The Spin Doctors Have Their Work Cutout!

I expect POTUS’s poll numbers are in for a large drop, I doubt the spin doctors can fix this debacle.

Question by Jonathan Lemire from the AP, following the Helsinki summit.

A question for each president; President Trump, you first.

Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did.

What — who — my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?

My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?  [cite: Time]

President Trump’s response, emphasis mine.

TRUMP: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server — haven’t they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?

I’ve been wondering that, I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia.

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server.

But I have — I have confidence in both parties. I — I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails.

TRUMP: So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. OK?

Thank you.  op. cit.

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Mueller’s GRU Indictment Annotated Timeline

On July 13, 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team filed a criminal indictment naming: Viktor Borisovich Netyksho Boris Alekseyevich Antonov Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov Artem Andreyevich Malyshev Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev as defendants. The statutes invoked: 18 … Continue reading “Mueller’s GRU Indictment Timeline”

On July 13, 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team filed a criminal indictment naming:

Viktor Borisovich Netyksho
Boris Alekseyevich Antonov
Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin
Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov
Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev
Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev
Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek
Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov
Artem Andreyevich Malyshev
Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk
Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin
Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev

as defendants.

The statutes invoked:

18 U.S.C § 2 –  Aiding and Abetting
18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States
18 U.S. Code § 1030 – Fraud and related activity in connection with computers
18 U.S. Code § 1028A – Aggravated identity theft
18 U18 U.S. Code § 3551 – Authorized sentences.S. Code § 1956 – Laundering of monetary instruments

Legend – Red text is background from source other than the indictment.
                 Black text is from indictment.

September 2015

When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.  [NY Times]

TameneMemo
An internal memo by Yared Tamene, a tech-support contractor at the D.N.C., expressed uncertainty about the identity of Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the F.B.I., who called to inform him of the breach.

 

October 2015

Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.  op. cit.

November 2015

In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”

Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.

The criminal acts started in March 2016.

March 10, 2016

It was just before noon in Moscow on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious messages hit the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The first 29 phishing emails were almost all misfires. Addressed to people who worked for Clinton during her first presidential run, the messages bounced back untouched.

Within nine days, some of the campaign’s most consequential secrets would be in the hackers’ hands, part of a massive operation aimed at vacuuming up millions of messages from thousands of inboxes across the world.

The rogue [spear-phishing] messages that first flew across the internet March 10 were dressed up to look like they came from Google, the company that provided the Clinton campaign’s email infrastructure. The messages urged users to boost their security or change their passwords while in fact steering them toward decoy websites designed to collect their credentials.

One of the first people targeted was Rahul Sreenivasan, who had worked as a Clinton organizer in Texas in 2008 — his first paid job in politics. Sreenivasan, now a legislative staffer in Austin, was dumbfounded when told by the AP that hackers had tried to break into his 2008 email — an address he said had been dead for nearly a decade.

“They probably crawled the internet for this stuff,” he said.

Almost everyone else targeted in the initial wave was, like Sreenivasan, a 2008 staffer whose defunct email address had somehow lingered online. 

Almost everyone else targeted in the initial wave was, like Sreenivasan, a 2008 staffer whose defunct email address had somehow lingered online.

But one email made its way to the account of another staffer who’d worked for Clinton in 2008 and joined again in 2016, the AP found. It’s possible the hackers broke in and stole her contacts; the data shows the phishing links sent to her were clicked several times.

[AP Inside story: How Russians hacked the Democrats’ emails, Nov. 4, 2017 citation (1)] 

March 11, 2016

Within hours of a second volley emailed March 11, the hackers hit pay dirt. All of a sudden, they were sending links aimed at senior Clinton officials’ nonpublic 2016 addresses, including those belonging to longtime Clinton aide Robert Russo and campaign chairman John Podesta.

The Clinton campaign was no easy target; several former employees said the organization put particular stress on digital safety.

Work emails were protected by two-factor authentication, a technique that uses a second passcode to keep accounts secure. Most messages were deleted after 30 days and staff went through phishing drills. Security awareness even followed the campaigners into the bathroom, where someone put a picture of a toothbrush under the words: “You shouldn’t share your passwords either.”

