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The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« on: October 16, 2019, 12:03:04 PM »
Standing this up right here in honor of a man who deserves to. e passed around like a party favor at Rikers.

Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies
The president’s businesses made themselves appear more profitable to lenders and less profitable to tax officials. One expert calls the differing numbers “versions of fraud.”



One of President Donald Trump’s signature skyscrapers, at 40 Wall Street in New York. Documents reveal Trump shared conflicting cost and occupancy figures for the building with lenders. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One of President Donald Trump’s signature skyscrapers, at 40 Wall Street in New York. Documents reveal Trump shared conflicting cost and occupancy figures for the building with lenders. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Stay up to date with email updates about WNYC and ProPublica’s investigations into the president’s business practices.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.

For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.

Lenders like to see a rising occupancy level as a sign of what they call “leasing momentum.” Sure enough, the company told a lender that 40 Wall Street had been 58.9% leased on Dec. 31, 2012, and then rose to 95% a few years later. The company told tax officials the building was 81% rented as of Jan. 5, 2013.

A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. “This kind of stuff is not OK.”

New York City’s property tax forms state that the person signing them “affirms the truth of the statements made” and that “false filings are subject to all applicable civil and criminal penalties.”

The punishments for lying to tax officials, or to lenders, can be significant, ranging from fines to criminal fraud charges. Two former Trump associates, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, are serving prison time for offenses that include falsifying tax and bank records, some of them related to real estate.

“Certainly, if I were sitting in a prosecutor’s office, I would want to ask a lot more questions,” said Anne Milgram, a former attorney general for New Jersey who is now a professor at New York University School of Law.

Trump has previously been accused of manipulating numbers on his tax and loan documents, including by his former lawyer, Cohen. But Trump’s business is notoriously opaque, with records rarely surfacing, and up till now there’s been little documentary evidence supporting those claims.

Listen to the Episode

That’s one reason that multiple governmental entities, including two congressional committees and the office of the Manhattan district attorney, have subpoenaed Donald Trump’s tax returns. Trump has resisted, taking his battles to federal courts in Washington and New York. And so the question of whether different parts of the government can see the president’s financial information is now playing out in two appeals courts and seems destined to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Add to that a Washington Post account of an IRS whistleblower claiming political interference in the handling of the president’s audit, and the result is what amounts to frenetic interest in one person’s tax returns.

ProPublica obtained the property tax documents using New York’s Freedom of Information Law. The documents were public because Trump appealed his property tax bill for the buildings every year for nine years in a row, the extent of the available records. We compared the tax records with loan records that became public when Trump’s lender, Ladder Capital, sold the debt on his properties as part of mortgage-backed securities.

ProPublica reviewed records for four properties: 40 Wall Street, the Trump International Hotel and Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas and Trump Tower. Discrepancies involving two of them — 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower — stood out.

Trump’s personal attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, keeps watch as supporters lay hands on the then-presidential nominee. “It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes,” Cohen later testified, “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.” (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

There can be legitimate reasons for numbers to diverge between tax and loan documents, the experts noted, but some of the gaps seemed to have no reasonable justification. “It really feels like there’s two sets of books — it feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University who reviewed the records. “It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”

The Trump Organization did not respond on the record to detailed questions provided by ProPublica. Robert Pollack, a lawyer whose firm, Marcus & Pollack, handles Trump’s property tax appeal filings with the city, said he was not authorized to discuss the documents. A spokeswoman for Mazars USA, the accounting firm that signed off on the two properties’ expense and income statements, said the firm does not comment on its work for clients. Executives with Trump’s lender, Ladder Capital, declined to be quoted for the story.

In response to ProPublica’s questions about the disparities, Laura Feyer, deputy press secretary for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, “The city is looking into this property, and if there has been any underreporting, we will take appropriate action.”


Taxes have long been a third rail for Trump. Long before he famously declined to make his personal returns public, a New York Times investigation concluded, Trump participated in tax schemes that involved “outright fraud,” and that he had formulated “a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns.” Trump’s former partners in Panama claimed in a lawsuit, which is ongoing, that Trump’s hotel management company failed to pay taxes on millions in fees it received. Spokespeople for Trump and his company have denied any tax improprieties in the past.

