Sunday, March 31, 2019

Trump foe Avenatti charged with trying to extort $20 million from Nike

By Joseph Ax and Brendan Pierson

 Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against U.S. President Donald Trump, exits federal court in New York, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged  with what prosecutors said was an attempt to “shake down” Nike Inc for over $20 million.

Avenatti, who was also hit with separate embezzlement and fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was arrested in New York.

A federal magistrate judge ordered Avenatti, 48, released on $300,000 bond during a hearing in U.S. District Court in New York. A subdued Avenatti appeared in the courtroom wearing a dark gray suit and sitting with federal public defenders.

“When due process occurs I will be fully exonerated and justice will prevail,” Avenatti said outside the court following the hearing.

Prosecutors said Avenatti and another lawyer, who was not named in court papers, met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they had a client, a former amateur coach, who had evidence Nike employees had bribed top high school players to play for Nike-sponsored college teams.

The other lawyer, an unnamed co-conspirator, was identified by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, as high-profile Los Angeles attorney and CNN contributor Mark Geragos.

Geragos did not respond to a request by Reuters for comment. A spokeswoman for CNN said Geragos was no longer with the network.

According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti told Nike he would go public unless it paid his client $1.5 million and hired him and the other lawyer to conduct an internal investigation for between $15 million and $25 million.

Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said.

A former executive at Nike rival athletic shoe maker Adidas was recently convicted in federal court in Manhattan of participating in a similar scheme, part of a sweeping probe by prosecutors of corruption surrounding the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The case has ensnared several prominent basketball coaches.

In one call, Avenatti threatened, “I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap ... I’m not fucking around,” according to the complaint.

Geragos, who has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, is defending the actor Jussie Smollett, who is charged with falsely reporting he was the victim of a racially motivated attack in Chicago.

It was not clear why Geragos has not been charged in the Nike case.


The charges came shortly after Avenatti said on Twitter he would hold a news conference  to reveal “a major high school/college basketball scandal” reaching “the highest levels of Nike.”

“A suit and tie does not mask the fact that, at its core, this was an old-fashioned shakedown,” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, told a news conference.

Nike said in a statement it “will not be extorted” and alerted investigators to Avenatti’s demands immediately.

Federal prosecutors in California unveiled separate charges against Avenatti on Monday, accusing him of misusing a client’s $1.6 million settlement to pay for his own expenses as well as those for his coffee business.

He was also charged with defrauding a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns for 2011-2013 that inflated his income.

Avenatti faces up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charge in California and up to 20 years for the top charge in New York.

He gained international notoriety for representing Daniels, the porn star whom Trump is accused of paying off during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Daniels, 40, who is no longer represented by Avenatti, said she was “saddened but not shocked” by his arrest, adding she fired him after learning he had acted “dishonestly” with her.

Reporting by Joseph Ax and Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting by Daniel Trotta and Jonathan Stempel in New York, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Bill Tarrant, Cynthia Ostermanand Leslie Adler

CRISIS: Massive Caravan of Illegals Marching to Our Southern Border

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Trump Was Not Just Spied Upon But Entrapped


President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It's bad enough, as has been evident for some time, that Donald Trump and his campaign were being spied upon by our own government, but it's highly likely they were also subject to literal entrapment--at least a serious attempt was made.

I don't mean the entrapment of promulgating the salacious Steele dossier both to the public and the FISA court as if it were the truth. That was more of a smear to justify a phony investigation.

I mean something more subtle and LeCarré-like coming from the depths of our intelligence communities. It raises once more the question of the power of such agencies in a free society, a conundrum with no easy answers but of great significance to our lives.

For all his New York rough-and-tumble, Trump was an innocent abroad when he arrived in Washington. Way back in January 2017, he was warned by old-timer Chuck Schumer that "intel officials have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

The Senate minority leader--Deep Stater par excellence--knew whereof he spoke.

But Trump somehow survived the storm, although sometimes it seemed as if he wouldn't.

