Trump Jr. was told in email Russian he was meeting with would have dirt on Hillary Clinton

Before taking a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was told via email that he would receive information detrimental to Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports

According to three sources who spoke with the Times, Trump Jr. was well aware that the context of the meeting involved compromising information on Clinton, that it stemmed from the Russian government’s effort to influence the 2016 election and that the meeting would benefit his father’s campaign.

The report comes one day after the Times reveled Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer. In his original version of the events, Trump Jr. was unaware of the identity of the person he was meeting with.

Read the full report at the New York Times.

Poll asks what word comes to mind when you hear or see Trump . . . the results are not kind to Trump

Get ready for Donald Trump to throw the worst temper tantrum of his presidency.

When you think of Trump, what’s the first word that comes to your mind? That’s the question that a new Quinnipiac poll asked Americans.

Trump has often bragged that he has “the best words,” but this poll makes it clear that Americans had the best words to describe him. And they are words that even Trump can understand.

“Idiot” is the top word Americans used to answer the poll, followed by “incompetent” and “liar.”
Americans also used words such as, asshole, unqualified, ignorant, racist, embarrassment, narcissist, bully, arrogant, dishonest, bigot, buffoon, blowhard, clown, and greedy, just to list a few.

Adding insult to injury, Trump’s approval rating reached a new low in the poll. Only 36 percent approve while 58 percent disapprove.

In addition, 61 percent say Trump is not honest and 56 percent say he does not have good leadership skills.

The poll also shows that Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the way Trump talks about the media 65 percent to 31 percent. Most, 57 percent, also trust the media more than him to tell the truth, a statistic that will likely send Trump off the deep end.

Americans also want Democrats to take back control of the Senate.

Overall, it’s pretty damn clear that the American people loathe Trump. And even though Trump will try to spin the numbers or use Fox News propaganda to dispute them, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll Tim Malloy says Trump really is out of excuses at this point.

“There is no way to spin or sugarcoat these sagging numbers,” Malloy said.

And this poll was taken long before Trump’s embarrassing overseas trip to Poland and the G-20 Summit in Germany, where Trump kissed Putin’s ass for two hours and offered to let Russia work on American cyber security despite the fact that Russia has been launching cyber attacks against our nation.

So it’s likely Americans would use even more negative words to describe Trump if they could pick again.

Trump is going to blow a gasket when he learns of this poll and you can bet the hissy fit will be public for all to see because Trump is thin-skinned, which curiously was not a word Americans thought of for the poll. Maybe they will next time.

After meeting with Putin, Trump tries to weaken Russian sanctions bill passed by Senate

A new report claims that the Trump administration lobbied key members of the House of Representatives to weaken a Russian sanctions bill that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Two congressional aides tell the Daily Beast that “a top Treasury Department official met with House leadership staffers and committee aides last Thursday to discuss changing a key component of the Senate bill which was sent to the House for approval after a procedural violation stalled it for weeks.”

The sanctions bill, which passed the Senate by a 98-2 vote, would not only slap fresh sanctions on Russia and Iran, but would limit President Donald Trump’s powers to unilaterally ease sanctions himself by subjecting any attempted weakening of sanctions to congressional review.

“The Trump administration has argued that the key congressional review provision of the Senate-passed legislation would inappropriately tie the hands of the administration,” the Daily Beast reports. “Administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have warned that slapping new sanctions on Russia would handicap their desire to repair the relationship between the two nations.”

Trump could still veto the sanctions bill if it passes in its current form, although the Senate at least would have more than enough votes to override it.

Trump Jr. lawyers up after revelations of his secret meetings with Russian lawyers

Donald Trump Jr. has hired a lawyer to represent him in Russia-related investigations, his office and the lawyer said on Monday, as Republicans voiced concern about a meeting between the U.S. president’s son and a Russian.

Trump Jr. hired New York lawyer Alan Futerfas, who specializes in criminal defense.