Two-factor authentication may have slowed the hackers, but it didn’t stop them. After repeated attempts to break into various staffers’ hillaryclinton.com accounts, the hackers turned to the personal Gmail addresses. It was there on March 19 that they targeted top Clinton lieutenants — including campaign manager Robby Mook, senior adviser Jake Sullivan and political fixer Philippe Reines. op. cit (1).

March 19, 2016

A malicious link was generated for Podesta at 11:28 a.m. Moscow time, the AP found. Documents subsequently published by WikiLeaks show that the rogue email arrived in his inbox six minutes later. The link was clicked twice. op. cit. (1)

Spear-phishing attack on John Podesta gmail account, which resulted in ex-filtration of over 50,000 emails.

March 22, 2016

A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.

14hack-phishing-email-screenshot-articleLarge
A screenshot of the phishing email that Billy Rinehart clicked on, unknowingly giving Russian hackers access to his account. The New York Times has redacted Mr. Rinehart’s email address.

“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”

Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password. 

The F.B.I. observed this surge of activity as well, again reaching out to Mr. Tamene to warn him. Yet Mr. Tamene still saw no reason to be alarmed: He found copies of the phishing emails in the D.N.C.’s spam filter. But he had no reason, he said, to believe that the computer systems had been infiltrated.  [NYTimes]

March 25, 2016

On or about March 25, 2016, LUKASHEV used the same john356gh
account to mask additional links included in spearphishing emails sent to numerous
individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign, including Victims 1 and 2.
LUKASHEV sent these emails from the Russia-based email account
hi.mymail@yandex.com that he spoofed to appear to be from Google.

March 28, 2016

On or about March 28, 2016, YERMAKOV researched the names of Victims 1 and
2 and their association with Clinton on various social media sites. Through their
spearphishing operations, LUKASHEV, YERMAKOV, and their co-conspirators
successfully stole email credentials and thousands of emails from numerous
individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign. Many of these stolen emails,
including those from Victims 1 and 2, were later released by the Conspirators
through DCLeaks.

Early April

By early April Fancy Bear was getting increasingly aggressive, the AP found. More than 60 bogus emails were prepared for Clinton campaign and DNC staffers on April 6 alone, and the hackers began hunting for Democrats beyond New York and Washington, targeting the digital communications director for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and a deputy director in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  

The group’s hackers seemed particularly interested in Democratic officials working on voter registration issues: Pratt Wiley, the DNC’s then-director of voter protection, had been targeted as far back as October 2015 and the hackers tried to pry open his inbox as many as 15 times over six months.

Employees at several organizations connected to the Democrats were targeted, including the Clinton Foundation, the Center for American Progress, technology provider NGP VAN, campaign strategy firm 270 Strategies, and partisan news outlet Shareblue Media.  op. cit. (1)

Sometime in early April the DNC hired CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm.

Between in or around April 2016 and June 2016, the Conspirators installed multiple
versions of their X-Agent malware on at least ten DCCC computers, which allowed
them to monitor individual employees’ computer activity, steal passwords, and
maintain access to the DCCC network.

April 6, 2016

On or about April 6, 2016, the Conspirators created an email account in the name
(with a one-letter deviation from the actual spelling) of a known member of the
Clinton Campaign. The Conspirators then used that account to send spearphishing
emails to the work accounts of more than thirty different Clinton Campaign
employees. In the spearphishing emails, LUKASHEV and his co-conspirators
embedded a link purporting to direct the recipient to a document titled “hillaryclinton-favorable-rating.xlsx.”
In fact, this link directed the recipients’ computers to a GRU-created website.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Employee 1 had received a spearphishing email from the Conspirators on or about April 6, 2016, and entered her password after clicking on the link.

April 12, 2016

On or about April 12, 2016, the Conspirators used the stolen credentials of a DCCC
Employee (“DCCC Employee 1”) to access the DCCC network. DCCC
Employee 1 had received a spearphishing email from the Conspirators on or about
April 6, 2016, and entered her password after clicking on the link.