Now, some of the obvious parties --John K. Brennan and James Clapper with their apparatchik miens -- have suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs, as the Washington Times notes:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that there was no Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia to steal the 2016 election has unleashed a tsunami of outrage toward Obama-era intelligence chiefs, particularly former CIA Director John O. Brennan and former FBI Director James B. Comey, who are accused of pushing the allegation during congressional hearings, in social media posts and in highly charged interviews on television over the past two years.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also leveled up highly publicized comments that President Trump could even be an “asset” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, part of a slew of remarks that critics say went far beyond the usual partisan sniping that can accompany a change of administrations.

More's afoot here, however, considerably more because the entire American intelligence system and the unique power referred to by Schumer are also now in those same crosshairs, as they should be.

But many of the men and women involved are less overtly Soviet in their style than Mssrs. Brennan and Clapper and slip more easily under the radar.

Notable among these, and perhaps able to reveal much of the McGuffin to the mystery of where this all started and how, is Stefan Halper.  

Mr. Halper is "an American foreign policy scholar and Senior Fellow at the University of Cambridgewhere he is a Life Fellow at Magdalene College and directs the Department of Politics and International Studies." He is also a spook who worked for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, no less, and was a principle American connection to the UK's MI-6.

Mr. Halper has (ahem) other connections:

A top FBI official admitted to Congressional investigators last year that the agency had contacts within the Trump campaign as part of operation "Crossfire Hurricane," which sounds a lot like FBI "informant" Stefan Halper - a former Oxford University professor who was paid over $1 million by the Obama Department of Defense between 2012 and 2018, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 US election.

Hmm.... The perspicacious Margot Cleveland had more to say the other day at The Federalist in "Who Launched An Investigation Into Trump's Campaign Before Crossfire Hurricane."

"Crossfire Hurricane," as most know, is the codename the wannabe hipsters at the FBI gave the Trump-Russia investigation.

But more important is the word "before" in Ms. Cleveland's title.

The Post further noted that the academic, since identified as Stefan Halper, first met with Trump campaign advisor Carter Page “a few weeks before the opening of the investigation,” and then after Crossfire Hurricane’s July 31, 2016, start, he met again with Carter Page and “with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis,” offering the latter his “foreign-policy expertise” for the Trump team.

Then in September, Halper “reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”

Papadopoulos and Page are the two naifs of the most obvious sort (sorry, guys) we have all seen on television who spent the last couple of years having to defend themselves against absurd charges. 

Considering the timing, it's pretty obvious they were being set up (i. e. entrapped) on some level well back during the Obama administration.

Who ordered it is the obvious question, but I'm not going to leave it there.

I suggest that an attempt was being made to implant Halper in the Trump campaign, one way or another, not just for spying purposes but actually to help create this collusion of the campaign with Russia--that is, to help manufacture it.

Putting it another way, someone or some group wanted to create -- or, more subtly, to encourage the creation -- of Trump-Russia collusion from the inside in order to destroy Trump before, or failing that, after he was elected.

How's that for a nefarious plot? Worthy of LeCarré or maybe even Graham Greene. But is it true? I wouldn't bet against it. Something close anyway.

By the way, if I am right, this won't be the first time for Halper. And unfortunately for Republicans, the shoe was then on the proverbial other foot. As Glenn Greenwald wrote last year:

Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration.

The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.

Republicans can console themselves that their malfeasance was more benign, relatively.

This new one was outright sedition involving a foreign power. It is a blow to the heart of our democratic republic. We need Halper, under oath and unredacted. Whether that's possible is another question.

Roger L. Simon -- co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media -- is an award-winning novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.




By SCOTT JOHNSON | Powerline

Among the high former Obama administration officials who have disgraced themselves by their public comments since leaving office, John Brennan deserves special recognition

Marc Thiessen has done us the favor of making the case in the Washington Post column “The Trump-Russia collusion hall of shame.” Here are quotes:

Put aside the rogues’ gallery of reporters and pundits who assured us that Donald Trump had conspired with Vladimir Putin to steal the presidency. What is most insidious are those who did have access to classified intelligence and led Americans to believe that they had seen what we could not: actual evidence of Trump-Russia collusion….the most sinister of all is John Brennan, who used his authority as former CIA director to suggest that Trump was a traitor and a compromised Russian asset.

After Trump’s Helsinki summit, Brennan declared “he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.” When challenged by Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” Brennan stood by his assessment. “I called [Trump’s] behavior treasonous, which is to betray one’s trust and aid and abet the enemy, and I stand very much by that claim.

