Jonathan dos Santos golazo wins Gold Cup for Mexico over USMNT

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The USMNT looked better than expected, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

In a battle of rebuilding teams with new head coaches, Mexico came out on top against the United States in the Gold Cup final. The USMNT created some big chances in the opening 10 minutes, but faded as the match went on, and a stunner from El Tri midfielder Jonathan dos Santos was the difference in his team’s 1-0 win.

Christian Pulisic nearly put his team on top in the 5th minute after a great bit of hold-up play and pass from Jozy Altidore, but Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa positioned himself perfectly.

Altidore was set up for a big chance by a brilliant long-range pass from Tim Ream two minutes later, but put his effort just wide.

The Americans opened the second half strong as well, nearly scoring from a 50th minute corner. Jordan Morris beat Ochoa with a header, but Andres Guardado headed the ball off the line. A follow-up effort by Weston McKennie was blocked and the USMNT players protested for a handball, but nothing was given.

Fitness issues forced Gregg Berhalter into subs around the hour mark, and Mexico took control from that point. Once Morris and Altidore exited for Christian Roldan and Gyasi Zardes, El Tri started to control possession and put the Americans under serious pressure.

By the time the goal happened in the 73rd minute, it felt like it had been coming for a while, but it still took a spectacular effort to beat Zack Steffen. Guardado started the move with a brilliant run and pass into the box for Raul Jimenez, who played a backheel into the path of dos Santos. The Mexico midfielder placed a perfect shot into the top far corner, putting his team up 1-0.

The USMNT’s best chance to equalize came on an 86th minute corner, where two shots were blocked and a third, by Roldan, was well saved by Ochoa. But Mexico held on to hoist the trophy, their first under new boss Gerardo Martino.


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Gauff faces her greatest Wimbledon test yet in Halep

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None of her three opponents have been easy draws for Gauff, but Halep will be tough to overcome in the fourth round.

Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old Wimbledon sensation, is through to the fourth round of the singles bracket, having beaten all of Venus Williams, Magdaléna Rybáriková, and most recently, Polona Hercog. But in the fourth round she will run into an even bigger test than Williams, Rybáriková and Hercog: world No. 7 (and former No. 1) Simona Halep.

It’s not that Halep’s game is specifically catered to beating Gauff, it’s just that she doesn’t typically make very many mistakes. Halep is among the more consistent players on the WTA Tour, so the hope of catching her on a bad day is diminished — not that Gauff’s play would indicate she needs a bad day from her opponent to survive.

Just the opposite, actually. She seems to thrive when her back is against the wall, and her biggest strength is versatility deeper into matches. She makes adjustments on the fly rather than getting bogged down by lacking play. When things aren’t going her way, she battles back, usually trying different stances to keep her opponent guessing.

Gauff’s style matches up well with Halep, but when you have two all-around players squaring off for the first time, it’s easy to favor the one with more experience, like Halep.

They don’t match up uniformly or anything — Halep is much better at the baseline and handling her power from that area of the court will be Gauff’s primary hurdle to clear on Monday. Gauff still has a lot of work to do with her forehand though to her credit, when other players punish her weak forehands, she has the athleticism to recover from them.

Gauff’s run thus far

Gauff, playing in her first Wimbledon tournament, is the youngest player ever to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw. And in her first match, she drew Williams, one of her idols growing up. She made short work of Williams, downing her in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Then she faced Rybáriková, who herself was formerly a top 20 player as recently as last year and has 4 singles WTA titles to her name. Rybáriková also had little to offer Gauff, falling quicker than Williams, 6-3, 6-3.

She dropped her first set of the tournament right out of the gate against Polona Hercog, her third-round opponent. Hercog took the opening set, 6-3, but dropped the next two, 7-6(7), 7-5. Hercog consistently punished Gauff’s forehand and the younger player had to fight off two match points, but she ultimately came out on top.

Serena Williams, who Gauff could face, but not until the final, had serious praise for Gauff.

“I would be wrong to step in right now and give her advice,” Serena said. “I think she’s doing great.

“I think there are some 15-year-olds, like me, who wouldn’t know what to do at Wimbledon,” said Serena. “Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do.”

Halep’s run thus far

Halep has never made it to the final at Wimbledon, but she does have a Grand Slam win — at last year’s French Open — and her backhand has always served her well on grass courts.

Halep opened against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, beating her in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. She had few troubles in that match, but ran into some with her second-round opponent, Mihaela Buzărnescu. She needed three sets to win that match, dropping the second set but cleanly taking the first and third sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

In the third round, Halep absolutely demolished Victória Azárenka, who only managed to win four games in the match, and only one in the second set. Halep took it, 6-3, 6-1.

Halep started this tennis season without a coach and she’s fallen some in the rankings, but she will present Gauff with her biggest challenge yet. She made it to the quarterfinals of the French Open as the defending champion prior to the start of the grass court season.

The winner of Gauff vs. Halep will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of Shuai Zhang vs. Dayana Yastremska. Gauff and Halep will face each other on Monday morning, on No. 1 court following the match between Serena Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro.


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Why the USWNT’s open queerness matters

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A story about LGBT+ people learning that it’s going to be OK.

I’m supposed to cover the United States women’s national soccer team critically, and I try very hard to do that, but I’m also an unabashed fan of the team. I started being a fan when I was a kid because I like soccer, and they play soccer well. Also, they’re women, and even though I’d never heard of trans people before a few years ago, I knew I wanted to be a woman. I could live vicariously though the USWNT players. I thought, I wish I could be like them when I grow up.

Obviously that didn’t happen. But as I’ve followed the team’s development and spoken to some of the players, I’ve come to like the team even more. The biggest reason is the USWNT becoming a bastion of queer hope and excellence along a similar timeline to me coming to terms with being a bi woman, and realizing that was not something to be ashamed of.

The USWNT as a vehicle for LGBT+ pride is a pretty new phenomenon — it did not always feature out and vocally queer athletes. Abby Wambach kissing her partner in the stands and Rapinoe describing herself as “GAYYYYYYYY” only happened after decades of players feeling like their sexual orientation had to remain ambiguous at the absolute queerest in order to retain endorsement opportunities.

But at some point, cultural acceptance, corporate willingness to play ball and individual bravery all met at the same apex, giving us the wonderful gay ass USWNT that we get to enjoy today. Now we have Megan Rapinoe yelling “GO GAYS” and saying she would have no problem competing against trans women. Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger are engaged and playing on the USWNT together. Adrianna Franch has been out for several years and is engaged. Tierna Davidson was making Instagram cooking videos with her girlfriend before she was on the team. Official team communications offer support for the players’ queer expression.

This means so much to thousands of people. “Pride” is such an apt word for LGBT+ celebrations because it’s what so many of us lacked for huge chunks of our lives. It’s important for everyone, of any sexual orientation or gender identity, to feel some pride in who they are. That’s often a lot harder for queer people than it is for cisgender, heterosexual people. And seeing openly queer athletes become the best in the world at something like soccer, that’s so visible and so important to most of the world, helps a lot of people find some pride in themselves on days when it’s hard to muster any at all.

But for people who are closeted or questioning, it’s often hard to see themselves reflected in the most proud, vocal players. Megan Rapinoe, bless her, might not inspire someone who is unsure about whether or not they can ever live their life out, to everyone, all the time. It’s easy for someone who has not yet connected with a queer community or figured out some essential truths about themselves to look at Rapinoe and think, “she’s awesome, but I could never be like that.” Not everyone has it in them to be that brash, that confident.

