the media and who leaked the Russian ties than who actually committed the treason.

How do we know if Trump’s SCOTUS nominee is not a pro-Russian nominee? We don’t! 

This is why Democrats must do everything they can to stop this administration. They need to filibuster Gorsuch; no negotiations. I realize the Republicans will likely just change the rules and kill filibustering. This will leave the Democrats fighting future battles that would only require a simple majority vote, but Republicans will do that no matter what Democrats use the filibuster for. If they are saving it for Trumpcare, that is a mistake. The SCOTUS seat will have the most enduring affect on our democracy. Healthcare will not.

No Democrat should vote for any nominee or legislation until this investigation is complete. There can be no middle ground, no wiggle room in this. At each and every vote, Democrats must go on record as a “No because this administration is under investigation for colluding with Russia.” 

While Comey Hearing Zapped Roger Stone, Don’t Forget Giuliani

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Rudy Giuliani

As published on Crooks & Liars on 3/20/2017.

 

This morning’s hearings with James Comey should give Roger Stone lots of worries. But let’s not forget about Rudy Giuliani, Trump Campaign adviser and now cybersecurity liaison for the Trump Administration. (Really.) Rudy has his own history with the Russians and Ukrainians. Yet compared to the numerous other Trump campaign and administration officials, Giuliani has received little attention. At most, he was mentioned briefly when rumors were swirling that he might be Trump’s pick for secretary of state. Since that appointment fizzled, Giuliani seems to have slipped under the Russian-probe radar.

To date, no evidence has surfaced tying Giuliani to the hacking of the 2016 election by the Russians. What does exist are nearly ten years worth of Giuliani’s law firms representing Russian and Ukrainian clients. One firm even maintained two offices in Kazakhstan, a former member of the U.S.S.R. In the U.S., he partnered with a firm that represented Russian and Ukrainian clients in a real estate venture. And in a strange twist of fate, Giuliani represented a Ukrainian politician that opposed another of Trump’s adviser’s client, Paul Manafort’s Victor Yanukovych.

Giuliani Partners LLC was established in 2002 as a management and security consulting firm. In 2008, they started to focus on oil and gas by partnering with Triglobal Strategic Ventures. In 2005, Giuliani joined Bracewell Giuliani, LLP of Houston, TX and worked at both firms. Bracewell opened offices in Kazakhstan in 1997 to meet their oil and gas clients’ demands, well before Giuliani became a partner in the firm. They represented many of the major American oil companies, and  Bracewell Giuliani eventually played a pivotal role in Kazakhstan’s economic growth by developing their stock exchange and banking system. Giuliani left Bracewell Giuliani in 2016.

Triglobal Strategic Ventures (TGSV)

Founded in 2003, TGSV is an international venture capital firm specializing in business consulting for firms in Russia and the Ukraine. Their offices are located in Moscow, Kiev, Zurich, London and New York City. Their Russian client list includes TransNeft, an oil transport company that maintains the  largest oil pipeline in the world, Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK), RosBusinessConsulting and private investor Sistenna. Adrey Dobyshev, a TGSV partner is listed as a board member of MMK. Additional clients include KAZ Energy, a Kazakhstan oil company that partners with foreign oil companies to include secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s Exxon Mobil, and SCM Holdings, a Ukrainian diversified business dealing in metals, mining, energy, fiance, media, real estate and anything else they can make money on.

According to TGSV’s website, the New York City office president Vitaly Pruss stated that,

“From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Pruss worked closely with Giuliani Partners, LLC-international consulting company of former NY Mayor.” 

In 2008, Giuliani Partners teamed up with TGSV managing partner, Jeffrey Berman, through his company Berman Enterprises to create Berman Enterprises Opportunity Fund. This fund assisted wealthy foreign clients in investing in American real estate, specifically in New York City and Miami, FL.

Giuliani meetings with Russian and Ukrainian clients

According to the TGSV website, Giuliani was present at the following venues:

  • 2004 – Giuliani met with Yuri Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow and Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister. Reportedly other Russian businessmen and politicians were present.
  • 2004 – visited Magnitogorsk, Russia and the MMK Iron and Steel plant represented by TGSV. There he met with MMK board chairman, Victor Rashnikov and other executives.
  • 2005 – executives of MMK visited New York and D.C. meeting with Giuliani and former president Bill Clinton. For photos click here.
  • 2006 – Giuliani attended the 10th annual International Russian Economic Forum hosted by Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Lenexpo Exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia from July 13th to the 15th.
  • 2008 – visited Kiev, Ukraine to support Vitali Klitschko for mayor of Kiev. Giuliani visited the National Technical University Kiev Polytechnic Institute. For photos click here.
  • 2008 – Klitschko visited New York City and held a press conference with Giuliani at the television studios of NASDAQ. For photos click here and here.
  • 2015 – Giuliani met with Klitschko again in New York City. Klitschko was then mayor of Kiev and leader of the UDAR Party in Ukraine. The meeting took place at Bracewell Giuliani, LLP (another law firm). Reportedly, they “discussed the economic situation in Ukraine and Kiev in particular, focusing on anti-corruption measures.” For photos click here.

Vitali Klitschko

Klitschko is currently mayor of Kiev, Ukraine. He is also the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance Reform Party (UDAR).  He led protests against Paul Manafort’s client, Victor

By European People’s Party – EPP Dublin Congress, 2014

Yanukovych and called for an end to his criminal reign. Klitschko is even in favor of Ukraine joining the European Union. He hired Giuliani to assist in reforming Ukraine’s corrupt political and business environment. Giuliani stated,

“My team and I will be advising Vital Klitschko and hist team on how to turn Kiev around by reforming government. He understands that reform and transparency are critical to attracting international business and sustainable economic development for his city.”

On the surface, none of these business relations appear to involve any criminal actions. However, with the amount of Trump campaign and administrative officials having suspicious ties to Russians and Ukrainians and the Russian hacking with the intent to get Trump elected, we should better scrutinize Giuliani’s contacts as well. One of many searing questions is, did the 2008 Giuliani Partner’s merger with Berman Enterprises to assist wealthy foreign clients in buying real estate in New York City and Miami facilitated any Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs in buying Trump real estate?

 

Giuliani’s heavy-handed and racist law enforcement policies, his ties to the New York FBI offices (source of much anti-Clinton sentiment in the Bureau), and his links with ex-con Bernie Kurik prove Rudy was never a proponent of transparent and ethical government.

Giuliani and Trump are made for each other. The media should keep their eyes on the former mayor and follow the money, as it’s not clear the FBI, certainly in New York City, will.