In February, Cohen told Congress that Trump had adjusted figures up or down, as necessary, to obtain loans and avoid taxes. “It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes,” Cohen testified, “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”

The two Trump buildings with the most notable discrepancies shared a financial trait: Both were refinanced in 2015 and 2016 while Trump was campaigning for president. The loan for 40 Wall Street — $160 million — was then the Trump Organization’s biggest debt.

The fortunes of 40 Wall Street have risen and fallen repeatedly since it was constructed in 1930. Once briefly in the running to become the world’s tallest skyscraper (before being eclipsed by the Chrysler Building and then others), the 71-story landmark had an illustrious history before falling into disrepair as it changed hands multiple times.

Trump says in his book “Never Give Up” that he took over 40 Wall Street for $1 million during a down market in 1995. Others have reported the price as $10 million. Trump gave the property his signature treatment, decking out the lobby in Italian marble and bronze and christening it “The Trump Building.” Tenants such as American Express moved in.

But the rent rolls suffered when big-name tenants fled to Midtown in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks. Less blue-chip operations replaced them. In recent years, there were more setbacks. About two years ago, for example, high-end food purveyor Dean & Deluca canceled plans to locate an 18,500-square-foot emporium on the higher-priced first floor. The space remains empty.

The building at 40 Wall was underperforming, charging below-market rents, according to credit-rating agency Moody’s. Its profits were lagging.

Trump’s company, which has sometimes struggled to obtain credit because of his history of bankruptcies and defaults, turned for relief to a financial institution where Donald Trump had a connection: Ladder Capital, which employs Jack Weisselberg, the son of the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg. Ladder is a publicly traded commercial real estate investment trust that reports more than $6 billion in assets. In 2015, and still today, Jack Weisselberg was an executive director whose job was to make loans.

Trump and Jack Weisselberg had history together. Jack was at UBS, in its loan origination department, in 2006, when the Swiss bank loaned Trump $7 million for his piece of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Allen Weisselberg had bought a condo from Trump in one of his buildings for a below-market price of $152,500 in 2000. He deeded it to Jack three years later for about $148,000. Jack sold the unit for more than three times as much in 2006. (Jack Weisselberg declined to comment on Ladder’s loans or his relationship with the Trump Organization.)

Even with a sympathetic lender, the struggles at 40 Wall Street would normally raise questions. Trump’s representatives needed to demonstrate signs of the building’s financial health if they wanted a new loan with a lower interest rate.

They had a compelling piece of data, it seemed. Trump’s team told Ladder that occupancy was rebounding after registering a lackluster 58.9% on Dec. 31, 2012. Since then, Trump representatives reported, the building had signed new tenants. Income from them hadn’t fully been realized yet, largely because of free-rent deals, they said. But after 2015, they predicted, revenues would surge.

“That’s a selling point for people in the business,” said Riordan, who was previously the executive director of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate. Borrowers “want to show tremendous leasing momentum.” The steepness of such a rise in occupancy at the Trump building was unusual, Riordan and other experts said.

Documents submitted to city property tax officials show no such run-up. Trump representatives reported to the tax authorities that the building was already 81% leased in 2012.

“What is bizarre is that you have these tax filings that are totally different,” Riordan said. A gap of at least 10 percentage points between the two occupancy reports persisted for the next two years, before the figures in the tax and loan reports synced in January 2016.

The portrayal of a rapid rise in occupancy, and the explanation that income would soon follow, were critical for the refinancing. Indeed, Ladder’s underwriters were predicting that 40 Wall Street’s profits would more than double after 2015. Having reviewed Trump’s financial statements and rent roll, they estimated the building would clear $22.6 million a year in net operating income.

Ladder needed credit ratings agencies like Moody’s and Fitch to endorse its income expectations and give the loan a favorable rating, which would in turn make it easier for the next step of the plan: to package the loan as part of a bond, a so-called commercial mortgage-backed security, and sell it to investors. Without the expected rise in income, Riordan said, the loan size or terms would likely have needed to be renegotiated to satisfy the ratings agencies and investors, which would mean less favorable terms for Trump and Ladder. “There was a story crafted here,” Riordan said. “It’s contradicted by what we see in the tax filings.”

