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By Robert A. Vella

Is it Mueller time?

The news media suggested yesterday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian collusion is nearing its conclusion and that a report will be submitted to Attorney General William Barr as early as next week.  The following stories detail the major questions surrounding Mueller’s report and how the White House is reacting to it.  Considering that this development, if true, happened almost immediately after Barr took over the Department of Justice, an additional question should be raised as to whether he hastened the end of the investigation.

From:  Analysis: It’s Mueller time (apparently). Here are four big questions.

  1. Will we ever see the “report” — or anything close to it?
  2. What will we learn about Trump?
  3. Does it come with any big indictments — possibly for Jerome Corsi or even Donald Trump Jr.?
  4. What is Mueller’s ‘impeachable’ threshold?

From:  Trump’s inner circle has ‘palpable concern’ that Mueller’s report could be ‘damaging’: report

The Washington Post on Wednesday evening confirmed CNN’s reporting earlier in the day that the Justice Department is preparing for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to “end” his investigation and deliver a final report. And according to an adviser close to President Donald Trump, his close allies have “palpable concern” that the report could damage him politically, according to the Post.

However, this adviser reportedly said that Trump’s inner circle doesn’t believe a report will implicate the president in criminal conduct.

The Post also points out, though:

The end of the special counsel’s probe would not mean the end of criminal investigations connected to the president. Federal prosecutors in New York, for instance, are exploring whether corrupt payments were made in connection with Trump’s inaugural committee funding.

Michael Cohen will testify before Congress

From:  Michael Cohen Agrees to Testify Next Week, Setting Stage for a High-Stakes Hearing

WASHINGTON — Michael D. Cohen has agreed to testify in public next Wednesday before Congress about his work as President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, but lawmakers said they would limit the scope of their questioning in deference to the special counsel.

The hearing next week before the House Oversight and Reform Committee will give Mr. Cohen, once one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal aides, a rare public platform to try to explain his work for the president, including an illegal scheme during the 2016 campaign to pay hush money to two women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. And it promises to provide House Democrats investigating Mr. Trump, his business and his administration with early fireworks to punctuate their efforts.

Foreign trolls attack Dems

From:  New Coordinated Social Media Attacks Against 2020 Democratic Hopefuls May Include Foreign Actors

A seemingly coordinated attack against Democratic politicians may be the work of foreign actors posing as legitimate Twitter users to spread a disinformation campaign against their candidacies for president in 2020.

[…]

The analysis, which was performed in part by a tech company called Guardians.ai (which aims to protect pro-democracy organizations against such online attacks), found that around 200 social media accounts seemed to be involved in the disinformation campaign. These included “suspicious” or automated users that are seemingly coordinating messages against Democratic candidates in an effort to spread distrust about them among would-be Democratic voters, as well as legitimate accounts that are unwitting helpers of the disinformation effort.

[…]

Researchers couldn’t conclusively state where the attacks were originating from. They could be political activists, hackers, or possibly foreign actors trying once again to influence our elections.

Yet the disinformation campaign seems to mirror in a lot of ways what intelligence agencies said occurred in the 2016 presidential campaign, where Russian actors purposely tried to spread distrust and misinformation about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in order to promote the candidacy of then-Republican nominee for president Donald Trump.

From:  ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates

The cyber propaganda — which frequently picks at the rawest, most sensitive issues in public discourse — is being pushed across a variety of platforms and with a more insidious approach than in the 2016 presidential election, when online attacks designed to polarize and mislead voters first surfaced on a massive scale.

[…]

Not all of the activity is organized. Much of it appears to be organic, a reflection of the politically polarizing nature of some of the candidates. But there are clear signs of a coordinated effort of undetermined size that shares similar characteristics with the computational propaganda attacks launched by online trolls at Russia’s Internet Research Agency in the 2016 presidential campaign, which special counsel Robert Mueller accused of aiming to undermine the political process and elevate Donald Trump.

[…]

Using proprietary tools that measured the discussion surrounding the candidates in the Democratic field, Guardians.ai identified a cohort of roughly 200 accounts — including both unwitting real accounts and other “suspicious” and automated accounts that coordinate to spread their messages — that pumped out negative or extreme themes designed to damage the candidates.

This is the same core group of accounts the company first identified last year in a study as anchoring a wide-scale influence campaign in the 2018 elections.

The hostile nexus of Trump supporters

The following story details a self-described “white nationalist” who was arrested late last week on suspicion that he was planning to commit acts of domestic terrorism including the murder of large numbers of people.  His arrest is newsworthy by itself, but his apparent motives are even more so.  In addition to being a white supremacist, the man is also a rabid Trump supporter and a pro-Russian opponent of Western-style democracy.  Although his criminal intentions might be aberrant, the nexus of his racial, political, and religious views are typical of the fanatical support for President Trump within the Republican Party base.  This realization is imperative to understand both the mentality and the behavior of Americans who condone the egregious corruption of the president.

