Friday, May 04, 2018

Oh my God. Maybe Cohen WILL flip...! Plus: The ultimate gangster

The endless cable news coverage of Giuliani's statements vis-a-vis Stormy Daniels has used about fifteen minutes of information to fill a day's worth of airtime. If you're looking for truly new news, it's here.

On the Morning Joe program, Donny Deutsch claimed that he had a verrrrrry interesting chat with none other than Michael Cohen:
“I spoke with Michael Cohen yesterday, and his remark about Giuliani, was that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Deutsch said. “He also said look, there are two people that know exactly what happened. And that’s myself and the president. And you’ll be hearing my side of the story.”

“And he was obviously very frustrated with what had come out yesterday,” Deutsch added.
Jonathan Turley interpreted Cohen's words (which I hope Deutsch has reported accurately) as an indication that Cohen and Trump are now on "separate scripts."

Be still, my imperfectly-beating heart!

If Cohen and Trump are now using "separate scripts" on the Stormy Daniels matter, they are also reading from separate scripts concerning far more serious matters.

If Deutsch is right. If, if, if.

Regarding Giuliani: It's clear that he thought up and implemented what he considered a no-lose strategy. He decided to confess that Trump reimbursed Cohen for that "hush money" pay-out, and to claim that the funds were entirely personal and unrelated to the campaign. Even less plausibly, Giuliani wants us to believe that Trump didn't know.

This brilliant strategy didn't play out as planned. Now Trump is trying to take it all back

One big problem, of course, is that the payment to Stormy occurred shortly before election day. The calendar does injury to the claim that he payment had no relation to the campaign. Moreover: If the payment was unconnected to the campaign, why was that fact kept secret until now?

It's important to note that we have zero evidence that Stormy Daniels initiated contact with the Trump campaign. In other words, she never told Team Trump: "Pay up or I'll blab." There was absolutely no reason to believe that an ugly accusation was about to go public, breaking poor Melania's heart. They contacted her -- shortly before the election.

If, as Trump claims, there was no affair, why did Cohen contact Stormy Daniels? Even if Trump stops pretending that he never had the fling, he still can't explain why Cohen made contact with Stormy at that time. We have no choice but to presume that this interaction was all about the election.

Sorry, Rudy, but despite your claim, that money wasn't purely personal.

Update: This tweet from Lawrence O'Donnell's producer is germane to the point I just made.
Michael Avenatti breaks news on @TheLastWord: "There were extensive communications between Michael Cohen and [Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer] Keith Davidson in October of 2016 relating to the timing of this payment and the need for the payment to be made prior to the election."
I missed last night's show. My bad. It's pretty well established by this point that Cohen and Davidson had a kind of partnership going. I wish the Bar Association would weigh in on that arrangement...

The most dangerous gangster in history. Semion Mogilevich, mentioned in a number of previous posts, was profiled in this 1998 Village Voice story -- an older article, but very worthy of your time. I believe that investigating Mogilevich will tell us much about both Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.

Here are a few interesting tidbits:
In early 1990, Mogilevich fled Moscow, as did many other dons, to avoid the gangland wars that were then roiling the capital. Mogilevich and his top henchmen settled in Israel, where they received Israeli citizenship. He ”succeeded in building a bridgehead in Israel” and ”developing significant and influential [political] ties,” says an Israeli intelligence report.

Mogilevich is married to a Hungarian national, Katalin Papp. That marriage allowed him to legally emigrate to Budapest, Hungary, in 1991, where he began to build the foundations of his global criminal empire. He bought a string of nightclubs in Prague, Riga, and Kiev–called the ”Black and White Clubs”–that has become one of the world’s foremost centers of prostitution.
Other sources have indicated that Mogilevich controls hookers who are (or look) underaged, and are thus useful in blackmailing the powerful.

Jeffrey Epstein surounded himself with girls from Eastern Europe, many of them quite young. A "modelling" agency was used to bring them into this country. If the girls did not come from Mogilevich's organization, then where did they come from?

Nobody really knows the source of Epstein's wealth. He insists that he handles the funds of "billionaires," but does not identify his clients. I'm not the only person who wonders if Epstein's clients are the sort of people to say it? Who have polysyllabic names that many Americans might find difficult to pronounce, and who happen to have a lot of shady loot that needs laundering.
"In Europe and Russia, the ”corruption of police and public officials has been part of the Semion Mogilevich Organization’s modus operandi,” says a classified FBI document. ”The corruptive influence of the Mogilevich organization apparently extends to the Russian security system. During 1995, two colonels from Department of the Russian Presidential Security Service . . . traveled to Hungary under commercial cover to meet with Mogilevich . . . seeking information for use in the Russian political campaign.” An Israeli associate of Mogilevich met with the two colonels and provided intelligence..."
On April 28, the German national television network ZDF reported that the BND (the German intelligence agency) had entered into a secret contract with Mogilevich to provide information on the Russian mob. The charges were made by several sources, including Pierre Delilez, a highly regarded Belgium police investigator who specializes in Russian Organized Crime. Because of this deal with the BND, police in Belgium, Germany, and Austria have complained that it is now impossible to investigate the ”Brainy Don.”
Close observers of the Trump/Russia affair have noted the recurring links to Germany.

The Trump connection runs through his business partner Felix Sater. The next time Sater tries to burnish his image by doing a round of TV interviews, perhaps someone will blindside him with a question about his relationship with the Mogilevich organization. Here's a good place to start your research into the Trump/Sater/Mogilevich connection.

Then go here.

That story brings in a new player: Yuri Milner, the Russian tech investor tied to both Facebook and Twitter. Previously, Milner was a bigwig at Menatep Bank.
Menatep Bank was involved in a scheme by which the Russian mob’s boss of bosses, Semion Mogilevich laundered tens of billions of dollars through the Bank of New York.
By all accounts, Yuri Milner is very good at what he does, but it’s important to note he’s a self-made man backed by the powerful Russian oligarch named Alisher Usmanov. Because while Yuri Milner likes to style himself as a man of the west, his money comes from the Kremlin’s highest levels of power.
How do we know this? Because Alisher Usmanov is, like so many other Kremlin insiders, another “former” KGB man.
Yuri Milner’s money, specifically in his investments in Twitter and Facebook, originated from Kremlin-backed VTB Bank and Gazprom, according to a recent report in The Guardian. One does not receive money from the Kremlin without Vladimir Putin’s approval. It’s just not how he runs things.
Let's bring things back to "the brainy Don," Mogilevich:
What’s interesting about Milner’s connection with the natural gas giant Gazprom is the company’s close associations with pro-Kremlin Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash and Semion Mogilevich. According to a Reuters investigation, Dmitry Firtash “said he had needed and received permission from a man named Semion Mogilevich to establish various businesses” in Ukraine. His primary partner in the country was Gazprom.
There's a lot more in that that piece, written by Jay McKenizie. Read it, savor it, get as much juice out of it as you can.

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