Wallace, the University of California professor, added: “Especially in underwriting loans, you are supposed to truthfully report.” Both the lender and the borrower are required to supply accurate information, she said.

Moody’s and Fitch analysts found the underwriter’s projections slightly too rosy, but Fitch conferred an investment-grade rating on the loan, allowing it to proceed as planned. Trump ultimately received a 10-year loan with a lower interest rate than the building previously had as well as terms that would allow him to defer paying off much of the principal until the end of the loan.

Once granted, the loan to 40 Wall Street ran into trouble: The year after it went through, the loan servicer put it on a “watch list” because of concerns that the building wasn’t making sufficient profit to pay the debt service with enough of a margin. It stayed on the list for three months. (Trump’s company has continued making payments.)

As of 2018, the most recent year available, the building had never met the underwriters’ profit expectations, trailing by more than 8%, according to data from commercial real estate research service Trepp. Experts say that, given the amount of research underwriters do, a property typically meets their expectations fairly quickly.


The 40 Wall Street documents contain discrepancies related to costs as well as to occupancy. Generally, there are “more opportunities to play games on the expense side,” said Ron Shapiro, an assistant professor at Rutgers Business School and a former bank senior vice president, “particularly because there are many more kinds of expenses.”

Comparing specific expense items in both sets of records is challenging, because accountants may group categories differently in reports to tax and loan officials. But some differences on 40 Wall Street documents elicit head-scratching.

For example, insurance costs in 2017 were listed as $744,521 in tax documents and $457,414 in loan records.

Then there was the underlying lease. Trump technically doesn’t own 40 Wall Street. He pays the wealthy German family that owns the property for the right to rent the building to tenants. In 2015, both Trump’s report to tax authorities and a key loan disclosure document asserted that Trump’s company paid $1.65 million for these rights that year. But a line-by-line income and expense statement, which Trepp gathered from what the company reported to the loan servicer, reported the company paid about $1.24 million that year.

“I don’t know why that would be off,” said Jason Hoffman, who is chair of the real estate committee for a professional association of certified public accountants in New York state. Like other experts, he said there are legitimate reasons why tax and loan filings might not line up perfectly. But Hoffman said the firm where he works makes sure the numbers match when it prepares both tax and loan documents for a client — or that it can explain why if they don’t.

Financial information for the Trump International Hotel and Tower raises similar questions. Trump owns only a small portion of the building, which is located on Columbus Circle: two commercial spaces, which he rents out to a restaurant and a parking garage. Trump’s company told New York City tax officials it made about $822,000 renting space to commercial tenants there in 2017, records show. The company told loan officials it took in $1.67 million that year — more than twice as much. In eight years of data ProPublica examined for the Columbus Circle property, Trump’s company reported gross income to tax authorities that was typically only about 81% of what it reported to the lender.

Trump appeared to omit from tax documents income his company received from leasing space on the roof for television antennas, a ProPublica review found. The line on tax appeal forms for income from such communications equipment is blank on nine years of tax filings, even as loan documents listed the antennas as major sources of income.

Trump has an easement to lease the roof space; he doesn’t own it. But three tax experts, including Melanie Brock, an appraiser and paralegal who has worked on hundreds of New York City tax cases, told ProPublica that the income should still be reported on the tax appeals forms.

It’s hard to guess what might explain every inconsistency, said David Wilkes, a New York City tax lawyer who is chair of the National Association of Property Tax Attorneys. But, he added, “My gut reaction is it seems like there’s something amiss there.”

Tax records for Trump personally and for his business continue to be subjects of contention in multiple investigations. The Justice Department has intervened in the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, whose office has sought Trump’s personal tax returns. Congressional lawmakers investigating his business dealings have sought documents from his longtime accountant, Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars. Trump is fighting the subpoenas in court. (Bender did not respond to requests for comment.)

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has said the committee is seeking to determine if Cohen’s testimony about Trump inflating and deflating his assets was accurate. Cummings asked for Mazars’ records related to Trump entities, as well as communications between Bender and Trump or Trump employees since 2009.

Such communications, the subpoena stated, should include any related to potential concerns that information Trump or his representatives provided his accountants was “incomplete, inaccurate, or otherwise unsatisfactory.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 03:05:16 PM »
Standing this up right here in honor of a man who deserves to. e passed around like a party favor at Rikers.

