Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Here is the man Trump and his supporters have been calling a low-ranking volunteer, a coffee boy - since Papadopoulos' plea deal was revealed




Salon, 1 November 2017:

The credibility of Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been called into serious question after the Justice Department unsealed a plea deal taken by a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign.

The documents revealed that former adviser George Papadopoulos attended a "national security meeting in Washington D.C.," on March 31, 2016, along with Trump, Sessions and others. In that meeting, Papadopoulos "introduced himself," and explicitly stated "in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and [Russian] President Putin."

Trump tweeted a picture of the meeting the day it occurred, and he, as well as Sessions, sat at opposite heads of the table. Papadopoulos is pictured to the left of Sessions in the middle of the table.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

ICAC investigating water theft and allegations of NSW government corruption involving party donors


Eventually full details of this investigation will become public, as it cannot seriously be thought to be in the public interest for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) not to publish findings.

The Australian, 27 October 2017:

ICAC has begun a preliminary ­investigation into whether NSW public officials favoured Nationals donor and irrigator Peter ­Harris by not prosecuting him over ­alleged water theft.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is also investigating whether public officials made decisions in favour of western NSW irrigator and lobbyist Ian Cole by changing water sharing arrangements to benefit him.

A day after The Australian ­revealed that the corruption watchdog was investigating a case where Multicultural Affairs Minister Ray Williams wrote to ­Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair asking for prosecutorial ­action against constituent Garry Bugeja to be dropped, it has emerged that the NSW government is facing a ­series of inquiries over its water policies.

The Berejiklian government is facing the real spectre of a public ICAC inquiry potentially involving the two ministers and at least one former primary industries minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, just months out from the 2019 state election.

ICAC is investigating whether former deputy director-general of the Department of Primary ­Industry Gavin Hanlon disclosed confidential information to ­Barwon-Darling irrigators, allegations that have been the subject of a government inquiry and led to Mr Hanlon’s resignation.

The commission is also understood to be looking at whether any public official failed to properly investigate or prosecute Mr Harris, a cotton farmer from Moree, in northern NSW. ICAC is also understood to be investigating why the department’s strategic investigations unit was disbanded, leading to the abandonment of several water compliance operations.
There is also an investigation into whether any public official acted inappropriately in making changes to the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan to benefit ­irrigator Mr Cole.

Another line of investigation is understood to be whether any person improperly gave access to departmental files and confidential material for the benefit of Mr Harris. Investigations into Mr Cole are understood to also involve whether pumps were attached to a property and were authorised by the department in breach of water laws…..

It was revealed earlier this year that Mr Blair sought law changes which may have benefited Mr Harris by retrospectively approving water-trading rights granted to him that appeared to not comply with the law. But Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton blocked the changes.

Mr Blair also legislated to allow past illegal works to be retrospectively approved — another piece of law which may have helped Mr Harris….

Mr Bugeja was not prosecuted for an alleged ­illegal dam in Sydney after Mr Williams wrote to Mr Blair

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Donald Trump continues to deny Trump presidential election campaign-Russia link as FBI indictments begin




US President Donald J. Trump continues to deny Trump presidential election campaign-Russia links as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indictments begin.

CNN, 30 October 2017:
Washington (CNN) Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates surrendered Monday to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Gates, 45, is a longtime business associate of Manafort, 68, having worked together since the mid-2000s, and served as his deputy on the campaign. The two were indicted under seal on Friday, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The indictment against the two men contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Manafort arrived at the FBI's Washington field office Monday morning. The two are being processed separately, according to a law enforcement official. They will later be transported to federal district court in Washington later Monday morning.

The two are scheduled to make their initial court appearances before US District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson at 1:30 p.m. ET Monday…..

Manafort entered the Trump campaign orbit in early 2016, when he reached out to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner and offered to work for free, according to The New York Times.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help with delegate counting ahead of the Republican National Convention, as some Republicans hoped to use arcane delegate procedures to wrest the nomination from Trump at the convention in Cleveland.

He soon was promoted to campaign chairman, and he became the top official on the campaign after then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired in June 2016.

