12 Year Old Girl Held for School Shooting

Shooting erupted around 9:00 a.m., this morning at a Junior High School in Los Angeles.  The shooter is being identified as a 12-year-old girl who brought the gun into a classroom and then shot a 15-year-old boy in the head and a 15-year-old girl in the wrist.  Both are expected to survive.  Others were injured.

The school was placed on lock-down, and even though the shooting ended at 9:00 a.m., parents could not remove their children from the school until 1:30 p.m.  In addition, officials are questioning how the heck the young girl got her hands on the gun in the first place.  While there are many laws in California on firearm access for children, firearms are as plentiful there as in any other state.

“We do not know yet … how our young person on this campus ended up having the ability to have access to a firearm and bring it onto campus,” said Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman. “Or for that matter, any young person having access to a weapon and bringing it anywhere. We have laws that mandate that parents who own guns, any adult who owns a gun, any gun owner, has an obligation to ensure that gun is locked inside a home.”

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Wave of Republican Retirements Grows

We’ve heard recent news that there is a “wave” of Republicans retiring from Congress and refusing to run for reelection in 2018.  In fact, some are calling it a record number of retirements, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a hundred years.  The conventional wisdom is that there is a Democrat “wave” coming in the mid terms and the Republicans would rather go back to the private sector (or wherever) rather than battle it out.

But buried in this news story is the fact that, in addition to low level congress critters, high level and extremely powerful committee chairs (and even the Speaker of the House!!!) are also announcing their retirement at an extraordinary pace.  The committee chairs usually come from safe districts, are very well funded, and stand a very strong chance of winning reelection even in a tough political climate.  So why are 9 of the most powerful politicians in the U.S., including the the person third in line to be president, also retiring and walking away?

It could be the “wave” everyone is talking about.  Or it could be that these more powerful Republicans, who see a lot more information than the low level congress critters, know that there is big trouble brewing for the Republican party in terms of the Mueller investigation.  Could it be that a slew of indictments against the President’s team are coming down such that they will destroy Republican chances of reelection and fundamentally destroy Trump’s presidency?  Could it be that for congressmen like Nunes and Gowdy, two retiring chairmen who were also members of Trump’s political campaign and/or “transition team,” also see that they may personally have some exposure if Trump’s team goes down?

We don’t know, but there is a strong possibility that these retirements are due to something far more interesting than an upcoming “tough election.”

Trump Increases Attacks on FBI

During the last few weeks, Trump and his allies have been increasing their attacks on the FBI.  Besides the absolutely stunning turn of events in which a “conservative” is attacking American law enforcement and siding with the Russian government, there has to be a motive behind the attacks.

We learned today that Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions was interviewed by the Mueller investigators very recently.  This is yet another extraordinary step, where a sitting attorney general is interviewed during an active criminal investigation into the president he serves.  This coupled with recent news that Mueller wants to also interview Trump, and somewhat less recent news that Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner hired a crisis management public relations team, suggests that we are nearing the end of the investigation (perhaps a few months away), and that Team Trump is very concerned about unfavorable results.

Logically, you would not interview a senior official like the attorney general or the president or the president’s son in law unless most of your investigation was wrapped up.  You don’t go after the big dogs without first having all of your ducks in a row.

If I had to guess I would say that Jared Kushner is looking at criminal liability, and Eric Trump Jr., may also be looking at criminal charges.  Unclear if this will reach to the President.  If the investigation turns away from alleged campaign improprieties with the Russians (that, while nefarious and unethical, may be difficult to criminally prosecute), and instead turns to money laundering for international organized crime (which is where Trump’s former brain trust Bannon thinks this is going), things will probably look worse for president Trump.

Russian Money Laundering Bank Turns on Kushner

It’s well known that Deutsche Bank moves dirty Russian money around for corrupt Russian officials and gangsters.  A few weeks ago we learned that Mueller’s investigators subpoenaed bank records from Deutsche.  Now we are learning that Deutsche is willing to turn in Kushner’s “suspicious” transactions.

As Bannon said recently, the “Kushner shit is greasy.”

