Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Paul Manafort details how the former Trump campaign manager worked through two Washington, DC-based lobbying firms on behalf of his client, Viktor Yanukovych, the former Moscow-aligned president of Ukraine.
The two firms are identified in the indictment as only Company A and Company B. Reportedly, Company A is Mercury Public Affairs, which leans Republican. Company B is none other than the Podesta Group, founded by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta and, until this week when he resigned, was headed by John’s brother, Tony Podesta.
The Podesta involvement in Manafort’s operation disrupts the media narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, but it is unclear whether Mueller will actually indict Podesta. According to Fred Lucas in the Daily Signal:
Proving a violation of the foreign-agent law could be tricky, which is why the law has been so rarely enforced, said
More than anything else, the indictments of Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates demonstrate the fraudulent nature of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The probe has little to do with Russian interference in last year’s election. Instead, it is calculated to protect Mueller and a cabal within the FBI and Justice Department who covered up crimes by Hillary Clinton because they believed it was likely that she would be elected president.
And once Mueller and then his friend and successor James Comey covered for Hillary, they had to keep covering. There was a reason that Mueller was so available when he was so swiftly appointed Special Counsel in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Comey firing threatened to expose all that these same officials had swept under the rug. Yes, Rosenstein bit the bullet and drafted the memo … Read More ➡
Ride-sharing giant Uber has hired former Associate Attorney General Tony West as its Chief Legal Officer because “he’s well equipped to handle the investigations of our past practices,” according to an email from Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
West is at the center of a burgeoning scandal involving $1 billion collected by the government from big banks as settlements in mortgage-fraud cases. The money was not used to compensate victims or turned over to the Treasury. Instead, it was diverted to left-wing activist groups and political allies of the Obama administration. West served in the Justice Department from 2009 until 2014 when he joined PepsiCo.
Reaction to the looting of the settlements has been such that the House passed legislation this week that would prohibit payments to private third parties from settlement monies. The Justice Department had already adopted a policy barring such payments.
Last week, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook about his firm’s removal of VPN apps from the China app store in July. VPN stands for Virtual Private Networks, which when accessed through apps, allow Internet users in China to bypass government censorship.
NLPC raised this issue on September 19 when we asked the Newseum to rescind its 2017 “Free Expression Award “ that it made to Cook in April. The Senators’ letter also seizes on the Award and quotes Cook from that evening when he declared, “At Apple, we are just not allowing others to speak up, we are doing so ourselves.” The letter asks Cook to “Please provide copies of any statements that Apple has issued either promoting freedom of speech in China or condemning China’s censorship and surveillance mechanisms…”
The rest of the letter is equally pointed, and includes nine other … Read More ➡
Now that former CEO Jeffrey Immelt is fully out of the General Electric picture as both CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors, his replacement, John L. Flannery, is working to cut the costs many said would be among his first priorities.
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday revealed (paywall) some of the excess under Immelt, the most sensational being that he sometimes had an empty corporate jet follow the one he was flying in, in case there were delays or mechanical problems. A GE spokewoman justified the practice by telling the newspaper that the “two planes were used on limited occasions for business-critical or security purposes.”
Whether or not the double-jet travel (what was Immelt going to do if his plane had problems – parachute to the other one?) was justified can be left to the judgment of the reader and … Read More ➡
In a big defeat for Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the judge at his corruption trial Monday refused to throw out any of the charges against him in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of bribery.
The decision by U.S. District Judge William Walls was a major victory for federal prosecutors, who had warned that dismissing the charges would torpedo nearly all other bribery cases and open the door wide to graft.
Walls rejected defense lawyers’ arguments that the allegations against Menendez didn’t meet the new definition of bribery contained in the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, are on trial for bribery. Among other allegations, the prosecution says that Menendez pressured U.S. officials to get the Dominican Republic government to honor a long-dormant port security deal … Read More ➡
The resolve of unions to coerce support from unwilling employees shouldn’t be underestimated. Neither should the resistance of such employees. On September 28, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear an appeal in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a case challenging the authority of public-sector unions to impose representation-related dues (“agency fees”) upon non-member workers. If successful, the plaintiffs, a State of Illinois child support specialist and two other public employees, will have overturned the basis for 40 years of union-driven bargaining that has pushed many state and local governments to the brink of insolvency. The Court was deadlocked in a similar case last year.
The two months that have passed since the August 17 indictment of Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, former technology staffers for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), have yielded little except more mystery.
The mainstream media has largely ignored the story. Most of what we know has been reported by Luke Rosiak in the Daily Caller. The revelations have become a staple of conservative media, providing fuel for a social media brushfire. In apparent response, an informal hearing was held on October 10 by a handful of members of the Freedom Caucus. The lead witness was Rosiak who complained of an “extraordinary level of silence from official channels” about the scandal.
You would think that House Republican leaders would give the Awan mess a much bigger stage. This GOP disinterest is the biggest mystery of all. The media and Democrats in Congress created a frenzy over vague accusations … Read More ➡
By now the complaints are voluminous and widely known, but it’s become clear that popular social media Web sites YouTube (a Google subsidiary), Twitter and Facebook do not intend to end censorship of conservatives’ messaging and content on their platforms.
The highest profile example from this week is Twitter’s block of an ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, who announced her campaign to run for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Bob Corker. The nearly 3-minute video highlighted Blackburn’s conservative credentials, including the claim that she’s “100 percent pro-life.”
“I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God,” Blackburn says in the video advertisement.
Last week’s testimony in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) about a port security deal in the Dominican Republic may provide the basis for a bribery conviction. A State Department official, Todd Robinson, described how Menendez threatened to hold a Senate hearing if the Department did not pressure the Dominican government to honor a long-dormant contract with Menendez’ largest donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
Last year, the Supreme Court significantly narrowed the grounds on which a public official can be prosecuted for bribery. The public official’s actions must include an “official act” in exchange for some consideration. It cannot simply be setting up a meeting, making a phone call, or other actions generally thought to be “constituent services.” Calling a meeting of a Senate subcommittee on Melgen’s behalf, however, would classify as an “official act.”
In May of 2012, Menendez set up a meeting with State Department officials, … Read More ➡