Publicist Behind 2016 Trump Tower Meeting Is Ready to Talk to Mueller

His name is Rob Goldstone. He’s a British publicist, and a friend of the Trumps.

He’s also the man that acted as the go-between to set up the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians.

Apparently, Mr. Goldstone has been living in Thailand and now he’s ready to talk to Robert Mueller.

Goldstone’s lawyer, G. Robert Gage won’t comment further on developments, other than to say that nothing has been set up, as yet.

Other sources that are close to Goldstone say he’s been in talks with Mueller and a trip to the states should be expected sooner, rather than later.

Goldstone was actually in the room during the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russians, as was former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and White House senior adviser (and Trump son-in-law) Jared Kushner.

I’m sure his involvement from the beginning makes Goldstone a coveted witness. According to NBC News:

In an email that later became public, Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr. that “the Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

There is no office of crown prosecutor, but Goldstone appeared to be referring to the Russian prosecutor general.

He added that “this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin,” a reference to his long-time clients, oligarch Aras Agalarov and his son, Emin, a Russian pop singer. Much of Goldstone’s publicity business involves music promotion. He also represented the Miss Universe pageant, at one time owned by President Trump.

Trump Jr’s reply to his offer of Russian help was, “I love it.”

Besides Trump Jr., Goldstone, Manafort, Kushner, and of course, the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, there was Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, an employee of the Agalarov family, working in the U.S., and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist, working to get the Obama-era sanctions lifted from Russians and their interests.

Also in the room was Russian-American translator Anatoli Samochornov, who had done work for the State Department and had translated previously for Veselnitskaya.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the promised assistance from the Russian government was provided, and whether it was part of what a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer called “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The interesting twist is that Veselnitskaya told NBC News that she got the incriminating information, mostly centered around tax evasion and Democrat donations, from Glenn Simpson, owner of Fusion GPS.

Simpson was hired to do research for a New York federal court case, at that time.

A source with firsthand knowledge of the matter confirmed that the firm’s research had been provided to Veselnitskaya as part of the case, which involved alleging money-laundering by a Russian company called Prevezon.

Veselnitskaya said she turned Simpson’s research over to the Russian prosecutor.

What Goldstone will add, or why he wants to talk to Mueller is up for debate.

 

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A Navy Pilot Does the Most Awesome and Heartwarming Skywriting Exhibition And It Was Not Appreciated

I’m not a pilot or even a regular flyer but I can’t imagine the sheer joy of strapping on a couple of 50,000 bhp engines, going a loft and simply wringing them dry. Just for the hell of it. Apparently, the fun meter pegged way over in the red zone yesterday when the joy of flying just got the best of a Navy fighter pilot flying out of NAS Whidbey Island (WA).

The kill joys in the Navy were having no part of it:

“The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable,” Navy officials told KREM.

The Federal Aviation Administration told KREM that the graphic drawings did not pose a safety risk and there was nothing it “could do about it.”

The FAA official told KREM they “cannot police morality.”

Unfortunately, this guy is going to be found and he’s probably going to see his career ended.

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Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to Roger Goodell: I’m Coming After You With Everything I Have

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones is not at all happy with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and threatened to come down harder than anything Goodell has previously experienced.

According to ESPN, Jones didn’t mince words.

“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said. Then he mentioned Deflategate. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

The ever-deepening rift between Jones and Goodell is a combination of Jones’ belief that Goodell has mishandled the kneeling controversy, where players have been protesting America by kneeling during the national anthem. The other has been the upheld six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott who was accused of domestic violence.

Jones has made it clear that he believes Elliott to be innocent of the charges, and considers this a “complete betrayal” on Goodell’s part, as Jones was once a major supporter of Goodell.

Between Goodell and Jones, the rivalry has gotten so deep that it was rumored that Jones had convinced Papa Johns pizza chain CEO to call out Goodell as a weak leader in the face of the NFL anthem protests. Goodell’s actions did cost the NFL quite a bit, including falling ratings for games and lower sales for sponsors.

All of this amounts to Jones waging something of a righteous war against the NFL commissioner. Jones has proven himself to be a bit more tenacious and business-minded in face of the many controversies within the NFL. Goodell may have a hard fight ahead of him.