Is it Rudi's signature on the Tax documents or Trump's?  Are the loan documents signed by Trump or his Accounting firm?  If it's Trump's and happened in 2017, he was already POTUS.  He'll definitely get time in the  Doubt he will serve it at Rikers though.   Joint once he is out of office.  More likely some Federal Penitentiary with Tennis Courts and a Pool.

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2019, 04:46:36 PM »
Standing this up right here in honor of a man who deserves to. e passed around like a party favor at Rikers.

Is it Rudi's signature on the Tax documents or Trump's?  Are the loan documents signed by Trump or his Accounting firm?  If it's Trump's and happened in 2017, he was already POTUS.  He'll definitely get time in the  Doubt he will serve it at Rikers though.   Joint once he is out of office.  More likely some Federal Penitentiary with Tennis Courts and a Pool.

RE

Sure, Rikers is a city lockup. They'd probably send him to the Club Fed that they have Cohen in.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Get ready for the Rudy Giuliani shit show of the century
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2019, 05:51:40 AM »

Get ready for the Rudy Giuliani shit show of the century

Last night Rudy Giuliani announced that he no longer has a lawyer and no longer needs one, even amid reports that the SDNY has sifted through his banking records. Earlier today, yet another person tied to Rudy’s Ukraine extortion scandal was arrested. This afternoon it was revealed that Rudy is being targeted by an FBI counterintelligence investigation. Now things have taken yet another new turn.

Even as all of the above has been playing out, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is formally inviting Rudy Giuliani to testify before his committee about the Ukraine scandal. We have no idea if Graham is doing this because he’s trying to help Rudy and/or Donald Trump, or if Graham is now trying find a way to sabotage Trump because he’s mad at him, or what. But the reality is that such a hearing can’t possibly help Trump or Rudy. In fact it would hurt them both badly.

It sure would make for great television, though, if it does happen and if it ends up being a public hearing. We’d have a completely unhinged Rudy Giuliani testifying before Congress under oath about a criminal plot that he and the President of the United States carried out against the United States – all with Rudy acting as his own legal counsel.

The federal government could sell tickets to this shit show, and they’d go for so much money, it could pay off the national debt. Not only would Rudy Giuliani put on an unhinged performance for the ages, he’d fully incriminate himself and Donald Trump in the process. Rudy would then be left needing to cut a plea deal, and perhaps needing an oxygen mask after all of his hyperventilating.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Get ready for the Rudy Giuliani shit show of the century
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2019, 06:05:29 AM »

Get ready for the Rudy Giuliani shit show of the century

Last night Rudy Giuliani announced that he no longer has a lawyer and no longer needs one, even amid reports that the SDNY has sifted through his banking records. Earlier today, yet another person tied to Rudy’s Ukraine extortion scandal was arrested. This afternoon it was revealed that Rudy is being targeted by an FBI counterintelligence investigation. Now things have taken yet another new turn.

Even as all of the above has been playing out, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is formally inviting Rudy Giuliani to testify before his committee about the Ukraine scandal. We have no idea if Graham is doing this because he’s trying to help Rudy and/or Donald Trump, or if Graham is now trying find a way to sabotage Trump because he’s mad at him, or what. But the reality is that such a hearing can’t possibly help Trump or Rudy. In fact it would hurt them both badly.

It sure would make for great television, though, if it does happen and if it ends up being a public hearing. We’d have a completely unhinged Rudy Giuliani testifying before Congress under oath about a criminal plot that he and the President of the United States carried out against the United States – all with Rudy acting as his own legal counsel.

The federal government could sell tickets to this shit show, and they’d go for so much money, it could pay off the national debt. Not only would Rudy Giuliani put on an unhinged performance for the ages, he’d fully incriminate himself and Donald Trump in the process. Rudy would then be left needing to cut a plea deal, and perhaps needing an oxygen mask after all of his hyperventilating.


