Washington DC, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding reports that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok was fired:
Washington DC, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding reports that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok was fired:
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, You’ve heard a million times that networking is the best way to find a great job, but what exactly does networking entail? Whether you’re a new grad just beginning to build your professional network or an experienced hire seeking chief financial officer jobs, try these tips to bolster the career connections you make this year.
Continue reading Networking Tips for Job Seekers in 2018
The staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, Judge Michael R. Barrett signed off on Wednesday the settlement between the IRS and hundreds of tea party groups, closing out the last major legal battle over what all sides now agree was unwarranted and illegal targeting for political purposes. This week’s decision closes out five years of litigation .
The judge called the settlement “fair, reasonable and adequate.” Continue reading IRS has agreed to pay $3.5 million to Tea party Groups that were Targeted for Political Purposes
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
New York NY, Thirty-two individuals were arrested Friday on narcotics and gambling charges following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, working jointly with The New York City Police Department (NYPD). The investigation, being prosecuted out of New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, uncovered a large-scale alleged cocaine and heroin distribution network centered in the East Village and a related gambling operation located in a busy commercial district near West 11th Street and Avenue of the Americas in the West Village.
Beginning early Friday morning, 32 individuals were arrested in New York City, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida. An indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) for the City of New York follows a long-term wiretap investigation by HSI and NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South, Gang Squad Manhattan South and Vice Squad.
“Those arrested today are not just alleged to have been involved in selling highly addictive drugs on city streets, but they are also connected with a sophisticated underground gambling operation right here in Manhattan,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “Law enforcement always seeks to build on their investigations, consistently seeking to connect the dots. As we continue to work jointly in these operations, HSI and NYPD are able to combine intel and resources to takedown criminal networks like this one.”
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “The illegal behavior outlined in today’s indictment will never be tolerated in New York City by the NYPD or any of our law enforcement partners. I commend the attorneys and the investigators at the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor and Homeland Security Investigations, along with our Narcotics, Gang and Vice detectives, for demonstrating time and again that we are patient, and that our collaborative forces have a long reach. We will continue to be relentless in our mission to dismantle these types of illicit operations and bring the criminals who run them to justice.”
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “The disparate criminal schemes orchestrated by this sophisticated and treacherous organization shared a single motivation: greed. Both the gambling operation and the narcotics enterprise charged in the indictment unsealed today preyed on vulnerabilities. While it may be tempting to discount these schemes as victimless crimes, we have learned that drug addiction often leads to overdose and gambling debt to suicide.”
The investigation began with cocaine and heroin trafficking and ultimately led police to a sophisticated illegal gambling operation that catered to a clientele of New York City professionals. The indictment identifies David Diaz as the head of both the narcotics distribution network and the gambling operation, which included the Poker House located at 446 Avenue of the Americas and an online gambling business. DIAZ allegedly ran these interconnected narcotics and gambling operations with assistance from two top associates. Defendant Benjamin Guerrero, maintained an alleged drug stash apartment in a residence occupied by family members at 536 East 5th Street in the East Village and oversaw the packaging and sales of narcotics. Guerrero also served as a “pit boss” for the West Village Poker House. Defendant Geeta Singh, aka “Mira,” served as a manager and promoter for the gambling operation.
Early Friday, NYPD officers and HSI agents conducted court authorized searches in 19 locations, including the alleged drug stash location at 536 East 5th Street and the Poker House at 446 Avenue of the Americas. Police recovered a handgun, a shotgun, an air rifle, a kilogram of suspected cocaine (over two pounds), quantities of heroin, several pounds of marijuana and approximately 2,000 pills of suspected Xanax. Approximately $125,000 cash, multiple money counters, gambling records, thousands of poker chips and two vehicles were also seized during court authorized searches.
At the outset of the investigation in November of 2017, defendants Anthony Delea and Lewis Castro, both alleged members of the Diaz narcotics operation, made multiple narcotics sales to an undercover NYPD officer. On more than one occasion, members of an NYPD surveillance team observed Delea and Castro exit 446 Avenue of the Americas in possession of narcotics prior to making a sale to an undercover. Only later did narcotics investigators learn the address housed a gambling operation.
A clear picture of two interrelated narcotics and gambling schemes emerged once the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the NYPD initiated a four-month wiretap investigation with assistance from HSI New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The wiretap investigation initially focused on Castro and expanded to include Guerrero, Diaz and alleged narcotics suppliers Dante Rodriguez, Moliek Hudson and Edward Aigbojie.