Which is why Kelley O’Hara and what she did on Sunday are so important. After winning the World Cup, O’Hara walked up to the stands and kissed her girlfriend.

United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France
Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images

This is not a shocking or revolutionary act in 2019. Lots of people are queer in public now, and everyone knows there are queer players on the United States women’s national soccer team. But what made this moment significant is that O’Hara had not previously made any kind of announcement about her partner or sexual orientation. She didn’t follow this moment up with an interview, a social media post, or a proclamation of any kind. She just had an affectionate moment with her partner, then continued her life as normal, because what she did is normal and should not require an explanation.

Rapinoe is inspiring, but she’s not what every queer person needs to feel like they’re allowed to be themselves. Some people need to see Rapinoe, but others need to see Harris and Krieger. Some need to see Franch, or Davidson. And some people need to see O’Hara.

There isn’t one right way to be queer. You can be swaggy, outlandish, tough, serious, subtle, or reserved. You can be any of those things while still being proud of yourself and your identity. The USWNT does a better job of helping people feel that than any other mainstream, public-facing entity that I can think of. I hope the players understand how important they are.


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New York City announces ticker tape victory parade for USWNT World Cup win

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Here are the details.

The city of New York is holding a ticker tape parade for the USWNT on Wednesday, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The parade will take place traveling down the Canyon of Heroes, from the Battery to City Hall. It’s the second such parade the city of New York has thrown for the USWNT, who will travel down the same route they did in 2015 when the city celebrated the team’s last World Cup win.

The USWNT beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup Final on Sunday, marking their fourth World Cup victory.


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Rose Lavelle fulfills her destiny by becoming a World Cup hero

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Rose Lavelle likes her left foot man, what can we tell you.

It was shaping up to be a nail-biter. The United States women’s national team was hanging on to a narrow 1–0 lead off of a Megan Rapinoe penalty in the second half. The Dutch were proving rather impenetrable and every orange wave cresting towards the US goal was a cause for anxiety. And then Rose Lavelle gathered the ball in midfield off of a great Crystal Dunn pick and had the space to run freely at goal. The Dutch backed up cautiously, aware that she’d been picking at the threads weaving through their defense all game long. Lavelle faced up a couple of defenders, shifted the ball to her left foot, and hit it clean. 2–0, just like that.

It was the breathing room the USWNT needed to calm down and see out the rest of that game. “Rose with that excellent goal, it kind of gave us that buffer we needed to ride out the last fifteen minutes or so,” says Becky Sauerbrunn in the mixed zone.

Ride it out they did, all the way to a World Cup championship and a fourth star. Many players ran to Lavelle at the final whistle, making her the focal point of their joy. And why not, as Lavelle played a tireless, well-worked game trying to open up space for her forward. She started on the right, but switched with Mewis on the left for a while, then switched back as the United States probed forward. Often, attacks started from far too deep in midfield as the US tried to thread direct balls into space. Lavelle switched it up with her drive on goal. For her efforts throughout the tournament, she ended up with the Bronze Ball as the third-best player in the World Cup.

“Oh my god,” says Kelley O’Hara after the game. “Freaking lost it. That was insane. That girl is — I knew when she started driving with the ball, I knew it was going in, because that’s just what she does. I feel like she just does things casually that are out of this world.”

Lavelle herself is as dryly humorous as ever coming through the mixed zone. “Wow, all my friends,” she says, stepping up to the gathered throng of reporters. And as usual, she has no special words for her sublime efforts in front of goal, resorting to rote description of what happened. “Sam played me a ball and I had a lot of space so I decided to take it and then I had a shot at the top of the box and thankfully it went in.”

Lavelle has no idea if the Dutch defenders realized she prefers her left foot, although she good-naturedly says she assumes everyone knows that. “I don’t know,” she says when asked if she’s thinking about what she’s doing or if it’s instinct. She repeats herself, bemused at being asked to interrogate and quantify something she just does, something that looks as easy to us as putting on pants, but which is undoubtedly quite difficult for her. “I don’t know, I like my left foot man. So I just got it on my left foot.”

Lavelle won’t take credit for sealing Netherlands’ fate either, demurring in favor of team praise. “The whole experience hasn’t really hit me yet,” she says. “I think I have such amazing players around me, it’s easy to look good when you play with all these incredible players, and I feel so lucky to be a part of this group.”

Still, she’s at least aware that none of this is exactly your average Sunday. She would have to be a robot (are you a robot, Rose Lavelle?) not to let out at least a little bit of the awe that a World Cup would inspire in any 24-year-old first-timer. “It’s wild how far I’ve come,” she says, “And it’s so surreal to know I just won a World Cup with people I grew up idolizing. I can’t put it into words. It’s amazing.”


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Megan Rapinoe wins World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball

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At 34 years old, Pinoe had the tournament of her life.

Megan Rapinoe will likely be remembered more for her impact off the field than for her accomplishments on it. She’s made headlines for protesting racial inequality, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, and speaking out against Donald Trump’s policies. But on Sunday, she was recognized for being the best player on the field during the 2019 World Cup.

Rapinoe’s penalty in the USWNT win over the Netherlands in the final was her sixth of the tournament, tying her with Alex Morgan and Ellen White. She also tied Morgan with three assists, but captured the Golden Boot for top scorer on the second tiebreaker, doing it with fewer minutes played than Morgan. Her six goals and three assists also saw her win the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament.

Of Rapinoe’s six goals, her best was almost certainly her second against France. The finish is quality, but the bit that shows off what makes Rapinoe great is the movement beforehand. She loses the entire France defense, then pops back up in the box completely unmarked.

In 2015, no one expected Rapinoe to reach this level of play. She tore her ACL during the USWNT victory tour following its last World Cup win, the third ACL tear of her career. She came back quickly in a bid to make the Olympic team, but was clearly not fit enough to contribute. Rapinoe entered the USWNT quarterfinal against Sweden in the 72nd minute, but had to exit in extra time.

ACL injuries can damage careers at any age, and rushing back from them early is often career-destroying. At 31, many assumed that Rapinoe’s career as a key player for the USWNT was over. She didn’t score a goal for the national team in 2016, and played just 205 minutes in NWSL.

But to the surprise of almost everyone — though probably not her coaches Jill Ellis and Laura Harvey — Rapinoe came back with a vengeance in 2017. She turned in the best pro season of her career with 12 goals for Reign FC, plus goals for the USWNT against Japan and Brazil in the Tournament of Nations. She not only elevated her fitness to a point where she was able to win back her starting job, but improved her finishing skills as well.

Now Rapinoe, at 34, is playing the best soccer of her life. At the age even healthy players who have never torn their ACL are expected to decline, she just keeps getting better. And now, forever, the 2019 World Cup will be remembered as the one where Rapinoe was the best player on the planet.


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Pay the USWNT their money

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Just do it.

A raucous chant echoed through the Stade de Lyon following the US World Cup win that made a bigger statement that just celebrating the win.

Soccer fans who traveled to France for the final showed their support for a simple ideal: Paying men and women equally. It came following the United States women’s national team’s fourth World Cup win — and the world took notice of the chant. Twitter interest in #EqualPay skyrocketed following the win.


On Thursday, an article in the Guardian revealed just how big a gap there is between the USWNT and the USMNT. The women preparing to play the Netherlands in the World Cup final earned $90,000 each in bonuses for their play. Had the men reached the same level of the World Cup, each player would have been awarded $550,000.

This disparity had been discussed throughout the cup, but following the win more and more people began talking about it.

The predictable retort here is something about how the USMNT generates more money and therefore “deserve” to be paid more; however, the Wall Street Journal reveals the USWNT has generated more revenue than the men’s team.