His tenure didn't last long.

The Times reported in August 2016 that Ukrainian investigators found Manafort's name in an off-the-books, handwritten ledger detailing secret payments — including $12.7 million to Manafort from Yanukovych's Party of Regions.

Manafort denied he had received any such payment and claims the ledger was forged. But just days later, he resigned from the campaign as the accusations swirling around him became a major distraction for Trump.

Copy of FBI indictment dated 27 October 2017 here.

Grand Jury Investigation, Memorandum Opinion here.

Manafort and Gates now under house arrest.

@realDonaldTrump, 30 October 2017:

Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????....

....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!

On 3 October 2017 the FBI issued an indictment in United States of American v George Papadopoulos on one count of making false statements concerning his interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with Russian government officials. Papadopoulos appears to have joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.

He was part of Trump's six-man foreign policy team led by then Alabama senator and now US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.

Copy of Papadopoulos Statement of Offence can be read here. Copy of Papadopoulos plea agreement here.

Los Angeles Times, 30 October 2017:

A former foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians who claimed to have “thousands of emails” on Hillary Clinton, in the latest charges filed in the investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. 

George Papadopoulos, 30, of Chicago, has agreed to cooperate with the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to a plea agreement unsealed on Monday.

He pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to making false statements to disguise his contacts with Russians whom he thought had “dirt” on Clinton, according to court papers. He was arrested in July as he got off a plane at Dulles International Airport.

After he was contacted by an unnamed Russian professor in March, Papadopoulos exchanged emails with an official in the Russian foreign ministry, court papers say. Among the topics he discussed was a possible visit by Trump to Russia.

“As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” one Russian emailed him.

In April, after he had become an advisor to the campaign, Papadopoulos met with the Russian professor at a London hotel. The professor said he had just returned from a trip to Moscow, where he was told “the Russians had emails of Clinton.”

Papadopolous told other leaders in the Trump campaign that he was in contact with Russians, and said there were some “interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip.”

An unnamed campaign official, described as a campaign “supervisor,” encouraged him to make the trip, a document reads.

BACKGROUND


ABC News, 20 July 2017:

Mr Trump Jr has been the focus of a string of revelations about a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in 2016, billed as a part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican's White House campaign.

Explosive emails, which Mr Trump Jr published on his own Twitter account, show that:

Donald Trump Jr (and others) knowingly had a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer on June 9, 2016
The intermediary who arranged the meeting offered "information that would incriminate" Hillary Clinton and "her dealings with Russia" that would be "very useful" to the campaign
The intermediary described the information as "very high level and sensitive"
Most importantly, it was described as "part of Russia and its Government's support for Mr Trump"

The story has continued to evolve, with a former Soviet officer recently confirming he was as the meeting.

Mr Manafort and Mr Kushner were also reported to be at the meeting in question.

The Washington Post, 27 October 2017:

On Friday, Trump declared the investigations into any collusion between his campaign and the Russian government all-but-over….

“It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!”.....

After his inauguration, the first time Trump mentioned collusion on Twitter was May 8.

“Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to former national intelligence director James R. Clapper Jr., “there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.”

“The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax,” he added, “when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

At the moment Trump tweeted about how there wasn’t any collusion — the first and second times of 14 tweets in total — the investigations into collusion were limited to an FBI counterintelligence investigation and House and Senate committees digging into the matter. The next day, though, Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey, triggering the chain of events that led to the appointment of Mueller and his investigation.

When Trump was interviewed by NBC’s Lester Holt shortly after the Comey firing, he was adamant.

“I think that looking into me and, the campaign … look, I have nothing to do [with it],” he said. “This was set up by the Democrats. There is no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians. The other thing is the Russians did not affect the vote.” He also told Holt that “when I decided to just [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’ ”

Quartz, 29 October 2017:

However, Russia’s efforts to influence the US election have been repeatedly, unequivocally confirmed on the record by all top US intelligence officials, including those appointed by Trump.

report (pdf) issued by US intelligence officials on Jan. 6 stated Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind a campaign to influence the 2016 election, “denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” and stated that Putin had “a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

During a public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing (pdf) this May, Virginia’s Mark Warner asked top intelligence officials if they agreed with the conclusions of this report that “Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking and leaking of information and using misinformation to influence our elections?”