As detailed in the indictment, a total of nine defendants are charged with engaging in 25 narcotics sales with undercover officers and additional sales to other individuals. Defendants used coded language to discuss narcotics transactions by phone. While several undercover sales took place in the vicinity of the West Village Poker House, the majority occurred in the vicinity of 536 East 5th Street drug stash apartment and elsewhere in the East Village. Defendant Luis Chevres, aka “Presulo,” allegedly sold narcotics to an undercover officer on multiple occasions at a barbershop located at 2nd Avenue and Houston Street. Several of the larger drug sales involved undercover officers purchasing nearly $5,000 in cocaine and heroin at a time. In all, the defendants sold approximately $50,000 in narcotics to undercover officers.
Diaz and Guerrero allegedly received drug deliveries Rodriguez, who resides in Yonkers, N.Y., Hudson, who is based Deltona, Fla., and Aigbojie, who resides in Brooklyn. AIGBOJIE allegedly served as a middleman for Hudson and was also an avid gambler at the Poker House.
While the narcotics-related investigation was underway, an NYPD undercover officer with the VICE Squad successfully penetrated the West Village gambling house and participated in poker games with the regular clientele. As a result of the combined efforts of the undercover operation and the wiretap investigation, police were able to identify the hierarchy and methods of the gambling operation.
As charged in the indictment, Diaz allegedly oversaw the entirety of the gambling operation, while Guerrero serving as “pit boss” on multiple nights per week. Guerrero’s brother, defendant Alberto Guerrero allegedly held accounts associated with the Poker House in his name and received income from the gambling operation. Alberto Guerrero, who resides in Amherst, Mass., and Diaz are charged with money laundering in the second degree.
The Poker House operated from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and consisted of two floors that accommodated approximately 30 players at a time. Players at lower stakes tables on the first floor were required to purchase a minimum of $200 in chips, while higher stakes players upstairs were required to purchase $500 in chips. Each game lasted two hours, enabling tens of thousands of dollars to change hands in a single night. Players who left before the two hours were up forfeited their chips. Proceeds of the illegal gambling operation were used to fund further narcotics trafficking.
The entrée for Poker House clients was through defendant Geeta Singh, aka “Mira,” who managed and promoted the gambling operation remotely from her residence in Atlanta, Ga. and oversaw a related online poker business. Among the methods Singh allegedly used to draw high stakes clientele were event listings through the online service Meetup. Clientele for the poker games were thoroughly vetted and were required to show a text message from Singh in order to gain entrance to the Poker House.
Remarks by President Trump on the Economy
Economy & Jobs
Issued on: July 27, 2018
9:43 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Moments ago, the numbers for America’s economic growth — or GDP — were just released. And I am thrilled to announce that, in the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1 percent. We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years. And I will say this right now, and I’ll say it strongly: As the trade deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers. And these are great numbers.
During each of the two previous administrations, we averaged just over 1.8 percent GDP growth. By contrast, we are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3 percent, and it could be substantially over 3 percent. Each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs. Think of that. Each point — you go up one point — that doesn’t sound like much; it’s a lot. It’s $3 trillion and it’s 10 million jobs.
If economic growth continues at this pace, the United States economy will double in size more than 10 years faster than it would have under either President Bush or President Obama.
Perhaps one of the biggest wins in the report, and it is indeed a big one, is that the trade deficit — very dear to my heart, because we’ve been ripped off by the world — has dropped by more than $50 billion. $52 billion, to be exact. It’s dropped by more than fifty. Think of that. The trade deficit has dropped by more than $50 billion. And that’s added — and adding — one point to GDP. That’s a tremendous drop. We haven’t had a drop like that in long time. You’ll have to go back a long time before you find it.
By increasing growth to 3 percent over the next 10 years, that would mean 12 million new American jobs and $10 trillion of new American wealth, at least. And that’s not including the fact that, since I was elected, we’ve created approximately $7 trillion of new wealth.
The year before I came into office, private business investment grew at only 1.8 percent. Last year, it jumped to 6.3 percent. That was my first full year; we had to do a lot of things to get it to grow. And this year, it’s growing at 9.4 percent. So that’s a very tremendous increase. There hasn’t been an increase like that in many, many years — decades.
And I think the most important thing — and Larry Kudlow just confirmed to me, along with Kevin Hassett — that these numbers are very, very sustainable. This isn’t a one-time shot. I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report, next quarter. I think it’s going to be outstanding. I won’t go too strong, because then if it’s not quite as good, you’ll not let me forget it. But I think the numbers are going to be outstanding.
