We’re still waiting for the deal (?) Supervisor Sundberg; Updated

Update from LoCo:
https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2018/apr/18/mercer-fraser-withdraws-plans-glendale-cannabis-ex/
Mercer-Fraser Withdraws Controversial Plans for Glendale Cannabis Extraction Plant and Rezone Request
Mercer-Fraser has abandoned plans to build a 5,000 square-foot marijuana manufacturing facility on a 13.5 acre parcel along the Mad River between Glendale Dr. and West End Rd. | Image courtesy County of Humboldt.
In a surprise announcement Wednesday morning, Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg tells the Outpost that Mercer-Fraser Co. has withdrawn plans for a controversial cannabis extraction facility along the banks of the Mad River, near Glendale, as well as a request to rezone the property heavy industrial.
Humboldt County Planning and Building Director John Ford confirms that the county received a letter from Mercer-Fraser’s attorney Tuesday night withdrawing both the proposed plans for a cannabis extraction facility and the request to have the property rezoned from agricultural to heavy industrial.
The project, which was narrowly approved by the Humboldt County Planning Commission earlier this year, has drawn a great deal of public scrutiny as well as an official appeal from the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD), whose leadership has argued that heavy industrial use on the property threatens to “adversely affect the domestic drinking water supply for nearly two thirds of the population of Humboldt County.”
Reached by phone this morning, HBMWD General Manager John Friedenbach said he had not heard of Mercer-Fraser’s plans to abandon the project.
“I’m surprised,” he said before quickly adding, “I reserve final judgment pending seeing that in writing.” Friedenbach added that if it proves to be true, “obviously the district is very glad to hear that.”
Sundberg recently has been alluding to an agreement that would please everybody, though earlier this week Mercer-Fraser President Justin Zabel said he couldn’t discuss what was in the works.
“We’re working on a good solution right now,” Zabel said on Monday. “So I guess stay tuned.”
He went on to say that he felt the project has been largely misunderstood, especially the request to rezone the property heavy industrial, which he said was a natural extension of changes made to the the underlying land use designation during the county’s general plan update.
Mercer-Fraser has operated a gravel yard and concrete batch plant on the premises for years.
“People talk about how the public should know what’s going on; this general plan [update] was going on for 10 years,” Zabel said, noting that Mercer-Fraser and other property owners in the Glendale region filed rezone requests as part of the open public process.
Zabel added that the company had no plans to operate the proposed cannabis extraction facility itself; rather, it was building it to lease. The proposal proved controversial largely because of plans to use volatile solvents, including butane, propane and carbon dioxide, in the extraction process.
HBMWD staff said heavy industrial activity near their Ranney Collectors (pump houses) threatened to contaminate the drinking water for up to two-thirds of the population of Humboldt County. These pump houses draw water up from the aquifer through the sands and gravel of the riverbed, providing filtered drinking water to residents of Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Blue Lake, Manila and other communities in the north bay region.
Mercer-Fraser’s property sits within the Mad River’s 100-year flood zone, though Zabel said the company had agreed to build the cannabis extraction facility two feet above that designated elevation and had gone above and beyond state regulations in designing a septic disposal system.
“I am very happy to have this issue come to a successful conclusion,” Sundberg said. “It took a little more time because Mercer-Fraser wanted to look into withdrawing both the permit and the rezone. I want to thank them for working with me through the issues and their responsiveness to the community.”

Except will Mercer-Fraser bring this back in the near future after the election?

 

Mercer-Fraser’s Justin Zabel

Sundberg and Zabel continue to delay appeal hearing over Mercer-Fraser “hash lab” on the Mad

Mercer-Fraser’s Justin Zabel in cahoots with Ryan Sundberg continue to tease a resolution of the standoff with the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District over the potential threat to the water supply for two-thirds of Humboldt County water users. The Examiner asks; How can there be this great resolution if HBMWD isn’t aware of said resolution.

It seems to us that Ryan is just trying to kick the can down the road past the contested election for his 5th district seat.