In his concluding paragraph, Thiessen puts it this way: “He is among the worst of the worst, the Trump-Russia collusion hall of shame.” Placing Brennan among “the worst of the worst,” Theissen is probably saving room for former James Comey. Julie Kelly, it should be noted, also focuses on Brennan in the American Greatness column “Brennan the menace.”

In Brennan’s many television appearances pronouncing President Trump a traitorous Russian stooge, one could hardly miss the rabid hatred beneath Brennan’s pronouncements. Given his former responsibilities, the thin smile and spittle flecked visage of the man might send a shiver down your spine.

Among the most valuable retrospectives published of our ordeal so far are Jeff Carlson’s long Epoch Times account “The inside story of Spygate.” Long story short in the terrific accompanying graphic (below). I also commend Lee Smith’s characteristically excellent Tablet column focusing on the media — “System fail”(“For [the media], Russiagate is an extinction level event.”

Yesterday our friends at at the Washington Free Beacon finally came through with the Brennan supercuts video we (I) have been awaiting (below). It is posted with Andrew Kugle’s story on Brennan and in the FOX News story here.

Ian Schwartz has posted the video of Brennan’s appearance on MSNBC following the release of William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report here at RealClearPolitics. He seems to have made the transition from foaming at the mouth to flop sweat. To pass judgment on the foul doings of the Obama administration, that this man served as Director of the CIA is not all ye know about the Obama administration, not by a long shot, but (to paraphrase John Keats) it is all ye need to know.

Quotable quote: “I don’t know if I received bad information but I suspected there was more than there actually was. I am relieved that it’s been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election. I think that is good news for the country. I still point to things that were done publicly, or efforts to try to have conversations with the Russians that were inappropriate, but I’m not all that surprised that the high bar of criminal conspiracy was not met.”

The Take Down of Creepy Joe Biden

Photo:  Lucy Flores and Former Vice President Joe Biden




By Glenn Reynolds

“Lucy Flores said that pictures of Biden touching other women inappropriately made it more difficult to keep silent, referring to Biden nuzzling the neck of Secretary of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s wife, kissing Sen. Chuck Grassley’s wife on the lips, whispering in women’s ears, and snuggling women on the campaign trail.”

“Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,” Kessler writes in the book – due for release Aug. 5.

“Female Secret Service agents find that offensive,” he writes.

“Biden likes to be revered as everyday Joe,” an unnamed agent told Kessler. “But the reality is no agents want to go on his detail because Biden makes agents’ lives so tough.”

Friday, March 29, 2019

Brutal: At Opening of Another Hearing on Russia, Republicans Just Issued a Letter Directly to Adam Schiff Demanding His Resignation

By Katie Pavlich | Townhall

At the beginning of another House Intelligence Committee hearing about Russia Thursday morning, all nine Republican members submitted a letter for the record calling for Chairman Adam Schiff to step down.

"Since prior to the inauguration of President Trump in January 2017, you have been at the center of a well-orchestrated media campaign claiming, among other things, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russia government.

"Indeed, before the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, you alleged during one of your frequent television interviews that there was 'more than circumstantial evidence' of collusion but you could not 'go into particulars,'" the letter states.

"You continue to proclaim in the media that there is 'significant evidence of collusion.' You further states you 'will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. 

"That is the president or people around him comprised in any way by a hostile foreign power?' You willingness to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming."

"The findings of the Special Counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity of this Committee, and undermined faith in U.S. government institutions," the letter continues.

"Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as Chairman of this Committee, which alone in the House of Representatives has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community. 

"As such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your Constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as Chairman of this Committee."

The letter was signed by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes (Ranking Member), Michael Conaway, Michael Turner, Brad Wenstrup, Chis Stewart, Eric Crawford, Elise Stefanik, Will Hurd and John Ratcliffe. 

Even after Robert Mueller found no collusion during his two-year-long Special Counsel investigation, Schiff continues to shamelessly push the claim President Trump and members of his campaign colluded with Russians to win the 2016 election.



The Mueller Bitter Enders

By Kimberley A. Strassel | The Wall Street Journal

The special counsel wraps up his work and opens up another Democratic split.

