DOJ Sues Ivanka’s Ex-Business Partner for Massive Fraud

The Justice Department is suing a friend and former business partner of Ivanka Trump for his alleged role in schemes to defraud the federal government out of millions of dollars in tax liabilities on his father’s estate.

Filed last month and reported here for the first time, the suit follows an August 2017 POLITICO investigation of alleged financial wrongdoing by New York businessman Moshe Lax and glaring irregularities in the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of a $27 million lien on his father’s estate.

The suit, which seeks more than $60 million in unpaid tax liabilities, was brought in the Southern District of New York by lawyers in the Justice Department’s tax division. It alleges that Lax, his sister Zlaty Schwartz, and his late father, Chaim Lax, engaged in a series of complex “sham transactions” designed to fraudulently evade tax liability.The government alleges the family members undertook 10 separate schemes Continue reading “DOJ Sues Ivanka’s Ex-Business Partner for Massive Fraud”

The Lock-Him-Up Campaign

NEW YORK—Zephyr Teachout, the would-be next attorney general of New York, sits tight against the desk in the former doctor’s office she’s using for her campaign headquarters, her very pregnant belly barely visible above the desk’s metal top. She runs her hands through her hair like a law professor lecturing on a particularly thorny constitutional question. She lays out precisely how she could, if elected, use her office put Donald Trump in prison.

Teachout’s headquarters is in East Harlem, just a few miles northeast of Trump Tower, but a world away from its pink white-veined marble, mirrors and brass. Until earlier this year, this was a husband-and-wife urology and ophthalmology practice. Her press team operates out of an erstwhile exam room. Teachout takes the former urologist’s office for herself, empty except for her cellphone and laptop, and piece of poster paper sitting on the floor on which is written “SIGN Continue reading “The Lock-Him-Up Campaign”

Super PACs take brash new steps to hide their donors

Mere days after it sprang to life in a burst of paperwork, the new super PAC Red and Gold spent nearly $1 million attacking Rep. Martha McSally, a battleground GOP Senate candidate favored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But first, Red and Gold took a step to hide its tracks.

Red and Gold sent a brief note to the Federal Election Commission informing regulators that it would file monthly reports showing who financed the group. Its first disclosure “will be due on September 20,” the super PAC wrote — more than three weeks after McSally’s Arizona Republican primary is over.

It wasn’t the first super PAC to pull that trick: The scheme is part of a sharp escalation in super PACs avoiding reporting requirements and keeping voters in the dark about their funding until after key elections. Two other groups aired more than $3 million in attack ads in West Continue reading “Super PACs take brash new steps to hide their donors”

Has Russia hacked into Florida’s election system? There’s no evidence.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) insists that Russia has breached Florida’s election systems and could wipe out voter registration records. But there’s no evidence to back him up.

12 former top intelligence officials criticize Trump for pulling security clearance

A dozen former top intelligence officials, representing previous Republican and Democratic administrations, issued a letter late Thursday supporting former CIA Director John Brennan and lambasting President Donald Trump’s move to revoke his security clearance.

The rare statement from the former officials — including former CIA directors who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — comes one day after Trump pulled Brennan’s clearance and said he would evaluate clearances for other former intelligence officials, including two who signed on to the pro-Brennan statement.

That move from the White House “has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the dozen ex-intelligence officials wrote in their joint letter.

“You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to Continue reading “12 former top intelligence officials criticize Trump for pulling security clearance”

Open thread for night owls: Climate science deniers still get reporters to quote them. No joke

So Ryan Worst-Interior-Secretary-Since-Jim-Watt Zinke finally sorta kinda conceded Thursday after days of denials that the wildfires charring California are made worse by climate change. At New York Magazine, Adam K. Raymond noted that Zinke tossed off an “of course” when most recently asked if a warming climate could be proliferating the devastating blazes.

His admission has made a few headlines. But it’s not as if the man has had a transformative epiphany. He’s just playing the latest edition of the denier game. Just hours before that admission, he said on Fox Business: “There’s no dispute that the climate is changing, although it has always changed. Whether man is the direct result, how much that result is, that’s still being disputed.” That doesn’t sound like someone who is having second thoughts.

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With most of the scores of climate science rejectionists in Congress and the White House, it’s hard to know if 1) they really are such

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Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: Climate science deniers still get reporters to quote them. No joke”

12 former top intel officials blast Trump’s move to revoke Brennan’s security clearance

Twelve former top U.S. intelligence officials on Thursday condemned President Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, calling it a blatant attempt to stifle Brennan’s critici…

Kamala Harris to make first Iowa endorsement

Sen. Kamala Harris will make her first endorsement in an Iowa campaign on Friday, her first inroad into the first-in-the-nation caucus state, sources said.

Harris, a California Democrat edging closer to a run for president, will endorse Deidre DeJear for Iowa secretary of state, sources with knowledge of the endorsement told POLITICO.

Like many top Democrats, Harris has maintained a cautious distance from Iowa, leery of appearing solicitous of attention beyond the midterm elections. She is not expected to appear in Iowa for the endorsement announcement.

But her endorsement of DeJear was not unexpected. Harris’ out-of-California endorsements this year have focused on non-white candidates, including Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Jahana Hayes in Connecticut. DeJear is Iowa’s first black nominee for statewide office from a major political party, and Harris has been supportive since the two met at an event in Los Angeles in April.

When DeJear won her primary Continue reading “Kamala Harris to make first Iowa endorsement”

NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes

Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman is reportedly believed to have scores of recordings from her time working for President Trump, leaving other aides concerned….