From Tuesday's times-standard:

 Decision on pot facility expected

Sundberg “I think everybody will be happy’ with the resolution”

The Mercer-Fraser Company is expected to make an announcement Tuesday about its controversial proposal to build a cannabis manufacturing facility in Glendale upriver from a local drinking water supply pump that provides water to two-thirds of county residents, according to 5th District Humboldt County Supervisor and Board Chairman Ryan Sundberg.

Sundberg said he has been working with the company and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District — which supplies water to about 88,000 residents — in an attempt to resolve the water district’s concerns with the project.

“I think everybody will be happy with this. Nothing has changed,” Sundberg told the Times-Standard on Monday afternoon.

Mercer-Fraser CEO Justin Zabel said in an email to the Times-Standard on Monday evening a recent meeting with the county planning department and the water district was “very productive.” “We were finally able to have another meeting to meet and confer with county planning last week to discuss the entire application, rather than just the special permit application pursuant to our previous meetings and discussions with the water district and others,” Zabel wrote. “The meeting was very productive which will allow us to address the concerns shortly.”

The district and its seven municipal customers have expressed concern that the facility and a proposed zoning change at the property could potentially allow industrial contaminants to make their way into the groundwater or drinking water. The company has stated local and state regulations require safe containment of any chemicals used at the facility and that any future industrial uses at the property would have to be approved through a publicly vetted permitting process. The project has been on hold as the water district and Mercer-Fraser staff discuss potential resolutions. Last week, the water district’s General Manager John Friedenbach said that they had reached a verbal agreement on March 19, but that Mercer-Fraser has since changed its stance and the resolution talks had fallen through. As to whether Mercer-Fraser had agreed to pull the project entirely or modify it, Friedenbach declined comment both last week and again Monday. Sundberg also deferred comment to Mercer-Fraser.

Sundberg said he was disappointed in Friedenbach’s statements last week because nothing has changed about the agreement struck in March.

Mercer-Fraser staff met with county Planning and Building Director John Ford on April 9 to discuss more options, Sundberg said.

“They wanted to look at more options than just removing one permit,” Sundberg said. As to Tuesday’s expected announcement, Friedenbach said, “We’ll just wait and see what the announcement contains.”

The water district was also contacted by Mercer- Fraser’s attorney last week informing them the district’s hired counsel at Pioneer Law Group in Sacramento had a conflict of interest. The law firm had represented Mercer-Fraser more than 10 years ago but did not inform the water district, according to Friedenbach.

The district had retained the Sacramento law firm rather than its normal Eureka firm Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney, and Vrieze because the firm had previously represented Mercer- Fraser Company.

Friedenbach said that the water district’s board of directors voted Thursday to retain the Sacramento- based Thomas Law Group to replace Pioneer Law Group.

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/this-weeks-local-wtf-moment/

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The Trump crime family tentacles now spread to the whole RNC

Elliott Broidy, center, an R.N.C. official, with Larry Mizel, left, a Trump donor, and Jeff Sessions. A $1.6 million deal with a model Mr. Broidy impregnated was arranged by Trump’s lawyer Michael D. Cohen. Credit Clint Spaulding/WWD, via Rex, via Shutterstock

Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, facilitated a payment plan totaling $1.6 million last year to a former Playboy model who says she became pregnant by Elliott Broidy, a leading GOP fundraiser.

The payment was a personal injury settlement, and included a nondisclosure contract, forbidding the woman from discussing the deal, according to the source, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution. It is not known what type of personal injury claim the woman made.

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, represented the woman, making it the second known “hush money” deal Davidson brokered with Cohen. Both Daniels and McDougal allege they had affairs with Trump and that they were paid to be quiet about those encounters. Trump has denied relationships with both Daniels and McDougal.

The agreement says the model accuses Broidy of being the father, the source said. The woman accusing Broidy has refused to show proof of pregnancy, according to the source, who has reviewed the contract. In the contract, Broidy denied the undefined personal injury claims, the source said.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel accepted the resignation of Broidy as the deputy finance chairman of the RNC, a source familiar with the call told CNN, shortly after The Wall Street Journal first reported the payment.