The United States is lucky enough to have the best squad in the world, and when the dust settles, likely one of the best sports teams of all time. Pay them their friggin’ money.


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2:30 PM 7/7/2019 – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ – In 50 Posts | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions.

2:30 PM 7/7/2019 – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ – In 50 Brief Posts

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
MAGA Grift Goes Global – The Bulwark
Mysterious Trump Ally George Nader’s Phones Had Texts With Saudi And UAE Rulers, As Well As Child Pornography
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested on sex trafficking charges
Russian Oligarch Scoffed at FBI’s Collusion Theory
The Broidy – Manafort Ring | 5:59 AM 7/7/2019 – “Epstein was also a longtime acquaintance of … #TomBarrack…” – Elliott Broidy, George Nader, Rick Gates, Tom Barrack, Jeffrey Epstein, Chris Cline – Google Search
tom barrack – Google Search
Broidy Manafort Ring – Google Search
Michael Cohen’s Plea Deal Brought Trump’s Woes Together
Broidy Manafort Ring – Google Search
george nader – Google Search
rick gates – Google Search
elliott broidy – Google Search
paul manafort – Google Search
Broidy Manafort Ring – Google Search
Broidy Manafort Ring – Google Search
GUEST EDITORIAL: Mueller will face questions from both sides – News – Santa Rosas Press Gazette
Ethiopian community’s protests funded by ‘German Money’
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein and Chris Cline – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY Investigation of Donald Trump – Google Search
SDNY arrests Donald Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking, and all hell breaks loose
elliott broidy – Google Search
Trump Fund-Raiser Received Laundered Foreign Money, Prosecutors Say
G.O.P. Influence Peddler Elliott Broidy Was Raided by the Feds
Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Long Accused of Molesting Minors, Is Charged
Jeffrey Epstein: US financier ‘charged with sex trafficking’
Elliott Broidy, George Nader, Rick Gates, Tom Barrack, Jeffrey Epstein – Google Search
Elliott Broidy, George Nader, Rick Gates, Tom Barrack, Jeffrey Epstein – Google Search
Elliott Broidy, George Nader, Rick Gates, Tom Barrack, Jeffrey Epstein – Google Search
Elliott Broidy, George Nader, Rick Gates, Tom Barrack, Jeffrey Epstein – Google Search
The money behind Trump’s $107 million inauguration – Alternet.org
tom barrack – Google Search
Jeffrey Epstein – Wikipedia
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested and charged with sex trafficking
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested and accused of sex trafficking minors, sources say – CNN
Jewish Identity excluded from Identity Politics
anti-Trump wing of Republican party – Google Search
anti-Trump wing of Republican party – Google Search
bill weld – Google Search

 

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
MAGA Grift Goes Global – The Bulwark
Sun, 07 Jul 2019 13:34:32 -0400

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Bulwark.

If you’re looking to cash in on one of Washington’s swampier pastimes, you could do worse than picking a side in the lobbying and public relations war between the Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While both countries are U.S. allies—each hosts a sizeable American military contingent—there is no love lost between them. The two gulf states nearly went to war in 2017, and have waged an expensive and at times brazen campaign for influence in Washington and within the Trump administration.

The risks in this game are substantial. Participants have been subjected to federal investigationstargeted by state-sponsored hackers, and smeared relentlessly as paid shills or supporters of terror. It may have even cost former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson his job as secretary of state.

The enormous strategic and economic stakes have made the struggle for America’s favor a lucrative one, and it’s unsurprising that names associated with MAGA grift have become involved in promoting the UAE’s campaign against Qatar. Even Pizzagate conspiracist and Infowars correspondent Mike Cernovich released a short documentary attacking Qatar last month, focusing on the country’s ties to Islamists and, ironically, its campaign for influence abroad.

You cannot make this stuff up. But to be fair, it should be noted that Qatar is not simply an innocent victim. Many of its actions have been genuinely worrying and should cause concern not only in the region but in Washington as well.

Despite the best efforts of the players involved to keep things quiet, we may be learning more about this scheme. The office of special counsel and congressional investigators have zeroed in on a mysterious January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles, apparently brokered by the UAE as part of an effort to establish a “back channel” between the incoming Trump administration and Russia. An incidental but important outcome of the Mueller investigation could be to reveal a broader scope of foreign meddling and interference with American politics and policymaking.

Podcast episode cover image

Before the infamous Seychelles rendezvous, several of its key participants met first at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016. Blackwater founder Erik Prince—who lives in the UAEand helped the country form a paramilitary force—arranged for Donald Trump Jr. to meet George Nader, a Lebanese-American adviser to UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), and Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media entrepreneur. According to The New York Times, the future president’s son “responded approvingly,” and after the election, Nader paid Zamel a sum of up to $2 million:

There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.

Accounts differ as to the purpose of the secretive post-election gathering in the Seychelles — whether it was arranged for business purposes or to establish a diplomatic “back channel” between the U.S. and Russia. George Nader reportedly told a grand jury that Erik Prince visited the remote island nation as an emissary of the incoming Trump administration. During his visit, Prince met with MBZ and Kirill Dmitriev, who runs Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. While it remains unclear exactly what the group discussed in the Seychelles, political tensions in the gulf would ramp up in the months to come.

In May 2017, President Trump visited Riyadh to attend the multilateral Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which is probably best remembered for its photograph of the president “touching the orb” with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. We don’t know what particular assurances Trump may have provided at the summit, but two weeks later, a Saudi-led bloc of countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed an economic embargo against the country.

Almost immediately, President Trump tweeted his support for Qatar’s isolation and signaled that the move received his endorsement at the Riyadh summit.

Behind the scenes, the administration worked to de-escalate the crisis. According to a report in The Intercept quoting “one current member of the U.S. intelligence community and two former State Department officials,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi leaders not to follow through on a contemplated invasion of Qatar. Tillerson’s intervention was said to have enraged the UAE leadership, which began a campaign to have him removed as secretary of state. (Tillerson was fired less than a year later.)

After Tillerson’s ouster, MBZ was reportedly “gloating to every member in the Gulf ruling families that he was the mastermind behind firing Tillerson.” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an adviser to the crown prince, tweeted that “history will remember that a Gulf state had a role in expelling the foreign minister of a superpower and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

According to hacked emails given to the New York Times, ex-RNC finance co-chair Elliott Broidy also claimed to have personally recommended that the president to fire Tillerson.* Broidy, whose security company Circinus was later awarded a contract worth more than $200 million by the UAE, was a close associate with Nader, the Lebanese-American adviser to MBZ. (Broidy is also known for arranging a hush-money payment to a Playboy playmate via Trump fixer Michael Cohen.) Nader has cooperated with the Mueller investigation.


On October 6, 2017—four months after diplomatic tensions in the gulf almost gave way to war —the public relations firm SCL Social disclosed a $330,000 contract with the UAE for a “global media campaign.” SCL Social was the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, which employed Trump strategist Steve Bannon and received a $5 million investment from the pro-Trump Mercer family.

Two weeks later, Bannon addressed a Hudson Institute summit focusing on Qatar’s ties to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. “The single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” he said.

According to the New York Times, the Hudson summit and another anti-Qatar conference at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies were funded in part by a $2.7 million payment from George Nader to Elliott Broidy. The Times noted that “Hudson Institute policies prohibit donations from foreign governments that are not democracies, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies bars donations from all foreign governments, so Mr. Nader’s role as an adviser to the U.A.E. may have raised concerns had he donated directly.”