Kabuki Theater for the Ages!  Only to be topped by when the Donald himself is forced to testify, with the Sargeant-at-Arms grunts standing to either side of him.  Then the Perp Walk in the Orange Jumpsuit.  At least it matches his hairdo.  ::)

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Re: Get ready for the Rudy Giuliani shit show of the century
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2019, 06:17:01 AM »
It sure would make for great television, though, if it does happen and if it ends up being a public hearing. We’d have a completely unhinged Rudy Giuliani testifying before Congress under oath about a criminal plot that he and the President of the United States carried out against the United States – all with Rudy acting as his own legal counsel.

They should hold the hearings at the Superdome.  Billionaires would pay $BILLIONS$ for the Sky Boxes.  $100M and up for a Box Seat.  Upper Deck Seats, $10M.

Cable TV/Livestream for the masses @ $1000 a pop.  I'd pay that, and I live on SS Security! lol.

Total Revenue: Minimum $200B.  Won't pay off the National Debt, but it should keep Food Stamps running for another year.

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2019, 05:04:22 AM »
<

Rudy Giuliani apparently kept a log book of the crimes he committed for Donald Trump

Over the past week we’ve seen Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine scandal henchmen arrested. We’ve seen multiple reports that the Feds have sifted through Rudy’s bank records, and that they therefore already know what illegal foreign payoffs he was taking and what crimes he was committing in return. Rudy is screwed. The question has been how much damage the case against Rudy might do to Donald Trump. It turns out Rudy may have written it all down.

Donald Trump’s longtime legal adviser Jay Goldberg appeared on the Ari Melber show on MSNBC on Thursday evening and said that “Rudy Giuliani likes to keep a log of the things that he’s doing” so he can show the progress to his clients. Goldberg went on to specify that he thinks there’s a log book out there when it comes to what Rudy was doing for Trump.

When Melber asked Goldberg the obvious question about whether his revelation about the log book might cause it to be subpoenaed, Goldberg backed down a bit and suggested that the log book might not be important enough to warrant a subpoena.

But make no mistake: once the SDNY gets word of what Goldberg just said about Rudy Giuliani’s log book of the crimes he was committing for Donald Trump, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll make every effort to obtain this log book (if it doesn’t have it already). The kicker is that Rudy is so far gone, the SDNY probably won’t have a hard time baiting him into blurting out where he keeps it hidden.

***

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2019, 05:28:43 AM »
<

Rudy Giuliani apparently kept a log book of the crimes he committed for Donald Trump

Over the past week we’ve seen Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine scandal henchmen arrested. We’ve seen multiple reports that the Feds have sifted through Rudy’s bank records, and that they therefore already know what illegal foreign payoffs he was taking and what crimes he was committing in return. Rudy is screwed. The question has been how much damage the case against Rudy might do to Donald Trump. It turns out Rudy may have written it all down.

Donald Trump’s longtime legal adviser Jay Goldberg appeared on the Ari Melber show on MSNBC on Thursday evening and said that “Rudy Giuliani likes to keep a log of the things that he’s doing” so he can show the progress to his clients. Goldberg went on to specify that he thinks there’s a log book out there when it comes to what Rudy was doing for Trump.

When Melber asked Goldberg the obvious question about whether his revelation about the log book might cause it to be subpoenaed, Goldberg backed down a bit and suggested that the log book might not be important enough to warrant a subpoena.

But make no mistake: once the SDNY gets word of what Goldberg just said about Rudy Giuliani’s log book of the crimes he was committing for Donald Trump, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll make every effort to obtain this log book (if it doesn’t have it already). The kicker is that Rudy is so far gone, the SDNY probably won’t have a hard time baiting him into blurting out where he keeps it hidden.

***


You would think by now these dopes would join the 21st Century and keep the dirty deals in an ecrypted file on a micro SD Card.  ::)

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2019, 04:21:44 PM »
<

Rudy Giuliani apparently kept a log book of the crimes he committed for Donald Trump

Over the past week we’ve seen Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine scandal henchmen arrested. We’ve seen multiple reports that the Feds have sifted through Rudy’s bank records, and that they therefore already know what illegal foreign payoffs he was taking and what crimes he was committing in return. Rudy is screwed. The question has been how much damage the case against Rudy might do to Donald Trump. It turns out Rudy may have written it all down.

