Monday, June 12, 2017

Updates To Stories

There are many recent updates to my last few articles, but the biggest one is to a December 1, 2015 story I published called "New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt wrongly reports on Hillary Clinton emails again."

Although the original article should be read to learn more about Schmidt's misreporting, this is the entire new update I added over the last few days due to recent news events and more research I completed. If you appreciate my hard work, please contribute to my PayPal account ronbrynaert@yahoo.com, since I keep working hard on this story - for years - but have never earned a dime for it.

(Updates added from June 8 to June 12, 2017, in light of recent news events.)

6/8/17 Update: Why is the following significant? Essentially, the adviser to former FBI Director James Comey - who once worked with him in US Attorney's office - has been a source for New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt for at least nine years. Schmidt reported many things incorrectly about Hillary Clinton during her unsuccessful 2016 presidency campaign, but he also got a lot of great scoops. Some Clinton supporters believe Comey may have violated the Hatch Act just before the election, and - one of the reasons - he was fired by President Trump as FBI director was due to wrongful testimony regarding her longtime aide, Huma Abedin.

On November 2, 2016, a NYT article - Schmidt co-wrote - reported, "Daniel C. Richman, an adviser to Mr. Comey and a Columbia University law professor, argued that despite the backlash, Mr. Comey’s decision to inform Congress preserved the F.B.I.’s independence, which will ultimately benefit the next president."

Defending Comey, Richman told the paper: "Those arguing that the director should have remained silent until the new emails could be reviewed — even if that process lasted, or was delayed, until after the election — give too little thought to the governing that needs to happen after November. If the F.B.I. director doesn’t have the credibility to keep Congress from interfering in the bureau’s work and to assure Congress that a matter has been or is being looked into, the new administration will pay a high price."

Schmidt and Richman appeared as guests during alternate halves of a PBS NewsHour broadcast last Halloween, three days after Comey sent his October 28 letter - to eight Republican chairmen of Congressional committees, seven Democratic ranking members and vice chairman of the Select Committee of Intelligence Sen. Dianne Feinstein - in order to "supplement [his] previous testimony" that the FBI had "completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton's personal email server." The letter was very brief, but reverberated at the end: "I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony."

"In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote. "I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review those emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation."

On May 3, 2017, editor-in-chief Nate Silver claimed at FiveThirtyEight - which is now owned by ESPN, but had a "partnership agreement" and was published at the NY Times from 2010 to 2012 - that this letter "upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College." Silver also noted, "The article that led The New York Times’s website the morning after the election did not mention Comey or 'FBI' even once — a bizarre development considering the dramatic headlines that the Times had given to the letter while the campaign was underway."

On the October 31st NewsHour show, New York Times reporter Schmidt - who was criticized a few times by the Clinton campaign for misreporting that had to be corrected - brought up the "classified" word first, and didn't note that there weren't any emails that were marked classified before they were sent by the Democratic presidential candidate and her former State Department staffers to private accounts. "That’s the real question here, whether any of the e-mails they’re in possession of are ones they had before that they know are classified or they know they looked at or if these are entirely a new batch," Schmidt said.

Schmidt defended the letter and wrongly predicted: "I sort of find it hard to believe that the FBI would go with such an aggressive step of telling Congress without really having some idea of what is truly here. If these end up to be just a bunch of duplicates, then this will have been a big hubbub over nothing." Politico's Josh Gerstein countered that "Comey might have violated Justice Department policy," and said, "We know from our other reporting that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates strongly advised Comey against sending the letter, but he felt he needed to, so he did it anyway."

Without realizing that her next guest had been a Schmidt source for many articles, host Judy Woodruff asked him, "Is it your understanding from your reporting that FBI officials already know what’s here or are they truly looking for something unknown?" The New York Times journalist responded, "If you look at Director Comey’s letter to Congress, he basically says, we haven’t had a chance to look at these yet...so I wonder what the FBI really knows here. And did that lead them to push as far as they did?"

When asked if "Comey acted because of pressure of some sort from FBI agents who felt that he wasn’t being tough enough on Hillary Clinton", Schmidt said, "I find that hard to believe."

"I think that the line FBI agents who really knew what was going on with the e-mail investigation understood why Director Comey came out and said that the bureau wasn’t recommending charges," Schmidt said, before adding, "I think they realized that there wasn’t criminal intent there," and "So the idea that Director Comey would do this facing some insurrection by FBI agents, I think, is probably not true."

In the following half of the NewsHour broadcast, Woodruff welcomed Richman, introducing him as a "professor at Columbia Law School...a former federal prosecutor, himself, and current policy adviser to Director Comey." Richman sounded much like Schmidt, when he said that Comey was "protecting the credibility of the organization and of his own credibility with Congress," and had been "confronted with very little notice with a trove of e-mails that appeared to be pertinent."

Woodruff's other guest, Arent Fox attorney and partner Peter Zeidenberg - who "spent 17 years at the Justice Department as a federal prosecutor" and "also joined 100 others in an open letter critical of Comey’s actions" - said he thought the then FBI director was "premature to notify Congress before he had had a chance to actually examine these e-mails," that "it was a mistake," adding, "And, frankly, I think it was irresponsible to do it and drop this bomb."

"And, as Josh Gerstein mentioned, it’s very possible, if not likely, that all these e-mails have been looked at already," Zeidenberg told Woodruff. "They could all be duplicates."

Woodruff asked Comey's spokesman if there was "inconsistency", since, that day "the Clinton campaign and others pointed out that there is now new reporting that Director Comey didn’t want it to be known that the administration had confirmed that the Russians were behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, arguing that it was too close to the election, that this would influence the election."

Five months before Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway would catch heat over "alternative facts", Richman said, "There is only inconsistency, in the sense that there are really different facts."

Richman added: "And I certainly don’t know all the facts with regard to the internal deliberations with regard to the Russian hacking. But, yes, it certainly is the norm that the department doesn’t confirm or deny investigations and doesn’t confirm or deny the focus on any particular party."

"James Comey told a Senate committee on Thursday he was behind the leak of a memo he wrote that said President Donald Trump asked him to stem the FBI’s investigation to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn," Max Kutner reports for Newsweek. "The account appeared in The New York Times in May, days after the president fired Comey as FBI director."

Kutner adds: "Comey did not name the friend, but Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman reportedly confirmed he is that person to the Financial Times and CNN. In an email to Newsweek, he declined to comment."

"Richman’s faculty webpage says he is 'currently an adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey.' The New York Times previously quoted Richman in multiple articles about the former FBI director, around the same time the newspaper published the Flynn article. A New Yorker article in May quoted him and described him as Comey’s 'unofficial media surrogate.'"
"The professor is a former federal prosecutor and served as chief appellate attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where Comey also worked," Kutner notes. NBC News adds: "Richman and Comey’s ties run deep, and the pair has been friends for 30 years, the law professor told NBC News last fall."

Schmidt's byline appears on multiple Comey stories that quote Richman, including "F.B.I.’s Email Disclosure Broke a Pattern Followed Even This Summer" (1/11/16), "Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election." (4/22/17), and "‘Enough Was Enough’: How Festering Anger at Comey Ended in His Firing" (5/10/17).

