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MASSIVE: Ukraine funneled $400k to Trump lawyer before White House meeting

The money was paid to the US president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen via Jewish charity Chabad House

Ricky Twisdale

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Breaking news is just off the wires at the BBC.

It appears the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was willing to go the extra mile to ensure he would appear to be a close ally of Donald Trump in public last year:

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

Mr Cohen denies the allegation.

The meeting at the White House was last June. Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Trump’s deletion of any reference to “Russian aggression” in Ukraine from the GOP party platform in 2016, along with Trump’s expressed wish to repair relations wth Russia, plus real or perceived “pro-Russian” ties of many top Trump advisers (Paul Manafort, Michael Page), all doubtless left Poroshenko highly alarmed that his Kiev regime was losing clout.

Mr. Poroshenko had backed the losing horse in the US presidential election – releasing dirt on Trump’s aide Paul Manafort in an effort to score points with Hillary Clinton, whom he thought certain to win. But after Trump sailed to a resounding victory, Porky needed to ingratiate himself with Mr. Trump.

Unable to secure a full fledged meeting with Trump, the Ukrainian leader chose a backdoor method:

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko’s administration described what happened before the visit to the White House.

Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine’s registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as “talks”.

This senior official’s account is as follows – Mr Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Mr Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help.

He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer and trusted fixer. Mr Cohen was paid $400,000.

There is no suggestion that Mr Trump knew about the payment.

[…]

The senior intelligence official in Kiev said Mr Cohen had been helped by Felix Sater, a convicted former mobster who was once Trump’s business partner. Mr Sater’s lawyer, too, denied the allegations.

It appears unclear whether Cohen accepting the money would have itself been unlawful, or if only Cohen’s failure to register as a foreign agent would qualify as illegal conduct.

But despite the backchannel dealing, it appears Cohen’s influence with the US president was not what Mr. Poroshenko had hoped for:

As was widely reported last June, Mr Poroshenko was still guessing at how much time he would have with Mr Trump even as he flew to Washington.

The White House schedule said only that Mr Poroshenko would “drop in” to the Oval Office while Mr Trump was having staff meetings.

That had been agreed through official channels. Mr Cohen’s fee was for getting Mr Poroshenko more than just an embarrassingly brief few minutes of small talk and a handshake, the senior official said. But negotiations continued until the early hours of the day of the visit.

The Ukrainian side were angry, the official went on, because Mr Cohen had taken “hundreds of thousands” of dollars from them for something it seemed he could not deliver.

Right up until the last moment, the Ukrainian leader was uncertain if he would avoid humiliation.

“Poroshenko’s inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement [with Cohen] was.”

And all this was done merely so Poroshenko could be seen to have had a “meeting” with Trump prior to any Trump meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Plus to kiss Trump’s rear in apology for backing his opponent in the election.

The BBC story goes on to say The Donald extracted a much heavier price from Ukraine than just an apology:

A report by a member of a Western country’s intelligence community says Mr Poroshenko’s team believe they have established a “non-aggression pact” with Mr Trump[…]

The report says that an “element of the understanding” between Poroshenko and Trump was that Ukraine agreed to import US coal and signed a $1bn contract for American-made diesel trains.

These deals can only be understood as Poroshenko buying American support, the reports say.

In March, the Trump administration announced the symbolically important sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

From the look of it, Trump made sure the US got the much better end of the bargain.

This report from the BBC comes just days after FOX News highlighted that Ukraine paid a lobbying group headed by Tony Podesta – brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta – over $1 million.

Following Hillary’s defeat in the 2016 election, Podesta’s firm collapsed, as his clients suddenly dried up.

Trump pointedly asked in a tweet last Sunday why Muller had not charged Tony Podesta with any crime.

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Russia sends more goodies to help Assad in upcoming offensive against ISIS

The Russian military is expected to beef up the Syrian forces to launch the long-awaited offensive against jihadi militants in Idlib province.

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As the last jihadi controlled areas in southwestern Syria have been liberated by the Syrian government, the Russians are literally sending a boatload of fresh military goodies to help Bashar al-Assad cleanse his nation of jihadist radicals. A Russian cargo ship is on the way to Tartus loaded with military aid to help Assad in an upcoming operation against ISIS and other Western propped ‘moderate’ radicals in the Idlib province.

Almasdar reports

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:00 P.M.) – Russia never ceased to provide the Syrian government with all kinds of military aid as the Syrian Armed Forces achieve massive wins across the country.

Russian cargo ship Tapir class LST Orsk 148 was spotted crossing the Mediterranean Bosporus en route to Syria’s Tartus; carrying military cargo.

