Manafort loses plea deal for lying, Cohen pleads guilty

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After a quiet few months in the run-up to the midterm elections, the special counsel’s Russia investigation is heating up again with a string of tantalizing new details emerging this week.

None of it answers the central question: Did Donald Trump and his campaign coordinate with Russia to help him win America’s 2016 presidential election. But the new evidence does make clear that some in Trump’s orbit recognized his Russia connections were a problem — so they lied about them.

Mueller has indicated there are more criminal charges to come.

Here’s a look at the key lines of inquiry, what we know and what we don’t.

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WHAT’S THE LATEST?

It’s been a busy week.

On Thursday, Michael Cohen, the longtime Trump lawyer and legal fixer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his efforts during the 2016 campaign to line up a Trump Tower Moscow project. The plea was significant because it prominently featured Trump and conversations he and his family had with Cohen about the project.

Prosecutors did not accuse Trump or his grown children of any wrongdoing. But Cohen said he lied to be consistent with Trump’s “political messaging.”

The surprise plea came just days after prosecutors revealed that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s separate plea deal fell apart over allegations that he lied to investigators, a development that could lead to new charges .

Draft court documents made public this week also revealed that Mueller made a plea offer to Jerome Corsi, a conservative writer and conspiracy theorist. The documents accused Corsi of lying about his discussions with Trump confidant Roger Stone about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that damaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential effort. Mueller’s office is trying to determine whether Corsi and Stone had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.

Corsi has denied lying and rejected the plea offer. Stone has also denied having any contact with WikiLeaks or knowledge of its plans.

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WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR SURE?

There were a lot of contacts between Russia and people close to Trump. And the Kremlin mounted a large-scale operation that sought to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump, according to Mueller and U.S intelligence agencies .

In public court filings, Mueller has woven a narrative of events that he believes are significant. They include contacts between a little-known campaign foreign policy adviser and Russian intermediaries, conversations the president and his family had with Cohen about a proposed Trump Tower Moscow and contacts between senior advisers in Trump’s incoming administration and Russian officials during the transition period.

Much of that has become public because key participants — Cohen, ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and ex-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos— lied to federal agents about it.

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WHAT REMAINS UNKNOWN?

Mueller has yet to answer definitively the central questions in the Russia probe.

Did any Trump associates coordinate with Russia in an attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election? And did the president cross the line and obstruct justice in his efforts to stymie the Russia investigation?

Mueller’s team is also intently focused on WikiLeaks and whether anyone close to Trump or his campaign knew in advance about the group’s plans to release the material hacked by Russia.

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WHO HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF CRIMES?

Thirty-three people and three companies.

Since Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, he’s obtained guilty pleas from seven people including five involved in the Trump campaign. Flynn and Papadopoulos both admitted to lying about their contacts with Russians or Russian intermediaries.

Mueller also brought a series of charges against Manafort over undisclosed foreign lobbying on behalf of Ukraine and millions of dollars that were never reported to the IRS. Manafort was convicted by a jury of eight felony counts. His right-hand man, Rick Gates, took a plea deal , and Mueller brought obstruction charges against Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort associate who prosecutors say has ties to Russian intelligence.

In addition, Mueller has brought sweeping indictments against Russians. That includes charging 13 Russians and three companies with orchestrating a covert effort to flood American social media with disinformation to sow discord during the U.S. election campaign. One company is fighting the charges. Twelve Russian intelligence officers were also accused of hacking Democratic organizations during the 2016 campaign.

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WHAT ABOUT TRUMP?

The president is angry to the point of boiling about the Mueller probe — and he’s hinted he may do something about it.

Trump has heightened his attacks in recent weeks, blasting the special counsel as corrupt and unethical. He’s even accused Mueller of pressuring people to lie.

In a tweet, Trump floated the idea of giving those caught up in the investigation some ”relief .” And this week, he said he hasn’t ruled out a pardon for Manafort.

All of this came as his attorneys turned over Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions about his knowledge of any ties between his campaign and Russia.

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WHEN WILL WE FIND OUT MORE?

It’s not clear.

Mueller’s indictments and guilty pleas are not announced ahead of time. The special counsel also hasn’t said when he will complete any report of his findings.