April 18, 2016

On or about April 18, 2016, the Conspirators hacked into the DNC’s computers through their access to the DCCC network. The Conspirators then installed and managed different types of malware (as they did in the DCCC network) to explore the DNC network and steal documents.

a. On or about April 18, 2016, the Conspirators activated X-Agent’s keylog and
screenshot functions to steal credentials of a DCCC employee who was authorized
to access the DNC network. The Conspirators hacked into the DNC network from
the DCCC network using stolen credentials. By in or around June 2016, they
gained access to approximately thirty-three DNC computers.

b. In or around April 2016, the Conspirators installed X-Agent malware on the DNC network, including the same versions installed on the DCCC network.
MALYSHEV and his co-conspirators monitored the X-Agent malware from the
AMS panel and captured data from the victim computers. The AMS panel collected thousands of keylog and screenshot results from the DCCC and DNC computers, such as a screenshot and keystroke capture of DCCC Employee 2 viewing the DCCC’s online banking information.

April 19, 2016

Conspirators set up a proxy server to mask the link from the X-agent malware and there server in Arizona, code named AMS panel.

April 26, 2016

George Papadopoulos said that it was at an April 26 meeting at a London hotel that he was told by a professor [Joseph Mifsud], closely connected to the Russian government that the Kremlin had obtained compromising information about Clinton.

“They have dirt on her,” Papadopoulos said he was told. “They have thousands of emails.”

April 29, 2016

The day before the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April, Ms. Dacey, the D.N.C.’s chief executive, was preparing for a night of parties when she got an urgent phone call.

With the new monitoring system in place, Mr. Tamene had examined administrative logs of the D.N.C.’s computer system and found something very suspicious: An unauthorized person, with administrator-level security status, had gained access to the D.N.C.’s computers.

“Not sure it is related to what the F.B.I. has been noticing,” said one internal D.N.C. email sent on April 29. “The D.N.C. may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft, etc.”

June 10, 2016

It was 4 p.m. on Friday June 10 when some 100 staffers filed into the Democratic National Committee’s main conference room for a mandatory, all-hands meeting.

“What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room,” DNC chief operating officer Lindsey Reynolds told the assembled crowd, according to two people there at the time.

Everyone needed to turn in their laptops immediately; there would be no last-minute emails; no downloading documents and no exceptions. Reynolds insisted on total secrecy.

“Don’t even talk to your dog about it,” she was quoted as saying.

June 10, 2016

CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm finishes malware removal. op. cit. (1)

June 14, 2016

DNC announced they had been hacked.

June 15, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 announced he had hacked DNC and released a few ‘confidential’ documents to The Smoking Gun, including donor list, memo and Trump oppo research.

July 27, 2016

Donald Trump jokingly said ““Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.”  Referring to the 30,000 non-work emails deleted from HRC personal email server.  [Talking Points Debunked

For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a thirdparty
provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also
targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

October 7, 2016

The day began badly, with Hillary Clinton’s phone buzzing with crank messages after its number was exposed in a leak from the day before. The number had to be changed immediately; a former campaign official said that Abedin, Clinton’s confidante, had to call staffers one at a time with Clinton’s new contact information because no one dared put it in an email.

The same afternoon, just as the American electorate was digesting a lewd audio tape of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, WikiLeaks began publishing the emails stolen from Podesta.

The publications sparked a media stampede as they were doled out one batch at a time, with many news organizations tasking reporters with scrolling through the thousands of emails being released in tranches. At the AP alone, as many as 30 journalists were assigned, at various times, to go through the material.

Guccifer 2.0 told one reporter he was thrilled that WikiLeaks had finally followed through.

“Together with Assange we’ll make america great again,” he wrote.  op. cit. (1)

Talking Points Debunked – Trump asked Russia to hack HRC email and the next day phishing operation began.

This is a Democratic talking point following the latest Mueller indictment of twelve Russian GRU officers.

An example, from a CNN report:

But in the shocking new 29-page indictment filed by the US Department of Justice against 12 Russian intelligence operatives for meddling in the 2016 election, there is one passage that brings to mind a moment when Trump publicly asked the Russians to do something — and privately, they turned around and did exactly what he’d requested.

The indictment does not explicitly mention Trump asking for anything, but it does say this starting on page 7:

22. The Conspirators spearfished individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign throughout the summer of 2016. For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearfish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

How do we get from this passage to a direct plea from Trump? You don’t have to go far. On July 27, 2016, Trump gave a news conference in Florida. At that news conference, he asked Russia to find Clinton emails.

The problem is Trump jokingly said on the 27th of July 2016:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.”

The 30,000 emails he was referencing were the ”non-work related’ email that she had deleted from her personal server.  They were deleted in March of 2015.  Hillary told her server’s hosting service, Platte River Networks, to delete them in late 2014.