The fallout from the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents last October would highlight not only the inflamed state of gulf politics in Washington, but also the paranoia about the motives and funding of anyone who took a different perspective.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who fell out with the regime for his support for the pro-democracy movement and a role for the Muslim Brotherhood, was brutally murdered during a routine visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Washington Post later reported that he maintained close ties to an executive at the Qatar Foundation who “shaped the columns he submitted… proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government.”

The revelation that Khashoggi may have received support from Qatar was seized upon by some commentators to absolve or obscure the guilt that might otherwise fall upon the Saudi regime. A small Washington think tank called the Security Studies Group made the Khashoggi affair a particular focus, portraying him as a legitimate target by labeling him a “Qatari asset.”

Jim Hanson, who heads the Security Studies Group, compared the murder of Khashoggi to President Obama’s drone strike on al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki who had communications with or otherwise inspired the 2005 London tube bombers, the Fort Dix shooter, the failed Times Square bomber and others.

Critics of the Saudi government were accused of organizing an “information operation,” as if the brutal killing of Khashoggi were somehow orchestrated by Doha or Ankara.

Security Studies Group’s Dave Reaboi—along with J. Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy—recently participated in a short anti-Qatar film directed by date rape denialist and “smooth” brain supplement hawker Mike Cernovich. Not generally known for his Middle East expertise, Cernovich also promoted a mysterious smear campaign against former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which used anti-Semitic imagery to imply the former general was being secretly manipulated by Jewish financiers like George Soros and the Rothschild family.


We shouldn’t let sleazy pro-Trump grifters distract us from Qatar’s behavior, which is troubling in a number of ways. The country’s enormous natural gas reserves have allowed it to chart an independent and at times destabilizing course in the Middle East. Its Al-Jazeera news channelsupport for the Arab Spring democracy movement and the Muslim Brotherhood, and economic ties with Iran have infuriated regional capitals from Cairo to Riyadh.

One of the precipitating events leading to the diplomatic showdown in June of 2017 was a shocking $1 billion ransom for the release of Qatari royals captured during a hunting trip in Iraq—reportedly paid to an al-Qaeda-connected group and Iranian officials.

Qatar may have also used its economic power to influence the president’s indebted son-in-law. Last August, a firm which counts the Qatari sovereign wealth fund as one of its largest shareholders helped bail out Jared Kushner’s family real estate company by agreeing to pay all 99 years of a long-term building lease up front.


Whether or how small-time MAGA figures are connected to bigger players like Erik Prince, Elliott Broidy, or foreign governments themselves remains to be seen. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires anyone acting on behalf of a foreign principal to influence U.S. public opinion or policy to register with the Department of Justice, but there are loopholes and gray areas that allow many such campaigns to operate under the radar. For instance, an American defense contractor could donate large sums to a U.S.-based think tank to effectively advocate on behalf of a foreign power without being forced to disclose its activities.

But there’s nothing like a federal investigation to force closely guarded information into the public domain. A look back at Paul Manafort’s secret effort to discredit the Ukrainian opposition, detailed by Ukrainian government sources and filings by federal prosecutors, is instructive. Manafort paid a conservative blogger named Christopher Badeaux—who was previously entangled in the Malaysian payola scandal— to establish a website for a “fake” think tank called the Center for the Study of Former Soviet Socialist Republics (CXSSR). Badeaux’s role emerged when he was named as a potential witnessfor the Manafort trial in the District of Columbia (which became moot once Manafort struck a plea dealwith the federal government).

Mysterious Trump Ally George Nader’s Phones Had Texts With Saudi And UAE Rulers, As Well As Child Pornography
Sun, 07 Jul 2019 13:33:26 -0400

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Inquisitr.

The 60-year-old Nader is being held on charges of transporting child porn, but investigators also found communications with two of the most powerful rulers in the Arab world.

George Nader, the mysterious Lebanese-American businessman who served as a secret emissary to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, had text messages with the prince on one of the three cell phones in his possession when he was detained by investigators working


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mikenov on Twitter: 2:30 PM 7/7/2019 – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ – In 50 Posts trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/07/07/230…

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2:30 PM 7/7/2019 – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ – In 50 Posts trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/07/07/230…


Posted by

mikenov
on Sunday, July 7th, 2019 6:33pm

mikenov on Twitter


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MAGA Grift Goes Global – The Bulwark

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Bulwark.

If you’re looking to cash in on one of Washington’s swampier pastimes, you could do worse than picking a side in the lobbying and public relations war between the Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While both countries are U.S. allies—each hosts a sizeable American military contingent—there is no love lost between them. The two gulf states nearly went to war in 2017, and have waged an expensive and at times brazen campaign for influence in Washington and within the Trump administration.

The risks in this game are substantial. Participants have been subjected to federal investigations, targeted by state-sponsored hackers, and smeared relentlessly as paid shills or supporters of terror. It may have even cost former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson his job as secretary of state.

The enormous strategic and economic stakes have made the struggle for America’s favor a lucrative one, and it’s unsurprising that names associated with MAGA grift have become involved in promoting the UAE’s campaign against Qatar. Even Pizzagate conspiracist and Infowars correspondent Mike Cernovich released a short documentary attacking Qatar last month, focusing on the country’s ties to Islamists and, ironically, its campaign for influence abroad.

You cannot make this stuff up. But to be fair, it should be noted that Qatar is not simply an innocent victim. Many of its actions have been genuinely worrying and should cause concern not only in the region but in Washington as well.

Despite the best efforts of the players involved to keep things quiet, we may be learning more about this scheme. The office of special counsel and congressional investigators have zeroed in on a mysterious January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles, apparently brokered by the UAE as part of an effort to establish a “back channel” between the incoming Trump administration and Russia. An incidental but important outcome of the Mueller investigation could be to reveal a broader scope of foreign meddling and interference with American politics and policymaking.

Before the infamous Seychelles rendezvous, several of its key participants met first at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016. Blackwater founder Erik Prince—who lives in the UAE and helped the country form a paramilitary force—arranged for Donald Trump Jr. to meet George Nader, a Lebanese-American adviser to UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), and Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media entrepreneur. According to The New York Times, the future president’s son “responded approvingly,” and after the election, Nader paid Zamel a sum of up to $2 million:

There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.

Accounts differ as to the purpose of the secretive post-election gathering in the Seychelles — whether it was arranged for business purposes or to establish a diplomatic “back channel” between the U.S. and Russia. George Nader reportedly told a grand jury that Erik Prince visited the remote island nation as an emissary of the incoming Trump administration. During his visit, Prince met with MBZ and Kirill Dmitriev, who runs Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. While it remains unclear exactly what the group discussed in the Seychelles, political tensions in the gulf would ramp up in the months to come.

In May 2017, President Trump visited Riyadh to attend the multilateral Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which is probably best remembered for its photograph of the president “touching the orb” with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. We don’t know what particular assurances Trump may have provided at the summit, but two weeks later, a Saudi-led bloc of countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed an economic embargo against the country.

Almost immediately, President Trump tweeted his support for Qatar’s isolation and signaled that the move received his endorsement at the Riyadh summit.

Behind the scenes, the administration worked to de-escalate the crisis. According to a report in The Intercept quoting “one current member of the U.S. intelligence community and two former State Department officials,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi leaders not to follow through on a contemplated invasion of Qatar. Tillerson’s intervention was said to have enraged the UAE leadership, which began a campaign to have him removed as secretary of state. (Tillerson was fired less than a year later.)

