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Old 2018-05-04, 00:54   Link #1661
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Actually the path of the money is pretty complex. Trump supposedly paid a "retainer" to Michael Cohen of $35,000 per month to build up a slush fund to deal with any "problems" like Ms. Clifford (aka Ms. Daniels) and the former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. Cohen set up a shell company (an "LLC") to which the money was paid, and the shell company paid Ms. Clifford. This all fits with Cohen's characterization of the transaction as his "facilitating" the transfer of funds. Still that doesn't really jibe with Cohen's borrowing the $130K against the equity in his home as he has claimed publicly. Supposedly the slush fund had, at one point, more than $400K. Was there an even broader flurry of payoffs right before the election besides those to Clifford and McDougal? Inquiring minds want to know.,

All U.S. Federal candidates have the right to contribute as much of their own money as they want to their campaigns without any legal jeopardy. What's at issue here is what are called "in-kind" contributions. If I host a big soiree for a candidate rather than donate the funds directly, US law treats both contributions identically. For Michael Cohen, the issue is whether paying Clifford so close to the election constituted an in-kind contribution on his part. Since it is way in excess of the $2,700 legal limit, he could be charged with felony violation of the election laws. That's pretty unlikely in my mind. I suspect Cohen has a lot of baggage that was hiding in closets until the Feds showed up with that subpoena.
If it was counted as "in-kind", how would it be valued? If it came from the "Get Trump out of trouble" fund, he technically wouldn't have given his own money, just managed Trump's, right?
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Old 2018-05-04, 07:27   Link #1662
SeijiSensei
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That was Giuliani's intent when he broke the news about the "retainer" payments and the slush fund. It was to undermine the potential for a prosecution against Cohen on campaign-finance grounds. The White House remains deathly afraid that Cohen will "flip" and cooperate with the prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence. (The possible ones he faces now would land him in a Federal penitentiary for years if not decades.)

As I said, Cohen likely has an array of other possible crimes some of which may have nothing to do with Trump. Federal investigators have been reading his email and tracking his phone conversations (though not listening to their content) for quite a while now.
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Old 2018-05-04, 07:31   Link #1663
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That dude must be one hell of a loyal dog if he is willing to go to jail for decades for Trump.
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Old 2018-05-04, 07:43   Link #1664
SeijiSensei
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Michael Cohen once famously claimed he'd "take a bullet" for Donald Trump. Of course, no one was aiming at him at the time. Whether his resolve holds up when his wife and kids are worried they'll never see him again for years is an open question.

Having your father sent up the river can scar a young person. To this day Jared Kushner harbors a deep-seated ill-will toward former New Jersey governor and one-time Trump confidant Chris Christie. As a Federal prosecutor, Christie convicted Jared's father for tax fraud. He served two years. Jared arranged for Christie to be pushed out as chair of the transition after weeks of solid work. One of the reasons for the mess in terms of appointments is that Christie's work was thrown out and the entire operation handed to Mike Pence who proceeded to staff the government with right-wing evangelicals. Scott Lloyd, the guy who keeps trying to block pregnant migrants from having abortions is one such example.

Update: This article by the estimable Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times traces the journey of the $130,000 to the best of our knowledge: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/u...p-payment.html

Remarkably, Trump just said that Rudy got it all wrong but didn't elaborate: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/u...y-daniels.html

“He’s a great guy,” Mr. Trump said. “He’ll get his facts straight.”

The likely more serious crimes Cohen faces are things like bank or wire fraud. Bank fraud carries maximum penalties of fines up to $1,000,000 and a prison sentence of no more than thirty years. Or both. There are many other possible crimes, especially if Cohen raised money from foreign sources. If you've never read the original indictment against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, it's worth a look for the breadth of criminality the Justice Department charges and the detailed information about Manafort's financial transactions it presents. I found it fascinating and scary: https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000...f-7f735cc70000

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2018-05-04 at 10:22.
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Old 2018-05-08, 17:14   Link #1665
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So Trump left the Iran deal though Mattis and quite a lot of other Reps said he shouldn't? So this all a set-up for some war with Iran after all which Bibi is hoping for?
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Old 2018-05-08, 17:51   Link #1666
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Honestly not surprised that he keeps making one stupid decision after another. It's going to be a long wait till 2019 for the conclusion of Mueller's investigation.
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Old 2018-05-08, 18:41   Link #1667
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Hopefully, the deal should still stand with he others parties following it leaving the US alone.
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Old 2018-05-08, 19:04   Link #1668
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Rye View Post
So Trump left the Iran deal though Mattis and quite a lot of other Reps said he shouldn't? So this all a set-up for some war with Iran after all which Bibi is hoping for?
The majority of Congress was against the deal when President Obama pushed it through. President Trump is just following through with a Promise he made while running for President. Believe me, he has the support of most of the people who voted for him.