Futerfas would not say when he was retained or whether he played any part in the statements Trump Jr. made over the weekend about a meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Trump Jr. met the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in June 2016 during the presidential election campaign at Trump Tower in New York.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended, the New York Times said. It called the encounter the first confirmed private meeting of members of Donald Trump’s inner circle with a Russian national.

Congressional committees and a federal special counsel, Robert Mueller, are investigating whether Russia interfered in the election and colluded with the Trump campaign.

Moscow denies interfering, and Trump, who became president on Jan. 20, says there was no collusion.

Trump Jr. has said he agreed to meet Veselnitskaya, described by the Times as having links to the Kremlin, after being promised damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Futerfas told Reuters: “I look forward to assisting Donald Jr. and, quite frankly, there is nothing to all of the media buzz about the June 9th, 2016 meeting. That will be proven to be the case.”

Earlier on Monday, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Susan Collins, called on Donald Trump Jr. to testify before the panel, which is looking into accusations of Russian meddling in the election.

So far, we count SEVEN Trump officials who are lying about Russian contacts. What are they hiding?

The recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney with close ties to the Kremlin is just another in a long line of coincidental meetings that President Donald Trump’s friends, family, and associates had with Russians.

A number of people close to Trump have claimed they never had contact with Russian operatives — only for their denial to be proven wrong later. Below is a list of some of the most prominent people:

1. Donald Trump Jr.

The most recent in the list of Trump allies is Trump’s own son. In a March interview with the New York Times, he denied having any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals.

“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did,” he said. “But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly, none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”

That was a lie.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump Jr., Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had claimed that she had information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. has admitted he attended the meeting to see what the “dirt” was, but that the conversation resulted in nothing meaningful.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) noted that the meeting is important because it was the first indication that someone in the campaign demonstrated they were willing to collude with Russians.

2. Jeff Sessions

While under oath in his Jan. 10 confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) about any connections to Russians.

Sessions replied that he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the campaign. He also made the same statement in writing on the official questionnaire. He was told that any communications he had “as a senator” did not need to go on the form since that was as his capacity as an elected official.

That was a lie.

Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice during 2016. One meet up was even photographed during the Republican National Convention, where Sessions was taking meetings for Trump. The second took place in September.

3. Mike Pence

No one has denied the Russian collusion or connections more publicly than Vice President Mike Pence, who was allegedly setup to lie on national television just before Trump was inaugurated. Specifically, Pence claimed that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn never discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their introductory phone calls.

That was a lie.

While Pence might try to maintain plausible deniability, the evidence is stacking up that over and over Pence was warned about Flynn’s contacts with Russia. In May, it was revealed that Flynn was warned by the transition team about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador on the day then-President Barack Obama issued sanctions against Russia for hacking. Pence was the head of the transition team after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) was replaced.

Before the inauguration, Pence was sent a letter by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) warning the transition that Flynn had concerning lobbying contracts.

It was also revealed that acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn’s communications with Russians put him in a compromised position. She had two in-person meetings and one phone call specifically because she was concerned about Pence’s comments on “Face the Nation.”

When Yates testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May, she said that she told White House officials on Jan. 26 that Pence deserved to know that Flynn had not been truthful about his communications with Russian officials. Flynn was not asked to resign until Feb. 13.

“Either they were criminally negligent — or they weren’t and they knew,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said about Pence and the Trump team in March.

4. Michael Flynn

Flynn told anyone who asked him about his communications between the Russian Ambassador Kislyak that he didn’t recall the issue of sanctions coming up, but “isn’t completely certain.”

That was a lie.

It was further found that Flynn lied to investigators about payments from work that Flynn had done with Russians so that he could get his security clearance.

5. Jared Kushner

To gain his top-secret security clearance, Trump’s son-in-law was required to disclose any encounters with foreign government officials for the past seven years. Kushner did not list at least three such meetings.

Kushner’s attorney said that the omission of dozens of contacts with Russians was nothing more than an error. It’s also a lie.

Kushner’s first meeting that we know of came during that June 9, 2016 meeting with Veselnitskaya, in which he, Trump Jr. and Manafort were told the Kremlin-linked lawyer had damaging information on Clinton.