Donald Trump’s longtime legal adviser Jay Goldberg appeared on the Ari Melber show on MSNBC on Thursday evening and said that “Rudy Giuliani likes to keep a log of the things that he’s doing” so he can show the progress to his clients. Goldberg went on to specify that he thinks there’s a log book out there when it comes to what Rudy was doing for Trump.

When Melber asked Goldberg the obvious question about whether his revelation about the log book might cause it to be subpoenaed, Goldberg backed down a bit and suggested that the log book might not be important enough to warrant a subpoena.

But make no mistake: once the SDNY gets word of what Goldberg just said about Rudy Giuliani’s log book of the crimes he was committing for Donald Trump, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll make every effort to obtain this log book (if it doesn’t have it already). The kicker is that Rudy is so far gone, the SDNY probably won’t have a hard time baiting him into blurting out where he keeps it hidden.

***


You would think by now these dopes would join the 21st Century and keep the dirty deals in an ecrypted file on a micro SD Card.  ::)

RE

Apparently Trump doesn't even use email. Analog men adrift in a digital world.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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WHERE’S RUDY?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 05:40:06 PM »
WHERE’S RUDY?
Bill Palmer



With his criminal co-conspirators having been arrested, his bank records having been reportedly examined by the Feds, and witnesses lining up around the block to tell the House impeachment inquiry about his crimes, all eyes are on Rudy Giuliani to see what his next move will be. Except our eyes aren’t on him.

Rudy Giuliani, a perpetual motormouth who never met a problem he didn’t think he could fix by blabbering about it, has gone and disappeared from public view. We can’t read much into his disappearance from TV airwaves alone, as it’s possible that legitimate cable news hosts have finally decided he’s too bonkers to keep booking, and his friends on TV are trying to protect him from himself at this point.

But it’s not just a television thing. Rudy, who had been defiantly tweeting several times per day as his Ukraine scandal was exploding, has now gone forty-eight hours without tweeting anything at all. Normally, when the Feds are closing in and the target suddenly goes quiet, it means their lawyer smartly told them to shut up and stop making thing worse. But one of the last things Rudy tweeted before going quiet was “At this time, I do not need a lawyer.” So there’s no one advising him on anything at this point.

To be clear, we don’t think Rudy Giuliani has fled the country or anything. Considering how adeptly the Feds were able to pick up Rudy’s associates while they were trying to flee, there’s clearly some kind electronic surveillance going on. So if Rudy tried to flee, they’d surely pick him up, and we’d all promptly hear about it. Instead, it looks like he’s simply hiding under his bed and pretending he’s not about to be arrested. When an eternal motormouth like Rudy Giuliani has been scared into silence, you know he knows he’s in trouble.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: WHERE’S RUDY?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2019, 12:54:31 AM »

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2019, 02:18:25 AM »
Rudy Giuliani caught trying to fraudulently obtain a visa as part of Donald Trump’s rapidly worsening Ukraine scandal
Bill Palmer



Earlier this week it was reported that Rudy Giuliani tried to convince Donald Trump to scoop up a guy in Pennsylvania and deport him to Turkey under fraudulent circumstances. Now it turns out Rudy also tried to bring someone into the United States for fraudulent reasons, as the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine scandal continues to unfold in surreal new ways.

Rudy Giuliani was so obsessed with disgraced former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, he tried to get the guy a visa so he could travel to the United States and help spread the phony Biden scandal. State Department official George Kent got wind of this visa scheme and testified about it to the House impeachment inquiry, according to a startling new report tonight from CNN. This makes for a far broader, and far more criminal, Ukraine scandal than anyone knew. It also places the scandal right in the laps of Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland already testified yesterday that Donald Trump told him and others that Rudy Giuliani was in charge of all Ukraine policy. This means that Trump was overseeing what Rudy was doing, and was a full participant in the criminal conspiracy. There is also no way that Rudy would have asked the State Department to get a visa for his Ukrainian goon, unless he was expecting Pompeo to greenlight it.

Interestingly, CNN says that Rudy Giuliani didn’t even bother to respond to the questions that it sent him about the visa story. This falls in line with Palmer Report’s earlier analysis that Rudy has simply disappeared, with no message, no lawyers, and no plan, as he waits to be arrested by the Feds in this rapidly worsening criminal scandal.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2019, 03:02:06 AM »
The plot thickens...