After Tillerson’s ouster, MBZ was reportedly “gloating to every member in the Gulf ruling families that he was the mastermind behind firing Tillerson.” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an adviser to the crown prince, tweeted that “history will remember that a Gulf state had a role in expelling the foreign minister of a superpower and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

According to hacked emails given to the New York Times, ex-RNC finance co-chair Elliott Broidy also claimed to have personally recommended that the president to fire Tillerson.* Broidy, whose security company Circinus was later awarded a contract worth more than $200 million by the UAE, was a close associate with Nader, the Lebanese-American adviser to MBZ. (Broidy is also known for arranging a hush-money payment to a Playboy playmate via Trump fixer Michael Cohen.) Nader has cooperated with the Mueller investigation.


On October 6, 2017—four months after diplomatic tensions in the gulf almost gave way to war —the public relations firm SCL Social disclosed a $330,000 contract with the UAE for a “global media campaign.” SCL Social was the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, which employed Trump strategist Steve Bannon and received a $5 million investment from the pro-Trump Mercer family.

Two weeks later, Bannon addressed a Hudson Institute summit focusing on Qatar’s ties to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. “The single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” he said.

According to the New York Times, the Hudson summit and another anti-Qatar conference at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies were funded in part by a $2.7 million payment from George Nader to Elliott Broidy. The Times noted that “Hudson Institute policies prohibit donations from foreign governments that are not democracies, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies bars donations from all foreign governments, so Mr. Nader’s role as an adviser to the U.A.E. may have raised concerns had he donated directly.


The fallout from the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents last October would highlight not only the inflamed state of gulf politics in Washington, but also the paranoia about the motives and funding of anyone who took a different perspective.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who fell out with the regime for his support for the pro-democracy movement and a role for the Muslim Brotherhood, was brutally murdered during a routine visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Washington Post later reported that he maintained close ties to an executive at the Qatar Foundation who “shaped the columns he submitted… proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government.”

The revelation that Khashoggi may have received support from Qatar was seized upon by some commentators to absolve or obscure the guilt that might otherwise fall upon the Saudi regime. A small Washington think tank called the Security Studies Group made the Khashoggi affair a particular focus, portraying him as a legitimate target by labeling him a “Qatari asset.”

Jim Hanson, who heads the Security Studies Group, compared the murder of Khashoggi to President Obama’s drone strike on al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki who had communications with or otherwise inspired the 2005 London tube bombers, the Fort Dix shooter, the failed Times Square bomber and others.

Critics of the Saudi government were accused of organizing an “information operation,” as if the brutal killing of Khashoggi were somehow orchestrated by Doha or Ankara.

Security Studies Group’s Dave Reaboi—along with J. Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy—recently participated in a short anti-Qatar film directed by date rape denialist and “smooth” brain supplement hawker Mike Cernovich. Not generally known for his Middle East expertise, Cernovich also promoted a mysterious smear campaign against former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which used anti-Semitic imagery to imply the former general was being secretly manipulated by Jewish financiers like George Soros and the Rothschild family.


We shouldn’t let sleazy pro-Trump grifters distract us from Qatar’s behavior, which is troubling in a number of ways. The country’s enormous natural gas reserves have allowed it to chart an independent and at times destabilizing course in the Middle East. Its Al-Jazeera news channel, support for the Arab Spring democracy movement and the Muslim Brotherhood, and economic ties with Iran have infuriated regional capitals from Cairo to Riyadh.

One of the precipitating events leading to the diplomatic showdown in June of 2017 was a shocking $1 billion ransom for the release of Qatari royals captured during a hunting trip in Iraq—reportedly paid to an al-Qaeda-connected group and Iranian officials.

Qatar may have also used its economic power to influence the president’s indebted son-in-law. Last August, a firm which counts the Qatari sovereign wealth fund as one of its largest shareholders helped bail out Jared Kushner’s family real estate company by agreeing to pay all 99 years of a long-term building lease up front.


Whether or how small-time MAGA figures are connected to bigger players like Erik Prince, Elliott Broidy, or foreign governments themselves remains to be seen. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires anyone acting on behalf of a foreign principal to influence U.S. public opinion or policy to register with the Department of Justice, but there are loopholes and gray areas that allow many such campaigns to operate under the radar. For instance, an American defense contractor could donate large sums to a U.S.-based think tank to effectively advocate on behalf of a foreign power without being forced to disclose its activities.

But there’s nothing like a federal investigation to force closely guarded information into the public domain. A look back at Paul Manafort’s secret effort to discredit the Ukrainian opposition, detailed by Ukrainian government sources and filings by federal prosecutors, is instructive. Manafort paid a conservative blogger named Christopher Badeaux—who was previously entangled in the Malaysian payola scandal— to establish a website for a “fake” think tank called the Center for the Study of Former Soviet Socialist Republics (CXSSR). Badeaux’s role emerged when he was named as a potential witness for the Manafort trial in the District of Columbia (which became moot once Manafort struck a plea deal with the federal government).

It remains to be seen what George Nader—the Erik Prince- and Elliott Broidy-linked UAE adviser who funneled millions to support anti-Qatar think tank conferences—has told federal investigators. To the extent that Mueller’s report is made public, we could learn more about how this opaque advocacy campaign worked, and who else might have been involved. It will be important to keep an eye on how aggressive Attorney General William Barr is in blocking the release of information that falls under his fourth stated criterion for redaction: “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

“What did the president know and when did he know it?” is a question we all hope the Mueller report resolves. But it is not the only question. The special counsel may or may not provide a roadmap for impeachment by documenting crimes, conspiracies or other abuses of power. By exposing the Middle East grift, he could also help drain the swamp that fuels so much of the cynicism that dominates our politics. And if you subscribe to the theory that “Trump is a symptom, not a cause,” this might turn out to be more important to the future of the republic.


Correction, April 12, 2019, 12:49 p.m.: The article originally stated that, “According to hacked emails given to the New York Times, ex-RNC finance co-chair Elliott Broidy also claimed to have personally lobbied the president to fire Tillerson.” Broidy is not a registered lobbyist and his recommendation to President Trump that Tillerson be fired was not made in an official capacity. The sentence has been changed to read: “According to hacked emails given to the New York Times, ex-RNC finance co-chair Elliott Broidy also claimed to have personally recommended that the president to fire Tillerson.”


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Mysterious Trump Ally George Nader’s Phones Had Texts With Saudi And UAE Rulers, As Well As Child Pornography

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Inquisitr.

The 60-year-old Nader is being held on charges of transporting child porn, but investigators also found communications with two of the most powerful rulers in the Arab world.

George Nader, the mysterious Lebanese-American businessman who served as a secret emissary to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, had text messages with the prince on one of the three cell phones in his possession when he was detained by investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Airport In January of 2018, according to a report by Courthouse News.

Authorities say that one of those phones also contained images and videos of children engaged in pornographic activities, leading to Nader’s arrest when he returned to the United States on Monday, June 3, 2019.

Nader appeared for a hearing on the child porn charges in the Eastern District of Virginia federal court on Friday, June 7, where his lawyers asked that he be released from custody while he awaits trial, due to a recent heart surgery. Judge Ivan Davis was unmoved, according to a report by Law & Crime, calling Nader a danger to the community due to his decades-long fascination with child pornography, as well as a risk to flee.

As The Inquisitr has reported, Nader has previously been convicted on child pornography charges in 1991, and in 2003, he was sentenced to a year in prison in the Czech Republic when he was convicted of sexually abusing underage boys.