And if you think Iran was stalling their pursuit of Nuclear Weapons because of the Iran Deal, I have a bridge to sell you in the desert..
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Old 2018-05-08, 19:22   Link #1669
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^
This I'd like to hear. Please tell me how they were pursuing nuclear weapons while the deal was in place.
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Old 2018-05-08, 20:39   Link #1670
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In all of this mess, people forget the elephant in the room: Israel. Nethanyahu never had the interests of his people at heart because, otherwise, he would not be taking his people on the path to war if he did. Go figure how the people over there can still elect that kind of animal after everything he has done decades ago, especially corruption.

Last edited by Toukairin; 2018-05-08 at 21:03.
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Old 2018-05-08, 23:23   Link #1671
justinstrife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OH&S View Post
^
This I'd like to hear. Please tell me how they were pursuing nuclear weapons while the deal was in place.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/...noncompliance/
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Old 2018-05-09, 07:06   Link #1672
James Rye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinstrife View Post
The majority of Congress was against the deal when President Obama pushed it through. President Trump is just following through with a Promise he made while running for President. Believe me, he has the support of most of the people who voted for him.

And if you think Iran was stalling their pursuit of Nuclear Weapons because of the Iran Deal, I have a bridge to sell you in the desert..
Really? Because I am pretty sure that that in the past weeks lots of reps, Mattis and even Reps who were against the deal, said that USA shouldn't break the deal one-sidely as long as Iran hasn't broken the deal yet. And according to USA own investigators they have yet to break said deal.
So that bridge you're talking about, is it going over quick sand or just very hot sand?
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Old 2018-05-09, 07:46   Link #1673
OH&S
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Originally Posted by justinstrife View Post
Sorry but that's a pretty weak justification for saying they were pursuing nuclear weapons during the time of the deal. The article is highly opinionated as it is but even looking at the original letter (where I at least know 2 of the Senators to be complete gibbons) the reasoning is weak.

Two of the reasons given were technical violations but easily sorted out by the IAEA after clarification; hardly falling into the category of actively pursuing nuclear weapons. One of the reasons is completely ridiculous; the IAEA has all the access to the sites that they need to as per the JCPOA agreement. No ones blocking them.

The only point that is a valid cause of concern is #3 where German Intelligence Reports report continued attempts to procure nuclear and missile tech.

But this is hardly that "multiple violations of the deal" line that the Right keeps repeating ad nauseum.

Its clear to the IAEA and the rest of concerned parties that that they're not worried about point #3 and view Iran to be in total compliance of the deal.

I'd love to read exactly what the German report said regarding Iran but alas its in German. But its strange that the European Union doesn't seem as concerned by its own reports as the US. Maybe the US is the one full of shit here? Because that'd be consistent with the past 17 months of MAGA bullshit.
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Old 2018-05-09, 10:21   Link #1674
Toukairin
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One thing I have learned over the years is that British intelligence are a hell lot better than US intelligence when it comes to gather information, they are better at establishing contact with Iranians than Americans do, AND the British know how to keep cool heads with whatever information they can find.
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Old 2018-05-09, 22:13   Link #1675
Eisdrache
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Originally Posted by OH&S View Post
I'd love to read exactly what the German report said regarding Iran but alas its in German.
If it's not a massively long report, please tell me where to find it and I can try to give you a summary.
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Old 2018-05-09, 23:35   Link #1676
OH&S
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If it's not a massively long report, please tell me where to find it and I can try to give you a summary.
There are references to the web addresses in the PDF of the senators letter linked in the article.

The main website is at www.verfassungsschutz.de

Also, Iranian forces have directly fired rockets at Israeli military in Syria just a few hours ago. It didn't even take 2 days and there's already a direct attack.
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Last edited by OH&S; 2018-05-09 at 23:37. Reason: clarification
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Old 2018-05-10, 08:22   Link #1677
James Rye
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And the Israeli attacked all Iranian sites on Syrian. Man, if this keg of cannon powder blows up, it will burn down the entire middle east, the syrian war will be nothing against that. Especially if Russia is like "Fuck you USA, you won't take Iran from us with another Regime change!". Right now USA is the only one who will put sanctions on Iran, the others will most likely refuse to join, China and Russia and the EU will try to keep the deal alive to prevent a nuclear Iran while Israel and Saudi Arabia will push for a war to make sure Iran won't become a big regional player.
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Old 2018-05-10, 15:25   Link #1678
Eisdrache
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Originally Posted by OH&S View Post
There are references to the web addresses in the PDF of the senators letter linked in the article.