A computer specialist, Paul Combetta of Platte River Networks, was granted immunity for testimony and told the FBI that he had an “Oh Shit” moment in late March 2015, realized he’d never erased the personal message archive, and deleted it at that time even though he was supposed to have done it much earlier.  [Politico]

You therefore can’t tie his July 2016 comment asking Russia to ‘find’ the deleted emails with a spear-phishing attack the following day on the email accounts of the Clinton campaign, at a domain hosted by a third-party provider.

Elijah Cumming’s Praise of Mueller’s Results Examined.

Elijah, first, General Flynn was doing nothing illegal in his post election conversation with the Russian Ambassador.

“In his opening remarks at today’s (7/12/18) joint hearing of the  House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

His remarks and my response to his remarks.

Here are the individuals who are — already admitted their guilt. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security advisor, he pleaded guilty to lying about his secret communications with the Russians, making false statements to the FBI, and impeding the investigation while he worked at the White House last year.”

From Gen. Flynn’s indictment:

False Statements Regarding FLYNN’s Request to the Russian Ambassador that Russia Refrain from Escalating the Situation in Response to U.S. Sanctions  against Russia

3. On or about January 24, 2017, FLYNN agreed to be interviewed by agents from
the FBI (“January 24 voluntary interview”). During the interview, FLYNN falsely stated that he did not ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia. FLYNN also falsely stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those
sanctions as a result of FLYNN’s request.  [Old Curmudgeon – How is it possible, short of a lie detector test to know someone FALSELY ‘did not remember’?]

Elijah, first, General Flynn was doing nothing illegal in his post election conversation with the Russian Ambassador.  The FBI/Mueller investigation was, at least initially, into the Russian Influence in the run up to the election and links or co-ordination of Russian Influence by the Trump Team .

Second, the secret communications, to the best of my knowledge, were telephone calls made on unsecured lines, vice any surreptitious means, most likely from the transition team headquarters located in the Trump Tower.  The following are elements of the indictment.

Re: the December 28th, from the Russian Ambassador (indictment 3-b.)  Gen. Flynn should have known that the call was subject to intercept by the National Security Agency on behalf of the intelligence community.  

Ditto, for the December 29th call to the Russian Ambassador (op. cit.  3-d).  It was hardly a secret communication since Mr. Flynn was directed to make the call by a ‘senior official’ of the transition team and after the call Mr. Flynn briefed the senior official about the call.  

Ditto, for the December 31st call from the Russian Ambassador (op. cit. 3-g).  As before Mr. Flynn briefed transition team officials after the call.  Likewise, the specificity of the indictment leads one to believe that the call was monitored. 

It should be noted that the FBI 302’s have not been made public, but there is reportedly evidence indicating the Peter Strzok’s 302 for the interview was edited by Andrew McCabe.  

There is also reported testimony by Andres McCabe and Jim Comey that the interviewing FBI agents did not believe Mr. Flynn was lying in their testimony before Congress. 

“Let me underscore: These are not allegations, these are admissions. President Trump’s National Security Advisor admitted that he committed these crimes, and he is now cooperating with the special counsel.

Rick Gates, President Trump’s Deputy Campaign Chairman. He pleaded…

[off the record comments/discussion]

CUMMINGS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me underscore, these are not allegations, these are admissions. President’s top — Trump’s top national security advisor admitted and he committed these crimes and he is now cooperating with the special counsel.

Rick Gates, President Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, he pleaded guilty to, quote, “conspiracy against the United States of America,” end of quote. To intentionally engaging in a variety of criminal schemes and to lying to the special counsel and the FBI last year and even this year. He admitted to committing those crimes. He is also cooperating with the special counsel.”

Elijah, as you are well aware, all of the crimes in the indictment are related to financial crimes resulting from business transaction of Paul Manafort, before the 2016 Presidential campaign.

“George Papadopoulos, President Trump’s Foreign Policy Advisor. He pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in 2017 about when he first learned that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Also now cooperating with the special counsel.”

Elijah, as I am sure you know, George was one of  five named by President Trump’s as his Foreign Policy Advisors, and based on Congressional testimony he has NEVER spoken with the President.