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Orrin Hatch Spits Fire at Sherrod Brown Over Tax Reform

The usually cool Senate Finance Committee hearing room got a little hot Thursday when Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch spit a flaming hot torch of truth at Ohio Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown for insinuating the desire to pass tax reform was nothing more than an attempt to benefit “the rich.”

The explosive exchange occurred during the fourth day of a mark-up on The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was slightly altered by Hatch to temporarily cut taxes for individuals and ax the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The bill, which passed out of committee late Thursday 14-12, also includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Brown can be heard during the exchange insisting that the public believes tax reform is nothing more than a tax cut for the upper middle and rich upper class. Hatch, in an unusually explosive bit of passion, defended the measure with gusto citing his own beginnings in relative poverty and his long tenure on the Hill working for people that “don’t have a chance.”

“I really resent anyone saying that I’m just doing this for the rich,” Hatch said, disgust evident in his voice. “Gimme a break. I think you guys overplay that all the time and it gets old.”

Brown tried to counter several times, saying that tax cuts have been tried “over and over and over again,” but the Senior man literally threw up his hand, pulled rank, and said, “I’m not through!”

“If we work together we could pull this country out of every mess it’s in,” Hatch insisted.

Earlier yesterday, the House passed it’s long-awaited tax reform bill, which now faces significant hurdles to clear the Senate. GOP legislators remain confident in the effort.

The White House issued a statement Friday commending the work of the GOP on tax reform.

“President Donald J. Trump applauds the Senate Finance Committee for passing its companion to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today,” the statement read. “For far too long, the tax code has been rigged in favor of well-connected special interests.  This legislation cuts taxes for middle-income families and empowers American businesses to create more jobs, increase wages, and propel our economy toward a brighter future.  This Administration looks forward to working with Congress to make tax reform a reality by the end of the year.”

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Partisan Victimology Replaces Compassion when Politicians are Outed as Predators

When Joss Whedon, Harvey Weinstein, and Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider were outed as hypocritical misogynist predators, a lot of women were relieved: women in Hollywood who were putting up with these men because no one would listen to them, the friends who did listen and comfort these women — wondering how to help, and regular old Americans who always suspected that preachy Hollywood hashtag activists were full of crap.

And they are. I wrote a rather seedy novel a little while ago featuring this propensity. The language and scenes described are coarse and alarming because Hollywood is coarse and alarming. I wrote it with people I’d met and worked with in mind, with the stories of women I knew clanging in my head, adding dark humor here and there to make it palatable.

That the film industry is teeming with entitled sociopaths was of no surprise to any of us who live and work here, who’ve had even the briefest encounter with it. They cut us off on the freeway. They step in front of us in line, with coupons, and demand to see the manager (yes, even the ones worth millions of dollars).

They say whatever dismissive, explicit thing they want to us, because they can. Or rather, they could.

But not now.

Then the gleeful outing of politician after politician began. Nobody was safe, every beleaguered woman in America thought. Each one of us who’d ever been patted on the arse by a senator or even junior page would finally have her day. But that’s not really what’s happening, is it?

From the circle of theologically appalling wagons around Roy Moore to the creepy “but she’s a lingerie model” dismissals of Leanne Tweeden’s Al Franken experience, partisan politics is now creating partisan victimology. Apparently you don’t count if you’re the other side’s girl.

We can all unite in hatred of those smarmy Tinsel Town creeps, but the moment someone who’s championing our agenda in D.C. gets accused, we suddenly care what a woman was wearing or how long it took her to find the courage to speak up?

Even though it may seem like an avalanche of #MeToos — a deluge of women sick and tired of putting up with the garbage people in power — has been unleashed upon the land, let me assure you in no uncertain terms that there are still even more survivors of harassment and assault remaining dead silent. They are watching what you say about partisan victims, and they are sick to their stomachs, knowing it still isn’t safe to talk about what happened to them.

Even in this day and age of third wave feminism and social media tell-alls, there are more silent victims than soul barers. There are more women quietly throwing up every time they see a new story, and trembling with tears when their friends post something disparaging about a woman who speaks up — just because they don’t vote the same way.

Such folks clearly weren’t thinking before when they were making divisive political statements and posting inflammatory memes. What on Earth made me hope that now, when openness about sexual predation is finally en vogue, that anybody would put down partisan politics for five seconds to listen to victims?

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President Trump Is Under a Death Sentence

This is how heated the rhetoric gets when you’re dealing with lunatics in power.