In a statement, Broidy admitted to the relationship but did not address whether he impregnated the woman. He said Cohen reached out to him after being contacted by Davidson and said he retained Trump’s lawyer “after he informed me about his prior relationship with Mr. Davidson.”

“First, I would like to sincerely apologize to my wife and family for the hurt that I have caused. I acknowledge I had a consensual relationship with a Playboy Playmate,” Broidy said in a statement. “At the end of our relationship, this woman shared with me that she was pregnant. She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this difficult period. We have not spoken since that time.

Payments were to be made on a quarterly basis

The source says it allows the woman to speak about and take legal action concerning her alleged pregnancy if she so chooses.

The contract reads that whether or not she is “indeed pregnant as she alleges” she has all her legal rights to seek “the paternity of the alleged child,” and any support, financial help, or otherwise.

According to another source familiar with Broidy’s agreement with the former Playboy model, she was to be paid the $1.6 million over a period of two years on a quarterly basis, and the first payment was made in December 2017.

This means she would not have been paid the entirety of the $1.6 million yet — and there’s a chance she may not get the rest of the money.

“First, we have to find out who breached the agreement,” the source told CNN when asked whether she will eventually receive the full $1.6 million. “The question about who violated the agreement has not yet been discussed.”

The person added that so far, “all payments have been made pursuant to the agreement.”

Raids targeted records of payments to porn star, ex-Playmate

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, hotel room and home earlier this week. CNN has reported that FBI agents were seeking communications between the President and Cohen concerning the “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced prior to the 2016 presidential election. The FBI raids also sought information that included payments allegedly made to keep women silent about affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

Federal officials also sought information on business dealings that do not involve his work, according to prosecutors.

In February, Cohen admitted having paid $130,000 to Daniels, an adult film actress who alleges that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Cohen is in a legal dispute over a hush agreement Daniels signed before the 2016 campaign to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

Another source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday that a focus of the raids was to seek records on the deal set up between McDougal, an ex-Playboy Playmate, and a company that reportedly paid her during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle to keep her account of an alleged relationship with Trump from publication.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/13/politics/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-settlement/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/us/politics/elliott-broidy-michael-cohen-payout.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-13/trump-lawyer-arranged-gop-fundraiser-s-payment-to-playmate-wsj

 

Tillerson backs British on Russian nerve-agent attack, then gets FIRED by Dear Leader Trump

Not that we ever thought Tillerson was worth a shit……

Why Did Trump Fire Tillerson Now?

The specific timing of the move—following the secretary of state’s split from the president to condemn a Russian attack in the U.K.—raises questions about its motive.

The White House’s account of the Tillerson firing collapsed within minutes.

Senior administration officials told outlets including The Washington Post and CNN that Tillerson had been told he would be dismissed on Friday, March 9.

Within the hour, the State Department issued a statement insisting that Tillerson “had every intention of remaining” and “did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason.” CNN reported that Tillerson had received a call from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday night indicating that he would be replaced that did not specify timing; a senior White House official told the network that it was Trump himself who had suddenly decided to pull the trigger on Tuesday morning. Tillerson learned of his actual firing the same way everybody else did: By reading about it on Twitter shortly after 8:44 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 13.

A lot turns on that timing. On March 12, Tillerson had backed the British government’s accusation that Russia was culpable for a nerve-agent attack on United Kingdom soil. If Tillerson had been fired March 9, then his words of support for Britain could not explain his firing three days before. But if the White House was lying about the timing, it could be lying about the motive.

And since it now seems all but certain that the White House was lying about the timing, it looks more probable that it was lying about the motive too.

That suspicion was accelerated by the president’s words to the White House press corps before stepping aboard Marine One:

“As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.”

That is not support for Britain. It is the direct opposite.

Britain and the United States share intelligence information fully, freely, and seamlessly. It’s inconceivable that the U.S. government has not already seen all the information that Theresa May saw before she rose in the House of Commons to accuse Russia.

