The whistleblower's complaint
involved multiple acts, not just one promise made by Trump to a world leader. Or so says the NYT
The complaint was related to multiple acts, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for American spy agencies, told lawmakers during a private briefing, two officials familiar with it said. But he declined to discuss specifics, including whether the complaint involved the president, according to committee members.
Separately, a person familiar with the whistle-blower’s complaint said it involves in part a commitment that Mr. Trump made in a communication with another world leader. The Washington Post first reported the nature of that discussion. But no single communication was at the root of the complaint, another person familiar with it said.
points to a very disturbing possibility. This scenario
seems very credible -- so much so, it goes right to the top of our list of theories.
But the $250m (£280m) of arms for Ukrainian forces, which are confronting Russian backed separatists, has been enmeshed in a bitter battle between the US president and his opponents over accusations that he has tried to manipulate it for underhand political reasons.
The Trump administration had in fact suspended the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, only agreeing to unblock it after rising bipartisan clamour from congress.
The ostensible reason for the hold-up was to ensure that it tallied with US interests.
The real reason, claim critics, was to pressure the Ukrainian government to target Joe Biden – the possible Democrat candidate for next year’s election – through an investigation into corruption allegations against his son.
In other words, Ukraine needs money to fight Russians. Trump says he'll give the money -- but only if the current leader of Ukraine cooks up "evidence" to frame Biden's kid.
Now, the Independent article quoted above does not mention the whistleblower controversy. But the two scandals seem to be awfully congruent -- so much so, one can't help but suspect that the two are, in fact, one.
This goes way beyond Watergate. Dick Nixon would never have dared
. If this Ukraine/Biden theory turns out to be true, and if Pelosi doesn't immediately move into full-out impeachment mode, she should be considered as crooked as Trump himself.
Epstein, Bannon, cryptocurrency.
Here's the thing about living in the Trump era: There's always some HUGE scandal which draws attention away from a half-dozen other HUGE scandals. No-one can keep up.
The Hollywood Reporter has published a very bizarre tale
involving Steve Bannon and Jeffrey Epstein. On any other day, everyone would be discussing this yarn. It has everything: A child star, underaged sex (homosexual sex, this time around), cryptocurrency skullduggery, Jeffrey Epstein -- and dear old Steve Bannon, former Trumper and head honcho of the international
The star of this story is a former child actor named Brock Pierce...
...who as a teenager co-founded the eventually infamous Digital Entertainment Network and who, in the mid- to late ‘90s, was associated with an alleged sex-abuse ring — this one involving young men. Several later contended in court filings that Pierce and two associates had drugged and assaulted them at parties in their Encino mansion. Pierce was never charged with any crime and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. He settled with one plaintiff, and two others dismissed their cases against him.
At some point, he decided to get in on the cryptocurrency racket (which really is
a racket, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise). So did Epstein, who, in 2011, invited Pierce (not a scientist) to attend a conference for top-flight scientists. The confab was called Mindshift.
How did Epstein and Pierce first get together? Dunno. But both were involved with underaged prostitution. In both cases, there have been allegations that rich people were blackmailed.
After the conference, Pierce somehow became a multi-millionaire -- perhaps a billionaire -- playing the crypto game, which was just a-borning in 2011.
It's unclear what, if anything, Epstein expected to get from Pierce, who was unlikely to add to the prestige of the conference. Epstein’s activities in the area of cryptocurrency remain mysterious. In 2017, he gave an interview to website The Next Web in which he expressed a vague interest in the area, and The Wall Street Journal has reported that Epstein claimed that he worked for the U.S. Treasury Department on cryptocurrency.
The freakin' Treasury
Department? This, on top of his claimed work for the spooks?
I've long held the suspicion that, when we finally learn what Bitcoin was all about, we'll learn that it was a scam perpetrated by guys like Epstein.
A side note:
We've all seen how a series of financial fads -- gold buggery, pump-and-dump schemes, ponzi schemes, MLM schemes -- turned out to be scams. In fact, Epstein first became rich via a ponzi scheme involving a swindler named Steve Hofenberg, who now peddles stories about Epstein. (Do not
trust that guy.) The scammers behind these operations often target working-class and middle-class libertarians -- naive young guys who've read Atlas Shrugged
and emerged with delusions of supermanhood. Libertarians of that sort are eternally convinced that they are the hippest of the hip, which means, of course, that they born suckers.
"Pride," says Satan at the close of The Devil's Advocate
. "It's my favorite
Cryptocurrency mania, I believe, is just the latest scam targeting libertarians. No doubt some ground-floor insiders have benefited, but the whole edifice is predicated on the false notion that an ultra-volatile currency, unbacked by any state, has value as a means of exchange. The only people who would ever buy into that
goofy premise are the dummies who injected the works of Ayn Rand straight into their veins.
Back to our story:
Pierce was also in business starting in the mid-2000s with former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had his own ties to Epstein. Bannon did not respond to requests for comment but he apparently remains a fan of Pierce, who has popped up lately as an unlikely presence in Trump world.
Pierce and partners set up a company called IGE, which facilitated the use of real currency to purchase online gaming goods. Since I'm not a gamer, I can't claim to understand how this world works (and I'm uninterested in learning). The bottom line is that Bannon and Pierce got together on the IGE operation; Bannon brought in Goldman Sachs and hired a bunch of poor schlubs in China to do the scut work.
At some point, Bannon developed his own connection to Epstein, although it’s unknown when or how the relationship began.
I'm willing to guess that Pierce was the go-between.
It was not long after Pierce’s ejection from IGE that he emerged as a player in the world of cryptocurrency. (Bannon also became involved in cryptocurrency.) Pierce founded a number of companies including Blockchain Capital, where his bio identified him as “a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.” (Bill Clinton, of course, also had a relationship with Epstein, though he has denied knowledge of Epstein’s wrongdoing.)
Don't read too much into Pierce's boast about the Clinton Global Initiative, which was all about ending childhood obesity and improving the nation's health. The Initiative wasn't a way to make money, and it had nothing to do with any of the stuff that truly interested Pierce.
Another wheeler-dealer named Al Seckel arranged that Mindshift conference.
Presumably Seckel met Epstein through his sort-of wife, Isabel Maxwell — the sister of alleged Epstein enabler Ghislaine Maxwell — whom he had married in 2007, while apparently still married to someone else.
Indeed, in July 2015 Seckel’s body supposedly was found at the bottom of a cliff in France. He was 56. (The echoes of the fate of Isabel Maxwell’s father Robert, found floating in the sea near his yacht in 1991, are hard to miss.) Seckel died, it seems, just as Tablet magazine was preparing an article that alleged a litany of dubious business dealings as well as exposed Seckel’s phony academic credentials and double marriage.
interesting. Apparently, there is good reason to suspect that Seckel faked his death.
Something's going on here. This is yet another one of those occasions when we seem to have about 50 pieces of a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Pierce's wheeler-dealer lifestyle went sotto
after John Oliver discussed him on Last Week Tonight
. There's much more tot his story; I strongly recommend you check out the article referenced above.