North Korea’s state-run media has sentenced Donald Trump to die, for the crime of blasphemy.

The apparent offense was the childish tweet, where Trump made reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s weight and size.

The death sentence was announced by Rodong Sinmun in an editorial in North Korea’s state-run newspaper. The editorial specifically sites four of Trump’s “blasphemous crimes” against the DPRK, adding that President Trump “can never be pardoned” for them.

“The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK — He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people.”

The editorial went on to state, “[Trump] will be forced to pay dearly for his blasphemy any moment.”

Any moment.

And apparently, there are other “crimes” that got under the skin of the North Korean government.

One is the insults against North Korea’s socialist government system.

“The second on the list of his hideous crimes is that he malignantly hurt the dignified DPRK and Korean-style socialist system.” Adding that Trump is “a depraved guy” for “dreaming a pipedream of spreading venom of corrupt American capitalism.”

Yeah. How horrible.

The third crime was that Trump “spouted a load of rubbish to paint a black picture of the happy life of the great Korean people.” And the fourth crime being that Trump “cried out for stifling the DPRK by force of violence.”

That’s a long list of silliness, and it only flies in backwards tyrannies like North Korea.

Trump’s speech a week ago, vowing to protect not just the United States from the aggression of North Korea, and its nuclear ambitions, but also our allies.

In his speech, Trump stated that the brutal regime must be isolated by all responsible nations, adding that “we will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated. And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated [in South Korea], on this ground we fought and died so hard to secure.”

Apparently, that was sandpaper over Jong-un’s delicate sensibilities.

The North Korean U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, blaming the United States for the causing “the worst ever situation.”

By “worst ever situation,” he’s referring to the nuclear war equipment deployed by the United States to have on hand, just in case North Korea attempted to go through with one of their near-weekly threats to rain nuclear hell down on their enemies.

Trump is a childish idiot, as evidenced by his tweets, but he’s dealing with an equally unhinged, immoral nightmare in Kim Jong-Un.

 

 

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Water Cooler 11/17/17 Never Accountable

Happy Friday RedStaters!  We do live in interesting times, don’t we?  Join us for a spell at the Water Cooler.  It’s always an Open Thread.

Never Accountable, and Loving it!

A solid, vibrant chunk of a conservative’s worldview is made up of visceral understanding that the elite aren’t, and that a government responsible won’t be.  We get that public servants all too often serve themselves instead.  Everyday our view is reinforced with more examples of government failure, of personal failures that collectively create a failing governance system.  Why aren’t people held accountable?  Why doesn’t everyone see things from the conservative perspective, understanding that humans are, and always will be, human.  And that those elite public servants – well, there is no one to fill that role except – you got it – humans.  Why is this not understood?

If you ignore this fundamental truth, all roads seem to lead to Progressivism.  Here’s a thought: Progressivism is at its core a Faustian bargain that allows its adherents to shirk their number one responsibility – fearing God – in exchange for a promise that if everyone stands together, they can can replace God and it will all be okay.

If I’m a progressive, then:

  • I don’t have to feed the hungry.  I just have to believe that “we” should.
  • I don’t have to help the poor.  I just have to believe that “we” should.
  • I don’t have to protect the weak.  I just have to believe that “we” should.
  • I don’t have to respect women, …

When the things that need to be done are not owned personally, locally, they fall apart.  I came across this great Vassar Bushmills piece this week that captures the failure mechanism that results: “Bureaucracy kills”.  As always with Vassar, well worth the read.  When applied to healthcare, he observes:

How many people have died because of Obamacare, beginning with, first, they couldn’t afford it, and ending with the fact that face-to-face consultation, diagnosis, and treatment result in far less death than when that same process occurs via video-and-phone consultation with medical teams who work directly for the insurers, as is increasingly the case.

When broadened out to the general principle he sees:

But government-caused catastrophes to citizens in increments of 26, 9, 15, 35, 68, and 1 a thousand times over each year, are blameless because of processes that are designed to insure that no personal accountability ever attaches to a government employee.

See that?  Bureaucracy is blameless (unaccountable) by design, not by accident.  Progressivism creates bureaucracy by design, not by accident.  Progressivism is in turn pursued by design – the Faustian bargain.  It’s not that people don’t see the failures of Progressivism.  It’s that it’s worth it!