If the U.S. government had a serious concern about the reliability of that information, it would have expressed that concern directly and privately to the U.K. government before May spoke. But the U.S. had no such concern—that’s why the now-fired secretary of state and the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom both endorsed May’s words. When Trump raises doubts about the facts, about American agreement with its British ally, about the accuracy of the British accusation against Russia, Trump is not expressing good-faith uncertainty about imperfect information. Trump is rejecting the consensus view of the U.K. and U.S. intelligence communities about an act of Russian aggression—and, if his past behavior is any indication, preparing the way for his own determination to do nothing.

It echoes the approach he took toward Russian intervention in the U.S. election to help elect him in 2016: Feign uncertainty about what is not uncertain in order to justify inaction.

The U.S.-U.K. response to the Russian nerve gas attack should have been coordinated in advance. It was not. The U.S. statement of support for Britain should have arrived on the day that the prime minister delivered her accusation. It did not. The retaliation—if any—should also already be agreed upon. It plainly has not been.

The United Kingdom does not find itself deprived of U.S. support because of some British mistake or rush to judgment. Most of the U.S. government shares the British assessment of what happened—as attested by Tillerson’s statement in support of Britain, which would have relied on U.S. intelligence agency reports. Only Trump stands apart, vetoing any condemnation of Russia and perhaps punishing his secretary of state for breaking ranks on the president’s no-criticizing-Putin policy.

On June 4, 2017, Trump took to Twitter to chide British officials for taking too long to blame a terror attack on Muslim extremists.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump

We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse 4:19 AM – Jun 4, 2017

This time, Britain did not hesitate. It has named the assassins. And now it is Trump who is squeamish.

On March 10, 2018, the president’s son tweeted:

Donald Trump Jr.✔@DonaldJTrumpJr

I’m so glad to wake up in a country where we finally have a president who cares more about America than he does about our enemies feelings. Very refreshing!!! #maga 6:51 AM – Mar 10, 2018

But apparently, some enemies’ feelings command more sensitivity than others.

Yesterday, the Republicans on the House intelligence committee announced that they had concluded the investigation of the Russian interference—and would soon publish a report acquitting Trump of collusion. Bad luck for them to release the report on the very day that Trump again demonstrated that something is very, very wrong in the Trump-Russia relationship. It’s possible to imagine innocent explanations. And it’s easy to list the plausible explanations. Ominously for the western alliance and the security of the United States, those two sets no longer overlap at all.   https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/exodus-rex

C.I.A. director and Trump yes man Mike Pompeo is named as Tillerson’s replacement. 

Pompeo displayed the aggressive partisanship he had developed as a Republican combatant in Congress, disturbing some colleagues with hawkish policy pronouncements and political spin that were jarring in his role as intelligence adviser. Trump formed a close bond and easy rapport with Mr. Pompeo in daily intelligence briefings because Pompeo wouldn’t make Trump read the daily briefings.

If confirmed to replace Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo, a 54-year-old former Kansas congressman, would become the first person to have served as both the United States’ top spy and top diplomat. In the new job, Mr. Pompeo would no longer be constrained by the strictures of impartial intelligence analysis, a development likely to thrill Russia and his conservative political allies.

There’s no end to the payoffs, corruption and criminal behavior. Where’s the prosecution?

A hot stock tip? Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company just in time!

President Trump’s decision Thursday to impose crippling tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminum took many by surprise — particularly investors, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day’s trading down more than 400 points, or 1.7 percent, at 24,608.

But one billionaire investor and former Trump adviser, Carl Icahn, was seemingly unvexed, having dumped a million shares tied to the steel industry a week before the president announced 25 percent tariffs for foreign-made steel.

A Feb. 22 SEC filing shows Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company, which is a leading global manufacturer of cranes for heavy construction based in Manitowoc, Wis., according to the company’s website. Since Trump’s announcement Thursday, Manitowoc’s stock has plummeted to about $26. Icahn — who has had majority interest in several companies including Motorola, Xerox, Family Dollar and Pep Boys — had sold his shares for about $32 to $34 each, according to the SEC disclosure, which was first reported by Think Progress.

