DOJ Appears to Block Manafort Transfer to Rikers Island…


An interesting and moderately positive development in the ongoing fiasco surrounding the prosecution of Paul Manafort.  According to the New York Times, Attorney General William Barr’s top deputy, Jeffrey Rosen, sent a letter to New York state prosecutors saying Main Justice was monitoring the planned transfer of Mr. Manafort.

Following the DOJ letter, the decision to transfer Manafort to Rikers Island was reversed.

(Via New York Times) … [L]ast week, Manhattan prosecutors were surprised to receive a letter from the second-highest law enforcement official in the country inquiring about Mr. Manafort’s case. The letter, from Jeffrey A. Rosen, Attorney General William P. Barr’s new top deputy, indicated that he was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York.

And then, on Monday, federal prison officials weighed in, telling the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Mr. Manafort, 70, would not be going to Rikers.

Instead, he will await his trial at a federal lockup in Manhattan or at the Pennsylvania federal prison where he is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for wide-ranging financial schemes, according to people with knowledge of the matter. (more)

The decision to transfer Manafort to Rikers Island was yet another transparent effort by political operatives within the justice system to use extreme measures against their political opposition…. Unfortunately, the Obama legacy -via the weaponization of law enforcement- continues.

George Zimmerman, Officer Darren Wilson, The Baltimore Six, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn and Roger Stone were/are simply targets for political retaliation by career political operatives, political ideologues, now embedded within a severely corrupt justice system.

Perhaps the decision to stop some of the extremism is a small indication U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr is attempting to restore some semblance of justice to a thoroughly corrupt enterprise.

 

State Dept. Suspends $200 Million Enhanced Aid for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras Pending Illegal Migration Enforcement…


While previously pledged support for the Northern Triangle region related to Homeland Security and combating organized crime will continue, the State Department suspends any further financial assistance ($200 million) until the migration crisis is resolved.

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[Transcript at 01:28] “Next, I have a quick update for you on U.S. foreign assistance to the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As you know, in March, the President concluded these countries have not effectively prevented illegal migrants from coming to the United States.”

“At the Secretary’s instruction, we continue to implement the President’s direction regarding foreign assistance for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. We completed a review, and previously awarded grants and contracts will continue with current funding. State Department assistance in support of priorities of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security priorities to help the Northern Triangle governments take actions that will protect the U.S. border and counter transnational organized crime will also continue.

We will not provide new funds for programs in those countries until we are satisfied the Northern Triangle governments are taking concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the U.S. border.

Working with Congress, we will reprogram those funds to other priorities as appropriate. This is consistent with the President’s direction and with the recognition that it is critical that there be sufficient political will in these countries to address the problem at its source. As Secretary Pompeo has said, these nations have the responsibility to take care of the immigration problems in their home country.”  (continue reading transcript)

(Tweet Link)

Trump Supporters Camping Out Ahead of Massive Orlando MAGA Rally and Festival…


President Trump will be officially kicking off his 2020 re-election bid tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, at the Amway center.  While the MAGA rally is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm ET, campaign organizers have had such an overwhelming demand for attendance, they have turned the entire day into a MAGA festival called: “The 45 Fest”.

The Amway center, home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic, will hold between 20,000 to 30,000 depending on layout.  However, jumbo screens are being constructed outside the arena for those who attend the festivities but don’t make it inside.

There will be live music, food booths and trucks, street vendors and a day of MAGA festivity prior to the main event at 8:00pm.  According to local media people began lining up Monday morning and plan to camp out overnight amid a mass of MAGA patriots and supporters.

ORLANDO – With tents, sleeping bags and coolers of water in tow, Donald Trump supporters began lining up early Monday for Tuesday’s campaign rally in Orlando, nearly two full days before the event.

Outside the Amway Center, where President Trump will officially kick off his 2020 re-election bid at 8 p.m. Tuesday, about two dozen people and counting had staked out a spot along Division Street as of Monday morning. The line had grown to about 50 as of 3 p.m.

“This is the big one,” said Jennifer Petito, 54, of Melbourne. “This is the mother of all rallies.” Petitio, who was wearing a pink “Women for Trump” hat and a red-and-white striped fanny pack, was second in line. She said she got there around 2 a.m. — 42 hours before the rally’s start. (read more)

Gordon Chang on 2019 G20: “The Meeting of All Meetings”….


Author of ‘The Coming Collapse of China’, Gordon Chang, appears on Fox Business to discuss the mounting U.S. trade tensions with China, the fallout from the protests against Carrie Lam in Hong Kong, and the announced visit by Xi to North Korea.

Chang also sees the visit by China’s Chairman Xi Jinping to North Korea as a strategic and purposeful moment for Beijing; an attempt to find footing against the overwhelming economic punishment being delivered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ho-Lee-Cats, is it Happening? – Chairman Xi Announces Visit to North Korea…


Well, well, well….  Against the backdrop of everything we have been discussing about the nature of the U.S. – China – North Korea geopolitics; and considering the current position of all the players; THIS is a very interesting development:

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea for two days from Thursday, state media in both countries reported on Monday, making him the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years.