The judge cited Nader’s net worth of approximately $3 million as a reason why taking flight would be easier for him than for many defendants. But the revelation of Nader’s personal wealth also added to the mystery of how Nader sent $2 million following the 2016 election to Israeli online “psy ops” expert Joel Zamel.

Nader, acting as an emissary for MBZ, met with Zamel and Donald Trump Jr. in Trump Tower in August of 2016, The New York Times reported.

At that meeting, Zamel offered the services of his digital media firm, Psy Group, to help then-candidate Trump win the election, through a covert social media propaganda campaign.

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“(Nader) has places in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon and $1M in crypto,” wrote journalist Scott Stedman on his Twitter account. “That’s probably the majority of his $3M. He doesn’t have $2M in cash to give. It was someone else’s money.”

Mueller’s investigators also found communications with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Nader’s phones, according to a Daily Beast report, raising at least the possibility that one of the two powerful Arab rulers was the true source of the $2 million paid by Nader to Zamel.

Both bin Salman and bin Zayed have established close relationships with Trump’s inner circle. Using Nader as an emissary, bin Zayed set up a meeting in the Seychelles Islands after the election between Trump campaign representative Erik Prince — founder of the mercenary group Blackwater — and a top Russian banker, as The New York Times reported.

After he was detained in January of last year, Nader became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s Russia investigation, and is mentioned more than 100 times in Mueller’s report, which The New York Times has posted online.


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Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested on sex trafficking charges

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Vox – All.

Jeffrey Epstein — billionaire, friend of the powerful, and convicted sex offender — was arrested Saturday night in New Jersey on charges that he trafficked dozens of underage girls in Florida and New York between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein, 66, a hedge fund executive whose friends include Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, had just flown into New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport from Paris when agents from the joint FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested him, according to the Daily Beast, which first broke the news of the arrests.

He is expected to be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.

Saturday evening, federal agents carried out a search of his townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, according to witnesses who spoke to the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown, who has reported extensively both on Epstein’s alleged crimes and on a deal he received from the US attorney in Miami in 2008 during an investigation involving more than 30 underage victims.

Epstein is currently being held in New York, and is expected to be arraigned on Monday at a bail hearing in federal court in Manhattan. An anonymous source told the Herald they believe the hearing could allow Epstein to escape trial: “If they grant him bail, he has enough money that he will disappear and they will never get him.”

Epstein has long been the subject of accusations, lawsuits, and investigations by both federal and local law enforcement (and the press) for sex crimes against underage girls. These accusations came to a head in 2005 when a Florida woman told police a wealthy man had molested her daughter. The police began an investigation that was referred to the FBI.

The bureau collected copious evidence, and in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to the solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. However, because of deal made with former US attorney (and current US secretary of labor) Alexander Acosta, Epstein did not receive a long sentence.

As Vox’s Jane Coaston and Anna North reported:

The FBI had prepared a 53-page sex crimes indictment for Epstein in 2007 that could have sent him to prison for life, according to the Herald. Instead, he cut a deal with Alexander Acosta, then the US attorney in Miami, which allowed him to serve just 13 months — not in federal or state prison, but in a private wing of a Palm Beach county jail.

He was granted work release to go to a “comfortable office” for 12 hours a day, six days a week, despite the fact that the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department prohibited work release for sex offenders.

Epstein’s deal, called a “non-prosecution agreement,” granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators,” meaning that if any of Epstein’s powerful friends were involved in his crimes, they would face no consequences. And Acosta agreed that the deal would be kept secret from the victims, preventing them from showing up in court to try to challenge it.

In February, a federal judge ruled the non-prosecution agreement to be unconstitutional. US District Judge Kenneth A. Marra said that the deal violated the 30-plus accusers’ right to speak with prosecutors about the terms of the arrangement.

But in late June, the Department of Justice declined to invalidate that deal. Prior to this decision, accusers had hoped Marra’s ruling would lead to the case being reopened.

The new indictment could provide something of an opportunity to relitigate the accusations Epstein has long faced, albeit in a different state. While it remains sealed until Monday, it is expected to allege that Epstein paid cash to dozens of girls, some as young as 14, for massages in his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Florida. During those massages, it is alleged he would molest or assault them.

The indictment further alleges that Epstein knew his victims were underage. Law enforcement officials have said that some of Epstein’s employees — and, later, some of the girls who have said he molested them — helped recruit new victims into the financier’s scheme.

Attorneys for two of Epstein’s alleged victims said they hope that these latest charges will finally bring the financier to justice.

“It’s been a long time coming — it’s been too long coming,” attorney David Boies told the Daily Beast. “It is an important step towards getting justice for the many victims of Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking enterprise.”

Who is Jeffrey Epstein?

For years, Jeffrey Epstein has had a reputation for assaulting young girls. His bevy of famous friends have even joked about it. In 2002, Donald Trump said to New York Magazine of Epstein: “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

In February, Coaston and North detailed years of rumors and allegations that swirled around the financier:

In the 2007 New York magazine article, Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff described flying on Epstein’s private plane in the 1990s, saying Epstein “was followed onto the plane by — how shall I say this? — by three teenage girls not his daughters” who were “18, 19, 20, who knows” and “model-like.”

“He has never been secretive about the girls,” Wolff said. “At one point, when his troubles began, he was talking to me and said, ‘What can I say, I like young girls.’ I said, ‘Maybe you should say, ‘I like young women.’ ”

Epstein would allegedly seek out young girls, and would pay them both for what he termed “massages” — acts that, as described to investigators, meet the federal definition of sexual assault — and to recruit other young girls:

According to court and police records reviewed by the Miami Herald’s Julie Brown, Epstein routinely had underage girls brought to his Palm Beach mansion, where he paid them to give him massages. During the massages, he often subjected the girls to sexual abuse — asking them to touch him while he masturbated, touching them himself, and sometimes having intercourse with them, Brown reports. Then, according to the Herald, he would offer them money to find him more girls — which some of them did, finding recruits at malls and house parties.

According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.” Brown identified about 80 women who say they were molested or otherwise sexually abused by Epstein, and some accounts suggest the total number may be much higher.

“He told me he wanted them as young as I could find them,’’ Courtney Wild, who says she recruited 70 or 80 girls for Epstein, told Brown. “He wanted as many girls as I could get him. It was never enough.’’

Should the new charges Epstein faces lead to a conviction and a full prison sentence, they would mark the first time the financier has faced serious legal consequences for his dozens of alleged crimes.

While his deal in Miami did lead to Epstein being registered as a sex offender in New York and in his home in the Virgin Islands, he was not required to register as such in New Mexico, where he has a ranch. The Miami Herald has described his 13 month sentence as “one of the most lenient sentences for a serial sex offender in US history.” And Epstein’s accusers have claimed that his considerable financial resources and access to private planes have made it so the sentence and being a registered sex offender have had little effect on his daily life and activities.

As Vox’s Jane Coaston and Anna North have explained, his story illustrates how, even in the #MeToo era, when many powerful men have faced public and legal reckonings for sexual abuse, “those with enough money and connections … can often manipulate the legal system to serve their own ends.”

The social connections, in particular, have been crucial to helping Epstein avoid prosecution. The financier met many a powerful person as an investment banker at Bear Stearns, and later as the head of his own financial firm that exclusively caters to billionaires. He once described the famous people with whom he associates as a “collection,” and his well-connected lawyers, Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz, were key to his light sentencing in the 2008 federal case. But some of these friends have also been implicated in his abuse, write Coaston and North.