Icahn had not actively traded any Manitowoc stock since January 2015, according to regulatory filings.

The tariffs are Trump’s response to a determination by the Commerce Department earlier this month that increasing import volumes posed a risk to U.S. national security. Trump’s decision, which leans on a little-used provision of U.S. trade law, has now caused other countries to retaliate against American exports. The European Union, for example, is considering duties on U.S. imports worth about $3.5 billion if the White House enacts its tariffs, Reuters reported Friday.

“We’ll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports,” Trump announced at the White House Thursday. “You will have protection for the first time in a long while, and you’re going to regrow your industries.”

Trump and Icahn’s history is one of friends turned foes turned friends. It began in the early 1980s, when Trump tried to win over Icahn with a helicopter ride. In 1988, when Trump paid $11 million to host a heavyweight title fight between Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks in Atlantic City, Trump took Icahn, known at the time for his series of hostile corporate takeovers, backstage to meet Tyson. During the announcer’s roll call of famous guests, Icahn was called Trump’s “good friend,” according to the New Yorker.

In the early 1990s, Icahn headed the deal that allowed Trump to keep some of his power and ownership of his Taj Mahal casino during its first bout with bankruptcy. Trump’s share of the casino, about 50 percent, was a generous one, but Icahn articulated that investors could still boot Trump out. Many involved in the deal thought Icahn had outmaneuvered Trump, according to The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell.

By 2010, Trump Entertainment Resorts was flooded with debt, and Icahn pushed to take over, saying Trump’s brand had become a “disadvantage” that may no longer have been “synonymous with business acumen, high quality . . . and enormous success.”

Tensions appeared to have eased by the time Trump ran for president, as he spoke fondly of Icahn, calling him one of the “great businessmen of the world,” smart enough to tackle U.S. negotiations with China. In return, Icahn endorsed Trump, saying the country would be “lucky” to have him in the Oval Office, Harwell reported.

Though Icahn no longer advises Trump in a formal role, the two reportedly still talk. Icahn resigned from his position as a “special adviser” to Trump on regulatory reform in August, claiming he didn’t want to step on the toes of Neomi Rao, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and because he wanted to avoid conflicts of interest over regulations that would affect an oil refinery company he owns, CVR Energy.

“Indeed, out of an abundance of caution, the only issues I ever discussed with you were broad matters of policy affecting the refining industry,” he said in his resignation letter to Trump. “I never sought any special benefit for any company with which I have been involved, and have only expressed views that I believed would benefit the refining industry as a whole.”

Before stepping down, Icahn had been trying to push a policy that would benefit his oil company. But the Environmental Protection Agency planned to reject that policy, which would alter regulations designed to promote ethanol use by requiring refiners to blend mandated levels of ethanol and other renewable fuels into gasoline.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/02/shortly-before-trump-announced-tariffs-his-former-adviser-dumped-millions-in-steel-related-stocks/

Jared The Great Peacemaker(?) wants his Quid Pro Quo at the end of a gun’s barrel

It’s all about the Money $$$

Javanka with the Ruler of the Saudi Kingdom and Trump attorney Cohen

The real estate firm tied to the family of Trump’s son-in-law and top White House adviser Jared Kushner made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio, according to two sources. At the previously unreported meeting, Jared Kushner’s father Charles, who runs Kushner Companies, and Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi discussed financing for the Kushners’ signature 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York City.

The 30-minute meeting, according to two sources in the financial industry who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the potential transaction, included aides to both parties, and was held at a suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.

A follow-up meeting was held the next day in a glass-walled conference room at the Kushner property itself, though Al Emadi did not attend the second gathering in person.

The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors. Led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. Kushner, according to reports at the time, subsequently undermined efforts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to bring an end to the standoff.