We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions. When I came into office, 1.5 million fewer prime-age Americans were working than eight years before. We had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration. And you all know, they say, “Well, you have to lose manufacturing jobs. It will get worse and worse. Manufacturing jobs are obsolete.” No, they’re not obsolete; they’re the greatest jobs we have.
More than 10 million additional Americans had been added to food stamps, past years. But we’ve turned it all around. Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world. When I meet the leaders of countries, the first thing they say invariably is, “Mr. President, so nice to meet you. Congratulations on your economy. You’re leading the entire world.” They say it almost each and every time.
America is being respected again, and America is winning again, because we are finally putting America first.
Everywhere we look, we are seeing the effects of the American economic miracle. We have added 3.7 million new jobs since the election — a number that is unthinkable, if you go back to the campaign. Nobody would have said it, nobody would have even, in an optimistic way, projected it.
We are in the midst of the longest positive job-growth streak in history. New unemployment claims have recently achieved their lowest level in almost half a century. The African American unemployment rate has achieved the lowest level in recorded history. African American unemployment is the best it’s ever been in the history of our country. The Hispanic unemployment rate has reached the lowest level, likewise, in history. The Asian unemployment rate has recently reached the lowest level, again likewise, in history. Women unemployment rate recently reached the lowest level in 65 years. And soon that will be in history. Give it another two or three weeks.
Veterans’ unemployment is at its lowest level in 18 years. And that number is rapidly going up, on top of which we just received and won from Congress, Choice, where veterans can go out and see a doctor if they can’t get service, the service that they deserve.
Unemployment for disabled Americans has hit a record low. Lowest in history. More than 3.5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps — something that you haven’t seen in decades. 3.5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. That’s because they’re able to go out and get a job. And they’re going to love their jobs.
Ninety-five percent of American manufacturers are optimistic about their company’s outlook. And that’s the highest level, also, in history. And that’s an old survey. Been around a long time.
Manufacturing wages are expected to rise at the fastest rate in over 17 years. Business and consumer confidence has reached historic highs.
So far this year, American exports are up nearly 20 percent. I’ve only been here a little more than a year and a half. Over the same period, in the year before I took office, we’ve become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957. We’ve gotten rid of tremendous amounts of regulations, which allows us to do things. And we still have tremendous regulations on clean air, clean water, the environment. It’s very important to me, very important to everybody. But we had unnecessary regulations that were hurting our economy and hurting our country.
We have eliminated a record number of job-killing regulations. And with the help of Republicans in Congress, we passed — without one Democrat vote — the biggest tax cuts and reform in our history. And, as you know, the Democrats want to end that and raise everybody’s taxes. That will be a disaster for our economy.
As a result, more than 6 million Americans are now enjoying new bonuses, better jobs, and far bigger paychecks. Yet every single Democrat voted against the tax cuts — every single one; we didn’t get one vote. They voted against working families, they voted against small businesses. Not good.
In the first three months after tax cuts, over $300 billion poured back into the United States from overseas. We think it’s going to be, in the end, when completed, over $4 trillion will be back into our country. Apple alone is bringing in $230 billion. And they’re building new plants. They’re building a magnificent campus. They’re going to be spending their money very wisely, but they’re spending it in our country, not in some other country. That was made possible by the new tax cut and reform plan.
At the same time, we are finally cracking down on decades of abusive foreign trade practice. We were abused by companies. We were abused by the companies within countries. But in particular, we were abused by countries themselves, including allies. Abused like no nation has ever been abused on trade before. Because we had nobody watching. They stole our jobs and they plundered our wealth. But that ended.
Yesterday, I was at Granite City Steel in Illinois. It was an incredible sight. We had an audience of steel workers, some of the roughest, toughest people you’ve ever seen. And half of them had tears coming down their face. I don’t know if these people ever cried before in their life, to be honest. Half of them had tears coming down because we opened a tremendous United States Steel plant. They’re opening up seven other plants. And the steel industry is back. They’re open for business. And we need the steel industry. And the tariffs did it.
And nobody mentions the fact that these plants are creating tremendous numbers of jobs — tremendous. And billions of dollars are pouring into the United States coffers. Billions of dollars. But we’re getting jobs. We’re getting money coming in. We’re respected. And, eventually, the steel prices will really start to go down, because all of these new plants are going to be competing against each other. But we won’t have foreign countries dumping — that’s the word they use, “dumping” — steel all over the place and destroying our factories, destroying our plants, destroying our companies, and destroying our jobs.