Wonder where Rudi is hiding out?

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Offline Surly1

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3 big reasons why Rudy Giuliani is the weakest link in Trump's inner circle
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2019, 01:52:07 PM »
Trump's Presidency has hit an iceberg named Rudy.

3 big reasons why Rudy Giuliani is the weakest link in Trump's inner circle as the Ukraine scandal widens



Sonam Sheth
6 hours ago
  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is increasingly emerging as the weakest link in the ongoing scandal over President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine for three main reasons.
  • Giuliani has been implicated by several government officials as Trump's main envoy in an effort to solicit Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election.
  • He is also under criminal investigation by the US attorney's office in the Southern District of New York over his role in the ouster of a top US diplomat in Ukraine.
  • And it recently emerged that the investigation includes a counterintelligence probe, a stunning revelation that could change the entire nature of the inquiry.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

He's a prolific TV presence, he relentlessly goes to bat for President Donald Trump, he swats down Trump's enemies, and he's the fixer Trump dispatched on a personal mission that has ignited a political firestorm.

Rudy Giuliani is the new Michael Cohen.

And like the now-incarcerated Cohen, it recently surfaced that Giuliani is under criminal investigation by the US attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.

The news is just the latest development indicating that Giuliani is the biggest weak link in the brewing Trump-Ukraine saga.

At the heart of the controversy are Trump's and Giuliani's efforts to leverage US foreign policy to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that would politically benefit the president.

Read more:These are the key players you need to know to make sense of the Trump impeachment inquiry

In particular, the president wants the Ukrainian government to investigate Burisma Holdings — a Ukrainian natural gas company associated with former Vice President Joe Biden's son — and an unfounded conspiracy theory that the Democratic Party colluded with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election.

Trump raised the issue during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The president ordered his administration to hold a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine days before the call.

During the conversation, Trump reminded Zelensky the US "does a lot for Ukraine" and followed up by asking him to "do us a favor, though," and investigate the Bidens and the origins of the Russia probe.

The details of the phone call, outlined in an unprecedented whistleblower complaint against Trump, sparked public outrage and allegations that the president and his lawyer were soliciting foreign interference in the upcoming election.

But the phone call was just one thread in Trump's and Giuliani's plan. They had put the wheels in motion months before.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, arrives on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington, as she is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump
Scott J. Applewhite/AP

Giuliani v. Yovanovitch

In the spring, Giuliani gave Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a folder, dated March 28, of unfounded conspiracies against the Bidens, as well as allegations of impropriety against Marie Yovanovitch, then the US's ambassador to Ukraine.

In many ways, Yovanovitch is the central thread in the Giuliani-Ukraine scandal. She was abruptly recalled from her position in May after a tumultuous stint that included frequent clashes with Giuliani.

Their main disagreement stemmed from her refusal to facilitate the former New York mayor's efforts to use official channels to push the Ukrainian government to dig up damaging information on the Bidens. Yovanovitch was also opposed to Yuriy Lutsenko, then the Ukrainian prosecutor general who was in cahoots with Giuliani.

"She refused to allow her embassy to be dragged into some sort of effort to concoct dirt for political purposes," a former official told The Guardian.

Yovanovitch testified to Congress that she was removed based on "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives" and that the campaign against her was spearheaded by Trump and Giuliani beginning last spring.

Read more:8 Trump officials made stunning revelations about how the president and Giuliani weaponized the State Department

Now, Yovanovitch's ouster is the focus of the SDNY's investigation into Giuliani. Specifically, prosecutors are looking at whether Giuliani was working on Lutsenko's behalf while trying to get Yovanovitch removed; if he was, it may have violated foreign lobbying laws.

Prosecutors are also interested in Giuliani's business interests in Ukraine. Giuliani's entanglement in the SDNY's probe first came out when two of his Ukrainian associates, the businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested and charged last week with campaign-finance violations.

The two men are accused of trying to funnel foreign money into Republican political campaigns, and Parnas in particular also worked as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, where he focused on looking for dirt on Biden and Yovanovitch.

Parnas and Fruman's efforts on Giuliani's behalf also had a domestic thread. This week, the former GOP congressman Pete Sessions was subpoenaed in the SDNY investigation to turn over documents and other information about his interactions with Giuliani.