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Taylor Swift Understands Something About Politics That Most Celebrities Don’t

I should start this off by saying I’m not much of a fan of Taylor Swift’s music.

Some of her songs are catchy, but I never understood the appeal. According to my sister — and I’m paraphrasing here — there’s a dancing white girl in all of us, and Taylor Swift encourages her to come out. I guess my inner white girl is a goth who doesn’t dance.

But sans my appreciation for her music, I do admire Swift. She’s a genuinely good person who treats her fans like they’re the stars. I’ve never seen her be overtly sexual like many of her fellow pop princesses, and even her Ghost in the Shell rip off costume for her song “Ready for It” wasn’t used as a way to gyrate something. And yes, she has a string of failed relationships, and she expresses that in sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jocular, and sometimes manic ways that even she acknowledges makes her seem simultaneously tragic and crazy. In other words, she’s your typical American girl.

But what I appreciate most about Swift is that she seems to be smarter than many of her peers. The grumpy socio-political commentator in me would summarize it as “she knows how to shut up.” The writer in me would say more succinctly, she knows not to mix her politics with her entertainment.

Despite the political firestorm raging around everything Trump does, be it his election or his breathing out of his left nostril, Swift has stayed mum about her thoughts and opinions on the goings on in D.C.’s pillared halls.

This doesn’t sit well with many on the left, as webzine Marie Claire openly expressed on Tuesday.

For many in the leftist media, your disapproval, or better your hatred, of Trump is what allows you to be taken seriously as an artist. A disavowal of the president, or better yet, a Twitter rant against (insert issue of the day here) will win you a standing ovation from the mainstream media, awards, and more.

However, for the left, silence in the face of such evil is equal to consent. Swift’s sealed lips on her politics might as well be a signed and notarized document that gives her approval to whatever dastardly thing Trump wishes to do next.

Marie Claire’s article was less of an honest question about why Taylor has stayed mum, and more like a Nazi Gestapo forcing a citizen to declare allegiance to the body politic lest there be consequences. What Marie Claire didn’t anticipate was that Swift’s celebrity was more powerful than their public attempt at verschärfte vernehmung.

But more than that, Marie Claire — and indeed many in the media — never even considered the fact that Swift’s silence has made her more powerful than their wagging tongues. For all we know, Swift is a raging leftist who donates to Planned Parenthood, believes in safe spaces, cheers on Antifa, and hopes one day Al Franken will grab her by the bulletproof vest. Then again she might be a MAGA hat wearing Israel supporter who thinks the moment an NFL player’s knee touches grass he should be summarily kicked in the jock strap and dragged off the field.

She might be none of those things. We’ll never know, and that is the sharpest arrow in Swift’s quiver.

Swift respects her audience, no matter which way they lean. Whether they’re blue haired SJWs, or troop loving patriots, Swift welcomes all. She’s a performer who is there to bring her audience emotion, depth, fun, and what have you, not divisive commentary and political stances. She never forces anyone to pick a side.

The rest of Hollywood hasn’t learned this. Celebrities spew political verbal diarrhea between takes, songs, plays, and during acceptance speeches, alienating fans and ruining the medium.

A look ratings for everything politics has touched will tell you just how damaging becoming a political talking head or symbol can be for your career, and the space you work in. ESPN and the NFL are seeing their ratings and subscriptions tank daily by the thousands. The Emmys, which has become more of a place for celebrities to to live out their fantasy of being an MSNBC host, is also seeing ratings in free fall. Late night show hosts that engage in partisan commentary like Colbert and Kimmel are bleeding viewers.

A entertainer’s job is to entertain. Those who engage in political commentary leave a bad taste in our mouths. We go to them to get away, not stay in the world we needed a break from. And what’s more the ones there to entertain us always seem half informed about what’s going on as they take themselves so seriously. Many of us reacting negatively feel like Woody from Toy Story yelling “YOU. ARE. A. TOY.” at a very self-important Buzz Lightyear.

But Swift doesn’t have this problem. She respects her audience by not alienating them. She doesn’t see her platform as a soapbox, but a stage by which to serve her fans. I’m not a big Swift fan in terms of her music, but I am a huge Swift fan in terms of her character, and her intelligence, and many in the entertainment industry could learn from her example.

 

 

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Former Fox News Personality Questions Trump’s Hypocrisy Over Al Franken

The hypocrisy is astounding, actually.

