Posted in News Blog: Current Events

‘Coup has started,’ whistleblower’s attorney said in 2017 on Twitter of President Trump’s Impeachment!

DNC Coup against President Trump starting in 2016

One of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a “coup has started” and that “impeachment will follow ultimately.”

July 2017, Zaid remarked, “I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president.” Also that month, Zaid tweeted, “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.”

Coup against Trump and Impeachment

Amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid assured his Twitter followers that “as one falls, two more will take their place,” apparently referring to Trump administration employees who defy the White House. Zaid promised that the “coup” would occur in “many steps.”

The tweets, which came shortly after President Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates for failing to defend federal laws in court, are likely to fuel Republican concerns that the anonymous whistleblower’s complaint is tainted with partisanship. Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader, which is the subject of the complaint, occurred in July 2019.

“The whistleblower’s lawyer gave away the game,” the Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, told Fox News. “It was always the Democrats’ plan to stage a coup and impeach President Trump and all they ever needed was the right scheme. They whiffed on Mueller so now they’ve settled on the perfectly fine Ukraine phone call. This proves this was orchestrated from the beginning.”

Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats and partisans in the intelligence community of effectively plotting a coup against him, through selective leaks and lengthy investigations.

“45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I’ll be old, but will be worth the wait,” Zaid wrote in June 2017.

He emphasized his interest in impeachment in a variety of other posts.

“Johnson (1868), Nixon (1973), Clinton (1998) impeachment hearings. Next up @realDonaldTrump (2017),” he said in May.

Fox News has previously reported on social media posts by Zaid that highlighted what appeared to be open animus toward the president.

Although Zaid described Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as a “mature professional,” and circulated articles that touted the reliability of the largely discredited Steele dossier used by the FBI to surveil a former member of Trump’s campaign, Zaid has repeatedly unloaded on the president in no uncertain terms.

“I’m not a Trump fan,” Zaid said on a podcast last year. “I go out of my way on Twitter to say ‘#Resistance.’ It’s not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don’t think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly.” (Zaid also boasted that he has sued “every” president since 1993, and pursues “them all,” regardless of party affiliation.)

Also in the podcast, Zaid acknowledged that he had been fishing for plaintiffs to launch a lawsuit concerning the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., alleging unfair competition by the president and his associates.

“The unfair competition becomes, when Donald Trump became president, he has exploited his use of the presidency, of the Oval Office. … to send business to the hotel. … We identified this as a cause of action, and we were looking for a plaintiff, and we finally found this one restaurant that was willing,” Zaid admitted. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.

Zaid also had something of an open casting call for whistleblowers on Twitter as Trump took office, writing that CIA employees should “come to” his law firm “to lawfully challenge” the new president.

Zaid publicly requested that celebrities Debra Messing, Nancy Sinatra, Cher and Rob Reiner help promote his whistleblower law firm.

“@cher please check out our new whistleblower page,” Zaid wrote in one tweet, which garnered no response from the famed singer.

In February, Zaid escalated his pitch to Reiner, asserting that “we have a chance to depose” Trump in court. At one point last year, Zaid even pitched his services to Michael Avenatti, after the now-embattled attorney mentioned that he was “now representing whistleblowers within ICE.”

Another of the whistleblower’s attorneys, Andrew Bakaj, tweeted in August 2017 that Trump should be removed under the 25th Amendment, which applies to incapacitated presidents.

The posts have surfaced as Republicans demand that the anonymous whistleblower come forward and testify. On Sunday, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, rejected an offer from Zaid for the whistleblower to anonymously provide written answers to GOP questions.

“Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower,” Jordan said. “You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it.”

Zaid acknowledged in a statement in October that his client “has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties” — but insisted that the contact involved the politicians’ roles as “elected officials – not as candidates.”

His abrupt disclosure came shortly after The Washington Examiner reported that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower worked “or had some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic presidential candidates, citing three sources familiar with Atkinson’s interview with lawmakers last month.

Zaid and the other whistleblower attorneys did assert that the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party” — leaving open the possibility that the whistleblower did advise a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate prior to his or her run for office.

“The whistleblower is not the story,” the attorneys said. “To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources. For that reason, the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant.”

But Republicans have challenged that claim, noting that various statements in the whistleblower claim have seemingly proved inaccurate. For example, the whistleblower complaint stated that Trump made a “specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike” — a request that does not appear in the declassified transcript of the call released by the Trump administration. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike, but did not demand the server.

Meanwhile, Democrats on Wednesday released a transcript of testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor in which he claimed to have a “clear understanding” that  Trump wanted to leverage military aid to Ukraine in return for investigations that could benefit him politically — while acknowledging he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of “what was in the president’s mind.”

“That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation,” Taylor said.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT

Taylor is a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine who has emerged as a key figure of interest in the Trump impeachment inquiry, having alleged a quid pro quo was at play despite White House denials.

The transcript shows that Taylor testified he had been told by other officials that the White House was willing to hold up both military aid and a prospective White House meeting with Ukraine’s president to extract a public announcement from Kiev that probes related to election interference and a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son were underway.

“Coup has started. … We will get rid of him.”—

Whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid, in 2017

“That’s what Ambassador Sondland said,”

Taylor said, referring to E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland. “He said that they were linked. They were linked.”