The main website is at www.verfassungsschutz.de
I assume it is this report. Taken from page 265-266:

The final report of Dec 2nd 2015 the IAEO concludes that until the end of 2003 Iran had a structured program and coordinated efforts for building a nuclear bomb. From then until 2009 there were only minimal activities. After 2009 the IAEO has not found any credible leads for said activities. Similarly they have not found credible leads for misuse of materials used in the construction of nukes.

The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) records that the illegal Iranian acquisition attempts in Germany in 2015 have been on a high level when compared internationally, especially for goods that could be used in nuclear technology. The BfV also states that in the area of the ambitious Iranian missile technology control (don't nail me on that translation) a growing tendency of their already extensive acquisition attempts.

Against this background it is expected that Iran will continue their intensive activities through conspirative methodology in Germany.

-

Basically they say that Iran did try to use illegal methods to buy materials that may or may not be used for nukes. It doesn't state how successful these attempts were. The IAEO has not found any lead that would indicate that Iran has continued with their efforts.
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Old 2018-05-10, 17:06   Link #1679
SeijiSensei
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Here's a pretty comprehensive report from Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-i...-idUSKCN0ZO1F9

Quote:
The NRW intelligence report said procurement efforts in 2015 had been focused on so-called “dual-use” technologies that can be used in both civil and military sectors. While nuclear-related procurement attempts fell slightly, those related to Iran’s missile program rose.

The report said documents had been falsified to suggest technologies were destined for the oil, gas and steel industries. In an apparent attempt to cover its tracks, Iran was seeking to acquire technologies via third countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China, the report said.
"Dual-use" is always a tricky category to pin down I suspect.

The article suggests that these efforts might have come from revisionist parts of the Iranian regime opposed to the JCPOA.

Quote:
“There are forces within Iran for which the policies of the country’s president and foreign minister are a thorn in the eye,” Schaefer said. “They may be trying, one way or another, to undermine or torpedo the nuclear deal and the normalization of relations between us and Iran. We are watching this closely.”

Schaefer said Germany had a “great deal of faith” in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and had the impression that Tehran was doing its best to stick to the deal, which ended a 12-year standoff with the West over the nuclear program.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose power far outweighs that of Iran’s elected officials in parliament or the presidency, gave decisive support to the nuclear deal.

But hardline allies of Khamenei, including the elite Revolutionary Guards, are wary of losing their grip in power by opening up to the West and have repeatedly criticized pragmatist President Rouhani’s foreign policy.
These comments underscore how misleading the "billiard-ball" model of international politics can be. That's the one that sees a world of unitary self-interested states with little thought given to the internal politics of the actors involved. Iran is a large, complex and powerful nation of 80 million people (twice the size of Iraq, and a lot bigger than Saudi, Israel, or Syria). Its politics are a swirl of factional rivalries among the theocratic rulers, the Rouhani "moderates," and the militants like the Revolutionary Guard. The Guard isn't thrilled with the JCPOA. I could imagine them mounting a subversive campaign to disrupt the agreement by making it seem Iran is up to no good. The Guard has been engaged in some other strange activities abroad as well, including one in Azerbaijan that places them quite near Donald Trump.

It says a lot about the current moment that the Republican President of the United States and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have the same objective, destroying the Agreement. I've lived through the entire Iranian drama (though I was only four when we overthrew Mossadegh). I remember the embassy seizure, the days and days of "America Held Hostage," our aborted rescue mission, Iran-contra, the "Axis of Evil," and "Death to America." There's a deep-seated hatred for Iran in some parts of American society that people like Trump and Bolton can exploit.

For most people, foreign affairs is an arcane world involving other countries they know little about (this is especially true in the US). Politicians present a billiard-ball model because that's really the only model their constituents can comprehend. In our telegenic world, states are replaced with foreign leaders, but most Americans almost certainly view Kim and the DPRK as one in the same thing. That applies to me as well. I have no idea what goes on in the machinations of the North Korean state. I know vaguely about some factional conflicts in the military at the time of Jong-Un's succession, and I suspect there's probably a generational cleavage as well. I'm sure there are respected North Korean observers, some using the "Kremlinology" method, that I could read. I notice they haven't been very prominent in American news coverage despite the significance of the North Korean issue.

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2018-05-10 at 17:21.
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Old 2018-05-11, 06:09   Link #1680
Kakurin
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Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
Hopefully, the deal should still stand with he others parties following it leaving the US alone.
Unless the EU is willing to risk/bluff a trade war the US leaving the agreement and re-introducing sanctions is enough to put the agreement on ice since the US is applying the threat of secondary sanctions against all companies trading with Iran. And when having to choose between getting cut-off the US market and Iran trade, nearly all companies in the Western hemisphere will choose the US trade. Economic imperialism at its finest.
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