Schmidt has cited Richman as a source - on the record - for his New York Times articles going back at least nine years to 2008, when he reported many stories related to drugs and baseball.

Some examples include: "Canseco Is Said to Seek Favor to Omit Name" (1/24/08), "Motion Would Take Aim At Clemens's Top Lawyer" (2/26/08), "Balco Prosecutors Target Trainer’s Wife" (2/20/08), and "Contradictions in Kirk Radomski’s Book Could Benefit Clemens" (1/25/09).

Schmidt has apparently ducked questions from multiple media organizations regarding his outed relationship with Richman, but he probably isn't the only journalist at the Times and other outlets that has used the former FBI director's friend, colleague, advisor and spokesman as an unnamed source for articles that have been published regarding Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Clinton and Abedin controversies surrounding the use of a private email server, and the presidential race itself.

However, Schmidt got a lot of things wrong in his reporting for the New York Times and in other media appearances, such as the PBS broadcast, but doesn't seem to care or ever apologize for his role in creating - arguably - "fake news". Despite being part of the story, on June 8th, Schmidt conducted a Facebook Live discussion video for the New York Times called "Key Takeaways From Comey's Testimony." One reader asked if Comey would face any "legal repercussions" for "leaks" from himself and "friends" to the media. Schmidt never mentions his source by name.

"Comey explained today how he had instructed one of his friends to put out to the media the contents of one of these memos," Schmidt said, then placed both hands against his chest to add, "I was the recipient of that memo." On May 16, Schmidt had reported, "The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey's associates read parts of it to a Times reporter." Schmidt said he didn't think Comey would face any "legal jeopardy" because the "contents of the memo were not classified."

Schmidt claimed "Comey went to great lengths to make sure that the memos were not classified I believe, in part, because if he ever needed to get them out there, that made it much easier." He added, "If they were classified it would have been very difficult to declassify them and get information from them out."


As noted above, the original article can be found at this link.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Trump FBI Director Nominee Christopher Wray Defended Library Record Probes

During an October 21, 2003 Congressional hearing concerning US Terrorism prevention efforts, President Trump's FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray defended the controversial Patriot Act section related to library record borrowings.

According to a 2003 Congressional Quarterly Press article referring to the (perhaps now revised) Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Kenneth Jost wrote, "The section has been dubbed the 'angry librarian' provision because it could be used to obtain records of a person's library borrowings," and that "Justice Department officials appearing as witnesses at the hearing also rejected criticisms of the law."

"The various misperceptions that have been perpetuated about the Patriot Act are disturbing and simply wrong," Jost noted Christopher Wray, who was then the "assistant attorney general for the criminal division", said at the hearing.

Declaring, "We should not allow libraries or any other businesses to become safe havens for terrorist planning, financing, or communication," Wray told Congress in his opening statement that day:
"As you know, several groups including the ACLU, have claimed that Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to investigate the library habits of ordinary citizens. This misinformation has apparently led a number of librarians to warn patrons needlessly of possible government monitoring. This overreaction has only led to further public confusion and misunderstanding about the scope of the Patriot Act.

The suggestion that federal agents are snooping on innocent citizens' reading habits is inflammatory and simply untrue. First, the Patriot Act explicitly protects Americans' First Amendment rights by providing that an investigation may not be conducted 'of a United States person solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.' Second, terrorism investigators have no interest in the reading habits of ordinary Americans. As the Attorney General pointed out recently, as of September 18, 2003, this provision had never been used. The House Judiciary Committee also concluded in its October 17, 2002, press release that its 'review of classified information related to FISA orders for tangible records, such as library records, has not given rise to any concern that the [government's] authority is being misused or abused.'

But historically, terrorists and spies have used libraries to plan and carry out activities that threaten our national security. For example, Brian Patrick Regan, who was convicted last February of offering to sell U.S. intelligence information to Iraq and China, used a computer at a local public library to look up addresses for Iraqi and Libyan embassies overseas. Similarly, in a recent domestic terrorism criminal case, a grand jury served a subpoena on a bookseller to obtain records showing that a suspect had bought a book giving instructions on how to build a particularly unusual detonator that had been used in several bombings. This was important evidence identifying the suspect as the bomber. We should not allow libraries or any other businesses to become safe havens for terrorist planning, financing, or communication.

The Patriot Act ensures that business records can be obtained in a national security investigation with the approval of a federal judge. Under the Patriot Act, the government can now ask a federal court to order production of the same type of records available through grand jury subpoenas, but only after the government shows that the records are sought for an authorized foreign intelligence investigation or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Moreover, Congress also exercises careful and ongoing oversight: Every six months, the Attorney General must 'fully inform' Congress of how Section 215 has been used."
Jost's article added: "Echoing Attorney General Ashcroft's speeches in defense of the law, Wray pointed out that the law required judicial approval for records searches and delayed notification search warrants. He also noted that no library borrowing records have been sought under the law, but said that such information could be useful in some cases in identifying and thwarting suspected terrorists."

"For example, you could easily have -- and this is a hypothetical based on the kinds of things that come up on a day-to-day basis at the FBI and the Justice Department, CIA and other places -- you could have a foreign intelligence service that has a raid in a safe house overseas somewhere, and in the course of that raid, comes up with records that -- for example, there might be rental-car records or job applications, tenancy documents of some sort," Wray said at the hearing (which can be viewed on the CSPAN clip below). "There might even be a library book, for example, from the DC library."

CSPAN video from the same hearing shows former Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold noting, "Secondly, I do acknowledge that the administration has indicated that they have not used the Section 215 library provisions, provisions that they describe as essential to the fight against terrorism."

But Feingold wondered: "Now, which is it? That they never used them or that they are essential? And what is the objection then to reasonable modifications if they haven't even been used?"

Reporting for ProPublica in 2013, Justin Elliott wrote, "Civil liberties groups and librarians’ associations, which have long been fiercely protective of reader privacy, quickly raised fears of the FBI using that authority to snoop on circulation records."

Elliott added, "Even before the Patriot Act passed, the American Library Association warned members of Congress that the business records provision under consideration would 'eviscerate long-standing state laws and place the confidentiality of all library users at risk.'"

"So has the government ever used Section 215 to get library records?" Elliott asked, before answering his own question: "We don’t know."

Elliott's 2013 story continued: "Testifying before Congress in March 2011, a Justice Department official said Section 215 'has never been used against a library to obtain circulation records.' But as with so much else about the Patriot Act, how often or even whether the government has obtained library records is secret. Section 215 imposes a gag order on people or businesses who are compelled to produce records."

"The FBI has also used a separate Patriot Act provision, issuing what is known as a national security letter, to seek library patron records," Elliott reported in 2013. "One such episode prompted a successful court challenge by Connecticut librarians in 2005-06."

In his April 7, 2003 New York Times article, - "Some Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New F.B.I. Powers" - Dean E. Murphy wrote, "In a survey sent to 1,500 libraries last fall by the Library Research Center at the University of Illinois, the staffs at 219 libraries said they had cooperated with law enforcement requests for information about patrons; staffs at 225 libraries said they had not."