The Gulf crisis involving Qatar and its neighbors will likely be Kushner’s defining foreign policy legacy. The crisis followed a May visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, by Kushner and President Donald Trump, who subsequently took credit for Saudi Arabia and its allies’ efforts against Qatar. The fallout has reshaped geopolitical alliances in the region, splitting the Gulf Cooperation Council and pushing Qatar, home to the Middle East’s largest U.S. military base, closer to Turkey and Iran.

Mohammed Hitme, chief of staff to the Qatari finance minister, did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment. White House Spokesperson Hope Hicks referred questions to Kushner Companies, whose spokesperson Christine Taylor said, “We don’t comment on who Charlie meets with.” She added, “We don’t do business with any sovereign funds.”

The Kushner Companies meetings with the Qataris were held the week of April 24. While Al Emadi was in New York, he appeared on Bloomberg TV to talk about the strategy of the Qatar Investment Authority, or QIA, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund. A host asked Al Emadi about whether the investment fund did business on the basis of geopolitics. Al Emadi answered the only way he could. “I think if you look at what we do in QIA, or in our sovereign wealth fund, it’s purely commercially driven. So we go where we think we’re going to have value,” he said. “We like what we see here. We performed very well in the last two years. The market has been very good to us. And hopefully we can continue the same strategy in the U.S.”

This was not the first time Charles Kushner solicited funds from the Qataris, but it is the first direct pitch known to be made to the minister of finance himself. Notably, the play came after Trump’s election. The Intercept first reported last summer that Charles Kushner had also propositioned Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani, a prominent businessman who previously served as the country’s foreign minister and prime minister. The deal proffered by HBJ, as he is known, was worth $500 million but ultimately fell through when Kushner Companies failed to secure other outside capital. That 2017 effort followed previous entreaties made in the region by Jared Kushner himself.

The news of Kushner Companies’ direct pitch to the Qatari government puts a Wednesday report from the Washington Post into broader context. U.S. intelligence services, the paper reported, had determined that officials in four countries — the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel, and Mexico — had been privately discussing how to use Jared Kushner’s real-estate investments as a way to gain leverage over him in order to influence official U.S. policy.

Kushner has divested from a small portion of Kushner Companies, but has retained substantial ownership. A balloon payment due in 2018 on the badly underwater property at 666 Fifth Avenue has been a ticking clock on the fortunes of the Kushner family, precipitating the global hunt for capital. The Washington Post reported earlier this year that the father-son pair, Jared and Charles Kushner, speak on a daily basis.

The New York Times reported last month that just prior to Jared Kushner’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia in May 2017, his family real estate company “received a roughly $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim,” described as one of Israel’s largest financial institutions.

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/02/jared-kushner-real-estate-qatar-blockade/

The “princess royal” of the West Wing, is being sucked into the vortex of scandal as well!

Even Ivanka Trump, the “princess royal” of the West Wing, is being sucked into the vortex of scandal that has encompassed her father’s administration. In the past week, her husband, Jared Kushner, lost his security clearance, lost his P.R. guard dog, was revealed as a top intelligence target for foreign spies, and was reported to have met with banking executives in the White House shortly before his family’s company received nearly half a billion dollars in loans. Donald Trump is said to be is “frustrated with Mr. Kushner, whom he now views as a liability” and “another problem to deal with,” and has suggested that both he and Ivanka move back to New York.

Ivanka, too, has her own set of problems. While the First Couple braced for an Intercept story that Kushner’s father had failed to secure a loan from the Qatari government just weeks before Kushner backed a blockade of Qatar, CNN dropped another bombshell: United States counterintelligence officials are probing a Trump Organization real-estate deal in Canada in which Ivanka played a leading role.