From:  Coast Guard officer accused of plotting to kill Democrats, journalists

A U.S. Coast Guard officer has been arrested after federal investigators discovered a stockpile of illegal drugs and weapons in his home that they allege were part of a plot to commit acts of mass terrorism.

Prosecutors say Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, who was arrested Friday, was intent on committing white-supremacist terror attacks. Though he was initially arrested on charges of illegal weapons and drug possession, a court filing says those charges are “the proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect government conduct,” the filing alleges.

While searching Hasson’s suburban Maryland home, investigators found a number of files on his computer suggesting that Hasson planned to target members of Congress and media figures in the hopes of creating a “white homeland.”

“Liberalist/globalist ideology is destroying traditional peoples esp white,” Hasson wrote in a draft email, according to court documents. “No way to counteract without violence. It should push for more crack down bringing more people to our side. Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch.”

[…]

“Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism. Excluding of course the muslim scum. Who rightfully despise the west’s liberal degeneracy,” Hasson wrote in a draft email according to the filings.

Hasson also was apparently inspired by Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist who carried out two attacks in 2011 in Oslo and at a political youth camp. Breivik took a cocktail of steroids and other drugs, believing they would help him carry out the attacks. Similarly, investigators found steroids and the pain reliever Tramadol — a highly addictive controlled substance — in Hasson’s home.

From:  Federal prosecutors say US Coast Guard lieutenant plotted ‘massive domestic terror attack’ targeting civilians, politicians, and journalists

Federal authorities said these weapons and ammunition, which they said he had been collecting since 2017, were intended for a “massive” terrorist attack aimed at lawmakers and journalists.

“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” prosecutors wrote in a motion to detain pending trial.

[…]

Hasson, 49, is a self-described white nationalist, The Post reported, and court documents say he wanted to “establish a white homeland.”

“I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around provoking people with swastikas etc.,” Hasson wrote in a letter, which was addressed to a neo-Nazi leader but was sent to himself, according to court documents. “I was and am a man of action you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence.”

[…]

In the course of his alleged planning efforts, Hasson also performed the following internet searches on January 17, 2019, the court documents say:

  • 8:54 a.m.: “what if trump illegally impeached”

  • 8:57 a.m.: “best place in dc to see congress people”

  • 8:58 a.m.: “where in dc to congress live”

  • 10:39 a.m.: “civil war if trump impeached”

  • 11:26 a.m.: “social democrats usa.”

From:  Hate group count hits 20-year high amid rise in white supremacy, report says

The number of hate groups active in the USA rose to its highest level in two decades last year, according to an annual survey released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The count of active groups that the civil rights organization labels as espousing hate climbed to 1,020, up from 784 four years ago, and was propelled by a rise in extremism, the center said. From 2017 to 2018 alone, the tally rose 7 percent.

The groups range from white supremacists to black nationalists, neo-Nazis to neo-Confederates.

From:  Utah man who wanted to ‘kill Mexicans’ charged with federal hate crimes

A Utah man who allegedly attacked three men and shouted that he wanted to “kill Mexicans” has been charged with three federal hate crimes.

Alan Dale Covington entered a tire store last November and struck one of the victims in the head with a metal pole in an “attempt to kill,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Covington allegedly struck another one of the victims with the pole and swung it at the third man.

Two of the victims were identified as Jose and Luis Lopez by the Salt Lake City Tribune. Veronica Lopez told the Tribune that her father and brother felt targeted by the attacker who also shouted “I hate Mexicans” and “I’m here to kill a Mexican” before asking if they were part of the “Mexican mafia.” Her father, who immigrated to Utah from Mexico, has owned the tire business where they were attacked for four years.

[…]

Covington is facing federal charges due to a legal loophole in Utah that prevented state prosecutors from charging him with a hate crime.

9 thoughts on “Is it Mueller time?, Cohen will testify, Foreign trolls attack Dems, The hostile nexus of Trump supporters

    • I’m concerned that we might not even be able to see the report, at least not any time soon. If it isn’t sufficiently released to the public, then that’s going to be a very big problem.

      Regarding the report’s contents, I’ve suspected for some time that Mueller wouldn’t directly implicate the president or his family under any circumstances. He’s too much an institutionalist and adherent to DOJ policy. However, I do believe he would accurately report the story of Russian collusion in order to give Congress the information necessary to begin impeachment proceedings.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s getting hard to keep up with all the stuff that’s going on!

    Re: Mueller’s report — I tend to think any part of it that is damaging to tRumpsky will not be made public. Parts that involve Russian involvement in the election may be shared but it will most likely be only selective information.

    Re: Cohen’s testimony — It might have been smarter if it had been scheduled just a few days before his prison date so he would have been out-of-reach of tRumpsky’s goons. Although, I suppose if the truth were known, nowhere is safe.

    Liked by 1 person

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