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell speaks in Manchester, N.H., Feb. 25. PHOTO: ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democrats are struggling over the direction of their party, and this week things got more complicated. In addition to the splits over the Green Leap Forward, Medicare for All and constitutional rewrites, Robert Mueller’s report has opened a new divide. 

It’s Team Reality vs. Team Bitter Enders.

Granted, the end of the special counsel’s probe is a shattering blow to Trump haters. So long as Mr. Mueller continued his investigation, the left and its media mates were free to spin collusion claims and nurse hopes of a toppled Trump presidency. Anyone who pushed back was told to sit down, shut up and wait until Mr. Mueller ruled. He now has. The party is over.

Realists understand the risks of continuing to dwell on collusion and obstruction of justice. Americans are weary of Mueller headlines. In a CNN poll this month, respondents listed the economy, immigration and health care as their most important issues for 2020. No one listed the special-counsel probe.

The Democrats who are actually charged with electing more Democrats understand this. In a leadership meeting Monday night, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, laid out the alarming reality: Voters have little idea what the Democratic policy agenda is; the party urgently needs to move beyond 2016.

The realists also understand the Mueller probe has gained the party little up to now, beyond gratifying its base. While the resistance wallowed in collusion hysteria, Donald Trump presided over tax reform, massive deregulation and a remake of significant parts of the judiciary. He’s an incumbent presiding over a growing economy, with a campaign awash in money. 

A Politico story recently warned the left not to put much stock in approval ratings: “If the election were held today,” the reporters wrote, Mr. Trump would “likely ride to a second term in a huge landslide, according to multiple economic models with strong track records of picking presidential winners and losses.”

This is why Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided impeachment as “not worth it.” And it’s why she held another closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday, lecturing members on the need to stay focused on issues that helped Democrats in 2018. Her deputies, at least, got the message. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries didn’t even mention Mr. Mueller in his opening statement in an ensuing press conference. Majority Whip James Clyburn declared the Mueller chapter “closed.”

But the Bitter Enders are having none of it. Liberal pundits and TV hosts now accuse Attorney General Bill Barr of a “coverup,” and meditate on the cosmic meaning of “exoneration.” Former FBI Director James Comey claimed on NBC that the Mueller report was deficient. Liberal legal analysts explained that Mr. Trump is still guilty of all kinds of counterintelligence sins outside Mr. Mueller’s jurisdiction.

Mrs. Pelosi’s bigger problem is her members. Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib responded to the Mueller report by introducing a resolution for impeachment. California’s Eric Swalwell went on air to insist—no kidding—that the debunked Steele dossier was “factual.” 

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff—in response to a call by every committee Republican for his resignation—doubled down on his irresponsible claims, arguing that there is clear “evidence” of collusion.

It would be one thing if the Bitter Enders were few or marginalized. But they make up a significant portion of the Democratic House majority. 

Hailing primarily from liberal districts, they need to worry not as much about re-election as about furious progressive activists, who for two years were promised conspiracy, obstruction and impeachment, and still demand it. The presidential candidates have a similar interest in whipping up those crowds with Trump-collusion talk.

Mr. Schiff, meanwhile, holds a powerful post, drives headlines, and has a reputational interest in carrying on. Chairmen Elijah Cummings and Jerry Nadler, of the Oversight and Judiciary committees respectively, are attempting to pursue broader investigations—of Trump finances or supposed corruption.

But one interesting legacy of the Mueller probe is that any investigation into Mr. Trump—no matter what the topic—may come across as more of the same. And Mrs. Pelosi has little ability to rein in these senior members.

Finally, there’s the media, which—after a humiliating week—has a self-interest in giving airtime to those who would diminish its atrocious performance. 

Mrs. Pelosi tried to change the subject this week to health care. A few reporters bit, but most of the headlines are still about Mr. Mueller. And think of all the forthcoming news hooks—the release of the report itself, the inspector general findings, the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation.

The question for reality-minded Democrats is how they put the Russia genie back in the bottle. It was supposed to spell the end of Mr. Trump. If they play their cards wrong, it could help him to re-election.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Rolling Genocide of America's Blacks

By Hugh Reynolds | American Thinker

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood founder, targeted blacks for extermination and referred to them as "human weeds" and a "menace to civilization."