Every intelligence official answered yes. Intelligence officials at the hearing included representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency, as well as Trump-appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo and Trump’s chosen director of national intelligence, Dan Coats. (See 42:30 mark on the video below, or at the 1:04 mark on the video on the Senate website).

Friday, 13 October 2017

Donald J. Trump: “Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”


No matter how hard he tries US President Donald Trump just can't keep the Russia issue behind closed doors.

It keeps seeping out into the public domain via mainstream and social media.

Reuters, 5 October 2017:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The special counsel investigating whether Russia tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy's dossier of allegations of Russian financial and personal links to President Donald Trump's campaign and associates, sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.

A report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele identified Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government.

A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment. The FBI also declined comment.

Three sources with knowledge of Mueller's probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.

Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election.

Two officials familiar with the investigations said that both Mueller's team and the Senate Intelligence Committee are seeking any evidence that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort or others who had financial dealings with Russia might have helped Kremlin intelligence agencies target email hacking and social media postings undermining Trump's election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

On Wednesday, the Senate panel's chairman Richard Burr told reporters that the issue of whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia remains an open question.

Prof. Seth Abramson, University of New Hampshire, 4 October 2017:
Trump's response is typical……

MEDIA MATTERS for America, 5 October 2017:


President Donald Trump urged Congress to begin investigations into the U.S. media, which he baselessly claimed was fabricating stories in order to damage his presidency, in a Thursday morning tweet with authoritarian overtones.

"Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!," the president tweeted just before 7 a.m. EST.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!

 28,38728,387 Replies  12,30112,301 Retweets 48,15748,157 likes

Trump's tweet came the morning after the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- which has been investigating what U.S. intelligence agencies have determined was a Russian propaganda effort aimed at disrupting the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favor --confirmed those conclusions and warned that the Kremlin's effort to influence U.S. elections is ongoing. At a news conference detailing the progress of their investigation, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the committee's chairman, said that the issue of whether Trump's associates had colluded with Russia "is still open."

Trump has long been defensive about the question of whether Russia aided his election, and has termed the special counsel's investigation into whether his associates participated in that effort a "witch hunt." And his constant attempts to undermine and delegitimize the press are one of the rare throughlines in his chaotic administration. Critics have noted that this effort parallels those made by authoritarian leaders…..

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

In 1987 Australia the New South Wales state government exposed Donald J. Trump's "Mafia connections"



If the NSW Police Board in Australia knew of Donald J. Trump's "Mafia connections" (Confidential Minutes, p. 8,3. Police Board ii) in June 1987 it follows that so did the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia State Police, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and possibly Interpol - because NSW Police and/or the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would have likely approached one or all these sources when gathering intelligence. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Water rorting continues in the Murray-Darling Basin aided and abetted by the NSW Nationals


And local government and commercial interests in the Murray-Darling Basin have the hide to cry that they are water deprived and should be allowed to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment until that coastal system is a pale shadow of its vibrant self.

The Guardian, 4 August 2017:

The New South Wales regional water minister, Niall Blair, has quietly granted himself the power to approve illegal floodplain works retrospectively.

A Wentworth Group scientist, Jamie Pittock, has accused the NSW government of actively undermining the Murray-Darling basin plan as revelations have continued about the state government’s management of the river system.

Since Four Corners report raised allegations of water theft and secret meetings between a senior NSW water bureaucrat and a small number of irrigators,Blair is under increasing pressure over his water responsibilities.

This followed Daily Telegraph reports that the Nationals MP had been urging his Liberal colleague, the environment minister, Gabrielle Upton, to change the Barwon-Darling water-sharing plan retrospectively to favour large irrigators. He said the change was needed because of an error in the rules.