On June 7, 2017, after Trump tweeted about picking Wray, Reason's Scott Shackford blogged: "On the negative side of the ledger, Wray has been a major defender of the Patriot Act and the expansion of surveillance authority that it granted the federal intelligence community. In Senate Judiciary Committee testimony in 2003, he praised the act as a tool for fighting terrorism and pushed back against 'myths' that the law would be used to authorize surveillance against U.S. citizens. It's interesting to read that old defense in light of what we know now. Remember when one of the bigger worries was that the feds would use the Patriot Act to track what library books we were checking out?."



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Consulting firm website tied to blogger who collaborated with alleged DNC hacker scrubbed Florida GOP as client

6/1/17 Update: Aaron Nevins updated his LinkedIn resume after the Wall Street Journal outed the Republican consultant one week ago - on May 25th - as the HelloFLA.com blogger who sought and obtained 2.5 gigabytes of stolen Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) data from alleged Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0 last August. When this article was published, hours after the WSJ report, the resume said he currently worked as a partner at Richardson Partners, but now it says he left the firm in April. However, it still lists www.richardsonpartners.com as his company website.

As I exclusively reported, the Republican Party of Florida was removed as a past or present client of the firm, perhaps as late as November 7, the day before the 2016 elections. But there was another big change to the website, too, which seemed to occur that same day: the About page for the team.

Since the website was launched, the team showed only two partners: Nevins and Tony L. Richardson, who - according to his scrubbed biography - is "the founder and president of Richardson Partners." It added: "After working with several high profile campaigns, including the Bush/Brogan Gubernatorial Campaign of 2002, Todd went on to serve in the Executive Office of Governor Jeb Bush, where he worked with the governor to appoint leaders to Florida’s civic boards of service involving education and economic development. Following nearly three years in the Governors Office, Todd went on to join the Tom Gallagher for Governor Campaign, where he managed the campaign’s South Florida operations."

"Following the 2006 election, Todd opened a political consulting company in South Florida where he oversaw numerous state and local races, and managed grassroots campaigns on behalf of national corporations," it continued. "Richardson Partners has since grown into a successful public affairs firm representing over a dozen corporate and political clients on a state and local level."

Richardson is "a seasoned consultant specializing in grassroots management, media messaging and public relations", and "[h]is extensive knowledge of the political landscape in the South Florida community has been an invaluable resource on many political and issue advocacy campaigns."

The Guccifer 2.0 collaborator's biography once stated: "Aaron Nevins is founder and managing partner of Chelsea Road Consulting. He brings to Richardson Partners almost a decade of experience serving in senior level positions in both bodies of the Florida Legislature. His relationships with key policy makers in both chambers of the Legislature, as well as local government, helps to provide our clients with a direct line of communication with legislative, executive, and municipal leaders, and their staff."

"Prior to working in the Legislature, he helped organize a statewide campaign and bus tour to protect the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Having traveled to all 67 counties in Florida, Aaron provides our clients with a unique of how the diverse needs of the different communities within our state affect the thinking of their leaders.

He has a candid ability to review, evaluate, and provide an assessment of upcoming legislative actions, and his extensive knowledge of the Legislative process provides our clients with a critical advantage when dealing with governmental entities."


Currently, the About page only shows a message stating, "No Results Found."

"The page you requested could not be found," it added. "Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post."




Nevins and Richardson haven't responded to tweets asking why all these changes were made to their website before last year's election.

A consulting firm's website tied to a blogger who collaborated with Guccifer 2.0 - the alleged DNC hacker that has been accused by many US intelligence officials of working for Putin and Russia to help sway the 2016 election for Trump - was scrubbed to remove the Republican Party of Florida as a client, perhaps on election eve.

The confirmed collaboration began three days after that firm was paid a few grand for consulting fees by a Florida political campaign last August.

According to his LinkedIn resume, the once-anonymous blogger from HelloFLA.com who Wall Street Journal reporters Alexandra Berzon and Rob Barry outed today as "a Republican political operative in Florida named Aaron Nevins" has been a partner at Richardson Partners, since November of 2012.

(Editor's note: The biggest news in the WSJ report might be that "Mr. Nevins said he hasn’t been contacted by any investigators about last year’s political hacking," and there is more related to that at the end of this article.)

As an archive.org link from October of 2013 reveals, the website once claimed the Republican Party of Florida was one of "[p]ast and current Richardson Partners clients" that "include a diverse group of corporations and candidates throughout Florida and across the nation."



However, at some time between April 1st, 2016 and November 7, 2016, the website was scrubbed to remove the Florida GOP as a client. There aren't any saved screenshots between those dates, so it's possible that the reference was removed on the day before the 2016 election.

This is how it looks today:



It wasn't until December 13, 2016 that Eric Lipton and Scott Shane reported for the New York Times "Guccifer 2.0's most important partner was an obscure political website run by an anonymous blogger called HelloFLA!, run by a former Florida legislative aide turned Republican lobbyist," and he "sent direct messages via Twitter to Guccifer 2.0 asking for copies of any additional Florida documents."
“I can send you some docs via email,” Guccifer 2.0 replied on Aug. 22, according to a cellphone screen shot of the message that the blogger, who writes under the pen name Mark Miewurd, provided to The New York Times. “Great! Editor@hellofla.com. I’m just getting my kid from school but I’ll be able to get it up pretty quick after I get it. Thanks!”

“Do u have a size limit?” Guccifer 2.0 replied, a question that led the Florida blogger to set up an anonymous Dropbox account so he could take thousands of pages of stolen information from the Russian operative, data that the blogger immediately recognized would have an extremely high strategic value for the Republicans.

“I don’t think you realize what you gave me,” the blogger said, looking at the costly internal D.C.C.C. political research that he had just been provided. “This is probably worth millions of dollars.”

Guccifer 2.0 wrote back: “Hmmm. ok. u owe me a million.”
Today's WSJ article adds that "Nevins confirmed his exchanges after The Wall Street Journal identified him first as the operator of the HelloFLA blog and then as the recipient of the stolen DCCC data", which included documents that "analyzed specific Florida districts, showing how many people were dependable Democratic voters, how many were likely Democratic voters but needed a nudge, how many were frequent voters but not committed and how many were core Republican voters—the kind of data strategists use in planning ad buys and other tactics."

Nevins claims to the WSJ journalists, that "he didn’t use any in his consulting business, which includes running grass-roots-style campaigns for corporations and wealthy landowners seeking to influence local politics."

A Florida Leadership Committee Expenditures PDF names Richardson Partners, Inc. from Boca Raton as a recipient of payments of $10,000 each on 1/28/14, 9/19/14 and 10/07/14, totaling $30,000 for the year. The firm's address is a post office box address in Boca Raton, which matches the P.O. box - 273932 - listed on the Richardson Partners website's contact page.