But Republicans have countered that Taylor did not have primary knowledge regarding the key events in question, but rather based his testimony off conversations with others.

In one exchange between GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin and Taylor during his deposition, Taylor was asked whether he had any firsthand knowledge of Trump conditioning an investigation into the 2016 election and the Bidens on military aid.

Taylor said he did not speak to the president, or have any direct communication with the president regarding the requests for investigations. Instead, he said he was basing much of his testimony on what former United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and Sondland told him.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report. Read Full Story Here

Posted in News Blog: Current Events

DEEP STATE UPDATE: Newly Released Info on Hundreds of Child Sex Predators were Convicted of Child Sex Crimes

hundreds of sex crime predators arrested

Hundreds Charged Worldwide In The Takedown Of The Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website Funded By Bitcoin

WASHINGTON – Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action.

Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged. 

Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, and Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these are unthinkable,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. “Sadly, advances in technology have enabled child predators to hide behind the dark web and cryptocurrency to further their criminal activity. However, today’s indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”

“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”

“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”

“Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”

According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind. The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.

Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions. This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. In fact, the site itself boasted over one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users. Each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website. An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users.

The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world. The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.

In the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, the operation has led to the execution of five search warrants and eight arrests of individuals who both conspired with the administrator of the site and were themselves, users of the website. Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide subsequent to the execution of search warrants.

Amongst the sites users charged are:

  • Charles Wunderlich, 34, of Hot Springs, California, was charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Brian James LaPrath, 34, of San Diego, California, was arrested in the District of Columbia, for international money laundering; and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release;
  • Ernest Wagner, 70, of Federal Way, Washington, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Vincent Galarzo, 28, of Glendale, New York, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Nicholas Stengel, 45, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and money laundering and was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release;
  • Eryk Mark Chamberlin, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
  • Jairo Flores, 30, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to receipt and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Billy Penaloza, 29, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to possession and receipt of child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2019;
  • Michael Armstrong, 35, of Randolph, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts, to receipt and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a future date;
  • Al Ramadhanu Soedomo, 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to serve 12 months and one day followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Phillip Sungmin Hong, 24, of Sharon, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to receipt and possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
  • Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Texas to possession of prepubescent child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
  • Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, a former HSI special agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas. Gratkowski pleaded guilty to the indictment charging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography. Gratkowski was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to seven victims and a $10,000 assessment;
  • Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas, on charges of sexual exploitation of children/minors, production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Whipple remains in custody awaiting trial in San Antonio;
  • Michael Lawson, 36, of Midland, Georgia, was arrested in the Middle District of Georgia on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release following his plea to a superseding information charging him with one count of receipt of child pornography;
  • Kevin Christopher Eagan, 39, of Brookhaven, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in the Northern District of Georgia;
  • Casey Santioius Head, 37, of Griffin, Georgia, was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia for distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography;
  • Andrew C. Chu, 28, of Garwood, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with receipt of child pornography. Those charges remain pending;
  • Nader Hamdi Ahmed, 29 of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested in the District of New Jersey, for sexual exploitation or other abuse of children. Ahmed pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1, 2019;
  • Jeffrey Lee Harris, 32, of Pickens, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in the District of South Carolina for producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography;
  • Laine Ormand Clark Jr., 27, of Conway, South Carolina, was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court in South Carolina Division for sexual possession of child pornography;
  • Jack R. Dove III, 38, of Lakeland, Florida, was arrested in the Middle District of Florida for knowingly receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
  • Michael Matthew White, 39, of Miami Beach, Florida, was arrested in the Southern District of Florida for coercion and enticement;
  • Nikolas Bennion Bradshaw, 24, of Bountiful, Utah, was arrested in the State of Utah, and charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and was sentenced to time served with 91 days in jail followed by probation;
  • Michael Don Gibbs, 37, of Holladay, Utah, was charged in the District of Utah with receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography;
  • Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution;
  • Mark Lindsay Rohrer, 38, of West Hartford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Eugene Edward Jung, 47, of San Francisco, California, was indicted in the Northern District of California on possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography;
  • James Daosaeng, 25, of Springdale, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the Western District of Arkansas (Fayetteville) to serve 97 months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release;
  • Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and indicted in Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas for pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor;
  • Don Edward Pannell, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana for receipt of child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
  • Ryan Thomas Carver, 29, of Huntsville, Alabama, was arrested and charged under Alabama State Law. He was charged federally in the Northern District of Alabama with possession of child pornography. His case is pending in Huntsville, Alabama;
  • Andrew Buckley, 28, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 10 offences in the UK of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme and prohibited images and possession of a class A drug. He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for the distribution of indecent images and possession of class A drugs. Buckley is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order;
  • Kyle Fox, 26, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 22 counts including rape, sexual assault, and sharing indecent images, and was sentenced to serve 22 years in prison; and
  • Mohammed Almaker, 26, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), charged with KSA Law involving the endangerment of children. He is awaiting judicial proceedings in furtherance of criminal charges.

A forfeiture complaint was also unsealed today. The complaint alleges that law enforcement was able to trace payments of bitcoin to the Darknet site by following the flow of funds on the blockchain. The virtual currency accounts identified in the complaint were allegedly used by 24 individuals in five countries to fund the website and promote the exploitation of children. The forfeiture complaint seeks to recover these funds and, ultimately through the restoration process, return the illicit funds to victims of the crime.