Over the years, speculation has swirled about which of Epstein’s famous friends, if any, might have committed sex crimes on his properties. During the 2016 presidential race, then-Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus hinted that Bill Clinton might have been involved: “When you hang out with a guy who has a reputation like Jeffrey Epstein, multiple times, on private jets, on weekends, on trips, on places at least where it’s been reported not very good things happen, it would be good to know what our former president was doing,” he told Bloomberg.

Also during the 2016 race, a woman going by the name Katie Johnson sued Trump, saying he had raped her at one of Epstein’s parties when she was 13, the Daily Beast reports. She later dropped the suit.

These friends may not be able to help Epstein this time, however. They are shielded from prosecution thanks to immunity granted to “any potential co-conspirators” under the terms of his Miami deal, meaning they have little incentive to cooperate with prosecutors or to involve themselves in the financier’s current charges on his behalf. While the deal was in doubt for a time due to a ruling by a federal judge that found it unconstitutional, the Department of Justice has defended it.

More will become clear about Epstein’s immediate fate in federal court proceedings Monday. The FBI also hopes to hear from more accusers, and plans to create a hotline to collect further statements following that hearing.


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9 moments that defined the USWNT World Cup run

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Relive the best plays from the beginning of the tournament to the final victory over the Netherlands.

The United States women’s national team beat the Netherlands 2–0 to capture their fourth World Cup title on Sunday afternoon, but it was quiet a journey that led the squad to that moment. The opening match against Thailand might feel like it was more than a month ago at this point, so we’d like to help you relive the USWNT’s entire World Cup run.

Rose Lavelle’s already iconic goal

This was a breakout tournament for the 24-year-old Lavelle, who’s been limited by hamstring injures her entire pro career. When she went down with a tweaked hamstring in the semifinal, fans feared she wouldn’t have a chance to show off her skills against the Netherlands. But she got the start, and holy crap, did she deliver. Rose Lavelle is the future of the USWNT.

That time they scored THIRTEEN GOALS

Thirteen. 13. And everyone was so mad, because they didn’t get it.

Carli Lloyd keeps it respectful with a golf clap

Since everyone was mad about the celebrations during the Thailand game, Lloyd made sure to keep it respectful against Chile.

Kelley O’Hara is literally a tank

SIT DOWN.

Megan Rapinoe takes over against France

Rapinoe was solid in her early appearances, but wasn’t getting on the end of goal-scoring opportunities until the quarterfinal. Against France, she took over.

This Rose Lavelle nutmeg

Lavelle had more highlights than her amazing goal in the final. She won the Bronze Ball, awarded to the third-best player in the tournament, because of plays like this one.

That’s the tea sis

Alex Morgan will be remembered for her fantastic goals and playing hurt throughout the World Cup, but her most iconic moment was her tea-sipping celebration after she scored the go-ahead goal against England.

Alyssa Naeher is so clutch

Coming into this World Cup, there were questions about whether Alyssa Naeher could give the USWNT as much in goal as the legendary Hope Solo did. She answered all of those questions against England, where Morgan said “she saved our ass.”

Christen Press has her moment

Press has had a very up-and-down career, and has never been given a long run in the starting lineup. But when she was called upon, she delivered, and finally got to have her big moment.


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Russian Oligarch Scoffed at FBI’s Collusion Theory

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Michael_Novakhov
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from Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines.

John Solomon is a terrific reporter, and he has done excellent work on the Trump-Russia investigation. Nevertheless, legal analysis is not his specialty. That is evident in his otherwise intriguing report at The Hill about Oleg Deripaska’s dealings with the FBI.

Deripaska is an aluminum magnate who is sometimes referred to as “Putin’s oligarch” thanks to his close relationship with the Russian strongman. He was also Paul Manafort’s business partner.

Manafort, of course, was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for about four months in mid 2016. He has paid dearly for entering Trump World.

In 2014, an investigation of Manafort’s work for the deposed Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych was closed. Manafort joined the Trump campaign in early 2016. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department reopened the Manafort case, helped along by pro-Clinton officials in Ukraine’s government. In August 2016, the latter leaked a ledger of questionable provenance, purporting to show over $12 million in cash payments to Manafort. The leak of the ledger led to Manafort’s dismissal from the Trump campaign. He was eventually indicted and convicted in the Mueller investigation for tax evasion and other financial-fraud charges. He is serving a 90-month prison sentence. (Manafort has never denied being paid by Yanukovych and his Party of Regions; he has maintained that he was paid by wire, not in cash. As Solomon has reported, the current Ukrainian government does not vouch for the authenticity of the ledger.)

Deripaska has credibly accused Manafort of swindling him in connection with an investment in a grossly overvalued Ukrainian telecom firm. He has sued the political consultant in various jurisdictions for over $25 million.

Solomon has reported that early in the Obama administration (while Robert Mueller was the FBI’s director), Deripaska attempted to help the bureau rescue Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent captured by Iran in 2007 while reportedly working for the CIA. Though the oligarch is said to have spent millions of his own funds, the rescue effort was unsuccessful. The recriminations about why are an interesting story for another day. For present purposes, the point is that the FBI came to believe the oft-sanctioned Deripaska might prove to be a useful U.S.-government source. They sought to flip him, hoping he’d provide damning information of Trump-campaign “collusion” with the Kremlin in connection with the 2016 campaign.

Upon being interviewed by the FBI, Deripaska scoffed at that collusion theory. He further told the agents that Manafort was highly unlikely to have been involved in any Trump–Russia conspiracy.

To grasp that Deripaska was right about this, one need not be favorably disposed toward a Putin crony who made his fortune in the post-Soviet “gangster capitalism” era. Contrary to the collusion fable tirelessly peddled by the media-Democrat complex, Manafort’s work for Ukraine did not make him a Russian agent (note that Special Counsel Mueller never accused him of such a thing). Moreover, Manafort is known to have tried to nudge Yanukovych into pursuing tighter ties to Western Europe despite intense pressure from Putin.

In any event, as Solomon suggests, the fact that Deripaska has no love lost for Manafort lends some credence to his exculpatory opinion about Manafort — although not much, I’d say, since Deripaska would be expected to toe the Putin line regardless of the impact on Manafort.

Solomon reports that the FBI’s interview of Deripaska was not disclosed to Manafort’s defense during the proceedings at which he was convicted — federal criminal cases in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Manafort’s lawyers claim that this concealment violated Manafort’s due-process rights. One need not be a Trump-deranged collusion diehard to understand why this claim will get nowhere.

The suggestion that the nondisclosure amounts to a Brady violation (the relevant precedent is the Supreme Court’s 1963 ruling in Brady v. Maryland) misapprehends the prosecution’s obligations. Brady requires the government to surrender to the defense information uniquely in its possession that tends to exculpate the defendant. Information is not exculpatory unless it shows the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Manafort was never charged with any offense alleging a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. As Solomon notes, he was charged and “convicted on tax and lobbying violations unrelated to the Russia case.” Deripaska’s reported statements to the FBI have no bearing on those offenses.

Manafort’s counsel intimates that the government’s possession of potentially exculpatory information means the investigation of Manafort was illegitimate. I am not a fan of Mueller’s probe, but there is no Brady right against being investigated. The purpose of an investigation is to determine if a crime has been committed. Usually, there is evidence on both sides of the question — that’s why you investigate rather than forging ahead with an indictment. Brady simply means that if prosecutors formally charge a person with a crime, they must disclose information in their possession that indicates the person did not commit the crime.