Nevins and Todd L. Richardson are named in a 2013 Legislative lobbying report pdf for the firm, using that same P.O. box address. On August 9, 2016, the firm was paid $2,000 for consulting fees by Democratic attorney Tony Gerard Bennett, a candidate for Palm Beach County Commissioner, District 1 in the 2016 elections, which is three days before Nevins contacted Guccifer 2.0, as he claimed to the WSJ. Other filings show on October 18 the firm earned over $6,200 for mailers and phone calls for Bennett's unsuccessful campaign.

According to his Twitter profile, Richardson is the "[p]resident of Richardson Partners, a South Florida based public affairs & communications firm". In 2014, a Tampa Bay, Florida third-party political organization tied to Richardson called "Floridians for Integrity in Government" released flyers against a Florida candidate, who allegedly rejected a bid by Todd to handle his city council campaign. "It has received nearly $1.4 million in donations since it started in 2012," and "[m]ost of its recent donations have come from the "Florida Leadership Committee", the Sun-Sentinel reported.

In another 2014 race, Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff lost to Democratic state Sen. Maria Sachs, even though Richardson's group helped pay for advertising that "blanketed the airwaves", since the Florida GOP gave her "no direct support", and she entered the race late. "The Floridians for Integrity in Government political committee got most of its funding from another PAC, the Florida Leadership Committee," Dan Sweeney reported for the Sun-Sentinel on November 11, 2014. "And that PAC, in turn, is closely associated with state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater."

At his LinksTraveler website, Richardson blogged that he "had an opportunity to visit Trump Turnberry two days before the opening round of the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon." He said new renovations "easily puts this legendary links course, on the west coast of Scotland, into one of the top courses in the world."

On January 17, 2017, Richardson Partners collected $2,500 and on February 3, 2017 was paid over $3550 for communications for the successful Scott Singer City Council 2016 campaign in Boca Raton. Singer won his seat unopposed three years ago, and his "challenger" last year, was - according to a Sun-Sentinel editorial endorsing him - "Patti Dervishi, a mostly retired Realtor who rants about development and whose rambling, unfocused answers show that she has not prepared herself for a council race," who was "unqualified."

The firm also earned over $9,000 working for the unsuccessful Joseph JB Bensmihen for Congress campaign in Palm Beach County in 2015.

Florida's Sun-Sentinel confirms that "Nevins, 36, is well known in political circles in South Florida. He has two companies, Chelsea Road Consulting and Painted Dog Productions, and is affiliated with Richardson Partners, a political consultancy in Boca Raton."

"Nevins was the chief of staff for Ellyn Bogdanoff when she was a Republican state senator and state representatives," Anthony Man adds. "He is also the son of former Sun Sentinel political columnist Buddy Nevins."

The LinkedIn resume for Nevins also notes that he was the "Senior Legislative Assistant (Chief of Staff)" for the Florida House of Representatives from May 2004 until November of 2010," in "Tallahassee und Umgebung, Florida."

On November 12, 2016, in response to a question "Could hackers hack each state's voting system so that Donald Trump is elected president?" posted in August, Nevins responded, "The fact that it would be much harder to hack 50 separate state systems, or even enough of them in the key places where it would matter (and not get caught) is reason enough to keep the electoral College."

He added, "If we went with the national popular vote, you would only need to ballot stuff in one sympathetic state to cheat."

On October 20, 2016, Brittany Wallman reported for the Sentinel, "Aaron Nevins, a 35-year-old Republican voter in Broward and former staffer for ex-state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, said he's going to shut down U.S. 441 on Election Day for an automobile race."

Before the shut down was canceled, Nevins told the newspaper he wasn't a supporter of Trump, and that he is "not coordinating with the Republican Party or Roger Stone or any of those people."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Guccifer 2.0 "sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data."

"Nevins said he didn’t have any dealings with Stone about the material," today's Sun-Sentinel article adds. "He said he had a group dinner with Stone three or four years ago and hasn’t seen or spoken to him since."
Nevins said he doesn’t believe he is facing any legal jeopardy over the matter, and he has not been contacted by any investigating authorities.

“The way I look at it, I was acting as a journalist. And my actions would show evidence of that. I was sending it out to journalists, not to political campaigns,” he said. “I, to some extent, felt forced to publish it.”

He said he is not concerned about getting in legal trouble or becoming the subject of an investigation.

“I’m not going to live my life concerned about that. I don’t think that I did anything illegal,” he said. “I think if I held onto the data and if I used it for a political campaign without releasing it or if I just ended up sending it to political operatives around the state we would be having a different conversation, probably from a jail cell.”

Bodyslam defending Gianforte flack Shane Scanlon works for firm tied to Manafort & Trump scandal

(Editor's note: It's late and this is a breaking story, so it's mostly going to be copy-and-paste job from multiple sources. One reason that no other journalists seem to be making this connection is that many of them might rely on Shane Scanlon or other strategists from Mercury for scoops. Mercury claims to be a bi-partisan lobbying and public relations firm, but it obviously leans towards the right. However - and, of course - most D.C. based P.R. firms usually have at least a few agents and clients from the other side of the aisle. Also, I wouldn't trust any of the reporters tied to the "bodyslam" story, especially anyone who works for Buzzfeed.)

The spokesman for a Montana Congressional candidate - who was arrested on election eve after allegedly bodyslamming a reporter for aggressively asking a healthcare related question - works for a lobbying firm that did undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's colleague, Rick Gates.

However, Shane Scanlon wasn't hired by Mercury LLC until last December - five years after the Ukrainian lobbying - and the head of the firm, former Republican Congressman Vin Weber, didn't endorse Trump.

Last night, Alicia Acuna reported for Fox News, "The race to fill Montana's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives took a violent turn Wednesday, and a crew from the Fox News Channel, including myself, witnessed it firsthand."

"As part of our preparation for a story about Thursday's special election to air on 'Special Report with Bret Baier,'...I joined field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey in Bozeman for our scheduled interview with [GOP candidate Greg] Gianforte," but, during "small talk...another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte's face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act," Acuna adds. "Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon."
"At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, 'I'm sick and tired of this!'

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff's deputies.
Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon released a statement blaming the "liberal journalist", full of claims that don't seem to align with the recorded audio, and not even mentioning the body slam: "Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ."

"As for myself and my crew, we are cooperating with local authorities," Acuna added for FOX NEWS. "Gianforte was given a citation for misdemeanor assault and will have to appear in court sometime before June 7."

On December 19, 2016, a press release announced, "Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, announced today the expansion of its Montana presence with the launch of an office in Helena, and the addition of Shane Scanlon, who will serve as Vice President."
"Mr. Scanlon previously worked as a senior advisor and communications director for the Montana Republican Party. He played a leading role in the party's successful 2016 campaign cycle, which saw the MT GOP win four of the five statewide races, giving Republicans control of the Land Board for the first time since 1928. In 2014, Scanlon served as a senior member of the communications team for the Steve Daines for U.S. Senate campaign. That race, identified as one of the most competitive in the nation for the midterms, helped Republicans regain control of the U.S. Senate. Prior to his involvement in Montana politics, Scanlon worked in the U.S. Senate for Senator John Thune (R-SD), holding positions on the Senate Republican Policy Committee and the Senate Republican Conference.