The financing and negotiations surrounding the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver have come under F.B.I. scrutiny, according to current and former U.S. officials who spoke with CNN. It’s unclear why the F.B.I. is interested in the deal, which dates back to 2013, and in which Ivanka played a key role. But CNN reports that foreign buyers involved, as well as the timing of the $360 million project’s opening in February 2017, may have caught the agency’s attention. Like many Trump Organization deals, the New York-based company does not own the building but rather is paid licensing and marketing fees by the developer, the Holborn Group. Joo Kim Tiah, a member of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families, runs the Canada-based development firm, and said in October 2015 that the First Daughter was closely involved: “Ivanka and myself approved everything, everything in this project,” he said during an interview.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka’s ethics counsel, dismissed the idea that there was anything untoward about the deal. “CNN is wrong that any hurdle, obstacle, concern, red flag, or problem has been raised with respect to Ms. Trump or her clearance application,” he said in a statement. He also denied that the investigation would impact Ivanka’s security clearance in any way: “Nothing in the new White House policy has changed Ms. Trump’s ability to do the same work she has been doing since she joined the Administration.” Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, similarly played down the report, saying that “the company’s role was and is limited to licensing its brand and managing the hotel. Accordingly, the company would have had no involvement in the financing of the project or the sale of units.”

Though it’s unclear whether special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in Ivanka’s involvement in the Vancouver deal, her husband’s contacts with foreign entities has certainly garnered his attention. Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that at least four foreign governments have discussed how they can use the Kushner Cos.’s financial woes and entanglements as leverage over the president’s son-in-law, The New York Times reported that Kushner Cos. received roughly $500 million in financing from two U.S. firms after Jared met with executives from the companies at the White House. (Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Kushner Cos., said in a statement that the Times story represented an “attempt to make insinuating connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and companies involved.”)

The cascade of negative headlines has complicated matters for the duo in the White House. Amid an internal struggle with Kelly, who was responsible for altering the White House security-clearance policy—a move some saw as a targeted attack on Kushner—some aides have reportedly “expressed frustration that Mr. Kushner and his wife . . . have remained at the White House, despite Mr. Trump at times saying they never should have come to the White House and should leave.” The president, meanwhile, is reportedly mulling options to sideline them. Per the Times, while he has outwardly encouraged Jared and Ivanka to remain in their West Wing posts, he has also “privately asked Mr. Kelly for his help in moving them out.”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/03/ivanka-trump-organization-vancouver

Russians posed as Americans to communicate with individuals associated with the Trump Campaign

In developments that sound like the Fox TV show “The Americans,” it turns out that Russians were all over this like flies on shit

Russians posed as Americans to communicate with individuals associated with the Trump Campaign

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 foreign individuals and three entities in the special counsel probe.

A federal court handed up indictments against 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump campaign ties to Russia.

The Russian nationals are “accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes.”

“Dear Leader” Trump has disputed the widely shared view of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The Russians named in the indictment are accused of posing as Americans on social media to influence American political discourse in an operation that started as early as 2014.

The indictment notes that the defendants were by mid-2016 “supporting the campaign of Donald Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” sometimes posing as Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein supporters.

Court documents also list the names of Russians involved and extensively lists their efforts, as well as identifying many of the social media advertisement campaigns conducted by the Russians.

The indictment also shows the Russians posed as Americans to communicate with “unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign” and other activists to coordinate their activities, including political rallies.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/least-3-russian-groups-13-russian-individuals-indicted-muellers-investigation-report/

Vladimir V. Putin’s good buddy Yevgeny V. Prigozhin

Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, left, serving dinner to Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow in 2011, when Mr. Putin was prime minister. Mr. Prigozhin has emerged as Mr. Putin’s go-to oligarch for sensitive and often-unsavory missions like the troll factory — called the Internet Research Agency — or recruiting contract soldiers to fight in Ukraine and Syria. Credit Pool photo by Misha Japaridze

The most notorious venture linked to Mr. Prigozhin, however, is the troll farm that is accused of attacking opposition figures in Russia and seeking to magnify and aggravate social and political divisions in the West. Despite his frequent denials of any involvement, his critics say he and others like him provide a way for the Kremlin to engage in such activities while maintaining a discreet distance.

