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CORRUPTION

Ukraine Scandal Couldn’t Have Happened Without Pompeo Knowing: Ex-State Department Official

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In light of a series of damning text messages revealing the scope of the effort by the Trump administration to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, former State Department official Phillipe Reines told MSNBC’s David Gura that there’s no way any of this went on without Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s knowledge.

“I worked there for four years,” said Reines. “I worked with hundreds, if not more than a thousand foreign service officers like Bill Taylor, I worked with the secretary. This doesn’t go on without a few things. First, without the secretary knowing. No one’s calling Rudy Giuliani on their own, because they feel like involving him in Ukrainian policy. People are not writing text messages where they’re saying, hey, I don’t think this is a good idea. They know, they’re memorializing it, they were what we call papering it. This is not how things are done. And we say that about everything, but this is so beyond the pale, it’s why they are getting caught every step of the way.”

“And by the way, there is so much more than this,” added Reines. “I mean, this is going to document itself up the ladder to Pompeo. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind. As someone who had tens of thousands of their email out in the public domain and having to explain what it means if I’m telling Hillary Clinton that ‘Homeland’ is on Showtime at 10:00. I mean, it is crazy to look at these texts and have to interpret them. There’s nothing to interpret!”

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CORRUPTION

Trump Offered Assange a Pardon to Cover Up Russia Hacking the DNC, Wikileaks Founder’s Lawyer Tells Court

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President Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he covered up Russia’s hacking of the DNC’s server, attorneys for the Wikileaks founder say, The Daily Beast reports.

Assange’s lawyers “said Dana Rohrabacher, a former Republican congressman, had brought the message to London from Trump.” The attorneys are arguing that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S., claiming the case was political and not criminal.

“Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks,” Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, told the court, relaying a statement produced by another Assange’s attorney.

The case, however, is not political.

Assange, were he to be extradited to the U.S., reportedly could face 175 years in jail if charged and convicted on 18 charges including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Rohrabacher, who claims he does not believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, had earned the nickname “Putin’s favorite Congressman.”

The FBI in 2012 had to warn him the Kremlin considers him a valuable information asset – complete with a Russian code name.

In 2016 Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and other Republicans were speaking about Russia and Ukraine. McCarthy told the group, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

 

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CORRUPTION

Trump to Grant Clemency to Former Giuliani Partner and Disgraced NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik

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In what appears to be the third act of executive forgiveness President Donald Trump will sign this week the former, disgraced NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, a friend and former partner of Rudy Giuliani, will be granted clemency, CNBC reports.

All these pardons and commutations appear to be sending a strong message that despite his claim to be a strong anti-corruption president Trump is more than willing to protect friends and others who have committed crimes similar to those he has been accused of.

Trump earlier Tuesday commuted the sentence of a former co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers who was convicted of a felony for not reporting extortion and bribery. He had bribered a governor $400,000 for a gambling-related license.

Trump is also expected to now commute the sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

 

Image of Kerik by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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CORRUPTION

In Yet Another Apparent Message Trump Expected to Commute Sentence of Ex-Governor Who Wanted to Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

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President Donald Trump apparently isn’t finished signing pardons. Earlier Tuesday he commuted the sentence of the former San Francisco 49ers co-owner who was convicted of not reporting extortion and bribery. Now Trump is expected to commute the sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was caught on tape wanting to sell the Senate seat of then-president elect Barack Obama, ABC News reports.

Blagojevich called the seat “fucking valuable thing,” saying he was not just going to give it away for nothing.

Trump appears to be issuing pardons for felons who have committed criminal acts similar to those he has been accused of.

Trump was impeached in December for his extortion of Ukraine.

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