Mercury began its work in Montana in 2014, following the additions of Rehberg and Baker. The firm has worked on a host of core policy issues statewide, including work in healthcare, agriculture, energy & natural resources, telecommunications, education and defense.

Scanlon started his tenure with Mercury December 1st."
"Mercury is a high-stakes, bipartisan public strategy firm," the press release claims. "The firm provides a comprehensive suite of services that includes federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states."

It adds, "Our firm is not just led by top talent — we distinguish ourselves by having senior talent deeply engaged in each project from start to finish, a promise we keep to clients. The firm has an established global presence, with U.S. offices in Washington, DC, New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Tennessee, as well as international offices in London and Mexico City. Mercury is a part of the DAS Group of Companies."

On August 17, 2016, the Associated Press exclusively reported, "Donald Trump’s campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy."

"The revelation, provided to The Associated Press by people directly knowledgeable about the effort, comes at a time when Trump has faced criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin," Jeff Horwitz and Desmond Butler reported. "It also casts new light on the business practices of campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

They note, "Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department" and that "[a] violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000."

"Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.
"That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival," the AP story added. "The lobbying firms continued the work until shortly after Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, during a popular revolt prompted in part by his government’s crackdown on protesters and close ties to Russia."

On May 11, 2017, Bloomberg BNA's Kenneth P. Doyle noted that "two major Washington, D.C., consulting firms, the Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury Public Affairs LLC, filed FARA registrations last month regarding work they did in 2012 related to Ukraine."

Doyle continues, "The registrations followed news reports in recent months that the Ukraine advocacy work was arranged by another former Trump adviser, Paul Manafort, and that the arrangement may have been intended to avoid revealing the involvement of a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, which was seeking to improve its image with U.S. officials."

"Manafort hasn’t registered separately as a foreign agent for the Ukraine-related work, but he was listed in the new FARA disclosure documents filed by Mercury Public Affairs as participating in meetings along with Weber. The two met in 2012 and 2013 with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and others, the disclosure said.

...

The DOJ has brought only seven criminal FARA cases in the last 50 years, according to the DOJ’s inspector general. The department also has the ability to seek injunctive relief to achieve compliance with the law but hasn’t done so since 1991."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Weiner Landlord - Tied To Russian Bank Linked To Putin - Defends Trump And Owns Cybersecurity Firm

(Editor's Note: Former British M.P. Louise Mensch has received a lot of attention for controversial reporting on Trump, Russia, and the latest Weiner sexting scandal. My last story - which I'm still updating - explores hoax claims, political dirty trick allegations, and sketchy reporting on the allegations that Weiner sexted a teen, and how Hillary Clinton emails with Huma Abedin ended up on Weiner's computer. This article isn't intended as a "conspiracy theory" article, with preconceived notions about how it may conclude. It's, essentially, what I've been reporting on since the first Weinergate story broke in May of 2011. The rest of the media dropped that story, even though the source for the surveillance on Weiner - which included the use of forged documents, emails and Direct Messages by "fake teens" - has never been outed, and I've been falsely persecuted and accused of insane crimes for refusing to drop this investigation. My paypal account is ronbrynaert@yahoo.com, if you can help a journalist who reports fairly on Trump & Clinton, but is persecuted and blacklisted.)

While American Jewish Congress (AJC) chairman Jack Rosen is often referred to as a friend of the Clintons and other Democrats, the real estate tycoon also has a long history with many Republicans, as well.

As Haaretz reported in 2012, "Obama isn’t the first U.S. president Rosen has been friendly with. He was close to his predecessor, George W. Bush, as well. Rosen appreciated Bush’s friendship toward Israel and contributed a reported $100,000 to his 2004 campaign."

Rosen has many friends, including "former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, now President Putin’s Chief of Staff," which Haaretz noted.

However, Ivanov was "unexpectedly fired" by Putin, the New York Times reported last August. "Ivanov was the most recent casualty in what seemed to be an orchestrated plan by Mr. Putin, 63, to install a new generation of 'servants' to replace his contemporaries, who might still have had the standing to occasionally question his decisions." But Ivanov is reportedly still a special envoy for transportation and the environment.

Reporting for NBC News on April 18, 2017, Robert Windrem revealed that Ivanov attended a "December 2015 dinner celebrating the 10th birthday of Russian TV network RT," where "President Vladimir Putin and a host of Russian luminaries toasted a state-backed news channel that U.S. intelligence calls a Kremlin mouthpiece."

"And next to Putin at the head table, in the seat of honor, was an American," Windrem writes. "Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would later become Donald Trump's national security adviser, was already advising Trump's presidential campaign when he was paid $45,000 to speak at the gala."

The breaking NBC News report continues, "Sergey Ivanov, then Putin's chief of staff, sat directly across the table from Flynn. A former KGB general who at one point ran KGB operations in Africa, he has also served as Russian defense minister and deputy prime minister. Ivanov had been under U.S. and European sanctions for a year and a half by the date of the dinner."

More from the 2012 Haaretz interview with Weiner's landlord: "Rosen believes Israel should recognize that the United States is not a solo player on the world stage anymore and engage more actively with Russia, China, India and multilateral organizations, especially the UN. He says the same about Jewish communities around the world, noting that they are in a far better position to influence their countries’ leaders. 'They can visit Putin,' he says of the Russian Jewish community, “and they will have much greater impact than we Americans."

"Rosen has partnered with Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, who, according to press reports, is investing $1 billion in American real estate through Rosen’s company ‏(and who denies press reports that his Alfa-Bank is dealing with Iran‏)," the article added.

On October 31, 2016, Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers reported for The New York Times, "In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin."

The story continued: "F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts."

"On May 7, 2012, a new Statement of Organization was filed by Friends of Weiner which changed the committee's email address to Weiner's former campaign finance director Dolev Azaria," I reported five years ago. "The old address for Friends of Weiner was also changed from 1 ASCAN AVENUE #31 FOREST HILLS, NY 11375, as the 2007 Statement of Organization indicated, to 254 PARK AVE SOUTH SUITE 12A NEW YORK, NY 10010."

A few months later, The New York Post reported, "Anthony Weiner’s wife not only took him back, she took him back in style — moving with the shamed pol into a luxurious, $3.3 million Manhattan pad owned by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor, The Post has learned."

"After quitting his Queens House seat amid a notorious sexting scandal, Weiner and beautiful, brainy spouse Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, landed in the sprawling, 12th-floor Park Avenue trophy residence owned by Rosen Partners LLC, which is headed by close Clinton pal Jack Rosen, records show," the Post added.

The Rosen Partners LLC website, refers to cybersecurity as an industry it's involved with, and that the firm "focuses on domestic and international investments where value can be added by leveraging capital, global networks and expert knowledge."

"While the primary focus is real estate, we seek to identify unique opportunities worldwide," it adds.

