Don’t screw with the people who carry guns, badges, and subpoena power

A scheme to pay off women to fabricate sexual-assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI for further investigation, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office told The Atlantic. “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” the spokesman, Peter Carr, told me in an email on Tuesday. . .

The special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging  that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a GOP activist named Jack Burkman “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” The woman told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974, but that she “didn’t see” him much. “When I did see him, he was always very polite to me, and was never inappropriate,” the woman wrote.

The woman explained that she was contacted by a man “with a British accent” who wanted to ask her “a couple questions about Robert Mueller, whom I worked with when I was a paralegal for Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro in 1974. I asked him who he was working for, and he told me his boss was some sort of politics guy in Washington named Jack Burkman. I reluctantly told [him] that I had only worked with Mr. Mueller for a short period of time, before leaving that firm to have my first son.”

She continued: “In more of an effort to get him to go away than anything else, I asked him what in the hell he wanted me to do. He said that we could not talk about it on the phone, and he asked me to download an app on my phone called Signal, which he said was more secure. Reluctantly, I downloaded the app and he called me on that app a few minutes later. He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.’” The man “offered to pay off all of my credit card debt, plus bring me a check for $20,000 if I would do” it, she wrote. “He knew exactly how much credit card debt I had, right down to the dollar, which sort of freaked me out.”

Burkman, a conservative radio host, is known for spreading conspiracy theories. He launched his own private investigation into the murder of the DNC staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistle-blowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election. He also promoted legislation that he authored—despite not being a member of Congress—that would ban gays from playing in the National Football League, and has hosted two fundraisers for Rick Gates—the former Trump campaign official who was indicted by Mueller late last year.

How’s that paying off the national debt working out?

March 31, 2016; Trump was interviewed by Bob Woodward.

Donald Trump: “We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.”

Bob Woodward: “How long would that take?”

Trump: “I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers…”

Woodward: “What’s fairly quickly?”

Trump: “Well, I would say over a period of eight years. And I’ll tell you why.”

Woodward: “Would you ever be open to tax increases as part of that, to solve the problem?”

Trump: “I don’t think I’ll need to. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad.”

Woodward: “That would be $2 trillion a year.”

Trump: “No, but I’m renegotiating all of our deals, Bob. The big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on. With China, $505 billion this year in trade. We’re losing with everybody.”

Trump has been in office almost two years.  Thus, we should be 1/4 of the way toward paying off the national debt.

So — how is he doing?  As of the end of 2018, Trump has ADDED $1.3 TRILLION to our national debt.

Added — not paid off.

Finally!!! Lawsuit says what we all know: The Trump Family is a criminal enterprise founded on defrauding investors

A massive 160-page complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan this week alleges that the entire Trump family has for years engaged in fraud intended to rip off unsophisticated investors.

The New York Times reports that the complaint “alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.”

Additionally, reports the Times, the complaint depicts the Trump Organization as “a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people.”

At the center of the lawsuit are three separate business entities: ACN, a telecommunications firm that gave Trump money in exchange for endorsing its products; the Trump Network, which was responsible for the ill-fated Trump Vitamins nutritional regimen; and the Trump Institute, a Trump University-like entity that the lawsuit claims offered “extravagantly priced multiday training seminars” that purportedly gave attendees access to Trump’s “secrets” to selling real estate.

Attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Andrew Celli Jr., who are representing plaintiffs in the lawsuit, tell the New York Times that their case “connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans.”

Among other things, the suit alleges that a hospice worker identified as “Jane Doe” was tricked into investing in ACN in 2014 after watching Trump personally endorse the company in a promotional video. The complaint alleges that Doe spent thousands of dollars to attend ACN seminars in multiple cities across the United States — and only earned $38 from all the training she’d received in selling its products.

Read the whole complaint at this link.

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We do not have a President. We have a Fox junkie.