But there are several deadlines coming up where Mueller will have to disclose at least some new details about his investigation.

Next week, prosecutors will have to disclose what lies they say Manafort told them after he agreed to cooperate. Prosecutors will also have lay out the nature of the cooperation by Cohen and Flynn in the next few weeks.

All of those filings will be closely watched to see what they say about where Mueller is going.

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Follow Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChadSDay

Migrant Caravan Troop Deployment Could Cost U.S. $50 Million Despite No Evidence of Terrorists, Major Criminal Gang Presence

The Trump administration is preparing for the most dangerous, and unlikely, scenario as it sends thousands of troops to the border to intercept a carvavan of Central American migrants making its way through Mexico at the cost of tens of millions of dollars.

Documents obtained by Newsweek from two Defense Department officials show that intelligence officials do not anticipate any terrorist infiltration and only limited involvement of criminal gangs as the caravan follows its projected route.

On Monday, the Pentagon announced that it was sending an additional 5,200 troops to the United States’s southern border amid increasingly heated rhetoric from President Donald Trump, including claims of the presence of “unknown Middle Easterners,” terrorists and MS-13 gang members. Those claims are not currently supported by intelligence on the ground.

The planning documents include intelligence assessments and precise movements of U.S. forces. The PowerPoint was constructed by the Joint Force Land Component Commander Threat Working Group and used in a PowerPoint presentation on Operation Faithful Patriot on Saturday. The documents are marked “UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO//LES” meaning they are “For Official Use Only” and are “Law Enforcement Sensitive.”

The operational documents outline the deployment, and as of Saturday, officials planned to send troops to four specific ports of entry, located in Brownsville, Texas, McAllen, Texas, Nogales, Arizona, and San Ysidro in San Diego.

Currently, the port of entry in McAllen would be the closest entry point into the U.S. for migrants traveling with at least three caravans headed toward the U.S.

However, the McAllen port of entry is still roughly 880 miles away for members of the first of the three caravans, which is currently making its way through Mexico toward the U.S. after embarking on its journey from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 13.

While McAllen might be the closest point of entry, Central American migrants traveling with a previous caravan that made its way to the U.S. in April made the journey to the San Ysidro point, which is the largest land border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

The intelligence assessment included in Operation Faithful Patriot’s October 27 briefing concluded that the ports of entry at Brownsville, where the Rio Grande River flows between the entry point and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico—and San Ysidro, which separates San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico, were significant areas of concern for infiltration by transcontinental criminal organizations, according to the documents.

CNN panel bashes Kanye West’s representation of black community due to Trump support

By Katelyn Caralle, Washington Examiner

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A CNN panel on Don Lemon’s show Tuesday night went after Kanye West ahead of his meeting this week with President Trump, describing him as a poor role model for the black community.

“Kanye West is what happens when negroes don’t read,” CNN commentator Bakari Sellers said, apparently referencing a Chris Rock stand-up routine from the 1990s. Sellers added that West does not have the depth to understand the issues with the Trump presidency.

Another panel member, Tara Setmayer, said West should not be taken seriously and has become the “token negro of the Trump administration.”

“Listen, black folks are about to trade Kanye West in the racial draft,” Setmayer said, adding, “[Kanye’s] an attention whore, like the president.”

West’s wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, met with Trump on prison reform over the summer.

TRUMP HAS A TWO WORD RESPONSE WHEN REPORTER ASKS HIM HOW HE WILL KEEP GOP BASE ENERGIZED

By Benny Johnson, Daily Caller

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President Donald Trump made portions of the White House press corps chuckle with his response on how he intends to keep Republican voters fired up after the ultimately successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“How do you keep your base energized now that you have this Kavanaugh victory?” one reporter asked. Tuesday was the first day that Kavanaugh sat on the court after a contentious battle over his nomination.

“More winning,” Trump said.

Trump was leaving the White House on his way to a campaign rally Tuesday night when he took questions from reporters in the White House driveway.

The president was also asked about the mobs of paid progressive protesters that took over Capitol Hill during the contentious debate over Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Trump was specifically asked about the intense “energy” of the protesters.