It's unclear what exactly Sessions' role is in the Ukraine saga, but the indictment against Parnas and Fruman could offer some clues. The charging document said the two men dangled an illegal campaign donation to a US congressman while looking for their "assistance in causing the US government to remove or recall the then-US ambassador to Ukraine."

In May 2018, around the time when Parnas and Fruman promised to raise $20,000 for the unidentified congressman, Sessions wrote a letter to Pompeo criticizing Yovanovitch and parroting right-wing talking points that she was working against Trump. A year later, Yovanovitch was recalled from Ukraine following what she characterized as a smear campaign by Giuliani, Trump, and others.

Read more:Mick Mulvaney publicly confirms Trump held up Ukraine aid for political gain

Multiple officials implicate Giuliani for running a shadow foreign-policy campaign

Giuliani's outsize role in the Ukraine controversy has puzzled ethics experts and government officials, given that he is the president's personal lawyer and a private citizen.

Those concerns doubled after the release of explosive text messages between three US diplomats — the former Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the US's ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and the US's chargé d'affaires in the Ukrainian embassy Bill Taylor — that showed just how intricately involved Giuliani was in running a shadow foreign policy campaign to help Trump's political ambitions.

It didn't hurt that Volker and Sondland were willing participants in Giuliani's efforts.

Read more:Gordon Sondland, a central figure in the Ukraine scandal, threw Trump and Giuliani under the bus in his opening statement to Congress

Volker was instrumental in setting up a channel of communication between Giuliani and Andriy Yermak, a key aide to Zelensky. And he and Sondland were both enthusiastic about helping Giuliani convey to the Ukrainian president that a good relationship with Trump was predicated on Ukraine pursuing politically motivated investigations against Trump's opponents.

When Taylor, the skeptic of the group and a career foreign-service officer, raised concerns about the US withholding military aid and conditioning a White House meeting on Zelensky caving to Trump's demands, he was shut down by Sondland.

Sondland and Volker have testified as part of Congress' impeachment inquiry into Trump, and both implicated Giuliani as being the president's main envoy with respect to Ukraine while distancing themselves from the controversy. Taylor is set to appear before lawmakers on Tuesday.

At least half a dozen other officials have also testified about the extent of Giuliani's involvement in Trump's pressure campaign on Ukraine.

Read more:Trump's presidency is disintegrating as he faces his worst 30 days since taking office

Former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani during the Conference In Support Of Freedom and Democracy In Iran on June 30, 2018 in Paris, France. The speakers declared their support for the Iranian peoples uprising and the democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran and called on the international community to adopt a firm policy against the mullahs regime and stand by the arisen people of Iran.
(Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

FBI sees Giuliani as a possible national security threat

Meanwhile, it recently surfaced that the criminal investigation into Giuliani also includes a counterintelligence component, a stunning revelation that could change the whole nature of the probe.

CNN reported on Wednesday that FBI investigators approached Kevin McCallion, an attorney in New York, earlier this year to ask about Giuliani's link to Parnas and Fruman and his business dealings in Ukraine.

Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Justice Department, told Insider the existence of a counterintelligence probe means investigators are "casting a wide net."

"Cases like these, and they aren't common, usually involve multiple schemes and numerous players," Cramer said. "As such, they touch upon many different possible criminal violations."

Read more:Rudy Giuliani urged Trump to turn over an exiled Muslim cleric to Erdogan, raising concerns that he was lobbying for Turkey

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent, wrote on Twitter that the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into Giuliani indicates that the FBI believes "he may pose a national security threat to the United States."

Such investigations aren't rooted in suspicions that someone violated US laws, but rather in concerns that the individual was in contact with people linked to foreign intelligence, or that they're working to further the interests of a foreign power in the US, Rangappa added.

The bar for opening this type of investigation into Giuliani, who is a US national and the president's personal lawyer, is also higher than it is for probing foreign individuals.

"So basically, the FBI thinks something bad — and likely not 'unwitting' — is up," Rangappa wrote. "That Giuliani is a conduit for pushing the agendas of foreign intelligence and/or foreign interests."

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Trump's Presidency has hit an iceberg named Rudy.

Assuming of course Rudi is still alive.

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