The Russian military is expected to beef up the Syrian forces to launch the long-awaited offensive against jihadi militants in Idlib province.

Meanwhile, the last ISIS-controlled pocket in southwestern Syria has been liberated by the government troop.

With Russia’s help, Assad has been successfully liberating his country’s territory from the occupation of radical, tyrannical, jihadist terrorists, who are often funded, armed, and trained by Western governments in a bid to destabilize the Middle Eastern country and to set it up for regime change or to stage some kind of partition through political maneuvering under the guise of peace plans. Either way, Russia’s assistance has been pivotal in the war, and it has been paying huge dividends for Syria.

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Amesbury poisoning: what we know so far

If they want to turn this into another blame Russia case, the timing couldn’t be worse.

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The good news at this point is that the brits haven’t started pointing fingers at Russia yet.  The couple have no known history or background that would point to a reason as to why anybody would single them out for such an attack. Some of the theories floated around at this point in time are that they could have been exposed to remnants of Novichok from the Skripal event. I personally find this a bit silly as the nerve agent Novichok degrades rather quickly, even if it is in a sealed off environment.

BBC reports

The couple, believed to be Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill at a house in Amesbury on Saturday and remain in a critical condition.

Police say no one else has presented with the same symptoms.

There was “nothing in their background” to suggest the pair were targeted, the Met Police said.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it could not be confirmed whether the nerve agent came from the same batch that Mr Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were exposed to.

But he said the possibility was “clearly a line of enquiry”.

Mr Basu said no contaminated items had yet been found, but officers were putting together a “very detailed examination of [the couple’s] movements” in order to determine where they were poisoned.

He added that members of the public should not pick anything up if they don’t know what it is.

“We have no idea what may have contained the nerve agent at this time,” he said.

The Counter Terrorism Policing Network is now leading the investigation, working with Wiltshire Police.

The BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera said: “The most likely hypothesis is that this is leftover Novichok from the attack on the Skripals back in March.”

Chemical weapons expert Richard Guthrie said it was possible that the Novichok which poisoned the Skripals may have been disposed of “in a haphazard way”.

If the couple had come across it in a syringe or pot, it might have been better preserved, he told BBC Breakfast.
England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said: “I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low.”

The Skripal episode meant officials had a “well-established response” in place, she said.

“As before, my advice is to wash your clothes and wipe down any personal items, shoes and bags, with cleansing or baby wipes before disposing of them in the usual way.

“You do not need to seek advice from a health professional unless you are experiencing symptoms, as any individual who had been significantly exposed at the same time would by now have symptoms.”
On Saturday, paramedics were called twice to the property in Amesbury – in the morning, after Ms Sturgess had collapsed, then later the same day, after Mr Rowley had also fallen unwell.

“It was initially believed that the two patients fell ill after using possibly heroin or crack cocaine from a contaminated batch of drugs,” Wiltshire Police said.

The news that Novichok was to blame was announced following analysis at the defence research facility at Porton Down, Wiltshire.

As a precautionary measure, sites in Amesbury and Salisbury, believed to have been visited by the couple before they fell ill, have been cordoned off.

There is no evidence to suggest either visited the sites that were decontaminated following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Local residents have been warned to expect to see an increased police presence – including officers wearing protective equipment.
Security correspondent Gordon Corera said the poisoning was “hugely significant” as the public “will be worried about public health”.

He added: “Perhaps this is some of the Novichok prepared for the attack [in Salisbury in March] and discarded – maybe somewhere like a park, a house – and maybe these two came across it.”

He added it could give counter-terrorism investigators new leads on where the nerve agent was “brought and put together” before the attack on the Skripals.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said his thoughts were with the two individuals affected and thanked the emergency services and staff at Salisbury District Hospital.

He said the events follow “the reckless and barbaric attack which took place in Salisbury in March”.

“The government’s first priority is for the safety of the residents in the local area but as Public Health England has made clear, the risk to the general public is low,” he said.

“Tomorrow [Thursday] I will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra in relation to the ongoing investigation.”

Only time will tell where this will go. If they want to turn this into another blame Russia case, the timing couldn’t be worse. Right in the middle of the World Cup and the meeting between Trump and Putin right around the corner. Let us hope for the recovery of the victims and that no more cases of this occur

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Breaking: Amesbury Police confirm novichok used to poison couple

It is amazing that a stunt like this is being pulled again

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Taken from the Salisbury Journal

A MAN and woman in critical condition in hosital were exposed to the same nerve agent used to poison the Skripal, police have confirmed.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu confirmed the substance was Novichok.

Details to follow

 

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