It has now come to light that Blair gazetted a Barwon-Darling valley floodplain management plan which gives him power to approve flood works built illegally even if they do not comply with requirements prior to the plan.

Under clause 39 of the new Barwon-Darling valley plan, a flood work that does not comply can be approved if “in the minister’s opinion” it is for an access road, a supply channel, a stock refuge or an infrastructure protection work
.
A spokesman for WaterNSW said three relevant applications from the Barwon-Darling region had been received since the change but none had yet been approved.

The NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham called on the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to remove the water portfolio from the National party after the regulation changes came to light.

“This is disgraceful example of the National party giving away free water to their big irrigator mates,” Buckingham said. “Many of these areas are so flat that even a 10 to 20cm bank can divert a huge amount of water into an irrigation dam and away from natural waterways.

“It’s a massive gift of water to the big irrigators. If we want to recover the water in the future then taxpayer will have to hand over huge amounts of compensation for what were illegal constructions.”

A spokeswoman for Blair said the gazettal was a “significant legacy issue” required to create a process where unapproved works could be properly and transparently assessed. She said to be considered, works must not have been previously refused and would still need to be assessed under certain criteria.

“Supply channels are one of the types of existing works that clause 39 indicates that we will accept application for,” the spokeswoman said. “Just because they are existing, doesn’t mean that they will be approved, just that they can apply. This approach is being rolled out through all floodplain management plans.”

Pittock, an associate professor in the Fenner school of environment and society at the Australian National University, said the revelations showed NSW was systematically white-anting the Murray Darling plan.

“The ‘rule error’ and other questionable dealings between wealthy irrigators, government officials and politicians in NSW highlight how the intent of the basin plan can be frustrated by those hostile to its implementation at the state level,” he told Guardian Australia.

“Changes of regulations in NSW have allowed irrigators to take erstwhile environmental flows by allowing greater pump capacity and earlier extraction based on river heights such that commonwealth-purchased environmental water in Queensland in not ‘shepherded’ through New South Wales to the lower Murray.

“Consequently towns like Broken Hill, pastoralists and Aboriginal communities, as well as the environment, have been starved of water.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Trouble With Water: not a good look for the National Party of Australia



On 1 June 2017 former NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water (23 April 2014 - 2 April 2015) and current Nationals MP for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, announced that he will retire at the next state election in March 2019.

In the wake of the 24 July ABC “Four Corners” revelations of large-scale water theft under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Humphries has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by the Labor Opposition.

Hot on the heels of this program came another announcement on 31 July 2017.

Former NSW Minister for Primary Industries (3 April 2011 - 2 April 2015) with responsibility for lands & water and current Nationals MP for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced her retirement effective mid to late August 2017.

Hodgkinson denies any connection between her sudden retirement and those Four Corners revelations.

However it should be noted that it was on the joint watch of Humphries and Hodgkinson that the position of NSW Water Commissioner responsible for the overall management of the State’s surface water and groundwater resources was axed and the NSW Office of Water was reformed as part of the Dept. of Primary Industry maintaining overall responsibility for accepting and assessing applications to change water access licences and operating the Water Access Licence Register.

High volume water theft appears to have become easier on the watch of these two National Party politicians.

All that would be needed for a trifecta of retiring state politicians associated with water resource policy would be for the current NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Minister for Regional Water and Nationals MLC, Niall Blair, to announce an unexpected desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

Any further scandal surrounding the management water resources in the NSW section of the Murray-Darling Basin and this may well be a distinct possibility - or even more media coverage like this perhaps?

The Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2017:

A NATIONALS minister is pushing Cabinet colleagues to change irrigation laws to retrospectively justify a decision by his department to give a major political donor and cotton farmer more rights over the precious Barwon-Darling River.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair is behind a push to alter an element of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan.

It comes after his department in 2016 overruled what it called “minor” error in the law to grant extra irrigation rights to Brewarrina cotton farmer Peter Harris.

A department briefing, seen by The Daily Telegraph, said the error was impacting on “some users wishing to trade between river sections covered by the plan”.