Another meeting was in December with Ambassador Kislyak and the third was with the leader of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank, which was arranged at Kislyak’s command.

Kushner’s attorney claims that the form was submitted prematurely and that they informed the FBI they would be sending supplemental information. In the absence of that information, Kushner was issued an interim clearance.

After the evidence was revealed that Kushner lied about the meetings, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for Kushner to lose his top-secret clearance until questions can be answered.

6. Paul Manafort

In a July 2016 interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Paul Manafort claimed that there were no ties between him or Trump’s campaign and Putin.

“That’s absurd…there’s no basis to it,” Manafort said.

In another July interview, this time with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Manafort swore that any allegations about links between Putin and Trump, including his own personal role, was “crazy.”

Also around that time, Manafort was asked in a “CBS This Morning” interview if Trump had any financial relationships with Russian oligarchs.

“That’s what he said. That’s what I said, uh, that’s obviously what my position is,” Manafort stammered.

All of that was a lie.

In March, the Associated Press broke a story that Manafort “secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.”

The AP quoted “interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP,” who revealed that Manafort’s secret work for Putin. It “appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests,” the AP said.

7. Carter Page

In a Feb. 2017 interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS NewsHour, foreign policy advisor Carter Page said that he had “no meetings” with Russian officials last year.

That was a lie.

Page later told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, “I do not deny” meeting with the ambassador last summer in Ohio at the RNC convention.

“I will say I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland. Let’s just say that much,” he added.

It was then revealed that Page went to Russia with a secret recording of Trump asking Putin to hack 2016 election to be hacked.

While close friend and ally of Roger Stone had communications with those involved in the Russian hack, he didn’t lie about it, in fact, he bragged about it. It is unclear if there are others close to Trump, but the list might expand as the investigations continue.

Trump son-in-law Kushner begging Qatar for billions of dollars . . . Qataris turned him down . . . talk about a world of hurt

Not long before a major crisis ripped through the Middle East, pitting the United States and a bloc of Gulf countries against Qatar, Jared Kushner’s real estate company had unsuccessfully sought a critical half-billion investment from one of the richest and most influential men in the tiny nation, according to three well-placed sources with knowledge of the near transaction.

Qatar is facing an ongoing blockade led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and joined by Egypt and Bahrain, which President Trump has taken credit for sparking. Kushner, meanwhile, has reportedly played a key behind-the-scenes role in hardening the U.S. posture toward the embattled nation.

Trump himself has unsuccessfully sought financing in recent years from the Qataris, but it is difficult to overstate just how important to Kushner the investment at 666 Fifth Avenue is for him, his company, and his family’s legacy in real estate. Without some outside intervention or unforeseen turnaround in the market, the investment could become an embarrassing half billion dollar loss. It’s unclear precisely how much peril such a loss would put Jared, or his family’s, finances in, given the opacity of their private holdings.

Anbang pulled out after the deal was criticized as a conflict of interest, given Kushner’s role in the White House. With Anbang, and its ability to secure a $4 billion construction loan, out, the Qatari condition wasn’t met, and the Gulf deal fizzled, according to a source in the region. That chain of events was disputed by a source who said said the deal between HBJ and the Kushners wasn’t dead, but on hold as the deal’s mix of loans and equity was reconsidered.

The revelation of the half-billion dollar deal raises thorny and unprecedented ethical questions. If the deal is not entirely dead, that means Jared Kushner is on the one hand pushing to use the power of American diplomacy to pummel a small nation while on the other his firm is hoping to extract an extraordinary amount of capital from there for a failing investment. If, however, the deal is entirely dead, the pummeling may be seen as intimidating to other investors on the end of a Kushner Companies pitch.

The Kushner’s purchase of 666 5th Avenue for a record breaking $1.8 billion in 2007 was capstone to an era marked by high prices and reckless amounts of debt. The Kushners invested $500 million in the building, and took out debt to cover the rest. But even at the height of a bubbling New York real estate market, there were clear signs that the price was too high and the debt was too much. The Kushners paid $1,200 a square foot, twice the previous per square foot record of $600, while records show that even with the building initially almost fully rented out, revenue only covered about two-thirds of family’s debt costs.