Neighboring China is reclusive North Korea’s only major ally, and the visit comes amid renewed tensions between the United States and North Korea over efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

“Both sides will exchange views on the (Korean) peninsula situation, and push for new progress in the political resolution of the peninsula issue,” China’s official broadcaster CCTV said in a lengthy report that led the evening news. (read more)

The possibility here is one most CTH readers will immediately recognize.  Is this the predictable face-saving approach Chairman Xi Jinping has selected?

For two-and-a-half years U.S. President Trump has been working on two connected objectives: (1) removing the threat posed by North Korea by severing the ability of Beijing to use the proxy province as a weapon (Kim is hostage to China); and (2) deconstructing the growing economic influence of China.

Both issues are directly connected to national security; and both issues are being approached by President Trump through the use of economic leverage to achieve national security results.

At first blush, there’s always a possibility of Chairman Xi going to see Chairman Kim in dragon mode… looking for a way to weaponize the DPRK despite the budding relationship between Chairman Kim (hostage) and U.S. President Donald Trump.  However, that dragon perspective is blunted by the open media indications that the talks are centered around denuclearization.   So that puts more weight on the second possibility.

The second possibility, the more optimistic possibility, is that we have finally reached that point in the U.S. -vs- China economic confrontation where Chairman Xi is now facing defeat and attempting to save face, and gain a better economic outcome, by releasing his hostage.   This would be an incredible, almost unfathomable, win for President Trump; and an astounding visible affirmation that the year’s long strategy has been successful.

When we began watching this journey in 2017, there were indications President Trump was working specifically to create an outcome of a hostage release.  And in the years that have followed there have been multiple highly-nuanced indications of the strategy Trump was following.  This visit by Chairman Xi to North Korea in advance of the G20 summit has all the indications of this could very well be the culmination; ending exactly where President Trump has intended. As we noted in this graphic two years ago:

Caution is the word of the day.  After all, this is the cunning and duplicitous China we are talking about here…. they have a history of using deceit and stall tactics to achieve victory.  However, President Trump has shown he is well aware of what lies behind the panda mask.

That said, it’s worth watching very closely now to see the details of the G20 and whether Xi and Trump actually meet.

Beijing has announced Chairman Xi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are scheduled for a meeting….  and we know on the issue of DPRK hostage release Chairman Xi will need to save face very carefully.

One way for Xi to avoid the appearance of acquiescence to Trump would be for him and Beijing to place the victory at the feet of Moon Jae-in instead of President Trump.   I would almost guarantee, if indeed Xi is now giving up his hostage, China will position themselves as magnanimous panda and South Korea as the beneficiary.

“Peace is the Prize” ~ Donald Trump

Ultimately, I don’t think President Trump really cares about who gets credit for the victory and hostage release of Chairman Kim.  The world will know, though the media may not assign, the victory is only because President Trump has outwitted Chairman Xi and his communist regime…. and Trump did that though strategic economic pressure.

We should be able to get some indications from public and media discussion ahead of the G20 summit in Japan this month, as to how -specifically- the hostage release will take place; and/or the terms and conditions within that release.   Will Chairman Xi meet with President Trump?

…or will Xi tell Kim (or an emissary) to inform Trump there will be no meeting, but the face-saving terms and reasons are understood by all the principals.

Incredible development.

Lastly, as it relates to the continued U.S. -vs- China trade and economic confrontation, if Chairman Xi expects POTUS Trump to retreat from the massive geopolitical leverage he has created that won’t happen.

President Trump has been openly, albeit with coded messages, telling the world North Korea is no longer a threat.  The secondary purpose of making those statements is to blunt the value of Xi giving up his hostage.  In essence, Trump has been telling Beijing: it’s a victory already achieved, so magnanimous panda isn’t providing Trump anything of measurable value.

Remember, two connected objectives: (1) removing the threat posed by North Korea by severing the ability of Beijing to use the proxy province as a weapon; and (2) deconstructing the growing economic influence of China.  With #1 achieved, President Trump still fully intends to get #2.  Heck, Trump has spent 30-years openly advocating for the principle of restoring American wealth.  That means the economic pressure will continue until Beijing is defeated.

China vs the US in Trade Negotiations


QUESTION:

Mr Armstrong

In your opinion of Trump’s trade war policy, you disagree with him because it makes China look weak. What is your solution when the real problem is China stealing intellectual property and they have been called out on it. A person or party always looks weak when they get caught doing something illegal or immoral. Is a little dose of humility and acknowledgment of the error too much to ask?