The briefing was written shortly after Mr Harris was given extra rights.

Mr Harris gave $10,000 to the National Party prior to the 2011 election in combined personal donations and those made by his company.

Its understood an internal Coalition fight has broken out between Mr Blair and current Water Minister Gabrielle Upton , who is resisting the changes. The revelations come as several inquiries have been launched into the alleged water theft on an industrial scale of precious resources across the basin…….

The Daily Telegraph has obtained another document showing that the retiring Ms Hodgkinson changed the water sharing plan to benefit irrigators after lobbying. She was water minister at the time.

In a 2012 letter to lobbyist and cotton farmer Ian Cole, Ms Hodgkinson wrote: “Following consideration of a number of WSP (water sharing plan) matter raised with me, I ­requested the Office of Water to make several amendments which I believe now present a fair and equitable outcome for all.”

The Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton's obvious reluctance may be due to her appreciation of a change in wind direction within the national electorate on the subject of Murray-Darling Basin water allocations.

The present Deputy Prime Minister and Australian Water Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is also in a somewhat precarious position – less to do with his manifest inadequacy as a federal minister and more to do with his stated motives for seeking to add the water ministry to his portfolio responsibilities.

Cartoonist David Rowe at Financial Review

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

And so the spotlight hovers over Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair......


When both the NSW Coalition Government (2 April 2015) and Federal Coalition Government (21 September 2015) gave a minister dual responsibility for agriculture and water one could almost hear the political train careening wildly in the distance.

Unfortunately two years later the people of Australia woke to discover that handing over responsibility for water in a complex major river system to two National Party MPs meant it was also a social, economic and environmental train wreck as well.

All the audits and investigations in the world will not unmake the disaster that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has become under Barnaby Joyce and Niall Blair unless the political will is there, however this is a good start.

"The Auditor-General will investigate how Barnaby Joyce's Dept is monitoring use of environmental water by NSW." [@Tony_Burke]

In an effort to wrest back control of the situation Prime Minister Turnbull has reportedly 
ordered the Murray Darling Basin Authority to conduct an allegedly ndependent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The review report will be presented to the December 2017 Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

How is Trump faring under the weight of six separate investigations?


The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating Russia’s involvement in the U.S. presidential campaign since July 2016 and in December that year the U.S. Office Of National Intelligence began a review of Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections (report). 

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly began an investigation into Russia’s potential meddling in the US election last year as well.

In January 2017 the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee began an ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election campaign.

By March 2017 the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism had commenced hearings in an investigation into “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”.

In addition to this it is reported that U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is investigating payments involving Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort and bank accounts in Cyprus related to money-laundering allegations and, that in April 2017 the Department of Defense Inspector General commenced an investigation to determine if Lieutenant General (Retired) Flynn accepted payments in violation of the Emoluments Clause, implementing laws, Defense regulations, including payments from Russian entities.

UPDATE 10.13am 18 May 2017- matters are moving fairly quickly and the U.S. Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has set a 9.30am 24 May 2017 hearing date to investigate if President Trump interfered in an FBI probe and, earlier today Associated Press reported:

7:30 p.m. [US Eastern Daylight Time, 17 May]
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller says he accepts the responsibility of being appointed as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election.
In a short statement, Mueller says, “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
His law firm, WilmerHale, says he resigned immediately upon his Wednesday appointment by the Justice Department. Spokespeople declined to comment further.
The appointment came amid a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the politically charged investigation.
It follows the revelation Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. End of update.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s public reaction to these investigations has been confined to furious tweeting and disjointed justifications in the odd speech or interview. Although his peremptory sacking of three bureaucrats, New York Federal Prosecutor Bharara, Acting U.S. Attorney General Yates and FBI Director Comey, also appears related to the fact that the investigations are just not going away.