“A lot of those were paid protesters. You saw that they are all unhappy because they haven’t been paid yet,” Trump alleged about the protesters. (RELATED: Trump Has A Theory Why The Anti-Kavanaugh Protesters Are So Mad)

Trump brought up his new trade deal with Canada and Mexico as a major policy win. “Our deal with Mexico and Canada was fantastic,” Trump said. “China wants to make a deal so badly. We will see where it goes. But I don’t think they are ready.”

Berkeley Teacher’s Case to Block JW from Getting Antifa Activism Records “Entirely Frivolous”

By Judicial Watch

A California teacher’s case to block Judicial Watch from obtaining public records about her violent Antifa activism is “entirely frivolous,” a federal judge said during a hearing this week in San Francisco. The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) middle school teacher, Yvette Felarca, is a national organizer for a radical leftist group and last year Judicial Watch filed a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request to get information about her violent Antifa activism. Claiming to be the victim of a political witch hunt,  Felarca sued the district in federal court to keep it from fulfilling its legal obligation to provide Judicial Watch with the records.

In Judicial Watch’s 24-year history of submitting thousands of public records requests and litigating hundreds of public records lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide, a third party has never sued to stop a government agency from responding to one of its requests. Additionally, Judicial Watch has never been required to litigate a state public records act lawsuit in a federal court. At this week’s hearing Judge Vince Chhabria, an Obama appointee at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, found the controversial teacher’s argument to be “entirely frivolous” and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her state law claims. A written order will follow, representing a huge victory for the public’s right to information about government and the taxpayer-funded officials that operate it.

In her lawsuit to keep the district from furnishing the records, Felarca alleges that Judicial Watch is misusing the law for political means and the district should refuse to provide the information. It also calls Judicial Watch’s record request “illegal,” though it aligns perfectly with California law, which states that “governmental records shall be disclosed to the public, upon request, unless there is a specific reason not to do so.” In this case there is not, which helps explain Felarca’s preposterous argument. In her federal complaint she asserts that “BUSD’s pursuit of Judicial Watch’s illegal CPRA request would transform the CPRA into something unrecognizable and far-removed from its original intent of making the acts of government officials public. Instead, it would become a tool for employers and political organizations to spy on and police public employees for their political beliefs and affiliations, including concerted activities for their mutual benefit.” Judge Chhabria didn’t buy it.

Felarca works at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and is a prominent figure in By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an organized militant group founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League that uses raucous militant tactics to protest conservative speaking engagements. In 2016 the teacher and two of her radical pals were arrested and charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento. Felarca was captured on video calling a man a Nazi and punching him in the stomach repeatedly while shouting obscenities at him. More than a dozen people were injured in the riot, at least 10 with stab wounds, and the capitol grounds suffered thousands of dollars in property damage. Felarca accused local authorities of a “witch hunt” and tried to get the charges dropped but in May a Sacramento County judge declined. A local newspaper story on the two-hour hearing quotes the judge, Michael Savage, saying: “The bottom line is this: There’s nothing … that shows that the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office planned to carry out any discrimination against the defendants.”

In January a separate judge ordered Felarca to pay more than $11,000 in attorney and court fees for her frivolous attempt to get a restraining order against Troy Worden, the former head of the University of California (UC) Berkeley College Republicans. The two political adversaries went head to head when Felarca led violent protests against conservative speakers that Worden’s group promoted at UC Berkeley. Felarca claimed Worden was stalking her and she got a temporary restraining order. Then she filed for a permanent restraining order. The Alameda County commissioner that ordered Felarca to pay Worden’s legal fees said her request for a restraining order “was not brought in good faith.”

Portland Police Want To Charge Driver With Crimes After Escaping Mob Protest – Violent Protesters Considered “Victims”

By Brock Simmons, Gateway Pundit

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As the videos from last weekend’s protest in Portland have gone viral, namely due to the dereliction of duty on the part of the Portland police allowing the violent leftist mob to take over the city, one particular video has caught the attention of police and Multnomah County district attorney Rod Underhill.

The video in question shows a man in a silver car getting caught up in the protest. Apparently fearing for his safety, the man starts to drive through the protest. One genius decides he’s going to jump in front of the car and try to stop it, as other members of the mob converge on the car, shouting obscenities at the driver and beating on his car. The driver eventually made it through, but stopped at the red light up the block. There, the protesters chased him down, smashed a window out in his car, and started threatening him.