That information, by the way, must actually be exculpatory. Here, not only is Deripaska’s information irrelevant to the crimes that were charged against Manafort. It might not have qualified as Brady material even if “collusion with Russia” had been alleged. The statement amounts to Deripaska’s opinion. To be sure, it is not an uninformed opinion. The oligarch is close to Putin and the Russian regime. To my knowledge, however, no one has alleged that Deripaska had any knowledge or participation in Russia’s hacking of Democratic email accounts, or of the dissemination of those emails to the media via WikiLeaks and other channels. Unless he was a conspirator in the scheme, or otherwise shown to have insider knowledge about it, Deripaska’s opinion about who might or might not have participated in it would be immaterial. Brady only requires government disclosure of material information that shows innocence.

Furthermore, Brady generally applies only to information that is uniquely in the government’s possession. If the defendant has access to the same information, the government has no obligation to disclose it. Here, Manafort and his associates (in particular, his protégé Konstantin Kilimnik) had access to Deripaska. To be sure, relations were not good between them, but they were good enough that — as has been widely reported and as the Mueller Report confirms — Manafort instructed Kilimnik to offer Deripaska briefings about the Trump campaign. (Deripaska denies receiving any Trump-campaign information from Manafort.) If Manafort had been in a position to obtain any helpful information directly from Deripaska, the government would probably not have been obligated to disclose the FBI’s interview with Deripaska, even if it were deemed exculpatory. At most, prosecutors might have been obliged to advise Manafort’s lawyers that they should consider interviewing Deripaska — but again, that would only be if there were a “collusion” allegation, which there was not.

So Deripaska’s FBI interview would not have been much help to Manafort. Does this mean the oligarch is of no interest to Russiagate followers? Hardly.

What is most interesting about Deripaska vis-à-vis the collusion caper is the fact that Christopher Steele was working for him and lobbying the U.S. government on his behalf. Steele, of course, is the British former intelligence agent who is the principal author of the “dossier” — the unverified anti-Trump research project commissioned by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

While he was running a private intelligence business, Steele was an FBI informant — even before his anti-Trump research began in June 2016. He also provided his private intelligence reporting about Russia and Eastern Europe to the Obama State Department. Naturally, his private-eye work was heavily influenced by who was paying him. As Eric Felten has reported, the State Department’s Russia analysts were dismissive of Steele’s work due to its “Putinesque spin.” We now know that Steele was not consulting only with Deripaska; he also told the State Department (and, presumably the FBI) that he was getting information indirectly from two highly-placed Kremlin sources: top Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov and former SVR chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov. (The SVR is Russia’s foreign intelligence service.)

After nearly three years of investigation, Steele’s major anti-Trump allegations remain unverified. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department relied on Steele’s information to claim there was probable cause that Carter Page was a clandestine agent of Russia, yet Page has never been charged with a crime. And Mueller closed his investigation by concluding that there was no Trump–Russia conspiracy. There is no credible reason to believe the collusion narrative. There is, however, a great deal of reason to suspect that the Russian regime used Steele to channel disinformation into the intelligence and foreign-policy arms of the United States government.

Deripaska, Surkov, and Trubnikov were not informing on the Kremlin. These are Putin’s guys. They were peddling what the Kremlin wanted the world to believe, and what the Kremlin shrewdly calculated would sow division in the American body politic. So, the question is: Did they find the perfect patsy in Christopher Steele?

More from National Review


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The USWNT gets its 4th star with World Cup win over the Netherlands

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Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle starred as the USWNT cemented its standing as the best team in the world.

A fourth star is going above the crest on the USWNT jerseys. The United States women’s national team defended its title on Sunday, defeating the Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final. Megan Rapinoe scored the game’s first goal from the penalty spot, and Rose Lavelle sealed the result with a 69th-minute stunner.

Goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal was key for the Netherlands throughout their World Cup run, and she had a spectacular first half of the final, coming up with four excellent stops. She denied Julie Ertz on a corner in the 28th minute, then made an outstanding double save 10 minutes later on efforts from Sam Mewis and Alex Morgan.

Morgan was denied again in the 40th minute, with van Veenendaal going full stretch to keep the score tied.

Just before halftime, American right back Kelley O’Hara and Dutch attacker Lieke Martens collided in the air, bumping heads. Martens was able to continue, but O’Hara had to leave the match, and was replaced by Ali Krieger at halftime.

The match stayed just as physical at the start of the second half, and Becky Sauerbrunn got the worst of another head-to-head collision. Strangely, the referee let play continue while Sauerbrunn looked like this.

The USWNT struggled to break through the physical Dutch defense until the 58th minute, when the Americans won a penalty. Referee Stéphanie Frappart initially didn’t see Stefanie van der Gragt’s high boot on Alex Morgan, but the VAR official called for a review. Frappart changed her decision after going to look at the monitor, and Rapinoe converted from the penalty spot.

That goal caused the Netherlands to start taking risks going forward, and that was just what the American attack was waiting for. With more Oranje midfielders bombing forward, Lavelle had more space to operate in, and she capitalized in the 69th minute. No one closed her down as she dribbled at the goal, and she split the Dutch defenders before placing a perfect shot past van Veenendaal.

The final 20 minutes resembled a track meet, with both teams having multiple chances to score, but a third American goal always looked more likely than a Netherlands comeback. Unlike their other knockout games, where they bunkered after their second goal, the Americans kept their foot on the accelerator. Only an outstanding performance by van Veenendaal kept the score close.

At the final whistle, the USWNT sprinted around the field in celebration while the Netherlands players collapsed to the ground.

Now, on to more important things.


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mikenov on Twitter: The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov – Review Of News And Opinions: The Broidy – Manafort Ring | 5:59 AM 7/7/2019 – “E… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/07/559-am…

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The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov – Review Of News And Opinions: The Broidy – Manafort Ring | 5:59 AM 7/7/2019 – “E… trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/07/559-am…


Posted by

mikenov
on Sunday, July 7th, 2019 4:47pm

mikenov on Twitter


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Gay guys share their dating app success stories

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Feeling Grindr fatigue? Has Tinder left you swiped out? Are you missing all of OKCupid’s arrows? Take heart in the dating app success stories gay guys recently shared on Reddit.

“Took a while but I met my current [boyfriend] on Grindr,” one commenter wrote. “We have been together nearly 6 years now. When we met, I was explicit I was taking time away from dating and hookups but was happy for friends. We were official 2 months later.”

Related: Reddit users share naughty mantras and other ‘gay words to live by’

Or take this dude, who reverted to Tinder after striking out on Grindr. “An adorable cute boy matched with me,” he wrote. “He invited me to his house to play music. (I play guitar.) It was a pretty quick escalation, and now we’ve been together for 8 months. He’s moved into my condo. I love him very much. To the point, I think I just got really, really lucky.” (He also has advice for lovelorn readers: “Maybe learn guitar.”)

One lucky fella, meanwhile, said he “met the perfect guy after 10 minutes” of using Grindr for the first time.

Bored Tinder GIF by SoulPancake - Find & Share on GIPHY

Another found love through Grindr, though not in the usual way: “I met a guy on Grindr [who was] really good in bed but turned out to be a dickhead in the end. But before I realized that, we went cruising together, and I exchanged numbers with a guy there, planning to meet up sometime. The guy I met there is now my boyfriend.”

Related: Gay guys share their Grindr horror stories

A different Redditor got lucky in more ways than one during an early-morning rendezvous. “Messaged an attractive guy on Grindr one morning at 6 AM,” this man wrote. “He came over, we f*cked, it was hot. 6 months later, we’re deeply in love and living together.”

Of course, there are other definitions of success, as one commenter cheekily proved. “I get laid,” he wrote. “Success.”

Ilana Glazer Tinder GIF by Broad City - Find & Share on GIPHY


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