On 12 May 2017 a beleaguered Trump released this one-page letter from a law firm1 while once again tweeting that the story was fabricated. The letter has a narrow focus on transactions listed in his personal tax returns as it tries to avoid the elephant in the room:
1. MOSCOW, May 2, 2016: Morgan Lewis has been recognized by Chambers & Partners’ 2016 Chambers Europe guide as Russia Law Firm of the Year. The prestigious honor was announced at the publication’s recent annual awards dinner in London, where firms from 24 countries were recognized. See: https://www.morganlewis.com/news/chambers-partners-names-morgan-lewis-as-russia-law-firm-of-the-year

The Wall Street Journal reported on 12 May 2017:          
A unit of the U.S. Treasury Department that fights money laundering will provide financial records to an investigation by the Senate into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his associates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Senate Intelligence Committee asked for the records from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network late last month, the Journal cited the people as saying.
One person said the records were needed to decide whether there was collusion between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign, the Journal said.

Media outlets in Britain and the United States have also been hunting for information and been joined by a Dutch film company whose 1:22hr made-for-television documentary, The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump - Parts 1 & 2, became available on the Internet this month.

On 10 October 2016 Forbes published an article which featured one of the individuals found in that documentary:

Felix Sater is not a name that has come up much during the presidential campaign. That he has a colorful past is an understatement: The Russian-born Sater served a year in prison for stabbing a man in the face with a margarita glass during a bar fight, pleaded guilty to racketeering as part of a mafia-driven "pump-and-dump" stock fraud and then escaped jail time by becoming a highly valued government informant.

He was also an important figure at Bayrock, a development company and key Trump real estate partner during the 2000s, notably with the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium in New York City, and has said under oath that he represented Trump in Russia and subsequently billed himself as a senior Trump advisor, with an office in Trump Tower…..
It wouldn't have taken much vetting to get the scoop on Sater. FORBES retained a highly regarded global-risk-assessment firm to conduct a background check, using only what was available to it in 2007--the year the Trump-Bayrock relationship was promoted. The investigative firm (it asked not to be named for fear of political repercussions) discovered many facts that we're revealing here and others that have come out before, including felony convictions and organized crime ties. Such due diligence on Sater could have been done for $5,000.

In April 2017 The Wall Street Journal reported that former Bayrock manager, USSR-born Sater and wealthy, Kazakhstan-born property developer and Bayrock principal Tevfik Arif are in a nasty legal dispute that has Sater suggesting he could publicize the other’s controversial past—and warning that the bad headlines could tarnish the president.

Trump is a former partner in certain relevant business ventures involving Bayrock, Arif and Sater - including Bayrock being an investor in Trump SoHo in 2005. Trump and unnamed co-defendents settled a case involving alleged fraud related to the sale of SoHo condos in 2011.

 In 2008 Donald Trump Jr publicly admitted these links to Russian financing:

And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble”.

In March 2017 in Richard Roe et al v United States et al a motion to intervene was lodged in an attempt to have the court unseal judicial records in part on the grounds:

 “To seek to vindicate the public’s right of access to the record in this proceeding, which includes documents critical to understanding a story of pressing political consequence: President Donald Trump’s connection to Felix H. Sater, who is well known as a conduit to Russian oligarchs and organized crime”.

So how is President Trump coping with information coming out of either these six U.S. investigations or civil court cases and the resultant media storm?

Trump is quoted as telling three Time magazine journalists that “I’m now consumed by news.” He is also various described in mainstream media as being frustrated, visibly angry or seething with rage, as well as complaining in a Fox News
interview of “a level of hostility that’s in­cred­ible, and it’s very unfair.”

Calls for Trump's impeachment are beginning to mount.