The first count of George Papadopoulos’s indictment is that he lied to the FBI in an interview on January 27, 2017 about whether he met an ‘overseas professor’ before or after he joined the Trump campaign in, as the FBI stated, ‘early March of 2016’.  The FBI claimed the meeting took place on March 14, 2016.  The FBI claim that the discussion of ‘dirt on Hillary’ took place in April.

George’s description of the ‘overseas professor’ was “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.”

Likewise he was in error as to when he met a ‘female Russian national’.

I will concede that this was possibly an attempt by foreign national to approach the campaign, whether they were FBI confidential informants is still up in air.  But the bottom line is they were rebuffed. 

“Richard Pinedo, Digital Marketing Strategist. Pleaded guilty to identity fraud and trafficking in hundreds of stolen bank account numbers over the internet, which were bought by Russians to interfere with the 2016 election.”

Elijah, as you know Richard Pinedo was indicted along with thirteen Russians for his part in the Russian Facebook campaign.  Neither Pinedo nor any of the Russians have been linked to President Trump, by Mueller or any others.

“And Alex van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of a Russian oligarch, pleaded guilty to lying to special counsel and the FBI in November about his work with President Trump’s Campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for foreign nationals aligned with Russia.”

Elijah, like Gates and Manafort all of Alex van der Zwaan’s activities took place in 2012.  You should also know that Zwaan’s offenses were so egregious that he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $20,000. 

“Of course this does not include Mr. Manafort himself, who is scheduled to begin his criminal trial later this summer. He is sitting in solitary confinement after allegedly engaging in witness tampering.”

Elijah, like Gates all charged offenses occurred before the campaign, and don’t we as a society have an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ credo?

“This also does not include Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime lawyer. At this moment, he may be considering whether to cooperate with special counsel.”

Elijah, I am sure you know that Michael Cohen, legal problems have nothing to do with Russian interference his case was referred to US Attorney in New York by Mr. Mueller.

Summary

Elijah, of the five indictments you cited it appears that four were outside the scope of Mueller’s investigation as laid out in ORDER NO. 3915-2017, to wit:

The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Corney in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

The Manafort financial crimes were added in the August 2, 2017 Rod J. Rosenstein memo along with other redacted scope.

Andrew C. McCarthy does a great job of reviewing the memo and raises these questions:

  • Does the Steele dossier form any part of the government’s basis for Rosenstein’s allegation that Manafort was complicit in Russia’s interference in the election?
  • If not, what is the factual basis of that allegation, which to date has resulted in no formal charges against Manafort?
  • Do the extensive redacted portions of Rosenstein’s memo contain allegations that other named Trump campaign officials were complicit in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election?
  • Are those allegations, if any, based in any way on the Steele dossier?
  • If not, what is the factual basis for alleging that the named Trump campaign officials were complicit in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election?
  • Is President Trump among the individuals named in Rosenstein’s allegations?

I urge anyone interest to read McCarthy’s article, he raises many of the points I did and does a much better job.

Jon Tester – Fact Checking His Ad

In an ad that ran statewide on July 5, Senator Jon Tester tooted his own horn, in an attempt to tie himself to President Trump.

Welcome to Montana, and thank you President Trump for supporting Jon’s legislation to help veterans and first responders, hold the VA accountable, and get rid of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.  Jon’s 16 bills signed into law by President Trump:  [A search of Congress.gov found this bill with either Jon a sponsor (1) or cosponsor in the 115th Congress (2017 – 2018), the bracketed edits reflect the official title]

  1. [Department of Veterans Affairs] VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Rubio (R-FL), Jon was one of 39 cosponsors.  He and five other Democrats cosponsored.
  2. Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Isakson (R-CA), Jon was one of 31 cosponsors.
  3. Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Crapo (R-ID), Jon was one of 26 cosponsors.
  4. Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Isakson, Jon was one of 63 cosponsors.
  5. [Gary Deloney and] John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Moran (R-KS), Jon was the only cosponsor.
  6. Veterans’ Compensation [Cost-of-Living] COLA Adjustment Act of 2018
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Isakson (R-GA), Jon was one of 15 cosponsors.
  7. A bill to redesignate certain clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs located in Montana.
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Daines (R-MT), Jon was the only cosponsor.
  8. Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon was one of 8 cosponsors.
  9. [A bill to amend the] Veterans [Access,] Choice,[ and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice] Program, [and for other purposes. ] Improvement Act.
    • Jon sponsored the bill, there were 21 cosponsors.
  10.  AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. McCain (R-AZ), Jon was one of 16 cosponsors.
  11.  GAO Access & Oversight Act
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Sasse (R-NE), Jon was one of 18 cosponsors.
  12. Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Daines (R-MT), Jon was the sole cosponsor.
  13. Honoring Hometown Heroes Act
    • Sponsored by Jon with 8 cosponsors.
  14. GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Sasse (R-NE), Jon was one of 18 cosponsors.
  15. [Department of ]Veterans [Affairs] Expiring Authorities Act of 2017
    • According to Congress.gov Jon was neither sponsor or cosponsor of this bill.
  16. VA MISSION Act of 2018
    • The bill was sponsored by Sen. Isakson (R-GA), Jon was one of 10 cosponsors.

