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Hullabaloo


Thursday, May 17, 2018

 

Is the volcano about to blow?

by Tom Sullivan


Lava lake at Kilauea volcano summit last week. (U.S. Geological Survey)

If yesterday did not feel like a crossfire hurricane, you're not keeping up.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of documents relating to the Trump Tower meeting. Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chair, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) issued a joint statement agreeing with the intelligence community's assessment on Russian election meddling: "The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton."

In a mandatory financial disclosure, the sitting president formally admitted he did — contrary to previous assertions — pay hush money to Stormy Daniels. The omission in previous campaign filings is a potential violation of federal law.

The New Yorker reported late yesterday that a career law enforcement official had leaked details from a confidential Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on Michael Cohen's shell company because two other SARs supposed to reside permanently in the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) database had gone missing. The anonymous official told New Yorker's Ronan Farrow, "I have never seen something pulled off the system. . . . That system is a safeguard for the bank. It’s a stockpile of information. When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned." Where the reports went and why is a mystery.



The New York Times revealed "Crossfire Hurricane" (inspired by a Rolling Stones song) was the code name for the investigation the FBI began into the Trump campaign's Russia connections days after the Trump Tower meeting.

For his part, Michael Cohen tells friends, “I just can’t take this anymore.” The scrutiny is beyond anything Cohen (or Trump) has seen before, and his family is suffering for it. Yet, in spite of the fact friends tell him no one in Washington has his back, Cohen insists, “I’m not going to just roll over.” Now he has principles.

Finally, from the Big Island:
On Wednesday, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake rattled the volcano's main caldera, damaging roads and buildings in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Earlier, ash plumes led to an aviation red alert and raised the threat of acid rain and volcanic smog or "vog" from toxic sulfur dioxide gas that spews forth from the earth along with the lava.
The volcano is spewing "ballistic blocks" the size of appliances and could see a massive steam explosion. But Kilauea is too far from Donald Trump to provide a sufficient distraction.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.