An investigation by Politico has found that President Donald Trump’s “executive time” — which is used by the White House as a euphemism for the time he spends watching cable news — absolutely dwarfs the time allotted to doing official work.

Specifically, Politico reports that last Tuesday, “the president was slated for more than nine hours of ‘Executive Time,’ a euphemism for the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television.” The publication then notes that “official meetings, policy briefings and public appearances — traditionally the daily work of being president — consumed just over three hours of his day.”

Some of the president’s supporters insisted to Politico that he often used his “executive time” to make important phone calls to congressional and world leaders, despite the fact that past reporting has indicated that most of the time he merely calls friends to complain about negative coverage he’s receiving.

The report also notes that Trump typically doesn’t start working until 11 a.m. on most days, as he’s scheduled a solid block early in the morning to watch “Fox & Friends,” one of his favorite cable news shows.

“The president’s official commitments last week began no earlier than 11 a.m… and on Tuesday — in the midst of a potential serial bomber and two weeks ahead of the midterm elections — they didn’t start until 1 p.m.,” the publication reports.

On the other hand, in view of the fact that Trump is destroying this country with the little bit of time he spends on official duties, maybe we should encourage him to spend more time on the golf course.

Trump lies about “caravan,” meanwhile, Muslims raise money to help synagogue shooting victims

A crowdfunding campaign started by two Muslim groups has raised more than $40,000 for the victims of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.

The campaign on LaunchGood, a Muslim-focused crowdfunding site, reached its $25,000 goal in less than six hours, and is now working to raise $50,000.

“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the fundraising page reads. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”

The fundraiser was started by Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change, two Muslim-American nonprofit organizations. The groups say they are partnering with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to distribute the funds.

Read more: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/413513-muslim-groups-raise-thousands-for-victims-of-pittsburgh

tRump is not welcome at the Pittsburgh synagogue until he grows up, gets serious

A group of Jewish leaders told President Trump that he is no longer welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism following the shooting at a synagogue there over the weekend.

Eleven members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice penned a letter to Trump following the Saturday shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

“Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” the group wrote. “You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”

Trump was fiercely criticized after he failed to condemn white supremacy and asserted that there is “blame on both sides” after last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/413558-jewish-leaders-say-trumps-not-welcome-in-pittsburgh-until-he

MEANWHILE — at a vigil being held at the synagogue where eleven people were murdered, the crowd of mourners chanted “Vote!! Vote!! Vote!! “

Nothing new here — sun rose in the East, set in the West, and Trump lied

President Donald Trump LIED when he claimed Saturday that the New York Stock Exchange re-opened the day after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to justify holding a rally on the same day that a mass shooting occurred at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Speaking at a planned campaign rally in Illinois, Trump said he had weighed whether to cancel his rally as well as a speech at an agricultural convention earlier in the day in Indianapolis, Indiana, but ultimately decided against it, saying such a move would amount to giving the killer an edge. He compared his decision to continue with the rally to reopening the NYSE after the September 11 attacks, something that did not happen.
“And with what happened early today — that horrible, horrible attack in Pittsburgh — I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that,” Trump said, referring to the rally and his earlier appearance at the agricultural convention. “And then I said to myself, I remember Dick Grasso, a friend of mine, great guy. He headed up the New York Stock Exchange on September 11. And the New York Stock Exchange was open the following day. He said — and what they had to do to open it you wouldn’t believe. We won’t even talk to you about it. But he got that exchange open.”
“We can’t make these sick, demented, evil people important. And when we start changing around our lives and changing around our schedules … we can’t allow people like this to become important,” Trump said. “And when we change all of our lives in order to accommodate them, it’s not acceptable.”
In fact, as CNN reported at the time, the NYSE closed after the attacks and did not reopen until September 17 because many of the workers were lost or injured in the attack on the World Trade Center, which was just blocks from the NYSE in Manhattan’s financial district, and much of the communications and utilities needed to trade stocks were damaged or destroyed.
It was the longest shutdown for the NYSE since the Great Depression.