Tag: FBI

Is this the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration?

We are just a couple of days short of being five months into what is supposed to be a four-year term of Donald Trump being President of the United States, but developments in the last few days or so are indicating that this may be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration.

The biggest recent news is the announcement that former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed the special prosecutor in the case regarding the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia:

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals     associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

Additionally, there are other developments that have indicated to me that this could be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration:

  • An audio tape (transcript here) in which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) bragged about Russian President Vladimir Putin paying Trump and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)…Republicans have tried to claim that McCarthy was merely joking, but it’s certainly suspicious when Republicans claim that Putin is paying some of their own, and it’s not 100% clear if they were being serious or not.
  • Vice President Mike Pence has already set up a leadership PAC to support Republican political efforts…this is the first time a sitting VPOTUS has ever done this.
  • Democratic members of Congress are openly mentioning the prospect of impeaching Trump.
  • It has been reported that disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others with close ties to Trump had 18 contacts with the Russians that were not previously disclosed.

There’s certainly evidence that this may be the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration.

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Did a CBS News reporter post false information about Hillary on Twitter?

Yesterday afternoon, Hannah Chanpong, a reporter for CBS News who has been assigned to cover the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign for the network, posted a tweet, which has since been deleted by Chanpong, tweeted that “sources inside (the Clinton campaign)” were claiming that there were “worries” that Hillary may “drop out” of the presidential race. A screengrab of the now-deleted tweet from Chanpong is available here:

Whether one is a small-time blogger who doesn’t hide his or her political ideology from anyone or a journalist for a major news organization who tries to report the news and be as non-biased as possible, one thing is a constant: one is expected to be honest. It appears to me that, more than likely, A) either Chanpong was pulling “sources” out of her rear end or B) somebody within the Clinton campaign was not being honest towards Chanpong. I’m inclined to believe that the correct answer is more likely to be A) than B), but I’m not going to give a definitive answer.

I’ve never personally known Hillary, in fact, I’ve never met Hillary in person. However, Hillary has been in the national public eye for nearly my entire lifetime, and I have never known Hillary to be the kind of person to simply abandon something, whether it be a political campaign or anything else. Hillary would never, ever dedicate herself to something, only to turn around and abandon everything for no real reason.

At the very least, CBS should launch some kind of internal investigation to determine whether or not Hannah Chanpong was using her Twitter page to simply spread rumors. If she was simply spreading a rumor (which, at this time, can’t be substantiated either way), then that’s something that would be expected of a third-grader on an elementary school playground, not someone who works for a major news organization.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert INDICTED on federal criminal charges

Former Republican U.S. House Speaker and current lobbyist Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who presided over the lower branch of government for eight years from 1999 to 2007, has been indicted on federal criminal charges for his role in a scheme in which Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to a former acquaintance that he wronged for some reason:

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been indicted on federal charges alleging he agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to a longtime acquaintance blackmailing him, then lied to the FBI when asked about suspicious cash withdrawals from several banks, federal prosecutors said.

The stunning indictment of the longtime Republican powerhouse alleged he gave about $1.7 million in cash to the acquaintance, identified only as Individual A in the charges, to “compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.

[…]

Hastert, 73, of Plano, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He will be arraigned later at U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

The full indictment is available here.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hastert, I’ll provide a bit of a refresher about who Hastert is. Hastert is a longtime member of the same Republican old boys network here in Illinois that has produced the likes of George Ryan of licenses-for-bribes infamy. During his tenure in the House, Hastert was a big supporter of pork-barrel spending projects (example of that here), especially if they benefited Northern Illinois and not other areas of Illinois and the rest of the country. As House Speaker, Hastert allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars from Turkish people that federal authorities were wiretapping. After Hastert left Congress, Hastert received a $35,000/month contract to lobby on behalf of Turkey.

However, Hastert isn’t being indicted over pork-barrel spending or his corrupt ties to Turkish interests. Instead, he’s being indicted for trying to evade federal currency transaction reports, which the federal government requires financial institutions in this country to file for any deposit, withdrawal, or other type of monetary transaction of more than $10,000. Hastert has also been indicted on a related charge of lying to the FBI about his scheme to pay millions of dollars in hush money to someone, whose identity was not revealed in the indictment for legal/privacy reasons, who he wronged. Although not confirmed, some sources are reporting that the charges may stem from actions that Hastert took when he was a high school teacher before entering electoral politics.

Just like his right-wing political cronies George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Hastert blatantly violated federal laws. However, unlike Bush and Cheney, Hastert might actually have to serve time in prison for his crimes.

Rahm Emanuel crony George Cardenas allegedly had public employees campaign for him on city time

In addition to an ongoing federal criminal investigation, Chicago (IL) Alderman George Cardenas of the 12th Ward, a close ally of embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is now facing a lawsuit in the Cook County state circuit court from Maria Chavez, a City of Chicago employee who was terminated after she reported Cardenas’s use of city property and employees to campaign for re-election to law enforcement.

Here’s the details of why Cardenas is under federal criminal investigation from the state lawsuit filed against him by Chavez (Chavez is identified by her first name, Maria, in the lawsuit):

12. Throughout her employment with the City of Chicago at the 12th Ward Public Service Office, Maria received multiple positive employment reviews as well as letters of appreciation from local citizens, non-profit organizations and businesses for her efforts for the citizens of the 12th Ward.

13.  During the course of the February 2011 Municipal General Election, in which citizens of the City of Chicago elect municipal officers including Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer and Alderman, the City of Chicago’s Office of the Legislative Inspector General received complaints against Cardenas related to allegations that Cardenas was using city property, namely the 12th Ward Public Service Office, and city employees, namely the 12th Ward Public Service Office’s employees, to gather registered voters’ signatures and notarize petition sheets seeking the nomination of Cardenas as 12th Ward Alderman.

14. The City’s Legislative Inspector General’s Office interviewed most but not all of the 12th Ward Public Service Office’s employees.  News of the investigation became publically known in mid-2013 through news and radio media reports.

If it is true that George Cardenas used city property and employees for his re-election campaign in violation of federal, state, and/or local laws, than Chavez did the right thing by reporting that to the authorities and Chavez should end his re-election campaign and resign from the Chicago City Council immediately. In any case, voters in the 12th Ward of Chicago should vote for Pete DeMay, Cardenas’s opponent, in the upcoming city council election. DeMay will fight to rebuild Chicago’s middle class.