When is a genocide not a genocide?  When it is a "rolling genocide."  When it is an ongoing but never finished extermination of a people targeted for destruction.  When it rolls on, generation after generation.  When it is too profitable to bring to an end.

In ancient times, most cultures offered sacrifices to appease or honor their gods.  Throughout the Old Testament, the term "burnt offering" referred to the Jewish ritual burning of crops ("firstfruits") and the sacrifice of animals ("firstborn") as an offering to God.  In older translations of Scripture, the word for burnt offering was "holocaust."  Contrary to common belief, the word did not originate with Hitler's "Final Solution" during World War II.

Child Sacrifice Forbidden by God

Throughout the pre-Christian world, most cultures, Hebrew and pagan alike, included their own children in their sacrificial offerings.  However, the God of the Hebrews ordered an end to this inhuman practice.

The First Final Solution

In the aftermath of World War II, the word "Holocaust" took on a much larger and more dreadful meaning: the systematic slaughter of over 6 million European Jews and millions of other "undesirables" by the Nazi regime before and during World War II.  The word has become synonymous with pure evil.

What do these ancient tales and distant horrors have to do with us in these enlightened times?  Everything.  Simply put, this is the story of Planned Parenthood and the systematic extermination of an entire people through the destruction of their own children.  

Since 1973, more than 18 million black children of the 60.9 million abortions (31%) have been deliberately killed.  By one estimate, the black population has been reduced by more than 25% since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Margaret Sanger, "Father" of Planned Parenthood

The ghost of Margaret Sanger casts a century-long shadow.  Because of her enormous influence in promoting and implementing her humanist, anti-religious, pro–birth control, and eugenic philosophy throughout the United States and around the world, one biographer called her the "Father of Modern Society."  

From the beginning of Sanger's birth control crusade, she specifically targeted immigrants and ethnic and religious minorities, especially blacks, Hispanics, and what she once described as "the Catholic race."  Sanger referred to these inferior races as "human weeds" and a "menace to civilization" to be segregated and sterilized.

Sanger's first birth control clinic was opened in 1916 in a poor immigrant section of Brooklyn, where she could provide her "services" to "immigrant Southern Europeans, Slavs, Latins, and Jews." 

In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control League (predecessor to Planned Parenthood).  In the same year, she established another birth control clinic in Harlem, a predominantly black section of New York.  She was careful to appoint an advisory panel composed entirely of black Americans, as were most of the staff.

Sanger's efforts at birth control, sterilization, and abortion have always been disproportionately aimed at minorities, especially blacks.

In November 1939, her director of the South for the Birth Control Federation of America wrote a proposal called "Suggestions for Negro Project," which was designed to bring the "good news" of birth control to poor Southern blacks.  He wrote: "There is a great danger that we will fail because the Negroes think it a plan for extermination.  Hence, let's appear to let the colored run it."  Sanger approved the project, responding: "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."

In George Grant's exhaustively researched book Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, the author characterized Sanger's program this way:  "The project was quite successful.  Its genocidal intentions were carefully camouflaged beneath several layers of condescending social service rhetoric and organizational expertise."

The Never-Ending Final Solution

Arguably, the eugenic war on blacks and other minorities waged by the "evil empire" of Planned Parenthood is an evil well on the level of the Holocaust of the Third Reich.  Hitler's "Final Solution" had an end point: exterminate the Jews once and for all.

 Planned Parenthood has been engaged in an ongoing partial extermination of our black brothers and sisters for a century, resulting in the slaughter of about 18.3 million black babies since 1973, almost one third of the 61 million abortions since 1973 and triple the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis.

These modern racial exterminators cannot totally eliminate the black population — and they do not want to — because this would eliminate their major revenue source.  So they must maintain enough of a core population to keep the "unwanted pregnancies" flowing into their eugenic clinics to be stripped of their motherhood, harvested for "spare parts, and "weeded out" of the human family.

In the meantime, pro-life warriors keep begging their victims to come out of the extermination chambers before it's too late.  But the new holocaust rolls on, generation after generation, an ongoing, everlasting genocide. 

A new Dr. Josef Mengele arises from the dead in the form of a butcher named Kermit Gosnell.  And millions upon tens of millions of tiny innocent victims are sacrificed on the eugenic altar of Sanger.

And these butchers call us Nazis.