Recapping:

  • Jon sponsored two bill (9 & 13) summarized here:
    • 9 – A bill to amend the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes.
      This bill amends the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to eliminate the August 7, 2017, sunset date for the Veterans Choice Program, thus allowing the program to operate until all of the money in the Veterans Choice Fund is expended.The bill makes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the primary payer (currently the VA is the secondary payer) for medical care relating to non-service connected disabilities and recovery of costs from third parties for certain care under the program.

      The VA may share medical information with a non-VA entity (including private entities and other federal agencies) that provides veterans with authorized hospital care or medical services. Such entity may not redisclose or use such information for a purpose other than that for which the disclosure was made.

    • 13 – Honoring Hometown Heroes Act.
      This bill authorizes the governor of a state, territory, or possession of the United States or the Mayor of the District of Columbia to proclaim that the U.S. flag shall be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a first responder (public safety officer) working in such jurisdiction who dies while serving in the line of duty.
  • Jon claimed sponsorship or cosponsorship on one bill that he is not listed on (15)
  • Two were routine budget bills (6 & 10)
  • One I will refer to as a vanity bill (12), summarized here:
    • Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act of 2017
      (Sec. 2) This bill designates as the “Alex Diekmann Peak” the 9,765-foot peak located 2.2 miles west-northwest of Finger Mountain on the western boundary of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Montana.

Is it time to call for a knife ban?

6/30/2018 – Boise, ID – 9 stabbed, at least four had life-threatening injuries.

7/23/2015 – Broken Arrow, OK – 6 stabbed, 5 deceased.

4/9/2014 – Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA, 21 stabbed, four had life-threatening injuries.

2/4/2016 – Gage Park, Chicago, IL, 5 stabbed, all deceased.

4/23/2016 – Isla Vista, Ca., 20 stabbed, six killed, 14 injured.

4/9/2013 – Harris County, TX, 14 stabbed, two critical condition.

11/4/2015 – Merced, CA, 4 stabbed.

9/4/2013 –  Spring, TX, 4 stabbed, one killed.

7/14/1966 – Chicago, IL, 8 killed.

5/10/2016 – Taunton, MA, 4 stabbed, two killed.

4/26/2017 – Portland, OR. 3 stabbed, two killed.

2/11/2016 – Columbus, OH, 4 stabbed.

9/17/2016 – St. Cloud, MN, 10 stabbed.

Source Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration Timeline With Old Curmudgeon’s Annotation

Adapted from Freedom for Immigrants which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in California.

The following is adapted from Freedom for Immigrants a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in California which promotes the sharing of their information.

1929 Immigration Act – Also known as Senator Coleman Livingston Blease’s bill [D-SC], this Act targeted Mexicans and undermined rulings in Wong and Ting that decriminalized unlawfully residing in the U.S. Instead, this Act targeted people unlawfully entering the U.S. Unlawful entry would be a misdemeanor punishable by $1,000 fine and/or up to 1 year in prison, and unlawfully re-entry would be a felony punishable by $1,000 fine and/or up to two years in prison.

1929 to 1936 – Mexican Repatriation occurs throughout the Great Depression, including mass round-ups and deportations of Mexicans and Filipinos. Estimates of total deportations range from 500,000 to 2M, of whom a likely 60% were U.S.-born citizens.

1939 – Over 44,000 cases prosecuted in previous 10 years under the Immigration Act of 1929.  Convictions on immigration charges surpassed all other federal crimes (except for alcohol charges under prohibition laws).

1940 – Angel Island Immigration Station in California closed.