At Vanity Fair, William D. Cohan reported on January 6, 2016, "Thanks to the generosity of Jack Rosen, a longtime Clinton supporter and New York developer, the couple moved into a sunlit, 12th-floor, 2,120-square-foot, four-bedroom apartment in one of Rosen’s buildings, at 254 Park Avenue South. The monthly rent has been estimated to have been at least $12,000. (In an interview, Rosen says the apartment was made available to the couple in part because of his relationship with the Clintons and they paid a market rental rate.) How Weiner and Abedin could afford the rent had the press wondering, although Weiner had started a consulting firm, Woolf Weiner Associates. The couple reported a combined income of $496,000 for 2012."

On October 9, 2015, Emily Opilo reported, "A security company financially backed by a New York City developer and major Democratic campaign donor was about to get a no-bid contract to assess Allentown's computer systems when the FBI raided City Hall in July, according to city emails recently obtained by The Morning Call through a Right to Know request."

"The company — referred to in emails as Ciiber also known as Five C — is financially backed by Jack Rosen, a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama who has secured more than $880,000 for federal candidates since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C. Rosen and his family collectively were among the top donors to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's now-suspended U.S. Senate campaign," Opilo added.

Even though, "Rosen, his son Jordan Rosen and Five C are also among the more than two dozen people and businesses listed on an FBI subpoena served at Allentown City Hall on July 2 in a raid tied to a Philadelphia-based grand jury investigation," Opilo noted, "The Rosens have not been accused of any wrongdoing."

"Ciiber, a New York City-based security firm with Israeli principals, was scheduled to assess Allentown's security cameras, police wireless network and vehicle tracking systems the week of July 27-31, the emails stated," the story added.

In a follow-up article published November 13 ,2015, Opilo reported, "The first contract scrapped in the wake of an FBI investigation was on July 16 when Allentown canceled a no-bid contract with Ciiber, formerly Five C, a New York City-based security company with Israeli principals. [City solicitor Susan Ellis] Wild has said that the contract was canceled because Ciiber failed to provide proof of liability insurance to the city."

"Neither the Rosens nor Ciiber have been charged or accused of wrongdoing," Opilo added, again.

At Tech Dirt, Tim Cushing recently wrote, "Late last year, a security researcher noticed what was believed to be an unusual amount of network traffic between Donald Trump's server and a Russian bank. A lot of bad reporting followed -- some it aided by the security researcher's conclusions -- which attempted to tie some spikes in spam to Trump's supposed collusion with the Russians."

While Cushing rejects this as a "whole lot of nothing" (which is related to stories that former British M.P. Louise Mensch has infamously been blogging about since last fall), he adds, "The other party that can't let go of this conspiracy theory is the Russian bank's lawyers. CyberScoop reports Alfa Bank's lawyers have issued legal threats to a security researcher behind the Trump-Russia story."

"In a document obtained by CyberScoop, Alfa Bank notified Indiana University computer researcher L. Jean Camp that it’s pursuing 'all available options' after Camp’s research suggested the bank engaged in some form of communication with the Trump Organization, Washington-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis sent the letter on the bank’s behalf on March 17," CyberScoop noted, as Cushing blogged.

Cushing adds, "Alfa Bank is considering, among other things, using one of our nation's most easily-abused laws to pursue legal action against Camp for 'promoting an unwarranted investigation' into the bank's ties to Donald Trump. The CFAA is cited as one route the bank may take towards making Camp pay for besmirching the reputation of the Russian bank.

DEVELOPING....

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sydney Leathers Role 'Orchestrating' 2016 Weiner Sexting Scandal

(5/13/17 update: As I reported, Sydney Leathers told Inside Edition last October, "When I helped the 15-year-old get her story out there, it wasn't something I expected to see with the FBI talking about Hillary's emails again. I didn't think any of that would be intertwined."

Two days ago, award-winning journalist Peter Elkind reported for The New Yorker and ProPublica, that Leathers told him "that the teen-ager wanted to go public, but [she] urged her to call the police instead." He added, "After it became clear that the teen-ager was determined to tell her story, Leathers said she shifted to 'damage control.'"

Elkind's story continues: "'How can I at least make you some money?' she said she asked the teen-ager. 'I basically said, ‘The only way you should do this is if they pay you.’ Certain outlets will pay you to talk, and I had made deals with a lot of them.' Leathers's agent alerted dailymail.com, the online version of a British tabloid with which she’d previously done business. Both Leathers and the girl received a sizable fee; the teen’s father, an attorney, helped negotiate her payment."

Leathers immediately began bashing Elkind on Twitter, before his story was published. She tweeted, "Everyone beware of @peterelkind, the least ethical journalist I've ever encountered. Don't trust him not to run info given off the record."

Yesterday, in a Daily Caller story called "EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Weiner Flame Furious About Lies In Media Reports," Leathers told Betsy Rothstein, "There’s a quote attributed to me that I never said to the girl, none of the stuff about deals with the Daily Mail should’ve been in there, they left out that I had my therapist contact CPS because it didn’t fit their narrative."

"The quote attributed to me about making the teen some money was fake," Leathers argues. "I never said that to her."

Rothstein tweeted about her story, "FAKE NEWS ALERT: Weiner's ex @sydneyelainexo gets screwed over by the media and spills about it." Then, Leathers tweeted,"lol @ @peterelkind, @ProPublica, & @NewYorker for thinking I wouldn't call them out on their shitty, unethical 'journalism.'"

Then, as seen in the following screenshot, Leathers began viciously bashing Elkind on Twitter, calling him "an old cunt" and "a nasty old bastard."




Elkind tweeted, "For the record: There are many falsehoods in your tweets and your claims to @DailyCaller, which I can readily prove, if necessary."

Both Rothstein and Leathers blast the New Yorker over fact-checking, but there are many facts wrong in the Daily Caller story. For instance, Leathers states, "In the past the New Yorker had identified me as a poker player from Vegas (someone from Weiner’s first scandal,) so I should’ve known they wouldn’t get their story right," but that other woman was a blackjack dealer, not a poker player. And I couldn't find any evidence that it ever even happened, unless Leathers mixed up the New Yorker with another media outlet.

Also, Rothstein reports, "In an exclusive interview with The Mirror, Leathers said she had her therapist call Child Protective Services," and adds, "It’s a fact that at least two publications — The New Yorker and ProPublica, which ran identical stories — conveniently left out in their reports on the matter." But that's not an established fact since no one seems to have fact-checked it, it's only hearsay, and Leathers gave that exclusive to the Daily Mail, not The Mirror.

Perhaps performing "damage control" for herself, Leathers also spoke to Page Six, the New York Post gossip column: "It was a pretty awful situation to be placed in the middle of. I felt a lot of pressure to help this kid I don’t even know. I didn’t know what to do other than to contact [child-protective services], and when that failed, I felt pretty helpless."

After bragging that she helped get the teen's story out there, Leathers isn't being very clear, consistent or honest about what exactly she did do, when she allegedly - in her own words - inadvertently helped Trump defeat Clinton. Since Leathers now claims, "in reality, I did all I could to help this kid without getting press involved," and "that was the last thing I wanted."