Since I was elected, we’ve added 400,000 new manufacturing jobs. Remember, that was the obsolete deal. Obsolete. I used to say, “Why is it obsolete? We have to make things.” Manufacturing jobs are among our best jobs — and we’re just getting started.
We’ve also liberated millions of Americans from the crushing burdens of Obamacare. The cruel individual mandate penalty is gone. That’s where you pay a lot of money for the privilege of not having to buy bad healthcare and pay for it. It’s gone. Nobody thought we could get rid of it. That was the most unpopular provision, by far, probably on anything, but certainly in Obamacare. And Obamacare is now on its last legs, fortunately.
And through Associated Health Plans, we’re giving Americans the ability — just opened — millions of people going to be signing up. Millions and millions. We’re giving Americans the ability to join together to purchase much better and more affordable healthcare and health insurance, including bidding across state lines. So all of the insurance companies are going wild. They want to get it. You’re going to have great healthcare at a much lower price. It will cost the United States nothing. Nothing. Think of that. Will cost us nothing. And that’s Secretary Acosta — Secretary Azar is coming out with another healthcare plan somewhat different. Result the same. Much less expensive healthcare at a much lower price. It will cost our country nothing. We’re finally taking care of our people.
Finally, there’s another matter that’s of profound importance to me. And I wish to discuss it right now, before we leave, because there’s nothing like what we’ve been working on. So important for the lives of not only Americans, but lives all over the world.
At this moment, a plane is carrying the remains of some great fallen heroes from America, back from the Korean War. They’re coming back to the United States. Mike Pence, our wonderful Vice President, will be there to greet the families and the remains. And I want to thank Chairman Kim for keeping his word. We have many others coming. But I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me. And I’m sure that he will continue to fulfill that promise as they search and search and search.
These incredible American heroes will soon lay at rest on sacred American soil. Even during the campaign, people would come up to me — it’s a long time ago — many decades ago. Oftentimes they were older. In some cases, they were younger. Great-grandfathers. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father — they asked if I could do something about it. I’d look at them, I’d say, “We don’t get along too well with that country.” They said, “Whatever you can do.” And it’s something that was very important to me. Many people have asked that.
I’ve asked the Vice President and others to just pay a special tribute — and they will do that. So we honor the sacred memory of every incredible American patriot who fought and died in that war.
In everything we do, in every action we take, we are fighting for loyal, hardworking, patriotic citizens of our blessed nation. We’re making our country great again. We’re respected again all over the world. Our military will soon be stronger than it’s ever been, by far. That in itself will produce thousands and thousands of jobs. Nobody makes equipment like we do — nobody — whether it’s planes or missiles, or any form of military equipment. We make the best in the world, by far.
We’re making it possible for our allies to buy that equipment quickly, where they don’t have to wait for two-year approvals, and more. We’re doing great. And I’m very honored to see that 4.1 number. Perhaps I’m even more honored to see that deficit shrink — the trade deficit shrink so much.
With that, I’d like to ask Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and my very good friend, Larry Kudlow, if they could both step forward and say a few words.
Thank you all very much. It’s a great day. (Applause.)
HASSETT: Thank you very much, Mr. President. And thank you for your leadership and for the faith that you put in me when you offered me this job. And thank you for standing up for our veterans. My father and my uncle both fought in the Korean War, and you just can’t imagine how much it means to those veterans that you didn’t forget their comrades.
You know, as an economist, it’s my duty, sir, to remind that we should not make too much of one number, right? How often do we hear economists say that? But when I think back to the first time I met with you in the Oval, and we talked about your vision about how to make America great again, you might recall that, in the end, I agreed, yeah, that stuff really ought to work.
And the fact is that if we look at the data today, that we can see the proof of the pudding that the President’s policies are working. And it’s not just in the top line, but it’s in the details.
So the President said that if we deregulate the economy and have a tax reform, that there will be a capital spending boom because the factories will come back to America. If you look at the data, then the factories are booming again.
The President said that if we emphasize energy production here in the U.S., that we could become a dominant energy economy, even an energy exporter. Well, if you look at the data today, one of the reasons why the data is so strong is that drilling and mining activities skyrocketed in an almost unprecedented way.
And finally — and this is the thing that at times, sir, you’ve kind of looked at me and smiled about whether I really agree with you. You said that you would bring the trade deficit down — and you have. The $50 billion reduction in the trade deficit proves that if you stand up for America’s workers and let our allies know that deals that aren’t reciprocal are unacceptable, that you can make a lot of progress.