1942 – As a World War II measure, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, establishing U.S. sites as military zones and providing for the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans over the course of the war, as well as German-Americans and Italian-Americans suspected of serving as enemy spies.

1943 – The Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed and replaced with a quota.

1942 Creation of the Bracero Program  It provided temporary agricultural visas for people from Mexico in an effort to fill the World War II farm-labor shortages in the United States

1946  The School of the Americas (SOA) is formed at Fort Benning, Georgia, a U.S. military program (still in effect) to exert imperialistic influence over Latin America and train Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, anti-communism, torture, and surveillance techniques. Former Panamanian president Jorge Illueca has called SOA, which has trained over 60,000 foreign soldiers, the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been forcibly displaced by the effects of this program.

 

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1952 Immigration & Nationality Act – Established the grounds for which a noncitizen can be blocked from entering the United States or deported, including criminal history or radical political views. It also allowed for authorities to use discretion to grant noncitizens release from detention on bond, based on community ties and pending a final determination of removability. This, combined with the end of the era of Chinese Exclusion, led to a decline in the systematic use of immigration detention (except during periods of targeted deportations of Mexicans in the 1950s and Haitians in the 1970s).

1954 – Ellis Island Immigration Station in New Jersey closed.

1954 to 1956 “Operation Wetback” – A targeted immigration enforcement campaign launched by the Eisenhower administration during which over 1M Mexicans, many who arrived under the Bracero Program, were targeted for deportation

1964 Bracero Program ends

1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act – Repealed 1921 national origins quotas, which had insured that immigration was primarily reserved for European immigrants, and replaced it with a preference system based on immigrants’ family relationships with U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. However, by placing limits on immigration from Latin America for the first time, this Act led to a rise in “unauthorized immigration” from this region in subsequent decades.

1966 – Australia opened its first immigration detention facility in the country, the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre.

1970 – First dedicated immigration detention facility in Europe opened in England, the Harmondsworth Detention Centre, although France’s immigration detention regime dates back to 1970, as well.

1980 to 1981 – The United States begins a new round of mass immigration detentions in response to the migration of Cubans in the “Mariel Boatlift,” in addition to Haitians and Central Americans fleeing totalitarian governments and civil war.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan announces a new detention policy aiming to punish and deter Latin American migration, including the detention of asylum seekers. Reagan also launched a renewed “War on Drugs” that would pave the way for the increased militarization of border enforcement and conflation of drug and immigration enforcement through interdiction programs.

1981 – The Reagan administration opens the McAllen Detention Center on a former U.S. Navy Base in Puerto Rico to detain Haitians.  This facility was already being constructed by the Carter administration to detain Cuban and Haitian refugees.

1982 – Hong Kong passes an Immigration Bill, leading to the creation of the first immigration detention camps in the country. These are believed to be some of the first facilities in East Asia.

1982 – South Africa opened the first immigration detention center, the Lindela Holding Facility. Previously, immigrants were detained in prisons. This is believed to be one of the first dedicated facilities in Africa, although former European colonies most likely detained immigrants for decades prior.

 

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1983 – The Reagan administration forms its Mass Immigration Emergency Plan, requiring that 10,000 immigration detention beds be located and ready for use at any given time.

1983 – The world’s first private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which changed its name in 2016 to CoreCivic, was formed. CCA enters into its first federal government contract [Reagan Administration] for an immigration detention facility in Texas. Immigrants were first detained at a hotel owned by CCA, while the Houston Contract Detention Facility was being built.

1984 – GEO Group, formerly The Wackenhut Corporation, was formed.

1985 – CCA’s second facility opens in Laredo, Texas, and is the first immigration detention facility to detain infants and children [Reagan Administration].

1986 The Immigration Reform and Control Act – granted a blanket amnesty for undocumented arrivals and placed sanctions on employers of unauthorized workers; the latter went largely unenforced [Reagan Administration].

1987 – GEO Group wins its first federal government contract for the Aurora Detention Facility in Colorado, an immigration detention facility [Reagan Administration].

1988 The Anti-Drug Abuse Act – Required the mandatory detention of all non-citizens who had committed an “aggravated felony,” beginning a new era of mandatory immigration detention.

1988 President George H.W. Bush issued a national apology to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, awarding reparations of $20,000 to each family subjected to internment.