Newsweek:

A German bank reportedly has evidence of “suspicious transactions” related to Jared Kushner’s family accounts and is willing to hand the information over to Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller.

The board chairman of the banking giant Deutsche Bank, Paul Achleitner, called for an internal investigation and found troubling results, German business magazine Manager Magazin reported in its print edition released on Friday.

Trump’s Dirty Money and How It Will Bring Him Down

Imagine you had a lot of money—say billions of dollars of dirty money stolen from businesses, banks or taxpayers. Money that is totally illegal to move around internationally, but is TOO MUCH MONEY to ignore.  How do you clean that money up?

Enter Donald Trump.

Trump had two plans that he repeated over the years to steal money from people. The first one went like this:  Trump would say, people love my brand and trust my name, so much so that they are willing to put up big money for one of my projects because they “trust” that they will get their money back or get the product they are putting the money up for—say a condo or luxury apartment in a high-rise building.

Trump would put his name all over the marketing materials, put a picture of himself with his daughter on the cover of a fancy binder used to sell the product, maybe even put his name on the top of a high-rise building. People would put up big deposits or otherwise invest money.  But oops!! the deal would fall through–and never because it was Trump’s fault of course, and those deposits–sometimes millions of dollars worth, would disappear.  Never into Donald’s pocket though, of course.

If you want an example of this, see Trump’s Baja California condo scam.

But that’s small potatoes.  The big money for Trump–the billions–came from helping people with lots of dirty money take that money, like money stolen from Russian oil companies or Georgian banks, and make it “clean.”  In exchange for a fee, of course.

Here’s how it worked: the people with the dirty money would come in, “invest it” in a project that of course had Trump’s name all of over it, so it could be trusted as totally legitimate.  The money, however, would all get funneled through the project and back into the scammer’s own pockets as “profits” from the construction.  Trump, meanwhile, would get a 12% cut just for letting them use his name and his reputation as a way to sell it.  In exchange, Trump would never ask a question about where that money came from.

The project would then fail, either before it got started or after it was built.  But by that time it wouldn’t matter, because all of the real money would have been “cleaned” through the project and Trump would have been paid.  In fact, that would be the real point, to clean the money, not to build an actual successful project.

This type of repeated business of failure wasn’t just “bad luck” or “bad business.”  The failure was intended all along because nobody investigates failure.  And Trump’s construction projects and construction licensing deals repeatedly failed. But of course, Trump still made money off the deals.  They didn’t fail because they sucked (perhaps some did), they instead purposely and intentionally failed because people never look closely into a failed project.  That makes a failed project a perfect cover for laundering money, committing fraud, making “dirty” money into “clean” money, or using the project as a fake failure to shield illegal acts.  Nobody would bother to look at a failed business.

So now let’s say you are a foreign government and you are looking for dirt on Trump either because he’s running for president or just because you always keep track of the big shots who do business in and around your country.  Trump would have qualified as far back as the 1980s.

And let’s say now that you discovered a deal (or several) where someone was taking money stolen from a bank or secretly taking money from a bank they work for as an executive and investing it in their own personal side business in order to put the money in their own pocket.  And let’s say you figured out that person wanted in on the Trump money laundering train in order to “clean” the “dirty” money.

And now you, as the foreign government, discover and get all the evidence to prove the following: A man came up with a big fancy building in a former soviet country like Georgia, even though nobody in Georgia wanted to buy units in a big fancy building. But who cares, the point was to use the project as a shell to cover up the “cleaning” of “dirty” money.  The guy brought in Trump to slap his name on it, and take 12% of the money.  Meanwhile, with Trump’s protection making it look like “legitimate business” the guy ran the rest of the money through the project to make the “dirty money” into “clean” money.

The deal, however, fell through after Trump got elected and then had to pull out of the deal because the spotlight was too bright.  But in the years before that, while the deal was moving forward, all of the documentation on the deal got into the hands of the foreign government, who went over all of it and figured out the entire scam and how Trump would directly profit from it and participated in financial crimes.

Now say that foreign government was actually the Russian government.