Now police are encouraging the protesters to come forward as “victims” so they can charge the driver of the car with crimes. The police refer to the violent thugs as “pedestrians.”

Far left Willamette Week hack reporter Katie Sheppard writes:

Police Ask Pedestrians To Come Forward After Driver Slowly Pushes Through a Small Crowd of Protesters

Without statements from the people in the path of the silver Lexus, police say they may not have a case.

Portland police are seeking witnesses to a collision at Southwest 4th Avenue and  Madison Street on Saturday, in which the driver of a silver Lexus slowly pushed through a crowd of protesters crossing the street.

Video of the incident obtained by WW‘s news partner KATU-TV shows the car turning right into a crosswalk while the “walk” sign signaled that pedestrians could legally be in the crosswalk. A man dressed in black stops, plants his feet and places his hands on the hood of the Lexus. The driver continues to gently press the gas, slowly moving the man down the street several feet as other people bang on the car’s windows.

Portland police say the driver of the Lexus contacted the bureau and reported his vehicle suffered $3,000 in damage. The video shows protesters hit the exterior and photos show a cracked driver’s side window.

Police say they are seeking witness statements from the pedestrians to “learn what occurred from their perspective.”

A spokesman for the bureau says officers may forward evidence to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office without additional witnesses, but having the pedestrians’ statements might strengthen a case against the driver prosecutors decide to bring one.

“The information provided by those individuals is important and it would be optimal to provide the information to the MCDA for their review,” says spokesman Sgt. Christopher Burley. “It is important to note that the video may leave questions that cannot be answered without a person being present to answer the questions.”

This entire incident took place literally one block away from police central precinct headquarters, and not a single uniformed officer was dispatched to quell the unruly mob. One person managed to get a screen grab from one of the videos showing this brave “police officer” standing far away from the mayhem, refusing protect and serve.

So, according to this new legal standard, a mob of thugs apparently have the right to surround a police car of an “officer” on duty, threaten the officer, hit the car with fists and sticks, smash out the windows, and if the “officer” tries to escape the situation, then he is the one committing crimes while the innocent pedestrians then become the “victims”.

You can reach Portland Police “public information officer” Chris Burley at 503-823-0830.

Adopted daughter of military family will have to leave the country, court rules

By Tara Copp, Military Times

A federal court in Kansas has ruled that the adopted daughter of a now-retired Army officer — who missed a key immigration deadline for her while he was deployed to Afghanistan — will have to leave the U.S., her father confirmed Monday.

Former Army Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber and his family had put off formal adoption of now-daughter Hyebin in 2013 because he was about to deploy for a year as the director of military intelligence for the 4th Infantry Division at RC-South. He and wife Soo Jin legally adopted Hyebin after he got back, then started the official paperwork to seek citizenship for her. She had just turned 17.

But the U.S. immigration law cutoff for a foreign-born adopted child to become a naturalized citizen is 16, and on Friday a U.S. District Court in Kansas ruled in favor of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services that there would not be an exception in Hyebin’s case. She is allowed to complete her degree in chemical engineering at the University of Kansas, which she will do next year. Then she must return to Korea, Schreiber said Monday.

The family is planning to file an appeal, but is preparing for the reality that it’s likely Hyebin will not be allowed to stay, Schreiber said.

“As I tell my daughter, life isn’t fair,” Schreiber said Monday. “The main thing is to be resilient.”

“It was disappointing, but we’ve always known this is not the end of the road,” said family attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford. “But it’s still hard on this family.”

Schreiber served in the military for 27 years, meeting his wife Soo Jin while he was serving as a tank company executive officer and in other positions in Korea with 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment in the late 1990s. Hyebin was Soo Jin’s niece, and when Hyebin’s home life became too difficult, Schreiber and his wife took her in as their own daughter.

During his military career, Schreiber jumped with the 82nd Airborne Division into Panama during Operation Just Cause, served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, deployed to Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and then again from 2007 to 2008. He was sent to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 and then again from 2013 to 2014. He retired in 2015 and still works for DoD as a contractor.

If the family loses its appeal, all of them will move to Korea, Schreiber said.

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