The indictment on Friday says, among other charges, that Mr. Prigozhin frequently met in 2015 and 2016 with Mikhail I. Bystrov, the top official in the troll factory, which ran a disinformation campaign called Project Lakhta that by September 2016 had a monthly budget of $1.2 million.  from New York Times

The Guardian 10 key takeaways in Russian indictments:

The indictment provided powerful new evidence that a Russian election-tampering plot, which Trump has repeatedly denied, not only took place but involved an elaborate conspiracy going back to at least 2014.

The indictment supports the US intelligence community assessment that the Russian plot was substantial and is ongoing, and not Trump’s contention last May that “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”

The indictment does not name any US citizens as alleged co-conspirators, or assert that any Americans knew of the plot. But the indictment does document contacts by the conspirators with “unwitting members, volunteers and supporters of the Trump campaign.”

The indictment identifies the Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg-based group to which millions of impostor social media accounts have been traced, as a primary offender. The indictment additionally charges Russian individuals who funded the alleged election tampering conspiracy or who otherwise took part.

Charges include alleged violations of election laws forbidding foreign nationals from making certain expenditures in US elections and requiring foreign agents to register as such.

“Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates,” the indictment says, “and by early to mid-2016, defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump (“Trump campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

The indictment does not contend that Russian tampering swayed the 2016 presidential election, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said in a news conference following the publication of the document.

The indictment alleges espionage-style conduct by Russian suspects including clandestine trips to the United States under false pretenses in which Russian agents “posed as US persons and and contacted US social and political activists.”

The indictment says Russian impostors on social media used election-related hashtags including “#TrumpTrain” “#Trump2016” “MAGA” and “Hillary4Prison.”

The indictment alleges violations of computer fraud laws in which the perpetrators purchased space on computer servers located in the United States in order to hide their Russian affiliation.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/russians-indictment-mueller-charges-fbi-investigation-what-are-they

 

Trump proposes Soviet Union style revamp of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

After passing their windfall tax give away to the rich (Exxon alone gets 7 Billion!)Scrooge Mc Trump comes up with this disaster

In yet another eye-popping move, this week Trump called for sharply cutting and bizarrely restructuring the nation’s flagship program for providing food aid to poor people. His 2019 budget proposal takes aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

SNAP helps keep one in four US children and millions of disabled people adequately fed. The administration’s proposal would slash the SNAP budget by $213.5 billion between 2019 and 2028—a nearly 30 percent cut. Republican stalwarts like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) have been pining for such such cuts for years. What makes the Trump budget document so jarring is how it proposes to deliver those savings. It would dole out food boxes, through what White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called a “Blue Apron-type program.”

Anyone who has used a meal-kit service like Blue Apron might envision a chilled box featuring fresh meat and vegetables ready to be cooked into a sumptuous meal. The White House budget described something quite a bit more austere:

Under the proposal, households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish.

In other words, a box brimming with a bunch of cans and jars.

One might think an idea so confidently proposed might have the weight of a think-tank white paper, a university study, or a US Department Agriculture pilot program behind it. Not this one, reports Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich. “The idea that USDA would provide millions of low-income people packages of food on a national scale has not been floated by conservative think tanks, promoted by industry, or sought by previous administrations,” she reports. A USDA spokesman told her that the idea emerged from the mind of USDA chief Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor and agri-businessman with no experience in hunger or poverty policy.

Not surprisingly, anti-hunger advocates went ballistic. In a press statement, Lisa Davis, senior vice president of the anti-hunger group Share Our Strength, declared it a “disturbing and harmful agenda.” Robert Greenstein, president of the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, warned that “more homelessness and hunger would inevitably follow” from SNAP cuts.

Annie Lowrey, who covers economic policy for The Atlantic, delivered a blistering inventory of the “food box” plan’s faults on Twitter. Here’s how it started:

Annie Lowrey@AnnieLowrey

    1. What if you don’t receive your box one month?
    2. What if you’re homeless?
    3. What if you don’t have a place to receive mail?
    4. What if you move frequently?
    5. What if you have allergies?
    6. What if the box gets wet, or animals get into it?

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https://www.motherjones.com/food/2018/02/trump-budget-food-stamps-cake-blue-apron-meal-kit/