1990 – Australia opened its first private prison, run by Corrections Corporation of Australia (CCA), owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)/CoreCivic

1991 – The United States opens an immigration detention facility, the Migrant Operations Center, at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Before this naval base was used to hold prisoners of war indefinitely as part of the “War on Terror,” this facility was used to hold asylum seekers and refugees [George H. W Bush Administration].

1993 – Following the lead of the United States in Cuba and Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas opens its first dedicated immigration detention facility in the Caribbean, the Carmichael Road Detention Center.

1994 – The United States, Canada, and Mexico enter into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); in effect, resulted in long-term job loss and economic stagnancy in Mexico and the displacement of Mexican small farm operators and workers.

1994 “Operation Gatekeeper” – Border enforcement program under the Clinton administration that provided for the doubling of Border Patrol officers, construction of 5 miles of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California, and additional fencing in Arizona. These measures forced migrant routes into more treacherous desert regions, resulting in increased deaths in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands–over 7,000 as of 2017.

1995 – Series of uprisings in for-profit immigration detention facilities

 

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1996 The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) 

Together known as “The 1996 Laws,” this set of laws has had the greatest impact on expanding the U.S. immigration detention system by expanding the list of “crimes of moral turpitude,” including non-violent drug and other charges, for which both legal immigrants and undocumented non-citizens can be subjected to mandatory detention and deportation. These laws can be applied retroactively, and also impose 3-year, 10-year, and lifetime bars on returning to the U.S. after deportation [Bill Clinton Administration].

21st CENTURY

2001 Zadvydas v. Davis – Case limiting the “plenary power doctrine,” or the authority of the U.S. government to detain immigrants indefinitely, if they do not have a country that will receive them after their are ordered deported [Clinton Administration]

2001 – A terrorist attack launched by the group Al-Qaeda on September 11 hijacked four commercial airplanes and killed 2,753 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, effectively beginning the U.S. “War on Terror.” The U.S. government passes the USA PATRIOT Act to expand surveillance capacities and heightens its targeting of Arab and Muslim immigrants for detention [Bush Administration].

2002 – Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison established in Cuba; the base had previously been used as an immigration detention site from the 1970s-90s to detain Cubans and Haitians.

2003 Demore v. Kim – Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal government’s right to detain legal immigrants during deportation proceedings.

2003 Creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – The former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is dissolved and reformed into three branches: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The immigration detention system now falls under the purview of ICE [Bush Administration].

2005 – “Operation Streamline” begins, allowing for the criminal prosecution of people apprehended at the border and to be held in privately-operated Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons and administered by the Bureau of Prisons [Bush Administration].

2008 – The Bush administration pilots the “Secure Communities” program, strengthening federal immigration and local law enforcement partnerships.

2009 Immigration Detention Bed Quota – Passed by Congress, DHS must now maintain a minimum of 34,000 detention beds across the country on any given day [Obama Administration].

2009 – Obama administration temporarily ends practice of family detention, although the Berks Family Detention Center remain in operation

2011 – The Obama administration expands the “Secure Communities” program, which relies on federal and local law enforcement partnerships to carry out ICE’s detention priorities.

2011 – Ecuador opens Hotel Hernon, followed by Hotel Carrión (opened in 2013). These are the first dedicated detention facilities in South and Central America, although Ecuador passed legislation in 1971 to allow for the detention of unauthorized migrants.

2012 – The Obama administration established the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, providing temporary work status and relief from deportation for those who arrived in the United States as minors and meet certain requirements.

2012 – Israel opens the Holot Detention Center, the largest in the world to date, with capacity to hold up to 10,000 migrants.

2014 – The Obama administration resumes practice of family detention in response to increase of unaccompanied minors, women and child migrants from Central America.

August 2016 – The U.S. Justice Department and DHS announce they will phase out the use of private prisons; private prison industry stocks plummet.

November 2016 – Donald J. Trump is elected president; private prison industry stocks rise.

January 2017 – At the end of President’ Obama’s term, detention numbers are at a record high of over 40,000 per day and the Obama administration has deported over 3 million people, more than all presidents since 1890 combined.

January 2017 President Trump signs Executive Order on immigration, promising to fortify and expand U.S. immigration enforcement capacities and the detention system.

October 2017 – The Dignity Not Detention Act passes in California, the first law of its kind to restrict the growth of for-profit immigration detention contracting on a statewide level. This law was drafted and co-sponsored by Freedom for Immigrants.