Are you outraged by the Roy Moore accusations? Are you more outraged by the revelations about Senator Al Franken and his grabby behavior? Allegations against Bob Menendez? Harvey Weinstein? Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, and what is turning into an avalanche of skeevy behavior by men (mostly liberal men, it seems) in power?

Then where were you on all the women who stepped forward to accuse Donald Trump, buoyed by his own words on the Access Hollywood tape from 2005?

If you’re disgusted by everything else, but still making excuses for Trump, you need to check yourself.

And speaking of personal inventory and hypocrisy, how did Trump respond to the news of Al Franken, yesterday?

Well, of course he tweeted out something really dumb and lacking in self-awareness.

Yeah. Not that he’s wrong, but he’s not the one that needs to be delivering that message. Over a dozen women came forward to report inappropriate contact or behavior by Trump in October 2016, not that Trump supporters cared, back then.

What a difference a year makes, I suppose.

One who hasn’t forgot, and couldn’t believe the gall of Donald Trump opening his mouth (or his Twitter feed) to say a thing about anybody else was former Fox News personality, Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson left Fox News in 2016, and was the first to break the silence about the misconduct of Roger Ailes, former Fox CEO, ousted after a rash of sexual harassment claims.

Carlson shot back at Trump’s tweets:

Yes. What about them?

Most of the accusers have faded back into the woodwork, but at least one, Summer Zervos, is suing Trump for defamation, and wants the release of all the paperwork detailing the harassment and sexual assault claims against him.

Carlson made her point.

What is it about 2017 that makes past bad acts more egregious than they were in 2016?

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Hezbollah Gearing Up for War on Israel… With U.S. Military Aid?

A Hezbollah fighter holds an Iranian-made anti-aircraft missile, right, as he takes his position with his comrade, left, between orange trees, at the coastal border town of Naqoura, south Lebanon, Thursday, April 20, 2017. Hezbollah organized a media tour along the border with Israel meant to provide an insight into defensive measures established by the Israeli forces along the southern frontier in the past year in preparation for any future conflict. The border tour is the first since an inconclusive month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, and comes amid heightened tensions along the border between the old adversaries, with each side promising to inflict massive casualties on the other in any upcoming war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

That’s what it looks like, at least.

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group appears to be stockpiling weapons along Israel’s border, and U.S. military aid may be involved. The concern among U.S. officials is that the aid, which had gone to the Lebanese, is now under Hezbollah control.

The Free Beacon‘s Adam Kredo has more on this story:

Following the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who fled the country and disclosed that Hezbollah controls the entirety of Lebanon, the U.S. government has continued its support for the Lebanese military, which multiple sources say has long been under the thumb of Hezbollah militants.

The ongoing policy is said to be fueling diplomatic tensions between the United States and Israel, which has found itself allied with Saudi Arabia as the American government advances a host of policies that have contributed to Iran’s regional dominance, including in Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration’s State Department is coming under increased pressure from lawmakers and other foreign policy insiders to halt all military aid to Lebanon in light of Hariri’s resignation and new evidence that Hezbollah is benefiting from the American arms and aid.

The State Department appears to be completely off-base when it comes to its assumptions about Lebanon, according to the sources who spoke to Kredo.

“It is clear that the State Department and [Defense Department] operate on the false construct that Lebanese Hezbollah and the Lebanese State are two distinct entities when in reality the information available to decision makers points to the dominance of Hezbollah within the state,” one former senior U.S. defense official familiar with the matter disclosed to the Free Beacon.

“Our Gulf allies and the Israelis are intimately familiar with the internal dynamics of Lebanon and clearly understand that Hezbollah is the defacto Lebanese state today, but we refuse to acknowledge this unfortunate reality even when confronted with obvious evidence,” said the source, who would only discuss the sensitive information on background.

As mentioned earlier, that is causing major issues with Israel, who is our best and closest ally in the region. They have a perpetual target on their backs from pretty much everyone who surrounds them, and it makes life incredibly difficult.

So, if the Trump Administration isn’t paying enough attention, that exacerbates an already tense and dangerous situation in the Middle East. It’s clear that the Trump Administration should re-evaluate what’s going on, but with a still largely understaffed State Department and no clear foreign policy for the Middle East, we just don’t know what will happen.

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