JM

ANSWER: When dealing with nations, you really cannot humiliate the other side. The best way to deal with that is privately to make it appear there is cooperation and dignity. Both sides must save face. This is not a brawl nor is it a negotiation in a lawsuit. I believe that there is a huge cultural divide and that is a big problem. Many in the private sector in Asia do not negotiate the same way things are done in the West.

The best way is to negotiate behind the curtain and allow the victory to be shared. Head to head confrontation will never win. They cannot afford to yield. This is the same problem with Russia. How can anyone expect Putin to say, “Oh, sorry, you are right. I will yield to your sanctions!” There is less than a zero percent chance of that EVER happening and it would be political suicide for Putin to adopt such a policy in Russia.

I have been in that position of trying to negotiate between two foreign governments. It is not an easy task. One government asked me to see what I could do because I knew the leadership in the other. You must respect the dignity of each player when you are at that level of negotiation

Sunday Talks: Peter Navarro -vs- Charles Payne…


Charles Payne, filling in for Maria Bartiromo, interviews White House Manufacturing and Trade Policy advisor Peter Navarro.  Unfortunately the interview begins with a discussion of tariff polling….  The vast majority of Americans have no understanding of the impact of tariffs and/or MAGAnomic policy; they only know the economic outcomes they can feel.

Mr. Navarro walks through how tariffs interact with global supply chains and the financial manipulation by multinational corporate interests.

President Trump on DOJ/FBI in 2016: “It was a set-up” … “I would say that President Obama had to know about it”…


President Donald Trump granted a three-day exclusive and extensive interview to ABC News ¹propagandist, and narrative engineer, George Stephanopoulos.

[¹You might remember Stephanopoulos was actually deployed by the DNC in 2012 to ask GOP primary candidates in an ABC debate about the constitutionality of requiring insurance companies to pay for birth control pills. A totally out of left-field goofy question that no-one understood until two-days later when the DNC trotted out Sandra Fluke]

Well, here’s Stephanopoulos again, somehow granted access (likely by a person inside the White House coordinating with Nancy Pelosi). The final broadcast will be heavily edited, manipulated and presented for distribution and maximum political damage; with the intent to assist Nancy Pelosi and the impeachment narrative at 8:00pm this evening.

In an effort to gain maximum publicity ABC has released some preview segments to stimulate interest by a national audience.

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[Transcript at 10:38]  President Trump: “It’s very simple; very simple.  There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing is collusion. Now, there’s no collusion. That means they set — it was a setup. In my opinion, and I think it’s going to come out.”

Stephanopoulos: “Who set it up?”

President Trump:  “We’re going to find out very soon, because I really believe it’s going to come out.  When you look at Strzok, these FBI guys that were low-lifes. When you look at – because the FBI’s the greatest- but these top people were absolute low-lifes. When you look at Strzok and Page, and they’re talking about an insurance policy ‘just in case she loses’, that was the insurance policy.”

Stephanopoulos: “You know I’ve heard you talk about”…

President Trump: “George, I went through the insurance policy.”

Stephanopoulos: “I understand that, but if they were determined to prevent you from becoming president, why wouldn’t they leak it before hand?”

President Trump: “You’d have to ask them.”…

Stephanopoulos: “Have it come out before the election”..

President Trump: “Oh, they tried.  They tried – and you know what, had that gone out before the election, I don’t think I could have – I don’t think I would have hand enough time – to defend myself.”

Stephanopoulos: “You clearly believe there was a group of people working against you. Do you think President Obama was behind it?”

President Trump: “I would say that he certainly must have known about it because it went very high up in the chain. But you’re going to find that out. I’m not going to make that statement quite yet. But I would say that President Obama had to know about it.”

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Reminder:

George Stephanopoulos always operates with an agenda.  Most have forgotten a Jan ’12 New Hampshire debate when Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney a very carefully worded and scripted question, seeming to come out of left field, about whether states have the right to ban contraception. Exactly two weeks later Sandra Fluke and the DNC 2012 campaign attack narrative “Romney’s War On Women” began.  WATCH:

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The 2019 version of Stephanopoulos has all the same characteristics, purposes and intents as the 2012 version of Stephanopoulos.

In 2012 he set up: “war on women”.  In 2019 he is setting up: “Trump impeachment”.

How the White House did not know that George Stephanopoulos would be used to position the Pelosi impeachment narrative is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Sunday Talks: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -vs- Chris Wallace…


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears on Fox News Sunday to debate antagonistic DC Swamp Guard Chris Wallace.  The primary topic was the recent attacks on shipping tankers by Iranian elements in the Gulf of Oman.

Additionally, Secretary Pompeo discussed the protests in Hong Kong against the growing influence from Beijing; the issues with North Korea to achieve a positive outcome with Kim Jong Un; the New York Times story on U.S. active measures against Russia; and the nonsensical -hypothetical- foreign opposition research issue.

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Secretary Pompeo also appeared on Face The Nation:

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Deep State Target Interview – Part II