“Giuliani set to make paid appearance at Kremlin-backed conference that includes Putin” (Updated to include NRA bribing Trump content)

GRIFTERS, THE, Eddie Jones, John Cusack, 1990

No joke (as if). In the WAPO but can’t link on my phone.

. . . Link

You couldn’t pay me enough to be on that plane.

Some highlights:

“[Rudy is] set to appear as a paid speaker at a Kremlin-backed conference in Armenia on Tuesday — an event expected to include the participation of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and other top Russian officials…. According to an agenda for the event posted online, Giuliani is set to participate in a panel led by Sergey Glazyev, a longtime Putin adviser who has been under U.S. sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine five years ago. Giuliani’s decision to take part in the conference astounded national security experts.

The former New York mayor confirmed he will be paid for his appearance but declined to say how much he would receive or which group or person will foot the bill….

Current and former White House aides said there is internal exasperation with Giuliani’s behavior and the fact that he does not clear his media appearances or paid speeches with the administration…”

. . . Well that didn’t go over too well with his boss I guess. Apparently Putin doesn’t want this kind of publicity:

GIULIANI texts me, “Not going,” when asked about the Washington Post report about his planned appearance at a reportedly Kremlin-linked event for a speech.

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 27, 2019

My favorite part of this is how they had him on a panel that might as well have been entitled Paying Off a Political Asset With No Discernible Knowledge of the Putative Topic:

Earlier in the day, Giuliani is set to appear on a panel titled “Digital financial technologies — new opportunities for integrating payment systems of the Eurasian continent in transport logistics.”

. . . and in less time than it takes to find a lost shaker of salt, another massive grift is revealed:

President Trump met Friday with National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre to discuss how the gun rights organization could possibly provide financial assistance to help defend the president as he faces a scandal, The New York Times reported Friday, citing two people familiar with the situation. 

An administration official confirmed to The Hill that Trump and LaPierre met, but did not say what they discussed.

The Times reported that it was not clear who initiated the meeting, but that in it, LaPierre requested that the White House “stop the games” on gun control legislation.

Following mass shootings earlier this year, Trump has floated various possible gun legislation measures. According to the Times, LaPierre has attempted to sway Trump against background check measures the president said he could support. 

Just in from the WSJ (h/t UNE):

“National Rifle Association funds paid for lodging and travel of Russian nationals throughout 2015 and 2016, as part of a relationship that allowed foreign actors looking to influence the U.S. election, including now-convicted Maria Butina, to infiltrate the gun-rights group, a new report asserts.

The report, released Friday by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, also says NRA leaders traveled to Moscow in December 2015 partly on the NRA’s dime, even though some went there to pursue their own personal business opportunities. This raises questions, the report says, about whether they violated laws on how nonprofit funds can be used…

The Democrats’ report also documents a parallel effort by then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to build relationships with NRA officers. It says the NRA delegation in Moscow met with more senior officials than previously known, including multiple oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, two sanctioned individuals, and a person Ms. Butina claimed was Mr. Putin’s campaign manager…

The Democrats’ report includes new details about the relationship between the NRA and the Russian nationals, pushing back on the gun group’s early assertions that it wasn’t working with them in an official way. The report documents formal communications with the Russian nationals and details how NRA funds ended up in a shell company set up by Ms. Butina to reimburse her for costs associated with the 2015 Moscow trip.”

And (h/t pigboy):

Russia on Friday urged the United States not to publish Donald Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin after a growing scandal led the White House to release a transcript from a call with Ukraine’s leader.

“As for transcripts of phone conversations, my mother when bringing me up said that reading other people’s letters is inappropriate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations.

“It is indecent,” he said. “For two people elected by their nations to be at the helm, there are diplomatic manners that suppose a certain level of confidentiality.”

Lavrov, who met Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, criticized both US lawmakers and media for the release of the transcript.

“Being so vociferous in saying that if you don’t show a certain memo involving a partner, that you’re going to bring this administration to its knees, what kind of democracy is that? How can you work in such conditions?” he said.

Trump’s relationship with Putin has come under intense scrutiny.
The US leader has praised Putin and appeared to accept his denials of US intelligence’s finding that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to benefit Trump.

And (h/t Satanic Panic):

Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine, has resigned one day after the release of a whistleblower report alleging a coverup by the White House of a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

Volker was named in the report. The State Department has not returned messages seeking comment.

The State Press, the school paper of Arizona State University, first reported Volker’s resignation.

And the hits just keep on coming:

White House efforts to limit access to President Donald Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Those calls — both with leaders who maintain controversial relationships with Trump — were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps to keep from becoming public.

In the case of Trump’s call with Prince Mohammed, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation never saw one, according to one of the sources. Instead, a transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.

The call – which the person said contained no especially sensitive national security secrets — came as the White House was confronting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which US intelligence assessments said came at the hand of the Saudi government.

With Putin, access to the transcript of at least one of Trump’s conversations was also tightly restricted, according to a former Trump administration official.

It’s not clear if aides took the additional step of placing the Saudi Arabia and Russia phone calls in the same highly secured electronic system that held a now-infamous phone call with Ukraine’s president and which helped spark a whistleblower complaint made public this week, though officials confirmed calls aside from the Ukraine conversation were placed there.