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Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:40 AM

My summary of news reports on the GOP/WH scandals so far

My summary of news reports on the GOP/WH “scandals” so far

(I started writing this last Sunday, but more has emerged)

As of late March:

Backchannel-gate: The Rs allegedly hated HRC, so when Thump became the presumed nominee, their representatives tried to curry favor with his organization by offering to share “dirt”. His organization initially claimed the purpose of the meeting was to work on issues with adopting R children. There were also suspected meetings between campaign operatives and persons linked to the Rs. This included apparent efforts to set up back-channels, not only during the campaign but also during the transition (flouting the rule that there is only one Prez at a time). This appears to have ensnared Michael Flynn and lead to his downfall.

Manafort-gate: The former campaign manager (along with his associate) did (and directed) covert lobbying on behalf of pro-R Ukrainian politicians, without registering as a lobbyist for foreign interests or informing the IRS about the related income. He then laundered that income through various offshore entities (including Cyprus) to fund and improve property in Arlington, Long Island, NYC, and elsewhere. His associate did some money-laundering too. (Update: both Manafort and the associate (Rick Gates) appear to be indirectly (or directly) linked to the Rs. From NBC: In a court filing tonight in the Special Counsel's case against Alex van der Zwaan it identifies a Person A (an associate of Paul Manafort) as having ties to the Russian intelligence service, GRU, in 2016 when Rick Gates was in contact with Person A. Wikipedia: In February 2018, Van der Zwaan was charged with lying to the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators about his interactions with political consultant and lobbyist Rick Gates and an unidentified Ukrainian-based long-term associate of Paul Manafort.[ (update: The Ukrainian is alleged to have been a member of the former USSR’s military intelligence agency. Gates was in contact with this person in September and October 2016 while serving as Thump’s deputy campaign manager.)

(A note: Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, also had dealings with at least one Cyprus bank.)

Faceplant-gate: Strategic Communicational Laboratories, now SCL Group, is a British firm that was founded to study mass behavior and how to change it, and has been involved in the commercial, military and political sectors. Wikipedia states that SCL created Cambridge Analytica as a US firm in 2012 for the purpose of participating in US elections. (Christopher Wylie stated that after Bannon and SCL’s Alexander Nix met in 2013, in the fall of 2013 he, Bannon, Nix, Rebekah Mercer and Robert Mercer met at Ms. Mercer’s apartment and Robert Mercer agreed to fund Cambridge Analytica, a SCL-style US firm, with $10 million in hopes of shaping the 2014 US congressional elections.) Nix became CA’s CEO.

Meanwhile, a Cambridge University researcher (Aleksandr Kogan) who couldn’t use the university’s data for his own purposes set up Global Science Research. In 2014, a “Global Science Research” survey started appearing on FB. “ The task posted by “Global Science Research” appeared ordinary, at least on the surface. The company offered turkers $1 or $2 to complete an online survey. But there were a couple of additional requirements as well. First, Global Science Research was only interested in American turkers. Second, the turkers had to download a Facebook app before they could collect payment. Global Science Research said the app would “download some information about you and your network … basic demographics and likes of categories, places, famous people, etc. from you and your friends.” This continued until late 2015, when The Guardian reported on the survey and it was shut down.

This let Kogan access (both directly, and “unknowingly” via links to about 50 million FB users) the personal data of FB users. (Update: CA (or its UK affiliate SCL) is now said to have recruited the academic to get the FB data.) CA then obtained this data via the company that the academic set up. (Update: Canadian company AggregateIQ is believed to have worked on software that CA used on the FB data to i.e. identify likely Republican voters.) A BBC Channel 4 undercover investigation showed CA’s Nix claiming that CA had the ability to use any means necessary to boost or derail a campaign.

CA originally worked for the Cruz campaign in 2016, but then shifted over to support Thump. It is claimed that CA used the FB data to target selected groups of US adults with messages promoting Thump and denigrating HRC. Although Mercer apparently funded this effort, it is not clear yet if this effort was also supported by the Rs. (Update: it is now claimed that at least one employee of Palantir, Peter Thiel’s organization, worked on developing the software. Wikipedia states that Thiel switched from Libertarian to Republican in 2016, and supported Thump after Fiorina dropped out. It also indicates that he was the first major investor in FB, but by 2017 had sold most of those shares. IMO, this implies that Thiel knew the potential usefulness of data-mining FB data.)

And the old:

Moscow-gate: Thump may have obtained funding from R sources to bankroll has own business efforts after most American banks judged him to be a poor credit risk. He made efforts to get a Thump Tower built in Moscow. He did hold the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. There are rumors (some of them via the Steele dossier) of what he did there.

The three questions are:

Was this all pushed by R and the R supporters?

What did Thump’s circle know about R efforts and when did it know it?

Did anyone in the circle (or outside backers) collude with the Rs/R supporters?

Remember that a DoJ investigation typically takes one to three years until indictments are made. By comparison, Mueller’s efforts so far have quickly yielded some results. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the investigation(s) (unless stopped by executive action) dragged on into 2019.

On the side:

Kushner-gate: First there was the “minor” affair of Kushner’s sister trying to lure some Chinese to invest in exchange for investor visas, and invoking Kushner’s job during the process. Now, it has emerged that after executives from two organizations met with Kushner at the White House, his in-trouble real estate firm received over $500 million in loans.
It is believed that the Qataris decided to not invest with that firm, whereupon Kushner made efforts to get Qatar to be declared a state sponsor of terrorism.

Bimbo-gate: “Stormy Daniels” and others have accused Thump of having extramarital sex. There are claims that some were paid to sign non-disclosure agreements, while another accuser sold her story to a tabloid but the Thump-friendly editor spiked it.

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Reply My summary of news reports on the GOP/WH scandals so far (Original post)
nitpicker Mar 2018 OP
bobbieinok Mar 2018 #1
CincyDem Mar 2018 #2
Cha Mar 2018 #3

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:50 AM

1. Thanks for post. V hard to keep up with scandals. Your summary a real help.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:55 AM

2. Great list, and it'll likely be growing. One request to consider...

...how about Bimbo-gate getting a new name. Adultery-gate, Grabber-gate, Predator-gate, Silencer-gate...something that doesn't implicitly disparage the victims. Just calling it out because I think a fair number of his targets wouldn't fall into the bimbo category.

Your summary, your post, your call.


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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:57 AM

3. KICK4your research, nitpicker


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