If you are the Russian government, you use that information to put pressure on Trump to do the things you want him to do.  Imagine you have information on multiple projects that were only shell projects with Trump’s name on them with the only purpose of “cleaning” money that is “dirty.”  It not only would make Trump look bad, but it would be clear undisputed evidence of financial crimes by Trump that could send him to jail.

If that sounds too crazy of a story, it’s not.  It’s a true story.

And this is where the Mueller investigation is going—into all of the shady deals Trump did, all of the dirty money Trump made clean, all of the fraud Trump covered up or participated in. You might ask yourself, what does that have to do with Trump being president?

It has to do with the fact that the information can be used against him.  Either to make him do stuff or pressure him not to do stuff…. “If you do X, we’ll release documents showing how you committed fraud and will go to jail.”

Russia knows about a lot of Trump’s illegal scams and has all the evidence to bury Trump.  And Russia is using that evidence to try to force Trump to do things that help Russia.  Why turn someone in when you can blackmail them instead and get even better things from it?

This would not only be grounds for locking Trump up, it would be grounds for impeachment–a president doing something for a foreign government that is extorting him and paying him at the same time wouldn’t make it.

It’s all about the money.

 

Trumps Crimes Aren’t Just About Russian Hacking and Conflicts of Interest

The big complaints we’ve had about Trump so far are that (1) he refused to divest himself from his private businesses, thereby creating a conflict of interest and a potential violation of the emoluments clause of the United States constitution; (2) that Trump’s team “coordinated” with the Russians in hacking the Hillary Clinton campaign and otherwise worked with the Russians to manipulate the presidential campaign; and (3) obstruction of justice (or in other words, trying to screw up the FBI’s investigation on purpose).

Today, however, we learn that the FBI’s investigation is far deeper than who talked to the Russians and when.  We know this based on who is being put on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. We have Justice Department “fraud chief” Andrew Weissman.  Weissman was the director of the Enron Task Force in 2002, which if you might remember brought down Enron and their shady accountant company Arthur Anderson. He was also “co-chair” of heavyweight private law firm Jenner & Block’s White Collar Practice Group where he “worked on a broad range of matters including ones involving securities fraud, antitrust, health care fraud and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

These are not experts on conflicts of interest and espionage. No, they are experts in fraud, white collar crime, corruption and illegal business practices. You build your team based on the game you are playing. And it appears the game here is fraud and corruption, and not hacking. This indicates that the investigation into Trump is far more serious than what games he played with the Russians to take down Hillary.

It’s clear that the Russians have significant leverage over Trump. We aren’t talking about pee-pee tapes, we’re talking about wide spread fraud and criminal activities.

Kushner Becomes an FBI Target

We learned today that Jared Kushner is a person of interest in the FBI investigation into Trump campaign connections to Russia.  Coincidentally, it was also reported recently that Kushner pushed very hard to have Comey fired and also pushed to retaliate for the appointment of a special counsel.  He wanted to fight the investigations into Trumpland very hard—as if it was the fight of his life.

But what has Kushner done to become a potential target of a federal criminal investigation?  We know that back in December 2016, Kushner met with a Russian banker at the request of the Russian ambassador to the United States.

This raises questions because “Russian bankers” usually are agents of the Russian government and work very hard to move dirty Russian money around the world and help cover up Russian financial crimes.  In fact, a Russian banker was sentenced to 30 months in prison after he was prosecuted in federal court in New York.  The charge? Conspiring to work for Russian foreign intelligence services in the United States.  The prosecutor who took down the Russian banker?  The U.S. attorney that Trump fired earlier this year.

As for Kushner’s meeting in December 2016 with Banker Sergey Gorkov, Gorkov is also someone on the feds’ radar. Gorkov used to serve on the Executive Board and was Vice President of another Russian bank, Sberbank. (source)  This week Trump named Marc Kasowitz, an attorney who previously represented Sberbank in federal court, as his private counsel for the Russia investigation.  Kasowitz has another Russian client: a company operated by Oleg Deripaska, a man who Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, signed a $10M annual contract with to influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States.  Manafort’s contract with Deripaska had one major purpose—to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Trump and his buddies are pushing their way to the top of the FBI’s list.

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