Judge: Trump’s release of dossier memos opens door to disclosures from FBI

President Donald Trump’s decision to declassify competing congressional memos about the validity of the so-called Steele dossier means the FBI has lost its authority to rebuff Freedom of Information Act requests about the bureau’s efforts to verify the report’s intelligence linking Trump to Russia during the 2016 campaign, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta previously blessed the FBI’s decision to refuse such FOIA requests by declining to confirm whether or not any records exist about aspects of its handling of the hotly contested dossier, prepared by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. The judge ruled in January that Trump’s tweets about the dossier did not require the FBI and other intelligence agencies to be more responsive to public records requests on the issue.

However, Mehta said Trump’s actions in February to green-light the release of one memo from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Continue reading “Judge: Trump’s release of dossier memos opens door to disclosures from FBI”

LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank

Do we even have laws anymore? It hardly matters what voters vote for if Republican politicians are simply going to ignore the laws they pass out of spite.

The LePage administration is rejecting applications for Medicaid from people who became newly eligible for the program under an expansion approved by voters last fall, according to documents and a progressive advocacy group that is suing the state.

Maine’s LePage is a prime example of a law-averse crackpot politician who in better times would have been run out of town on a rail by better people; in this case his administration has simply decided that no matter what measures voters approve they’re going to ignore it. Right now LePage and allies are appealing a court decision requiring them to Follow The Damn Law, an effort that appears to be nothing more than an effort to delay an inevitable outcome but, what the

Continue reading “LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank”

Source: House panel considers subpoena for Twitter CEO

Staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee raised the possibility of a subpoena to get Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before the panel, during a tense meeting with representatives of the company Thursday, according to a Republican source familiar with the discussion.

The source said Twitter is "delaying" and "stonewalling" the committee, which has been negotiating over the past few weeks to try to arrange Dorsey’s testimony about the company’s data and content policies.

House E&C Chairman Greg Walden later tweeted at Dorsey: "I appreciate your willingness to speak publicly on issues facing Twitter and agree complex algorithms must be better communicated to consumers. After many good faith efforts from staff, this is your formal invitation to appear before @HouseCommerce on Sept. 5."

Asked for comment, a Twitter spokesman responded: "We remain in discussions with the Committee and no decisions have been made either way."

Continue reading “Source: House panel considers subpoena for Twitter CEO”

Donald Trump’s favorite lie: All my invisible friends think I am doing super-great

The “president” of the United States is such a shameless liar that there is now an entire media beat dedicated to individual sub-categories of his lies. Among his more predictable tics: the famous I have a girlfriend in Canada, but you wouldn’t know her routine. He wants everyone to know that he just talked to a guy who talked to a guy who is just so damn supportive of everything Trump is doing but, um, you wouldn’t know him. The name isn’t important, after all. Or the company. Or whether or not Donald can only see him after doing three lines of cocaine.

Bloomberg is the latest outlet to chronicle some of Donald’s imaginary friends. Each of them is a variation of, well, this.

“I was with one of the greatest companies in the world. The chief executive officer. Very short while ago. And it really affects him,” Trump said

Continue reading “Donald Trump’s favorite lie: All my invisible friends think I am doing super-great”

Trump’s military parade delayed until 2019

The controversial military parade ordered by President Donald Trump originally scheduled for Veterans Day will be delayed until 2019, the Pentagon announced Thursday night.

The Defense Department, which first planned the parade for November to coincide with Veterans Day weekend and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, did not give a reason for abrupt change of plan, simply issuing a statement that said it has “agreed to explore opportunities in 2019."

The announcement came only hours after a report by CNBC that the estimated cost of the parade is now as much as $92 million — far more than previous estimates of between $12 million and $30 million.

Trump originally asked for the military to organize such an event after seeing similar demonstrations on Bastille Day in France, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticized the pomp and circumstance as reminiscent of authoritarian Continue reading “Trump’s military parade delayed until 2019”

Omarosa Manigault Newman’s publisher responds to Trump campaign attorney: We won’t bow to ‘hollow legal threats’

Simon & Schuster, the publisher of the former Trump aide’s explosive tell-all, called a letter from a Trump campaign attorney ‘an obvious attempt to silence legitimate criticism of the President.’

Trump’s military parade postponed to next year, Pentagon says

President Trump’s military parade planned for Veterans Day has been postponed until at least next year, the Pentagon announced Thursday.Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement that the Defense Depar…

Manafort update: Jury asks for four clarifications, deliberations to continue Friday

After deliberating for some seven hours Thursday, the jury in the ongoing fraud trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort submitted four clarification questions to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

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Those questions relate to four specific counts of the 18 overall Manafort was charged with, according to Politico.

The “reasonable doubt” question is a common question from jurors since that is the bar they are using to decide someone’s guilt. Here’s what Judge Ellis told them: “The government is not required to prove beyond ‘all

Continue reading “Manafort update: Jury asks for four clarifications, deliberations to continue Friday”

Trump gears up to strip more clearances from officials tied to Russia investigation

Florida Officials Are Breaking The Law By Not Offering Spanish Ballots, Suit Claims

The suit targets 32 counties the plaintiffs say are violating the Voting Rights Act.

Papadopoulos’s wife wants him to scrap plea deal with Mueller: report

Simona Mangiante, the wife of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, says her husband should end his plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and refuse to cooperate further with its investigat…