BACKGROUND
These are two of the matters Treasury has investigated previously with regard to Donald Trump.
United States Department of Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, media release, 6 March 2015:
WASHINGTON, DC – The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today imposed a $10 million civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort (Trump Taj Mahal), for willful and repeated violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). In addition to the civil money penalty, the casino is required to conduct periodic external audits to examine its anti-money laundering (AML) BSA compliance program and provide those audit reports to FinCEN and the casino’s Board of Directors.
Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, admitted to several willful BSA violations, including violations of AML program requirements, reporting obligations, and recordkeeping requirements. Trump Taj Mahal has a long history of prior, repeated BSA violations cited by examiners dating back to 2003. Additionally, in 1998, FinCEN assessed a $477,700 civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal for currency transaction reporting violations.
"Trump Taj Mahal received many warnings about its deficiencies," said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. "Like all casinos in this country, Trump Taj Mahal has a duty to help protect our financial system from being exploited by criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors. Far from meeting these expectations, poor compliance practices, over many years, left the casino and our financial system unacceptably exposed."
Trump Taj Mahal admitted that it failed to implement and maintain an effective AML program; failed to report suspicious transactions; failed to properly file required currency transaction reports; and failed to keep appropriate records as required by the BSA. Notably, Trump Taj Mahal had ample notice of these deficiencies as many of the violations from 2012 and 2010 were discovered in previous examinations.
Director Shasky Calvery expressed her appreciation to the Internal Revenue Service, Small Business/Self-Employed Division, which performed the examinations of Trump Taj Mahal, for their contributions to the investigation and for their strong partnership with FinCEN. She also thanked the Commercial Litigation Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice for their assistance with this enforcement action.
Trump Taj Mahal petitioned for bankruptcy in September 2014. That bankruptcy remains pending. The Bankruptcy Court approved of Trump Taj Mahal’s settlement on March 4, 2015.
FinCEN seeks to protect the U.S. financial system from being exploited by illicit actors. Its efforts are focused on compromised financial institutions; third-party money launderers; transnational organized crime; terrorist and other security threats; significant fraud; and threats to cyber security. FinCEN has a broad array of enforcement authorities to target both domestic and foreign actors affecting the U.S. financial system.
FinCEN's mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.

NOTE: Trump Taj Mahal Associates, LLC ,Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings, L.P., Trump Plaza Associates, LLC, Trump Marina Associates, LLC, Trump Entertainment Resorts Development Company, LLC, TER Development Co., LLC, and TERH LP Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on 9 September 2014 in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware (Bankr. Ct. Dist. Del. Case No. 11-12103 (KG.

United States Department of Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, media release, 28 January 1998:

The Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that Trump Taj Mahal Associates (TTMA) has paid a civil money penalty of $477,000 for failing to file reports required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). TTMA is located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it operates the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
The $477,000 settlement amount is for BSA violations which occurred at the casino from April 1990 through December 1991. The violations are based on failures to file Currency Transaction Report by Casino forms (CTRCs) within the time period prescribed by the BSA.TTMA was cited for these BSA violations as the result of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS)compliance examination.
Settlement of the final penalty amount was influenced by TTMA’s otherwise laudable BSA compliance programs and its cooperation with Treasury Department Officials during the casino’s IRS examination and final settlement of the matter with FinCEN.
During the 12 years that casinos have been required to comply with Treasury’s anti-money laundering requirements, the industry has experienced dramatic growth and expansion. Today, close to $500 billion a year is wagered at casinos in the United States.
In announcing the penalty, FinCEN’s Director Stanley E. Morris, indicated that BSA compliance by casinos is essential to Treasury’s efforts against money laundering and other types of financial crime. "It is Treasury’s intention to ensure that casinos -- including the ones located in the newer gaming jurisdictions -- are complying with Treasury’s preventive programs," Morris said. "Casinos are cash-intensive businesses, and many offer a wide variety of financial services, similar to banks. Without effective safeguards, they may be vulnerable to money laundering."
Director Morris also commended the IRS’s Examination unit in Mays Landing, NJ for its BSA examination of TTMA and its attention to BSA compliance by the casinos located in Atlantic City, NJ.
The BSA requires casinos and other financial institutions to file reports of cash transactions in excess of $10,000 and to institute preventive compliance programs to safeguard against abuse of its financial services by casino customers. The reporting and recordkeeping information required by the BSA are extremely useful to the government’s efforts in criminal, tax and regulatory investigations and proceedings.
Today’s penalty is the twelfth levied by Treasury against casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey (NJ). With this penalty, Treasury has collected almost $2.2 million in civil penalties against the 12 casinos in Atlantic City over the past five years.