(5/2/17 update: In an extremely explicit July 2014 Adult DVD Talk interview about her porn work, Sydney Leathers complained that after she tipped off a gossip blog in July of 2013 about her sexting with former Congressman Anthony Weiner - when he was running for Mayor of NYC - that the political website Buzzfeed actually "outed" her and she feared "it would ruin [her] life."

"The owner of the blog actually did protect my anonymity and didn’t tell who I us but it was another website, Buzzfeed, that outed my identity and linked me to Anthony," Leathers said. "In the beginning, I was getting ready to go back to school and, in my mind, I was thinking about school and I didn’t want my name or face associated with it because I thought it would ruin my life. I really didn’t want to be a part of it and I guess I was a little naïve that I could do that anonymously and not be outed."

As noted in the last update, the alleged teen sexter that Sydney Leathers takes credit for "helping to get her story out there," attacked the media for trying to out her in an exclusive interview with Buzzfeed.

On May 28, 2011, Ben Smith shared a byline with Jonathan Allen at Politico to report, "Rep. Anthony Weiner says social networking identity hacking is to blame for the lewd material that a conservative news website reported was sent from his Twitter and yfrog handles to an unidentified woman in Seattle." The article also noted, "Weiner’s office — generally one of the most press friendly around — did not respond to a request for comment on whether he has contacted federal authorities to report the alleged cyber-attack, which could fall under laws prohibiting cyberhacking and impersonating federal officials."

The next day, Ben Smith applauded a statement released by Gennette Nicole Cordova - the "unidentified woman in Seattle" who actually used everything but her last name in the handle Weiner tweeted - for its "comprehensiveness and force that make it quite effective", and lamented that she had been "dragged into a new-media maelstrom." Cordova complained that her "life has been seriously impacted by speculation and faulty allegations," and that her "reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts."

Even though Cordova used her name as a byline in the statement published by the New York Daily News, Smith left her name out of his column and referred to her as the "addressee of the lewd tweet from Anthony Weiner's account." Smith also appeared to be suggesting that Weiner could have been hacked, which turned into a mostly partisan debate, at the time, before Weiner even admitted sending the underwear pic to Cordova.

Seven months later, Ben Smith became editor in chief at Buzzfeed, the New York Times reported.)


(4/26/17 update: Buzzfeed's David Mack is reportedly the only other journalist who has met the Gaston County, North Carolina teen who allegedly sexted with former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Among other oddities, the November 2nd, 2016 article doesn't really explain why this exclusive doesn't break the nondisclosure agreement her father told other journalists the family signed with The Daily Mail; why it would possibly matter if FBI agents interviewed the teen before or after Comey's letter; and why she would speak to Mack, instead of whatever other REPORTER she claims called her on October 28th.

Mack doesn't seem to have scored many exclusives in his Buzzfeed reporting, but an article he wrote in August of 2015, takes place in the same county - perhaps, the same town - and also involves a family that didn't want it's name released; "undue" social media attention; hoax claims; photos and video of a tall, skinny girl; plus, the lack of a local police department investigation.

The biggest mystery surrounding this teenage girl and her father still probably remains why Clinton supporters would give their exclusive to the sketchy conservative UK tabloid Daily Mail, in the first place. Especially since Daily Mail reporter Alana Goodman has a long history of anti-Clinton reporting, which includes a hit piece that names 20 "possible victims of a vast Clinton conspiracy", and asks "WHO ELSE IS ON THE CLINTON DEATH LIST?")


(4/17/17 update: On August 30, 2016, I reported for The Daily Caller: "A New York Times article about the latest sexting scandal involving disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner was mysteriously scrubbed late Monday night, removing a quote from the city agency that probes suspected child abuse or neglect. Another quote from a NYC professor noting 'investigations rarely are done on the privileged side of town' was also removed."

According to NewsDiffs, on August 29, 2016 at 3:29 PM EDT, the following line was also stricken from the article credited to Amy C. Chozick and Patrick Healy: "Campaign officials had braced for fresh revelations about Mr. Weiner after the Post reported earlier this month that a Republican had baited Mr. Weiner into a sexual online chat."

As noted below, last month, Alana Goodman reported for the Daily Mail: "We were first alerted in early August that Anthony Weiner, whose sexting history was well known, had been sexting which was said to be an unnamed woman. While working on this investigation, the New York Post revealed on August 29 his sexting relationship with a 40-something divorcee. On the day of that revelation, a source disclosed to DailyMail.com that the woman in the relationship DailyMail.com was investigating was a different person to the one revealed by the New York Post."

"On August 30 Huma Abedin announced her separation from Weiner, and that day a source told DailyMail.com the woman we were investigating was in fact an underage girl," Goodman added.)


In three different years, former New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner was hit with reports that he had been sexting younger women, while married to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's longtime aide, Huma Abedin. Even before he accidentally publicly sent his infamous underwear tweet to a Seattle student in May of 2011, Breitbart News had already been alerted by a still unknown source that Weiner was sexting. The story behind how these related events were reported, and or leaked, has a few twists and turns, and may prove to be bumpy for some of its travelers, depending on exactly what federal agents are looking at in multiple probes.

"But no one could have guessed that Sydney Leathers and Anthony Weiner would come back to haunt the 2016 presidential election," former award-winning adult film actress Aurora Snow reported for the Daily Beast on November 19, 2016. That was three years after Leathers - like every single other sexter or female in the spotlight after Weinergate - had bizarre dealings with the media, and the strange way that the FBI has handled events since then.

(Editor's Note: I certainly did predict Anthony Weiner would haunt the 2016 presidential election, and I've been probing hackers, feds, security firms, sketchy journos, fake news, Russia propaganda, WikiLeaks, Trump, Clintons and related political dirty tricks since June of 2011, when I first started getting harassed reporting on Weinergate. The original name for this blog was "Hackers and Fake News", when I launched it in July of 2011.)

Snow added, "Leathers played a pivotal role in orchestrating the shocking Daily Mail story back in September revealing how Weiner had been sexting a 15-year-old girl—a development that put the ex-politician under federal investigation and reopened the FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails."

Last September, The NY Daily News reported the teen's father claimed that a "nondisclosure agreement [had been] reached by the family with the Daily Mail," however, it's unknown if this included a payment of some sort. The Daily Mail's Goodman has ignored multiple requests on Twitter regarding whether or not Sydney Leathers was paid for her role in "orchestrating" the scandal, which many believe may have cost Hillary Clinton some votes in the 2016 presidential election.

When asked if Leathers was paid for Snow's Daily Beast story, Aurora told me on Twitter, "worry not, in that regard she's pure 😉 there was no payment for the interview."

(4/17 Editor's Note: This article is far from finished, and the following twenty tweets that I made on April 6th at my @RonBryn twitter account will be transformed into a more readable story, as I add more updates.)



01. 7/26/16 Anthony Weiner's odd DNC exclusive: "You don't think I care about Fox 5, here's what I got for you..."





02. 7/26/16 Weiner brags he'd come out of "retirement" & beat @DonaldJTrumpJr like 'rented mule' in a NYC mayor race

Anthony Weiner and Trumps take swipes at each other

03. Without trying to inject opinion, I don't think anyone - including Weiner - realistically thinks he'd be able to run for NYC mayor again.