And so thank you very much for your leadership, sir, and for your faith in me. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Kevin. Great job. Thank you. (Applause.)
KUDLOW: Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. It’s a little warm out here, so I’ll be as quick as I can. I want to reiterate what the President said and my pal, Kevin Hassett.
Look, we’ve had a pro-growth agenda. It has been in place for a short while. It is already beginning to work. Low tax rates. Rollback of regulations. Unleashing energy. And trade reform to fix a broken world trading system.
I just want to note in the numbers — and this is becoming a trend — business investment is booming. Nine to ten percent growth in the first half of this year. I believe that’s going to continue. Why do I talk about business investment? Well, that’s the key to productivity, which is the key to growth, which is the key to rising real wages and very strong jobs.
A point that Kevin and I made during the campaign a million times and we continue to make it: These tax cuts, particularly on the business and investment side, are going to be boosting wages, livelihoods, and jobs, for middle-American, ordinary, working folks. And it’s starting to take effect.
And that’s why I agree with the President, this is a boom that will be sustainable. Frankly, as far as the eye can see, this is no one-shot effort.
So that’s me. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Larry. (Applause.) Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are among those touted as serious Democratic presidential contenders in 2020, but three-out-of-four Democrats think their party needs to turn to someone new.
But according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 73% of Likely Democratic Voters believe their party should look for a fresh face to run for president in 2020. Just 16% disagree and think the party should promote a candidate who has already run in the past. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.
By comparison, with Clinton seen as a shoo-in for the 2016 nomination, just 36% of Democrats were calling for a new face in that election, but an unusually high 21% were undecided.
Among all likely voters, 65% say Democrats should find a new face for 2020, while only 19% think it should go with someone who has run for the White House before. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, according to Judicial Watch, As the separation of families pouring in from Mexico dominates the airwaves several disturbing cases involving illegal aliens shift the focus back to the devastating impact of America’s poorly guarded southern border. In the last few days alone, an illegal immigrant who had been deported eleven times attacked his wife with a chainsaw in front of their children, another got charged with a series of violent rapes and dozens were arrested for operating a major human and drug smuggling enterprise in a major U.S. city.
The gruesome chainsaw attack occurred in Los Angeles County, which has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary. A man named Alejandro Alvarez-Villegas, deported to his native Mexico 11 times since 2005, tried to kill his wife with a chainsaw. In local media reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refers to him as a “serial immigration violator,” but the agency fails to explain how that could possibly occur. Alvarez-Villegas has been charged with seven felonies and is being held without bail. One California newspaper worries that the assailant’s immigration status will fuel calls for a big wall on the border with Mexico and spark “illegal immigration foes to point to the U.S. immigration system as a failure in need of revamping.” The piece also quotes open borders advocates saying that domestic violence happens among Americans citizens too and that it’s not an “undocumented” problem.
Several hundred miles north in San Francisco, an illegal immigrant from Peru recently got charged with rape by force or violence and other crimes. The 37-year-old, Orlando Vilchez Lazo, was a driver for the ride-sharing company Lyft who somehow passed a background check. Lazo faces life in prison and is being held in jail in San Francisco on $4.2 million bail. San Francisco has long provided Illegal aliens with sanctuary and forbids it law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Judicial Watch has sued the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD) to prevent the use of taxpayer funds on policies that prohibit department personnel from cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement officials. Back in 2008 Judicial Watch investigated the SFSD’s handling of an illegal alien (Edwin Ramos) charged with the triple murder of three innocent American citizens. Ramos, who had been arrested on three prior occasions and convicted with two felonies, was never turned over to federal immigration authorities for removal to his native El Salvador under San Francisco’s sanctuary policies.
In the other recent case involving serious illegal immigrant criminal activity, 18 human smugglers and 117 illegal aliens got arrested in three stash houses in the area surrounding El Paso, Texas and southern New Mexico. Most of the illegal aliens—93—are from Mexico and the rest from Guatemala (12), Honduras (6), Brazil (3), El Salvador (2) and Peru (1). At least three of the illegal immigrants have serious criminal records, according to information released by ICE. A 32-year-old Mexican man busted in the ring has convictions for child endangerment and driving while intoxicated as well as being arrested for illegally re-entering the U.S. after being deported. A 30-year-old Mexican has ties to a drug cartel and was previously arrested for fraud and misuse of visas. A 34-year-old Guatemalan has an outstanding warrant in Florida for driving under the influence and has also been charged with illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation, according to the feds.