When the financial crisis hit, rents when down, vacancies went up and the Kushners were short on cash to pay their debts. They sold off the Fifth Avenue retail space for $525 million and used the proceeds to pay off non-mortgage debt on the building. Then in 2011, the Kushners sold off just under 50 percent of the building’s office space to Vornado, as part of a refinancing deal with the publicly traded real estate giant.

The $1.2 billion interest-only mortgage is due in February 2019. The office space is worth less than its mortgage and “there is no equity value” left in the office section of the building, Jed Reagan of Green Street Advisors told the New York Times in April. (Because they sold the retail space to make payments on other debt tied to the building, the office space is the only part of the tower the Kushners still have a stake in.) As a result, the family’s initial $500 million investment, once-heralded as an example of Jared’s emergence as a brash real estate star, has for now effectively been wiped out. A massive refinancing and construction of a new tower that dramatically increases the building’s value is one way to try get out of that hole.

Read more: https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/jared-kushner-tried-and-failed-to-get-a-half-billion-dollar-bailout-from-qatar/

Trump family and Russia: Like minnows in a shark tank

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a56218/trump-junior-russian-meeting/

So, Donald Trump The Second now has his ass in a crack because he went out after something that hundreds of elite political journalists have sought since at least 1991—some dirt on the Clintons. The difference, of course, is that many of the latter took meetings with every poolroom liar and state house grifter in the state of Arkansas. According to the remarkable one-two thrown by The New York Times over the weekend, Junior went spelunking for slime in an incredible universe of murderous gangsters, which shares a very big chunk of the Russian government’s Venn diagram with the political elite of that country. Forgive my cynicism, but Junior would have been better off hanging out at the Mena Airport, or maybe tossing back a few at Parker Dozhier’s fish camp…

This, then, is Junior’s official explanation: I thought we were colluding to ratfck the Democratic candidate, and the presidential election in general, but then she started talking about getting the mobsters’ money back. Bitch set me up…

Right now, there are more Russians involved in this story than there are in War and Peace. Many of them have the power to cloud men’s minds; how else to explain the fact that both Kushner and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III both forgot to mention to the responsible vetting agencies meetings with various Russians. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the statue in the Lincoln Memorial was wearing a fur hat some morning very soon. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if the R in Rhode Island suddenly turned backwards…

What I believe I see here is an incredibly corrupt American family doing business with criminal gangs that are way, way out of their league, and that are in league with the institutions of government, and the formidable security apparatus, of an authoritarian state. Talk about punching out of your weight class. This isn’t cheating some poor subcontractor. These people throw you out windows. And the Trumps have being doing business in this financial abattoir for years. This doesn’t make them sharp. This makes them compliant minnows in a shark tank.

Former CIA spook says the entire Trump-Russia affair is classic Russian tactics . . . bait Trump in, use him for their purposes

A former CIA operative appeared on CNN to dissect Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer last year who promised him valuable dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — and she said it was a classic tactic by Russian intelligence services.

During a CNN panel discussion on Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, former CIA spy Lindsay Moran said that she has seen the Russian government use these kinds of tactics in the past on American citizens, who may unwittingly find themselves compromised by Russian foreign agents.

“Legality aside, this is Russian intelligence tactics at their best,” she said. “Let’s promise Trump Jr. something that he wants, lure him in, bait and switch. It doesn’t matter whether they talked about nefarious activities with him at the meeting — the whole thing is nefarious.”

Moran went on to say that it was particularly disturbing that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who now has security clearances as part of his work at the Trump White House, was present at the meeting.

“I have conducted background investigations,” Moran explained. “If you do not disclose meetings with foreign nationals, especially one promising dirt in exchange for something, that’s a big deal. That’s not leaving out an address you had for two months in college. It’s raising a number of eyebrows and can result in a counter-intelligence investigation. It can get you locked up.”