04. 7/26/16: @realDonaldTrump & @DonaldJTrumpJr mock Weiner who used DNC to promote himself with far-fetched scenario

Anthony Weiner and Trumps take swipes at each other

05. 8/1/16: Alleged Clinton supporter Sydney Leathers calls Weiner "delusional narcissist" in Daily Mail exclusive

EXCLUSIVE: 'He's a delusional narcissist and the only job he's qualified for is dog catcher!' Anthony Weiner's sexting partner Sydney Leathers lashes out at Huma's husband after he teases a NYC mayoral run

06. 8/11/16 Sydney Leathers falsely claims Weiner admitted he had at least 6 sexting partners including 1 that was 17

Two Thumbs Down on Weiner Doc

07. Delaware police cleared Weiner in 2011, who exchanged 5 DMs but didn't sext 17-year-old; Patterico posted hacked DMs to smear him, however (Editor's Note: I wrongly tweeted Vermont, instead of Delaware)

08. 8/11/16 Sydney Leathers claims a "woman" who was currently sexting Weiner recently reached out to her for advice.

Two Thumbs Down on Weiner Doc

09. 8/11/16 Alana Goodman @DailyMail jumps on Leathers "Weiner" review to note claim "STILL talking to cyber hookups"

'I am certain his behavior continues to this day': Anthony Weiner's sexting partner Sydney Leathers claims the disgraced politician is STILL talking to cyber hookups

10. 8/13/16 NY Post reports Weiner was catfished by "dude". He uses same exact "Nikki" that fake teen used in 2011.

Anthony Weiner caught in new flirty online chat

11. 8/28/16 NY Post reports, "Anthony Weiner sexted busty brunette while his son was in bed with him"

Anthony Weiner sexted busty brunette while his son was in bed with him

12. 3/21/17 Bashing @LouiseMensch. Alana Goodman reports, "We were 1st alerted in early August" Weiner sexting woman

EXCLUSIVE: Serious questions over credibility of former UK lawmaker who sparked claim that Obama spied on Trump after her latest conspiracy theory is revealed as a 'farrago of fantasy and nonsense'

13. 8/29/16 Source allegedly tells Daily Mail that woman it's probing is a different person than revealed by NY Post

EXCLUSIVE: Serious questions over credibility of former UK lawmaker who sparked claim that Obama spied on Trump after her latest conspiracy theory is revealed as a 'farrago of fantasy and nonsense'

14. 8/30/16 Abedin dumps Weiner. Daily Mail source allegedly says woman it's probing is "in fact an underage girl"

EXCLUSIVE: Serious questions over credibility of former UK lawmaker who sparked claim that Obama spied on Trump after her latest conspiracy theory is revealed as a 'farrago of fantasy and nonsense'

15. 9/1/16 Daily Mail conducts an on-camera interview with father and 15-year-old in hotel...before fact checking

EXCLUSIVE: Serious questions over credibility of former UK lawmaker who sparked claim that Obama spied on Trump after her latest conspiracy theory is revealed as a 'farrago of fantasy and nonsense'

16. 9/21/16 Alana Goodman breaks sensational exclusive & refers to teen as a "troubled 15-year-old girl" in headline

EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Weiner carried on a months-long online sexual relationship with a troubled 15-year-old girl telling her she made him 'hard,' asking her to dress up in 'school-girl' outfits and pressing her to engage in 'rape fantasies'

17. 9/22/16 Teen's father refers to Weiner as "monster" in Alana Goodman exclusive after Weiner claims he got hoaxed

EXCLUSIVE: 'He's a monster!' Father of 15-year-old who had an online sexting relationship with Anthony Weiner outraged after disgraced congressman discloses his daughter's identity to the media

18. 9/23/16 Alana Goodman exclusive: Leathers claims 15-year-old reached out over Facebook in May to ask for advice

EXCLUSIVE: 'There is no line for him' - Anthony Weiner's former sexting partner Sydney Leathers calls the ex-congressman 'predatory' after his explicit messages to 15-year-old girl are revealed

19. 11/19/16: @MissAuroraSnow @DailyBeast: "Leathers played pivotal role orchestrating shocking Daily Mail story"

Porn Star Sydney Leathers Opens Up: ‘I’m Sorry’ for Helping Elect Donald Trump

20. 3/16/17: After I ask questions on Twitter, Sydney Leathers suggests she only talks to reporters if she gets paid

Sydney Leathers‏ @sydneyelainexo: I feel the same way about reporters as I do findom subs: if you're not paying me I'm not going to talk to you 🙃

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump Tweeted Link To Blog That Published Articles By Police Protest Critic Facing 21-Count Indictment

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been criticized for not vetting sources he links to on Twitter, and on Sunday night he tweeted a link to a blog just days after one of its "former" contributors was hit with a 21-count indictment.

On August 3rd, 36-year-old Michael Aaron Strickland was accused by an Oregan Grand Jury of committing 10 counts each related to menacing (misdemeanors) and unlawful use of a weapon (Class C felonies) plus an additional disorderly conduct charge, after pulling a gun against Portland protesters on July 7, 2016 (PDF indictment link). A judge set his bond at $250,000 and Strickland paid 10 percent and remains free, at least until his arraignment this Friday.

Multnomah County prosecutor Katie Molina stated that Strickland was brandishing a Glock 26 with an extended clip, which "he swept at chest level multiple times in front of Don't Shoot PDX protesters and a plain-clothed Portland police officer, The Oregonian reported.

The protests were against police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and Strickland was reportedly armed because he "was jumped by an anti-gun activist who broke his arm in three places at an anti-Second Amendment event," Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft explained on July 10th.

Even though Gateway Pundit published a story by Strickland on July 2nd, Hoft referred to him as "a former contributor" in his blog post titled, "Conservative Activist Jailed After Pulling Gun on Gang of Thugs Trying to Kick His A$$."

Hoft noted that Strickland "has a concealed carry permit in Oregon and can legally carry a weapon." He also argued that Strickland "was being threatened and he pulled the gun on his would-be assailants," but the videos don't really seem to support that version of events. Journalists or bloggers that carry weapons, even in warzones, are generally frowned upon, since it may put other unarmed reporters at risk of being attacked or falsely arrested as spies.

Trump tweeted "ICYMI: Will Media Apologize to Trump?" Sunday night, and linked to a story by Kristinn Taylor, an activist and journalist, who has also had stories published at Free Republic and Breitbart News. Even though Taylor tends to focus on protests, she hasn't tweeted about Strickland's arrest, and didn't respond to a request for a comment to see if she thinks he was wrongly arrested.

The Republican presidential candidate has been sharply criticized for tweeting links to white supremacists and other sketchy sources, but his campaign has argued that he shouldn't be considered guilty of association just for not closely vetting his sources, which sometimes contain misinfo.

But both sides constantly politicize every police shooting or incidence of violence at counter rallies. Even deranged mass shooters are used as political wedges. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Trump have also accused each other of encouraging ISIS terrorists with their statements against each other in the extremely heated 2016 presidential race.