Besides arresting the criminal elements, the feds also seized more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in the El Paso bust, large amounts of U.S. and Mexican cash, nine vehicles and three tractor-trailers. Two American citizens were nabbed in the operation, including a 42-year-old man with prior convictions for aggravated stalking, kidnaping, possessing a deadly weapon and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. The other U.S. citizen, a 25-year-old man, has prior convictions for escape from custody, possessing marijuana, assault and driving while intoxicated. While all this is going on, the overwhelming majority of immigration-related media coverage continues to focus on children being separated from their parents. A new national poll reveals that most Americans consider immigration the most important problem facing the nation.
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, The Department of Justice has released documents used by the government to justify the FISA surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.
The materials released by the DOJ include an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page as well as several renewal applications.
It is highly unusual for documents related to FISA wiretap applications to be released.
Though heavily redacted, the documents show that the infamous and fake Steele Dossier was a major component of the 2016 surveillance warrant. The Steele Dossier, has been exposed as opposition research funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign, contains salacious but totally false allegations against Donald Trump. It was also a major component used to justify subsequent renewals.
Security experts claim that the poor grammar of the report and shaky spelling plus the author’s use of KGB-style intelligence reporting, do not fit the image of a high-end London security company run by highly connected former British intelligence figures.
The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump’s Russian connections. It claims to know more than is knowable as it recounts sordid tales of prostitutes, “golden showers,” bribes, squabbles in Putin’s inner circle, and who controls the dossiers of kompromat (compromising information). It is well know the President Trump is a germaphobe and “golden showers ” seem immediately unrealistic which casted doubt on the rest of the report from the start.
Much of the story makes no sense. In 2011, when the courtship with Russia purportedly begins, Trump was a TV personality and beauty pageant impresario. Neither in the U.S. or Russia would anyone of authority anticipate that Trump would one day become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, making him the target of Russian intelligence.
McCain minority staff director Henry Kerner to IRS official Lois Lerner and other IRS officials: “the solution is to audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous”
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.” Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.
The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.
Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”
In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”
Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.
Judicial Watch previously reported on the 2013 meeting. Senator McCain then issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.” The IRS previously blacked out the notes of the meeting but Judicial Watch found the notes among subsequent documents released by the agency.
Judicial Watch separately uncovered that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama DOJ and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat-Rhode Island) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
The April 30, 2013 meeting came just under two weeks prior to Lerner’s admission during an ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups. In her May 2013 answer to a planted question, in which she admitted to the “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Lerner suggested the IRS targeting occurred due to an “uptick” in 501 (c)(4) applications to the IRS but in actuality, there had been a decrease in such applications in 2010.
On May 14, 2013, a report by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status” (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued “for more than 18 months” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.
All these documents were forced out of the IRS as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the IRS after it failed to respond adequately to four FOIA requests sent in May 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
All records related to the number of applications received or related to communications between the IRS and members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
All records concerning communications between the IRS and the Executive Branch or any other government agency regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
Copies of any questionnaires and all records related to the preparation of questionnaires sent to organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.
All records related to Lois Lerner’s communication with other IRS employees, as well as government or private entity outside the IRS regarding the review and approval process for 501 (c)(4) applicant organizations.
“The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.”
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Montclair NJ, The owner and manager of a New Jersey hedge fund was sentenced today to 72 months in prison for defrauding two investors of $4 million, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Nicholas Lattanzio, 62, of Montclair, New Jersey, was previously convicted on all counts of an indictment charging him with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of securities fraud following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty, who imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
From June 2013 through November 2014, Lattanzio orchestrated a large-scale scheme through which he, his hedge fund, the Black Diamond Capital Appreciation Fund L.P. (BD Fund), and several other related entities collected millions of dollars in upfront fees from two unsuspecting corporate investors in exchange for the promise of future loans or investment opportunities that did not materialize. Instead of investing the victims’ money as promised, Lattanzio stole the majority of the funds and used them to pay himself more than $500,000 in salary. He used the money for numerous personal expenses, including the purchase of a $1 million home in Montclair, New Jersey, a new Range Rover, a $10,000 diamond ring, and the payment of $500,000 in credit card debt that he incurred for other personal expenses. Lattanzio lied to the victims about the status of their funds to conceal the scheme and mislead them into believing that their investments were safe.
In addition to the prison term, Judge McNulty sentenced Lattanzio to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $3.93 million.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of Marc P. Berger, and the N.J. Bureau of Securities, within the State Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas P. Grippo and Daniel V. Shapiro of the Economic Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Gaeta of the Office’s Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit.