The Non-EDVA Manafort Thread: Paulie Continues to Work for His Pardon

Today, a bunch of stalwart journalists are fighting the back-asswards conditions in Alexandria’s courthouse to bring breaking news from the first day of Paul Manafort’s tax evasion trial. In this post, I’m going to look at a few details that have happened outside of the courthouse

Yesterday, The Daily Beast provided some kind of an explanation for Rudy Giuliani’s weird TV meltdown yesterday. It turns out Rudy was (successfully) pre-empting a NYT story.

The day began with a morning interview with Fox & Friends, during which Giuliani insisted that “collusion [with Russian election-meddlers] is not a crime” in the first place. He then headed to CNN where he proceeded to, ostensibly, break a bit of news about the infamous Trump Tower meeting that the president’s son took with a Russian lawyer reportedly tied to Kremlin officials.

Two days before that meeting, Giuliani relayed, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen claimed that there was a separate meeting; this one, involving five people, including Cohen himself. According to Giuliani, three of the five people in that supposed meeting told him “it didn’t take place.” Not only that, they had done so “under oath on it and the other two couldn’t possibly reveal it because [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller never asked us about it.”

“You get to the other meeting he says he was at, that the president wasn’t at…with Donald [Trump] Jr., Jared [Kushner], [Paul] Manafort…[Rick] Gates and one other person. Cohen also now says that—he says too much—that two days before he was participating in a meeting with roughly the same group of people—but not the president, definitely not the president—in which they were talking about the strategy of the meeting with the Russians,” Giuliani continued. “The people in that meeting deny it, the people who we’ve been able to interview. The people we’ve not been able to interview have never said that about that meeting.”


In subsequent interviews on Monday, the president’s lawyer claimed that, in fact, he was only speaking off of as-yet unverified details from reporters who had contacted Team Trump to ask about the planning meeting.

Giuliani told The Daily Beast that this included reporters from The New York Times, such as the paper’s star Trump reporter Maggie Haberman, who had reached out about the alleged pre-meeting meeting. So, he added, “Jay [Sekulow] and I spent a great deal of [Sunday] trying to run it down.”

Giuliani said that he believes they managed to “shut it down” and help kill the story, and speculated the journalists had also found other reasons not to run the item. Giuliani and Sekulow—according to Giuliani—had to “go to [alleged participants’] lawyers, and they had to go back to their notes, because nowadays no one wants to be inaccurate”—a rather ironic statement.

As others have noted, this explanation may be most interesting for the glimpse it offers on the Joint Defense Agreement, in which Rudy can call up other potential defendants’ lawyers and agree on a story. And, after consulting with these other lawyers, Rudy appears to claim the following:

  • At a June 7 meeting attended by Jr, Jared, Manafort, Gates, one other person, and Cohen, strategizing the Russian meeting did not come up.
  • At another meeting, reportedly including the President and four of the six who attended the June 7 meeting, he was not told about the Russian meeting.

Also, collusion is not a crime because only hacking is.

Rudy provides us some clues here. Rudy’s says that three of five people in the meeting including Trump told Mueller it didn’t happen and the other two weren’t asked about it by Mueller. Those other two must be Don and his spawn, because they haven’t been interviewed by Mueller. But if that’s the case, the math actually works out to just two people telling Mueller it didn’t happen, because Cohen also hasn’t been interviewed. There’s a 66% chance that Manafort and Gates are the ones who told Mueller it didn’t happen.

Then there’s the June 7 meeting — a meeting on the same day that Manafort also had a meeting with Trump, and the day that Trump promised a report on Hillary in the upcoming days (so a day when the campaign would have been strategizing a Hillary attack of one sort or another). Rudy suggests that meeting was attended by someone or someones who they haven’t been able to interview, but who nevertheless have never said anything about strategizing the Russia meeting. Perhaps this is just a reference to Cohen, a way of claiming he never said this before. Or perhaps there’s someone else who’s not part of the JDA.

Notice how this story, thus far, relies on Junior (who has not been interviewed and clearly is a target) and Gates (who has subsequently flipped) and Manafort (whose first trial just started)?

Given the centrality of Manafort in this story — and Trump’s prior admission that Manafort could incriminate him — I’m particularly interested in this other bit from Rudy, suggesting the possibility that Manafort has flipped and “lied.” (h/t CH)

They’re putting Manafort in solitary confinement — which sounds more like Russian than the US — in order to get him to break. And maybe they’ve succeeded in cracking this guy, and getting him to lie. I don’t know. I’m not sure of that.

So Cohen may (or may not) be blabbing about stories that greatly incriminate Trump. To rebut them, his lawyer is taking to the cable shows to reveal multiple previously undisclosed meetings, and assuring the public that those who either were or maybe just the people who remain in a JDA with the President say it didn’t happen. Which leaves Gates, who has flipped, and Manafort, whom Rudy is obviously worried might flip.

Meanwhile, as he was heading into his client’s trial this morning, Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing apparently said there was “no chance” his client would flip to avoid trial. From whence Downing proceeded to go spend much of his opening argument blaming Gates for Manafort’s epic corruption. Here’s HuffPo.

An attorney for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told jurors during opening arguments in his tax and bank fraud trial on Tuesday that Manafort’s longtime aide Rick Gates ― now a witness for special counsel Robert Mueller ― is a liar who can’t be trusted.

Manafort, attorney Tom Zehnle told jurors, made a mistake in “placing his trust in the wrong person” who was now willing to say anything to keep himself out of trouble. Zehnle told jurors that Manafort “rendered a valuable service to our system of government” because of his involvement in multiple presidential campaigns.

And here’s Reuters.

“Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar,” defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said in opening statements at Manafort’s trial in federal court in Virginia. “Little did Paul know that Rick was lining his own pockets.”

Meanwhile, several developments in Manafort’s cases happened outside the courtroom. First, he dropped his challenge to Mueller’s authority in the DC Circuit. The DC Circuit denied his bid to get out of jail during this and while awaiting his DC trial, based primarily on the additional witness tampering charges that followed Amy Berman Jackson’s warnings about violating her gag order.

Most interesting however, was this exchange. Last night, Manafort asked for a 25-day delay in a pre-trial report he has to submit jointly with the prosecution in his DC case, citing his ongoing EDVA trial. But as the scathing response made clear, he brought that on himself when he refused to waive venue for these tax charges and instead took his chances with two trials.

[T]he Court’s August 1, 2018, deadline is no surprise; it has been in place for five months, when this Court entered its Scheduling Order on March 1, 2018. (Doc. 217). Nor was it a surprise that Manafort (like the government) would need to prepare for two trials when Manafort elected to have two trials. Indeed, this Court advised the defense that the defendant’s choice to have two trials might well result in “a trial in the Eastern District of Virginia before this one. So you may want to keep that in mind.”

More interesting, the Mueller team described how Manafort has spent the last two weeks accepting details of the government’s plan in the DC case, without reciprocating or warning them he was going to ask for a delay.

[T]he government spent the last two weeks making disclosures to Manafort of all of the different components required by the joint pretrial statement. The government furnished to the defense: (a) a proposed joint statement of the case; (b) an estimate of the length of the government’s case-in-chief; (c) proposed jury instructions; (d) a notice of intended expert witnesses; (e) an exhibit list; (f) all proposed stipulations; (g) a proposed special jury instruction (in lieu of a list of matters for the Court to take judicial notice); and (h) a proposed verdict form.1 Notably, the government identified a list of hundreds of exhibits—with Bates numbers and descriptions—it intends to use at trial, giving the defense a roadmap of its case. With each submission to the defense, the government asked the defense to alert it to its position, so the government could inform the Court in the joint statement due on August 1, 2018. Not once did Manafort respond, in any way, to any of the government’s disclosures. Similarly, the defense produced no reciprocal materials to the government.

When Manafort dropped his challenge to Mueller’s authority, some wondered whether that was a sign he’s about to flip. But this ploy with the DC schedule makes it clear he continues to do what he has been doing from the start: using his trials as an effort to discredit Mueller as much as possible, while obtaining as much information about the case in chief — the conspiracy with Russia.

As I’ve said repeatedly, that seems to be the terms of his pardon deal with Trump: he spends his time discrediting the Russian conspiracy case, and in the future, Trump may reward him in kind.

Given that Gates may actually have already told Mueller about the meetings Rudy is trying to deny, I expect more attacks in Rick Gates in the coming weeks, then.

134 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So Rudy911 is like Scott Balber except he goes on cablenews to fling his own poo?

    If there’s truly “method” in dragging out the DC case and sitting in a cell till it’s done, then Paulie is gambling on his lawyers’ strategy of bruising Mueller, and his own centrality to the Russian conspiracy case. And he might be right, but he also has a very high opinion of himself.

    (CNN just reporting that Mueller has handed a FARA investigation into Tony Podesta, Vin Weber and Greg Craig over to SDNY.)

    • emptywheel says:

      Nah. Balber is way better at this shit. And even he’s not all that good. Just good enough to stay ahead of the press.

  2. Peterr says:

    Mueller’s response brief sounds like a speech I remember my high school history teacher once giving in class, when a student asked for an extension on the day before a big paper was due. Actually, the term “speech” fails to convey the experience. He never raised his voice, but he spent about 5 minutes making it abundantly clear that the deadline was well known, and everyone has had plenty of time to work their schedule of activities around to meet it. He wove in historical references, borrowed from a couple of presidential inauguration speeches, tossed in a few famous movie quotes and popular song lyrics, and — oh yes — left us all with absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to what would happen if we failed to meet that long-ago-announced deadline. Not once did he personally attack the student who asked the question, but he made it clear that there would be no extension. When he finally came to the end of his extemporaneous remarks, he paused, looked around the room and quietly asked “Have I made myself understood?” Some of the class was filled with fear, as they were not done yet and had hoped for an extension; others in the class were in awe of what they had just witnessed; and *everyone* simply sat there in stunned silence. We all turned in our papers the next day, though some of us got more sleep that night than others.

    I’m guessing that a bunch of Manafort’s lawyers, paras, and support staff are going to be up late tonight, trying to finish their homework before the bell rings tomorrow.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      How to work-around the 404 error.

      When you get the 404, do ‘back’.

      Copy the text you wrote.

      Open a new tab, get to the article and possibly the specific post you want to reply to.

      Do the reply function (if totally new thread, then at bottom of page, else right-click/long press on specific post and open in new tab), and then paste your copied text in.

      There is a timing issue when you take a while to compose.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Might work, except when after pressing the back button, the comments section is blank.  But thanks for the comment.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Hmmm. May be browser related.

          What I described has worked for me.

          Possible key: if the 404 page becomes a new tab or not.

  3. CaliLawyer says:

    If he gets his pardon he loses his 5th Amendment rights, which isn’t all that good for Trump et. al. Of course, I think Susan MacDougal might have spent the most time in jail for contempt of court ever, which I think was around 18 months.

    • Joe says:

      There was a grand jury in EDPa in the late 1970s (?) investigating lefties such as the Weather Underground (when being a leftie meant something) and a number of recalcitrant witnesses spent many months in jail rather than testify

  4. Alan says:

    posted to the Manafort Trial Hype thread on Sunday night before the imminent NYT story was revealed:

    Alan says:
    July 29, 2018 at 9:50 pm
    IMO, Giuliani knows these bad facts are going to come out anyway, so he’s getting out in front of the story, leaking the bad facts and putting his own spin on them, creating a “Fog of Trump” and trying to make enough people tired of the story before the full implications are understood.  It’s working.  He might also be leaking some false info along with the real info so he can later focus on the false info and claim that nothing can be trusted.


    • Peterr says:

      It’s working.

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

      It’s clearly making folks tired of Rudy, but that’s very different from being tired of the story.

      Rudy is also giving the appearance of increasing fear coming from the Trump camp, as they keep spinning ever more wildly out of control.

      The contrast with Mueller could not be starker, and rather than aiding a “nothing can be trusted” claim, I think it will actually work to Mueller’s advantage once Mueller starts speaking.

    • bmaz says:

      So, “Alan” you are citing yourself like it is fresh all over again, without explanation of why doing so?

      “Alan says”. Sure. Okay.

    • Tracy says:

      I agree that it is an exhausting, confusing story – even for someone who takes the time every day to follow it fairly closely. Within our shiny-object-syndrome/ superficial-coverage mainstream news media, following the thread of this story takes persistence and diligent resourcing to see past the smoke and mirrors and side shows…

      Imagine being someone who only vaguely tunes into the Mueller investigation news (probably most people, b/c as polls cite, the public is still more concerned w/ “real” issues – health care, immigration, jobs, tariffs, etc.). Due to all the “fog” (which WE know to be smoke!), it’s hard for the average person, who MAYBE tunes in once per day (an overestimate) to see that ConFraudUs is a serious issue for Trump – compound this when someone gets his/ her daily news dose from Fox News/ state media!!

      To that extent, Giuliani’s smoke-screen serves something: if you only vaguely follow this thread, then when a big story explodes, it’s like trying to catch up with a soap opera that you’ve missed for a few days. Moreover, you’d fail to grasp the big picture pattern: Trump’s team leaking and spinning incriminating stories in order to get ahead of them. You’d also miss that this fog conceals nothing of substance underneath it and that it’s all smoke and mirrors (classic con-artist – but look who we’re dealing with!).

      • Doug R says:

        Yeah, but every soap opera has a summary on Friday and anyone interested in catching up has lots of mansplainers to chose from, catching them up before the weekend is done.

  5. Rick says:

    I’m not really sure how this works, although I’ve served on many juries.

    Can I assume that the jury members are not being monitored for attempted bribe/blackmail attempts, and that they would just be assumed to come forward if approached?

    Perhaps this is always a normal concern.


    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      It’s not trivial to find out who actually ends up on the jury. Really would require some work, or a leak from court.

      I recommend that if you ever end up on a jury, that you always leave your cell phone off except when far away from courthouse.

      Given that you will not have on during session is one thing, but best security it to not use even close to courthouse.

      Even if ok when on recess, don’t do it.

      Only have on when not close, so that it appears you were not really in the area.

      • bmaz says:

        This is fucking batshit. 99.99% of jurors have no issues whatsoever. The other .01% get sequestered.

        For SLF to say this is asinine, contrary to the truth as to jury service and just fucking crazy. Do not pay one moment of attention to this. Jury service is good, your civic duty, and very rewarding. Do NOT listen to jackasses that have no clue.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I totally agree. My point is if some group was trying to figure out who was on the jury, that it is *NOT* easy.

          My additional point is that jurors with active phones can make it essier for attackers to discern whom may be on a jury.

          So, if on a jury, do not make it easy for others to see you may be on a jury.

          Think Stingray.

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              I completely understand what EDVA does with regard to electronic devices. But one can leave the courthouse building, turn on phone, and either normal cell towers or stingrays can determine you are *close* to courthouse.

              Long enough trial, attackers can determine who is likely there.

              • bmaz says:

                This is, frankly, nuts. You are WAY too deep into science fiction. Malefactors that infiltrate the jury pretty much always do it through court staff or assistants to counsel on one side or the other.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Again, for the sake of comity: there’s clearly a non-zero risk of jury nobbling here, but it’s not as if Mueller’s team doesn’t know that. There’s also a non-zero chance that King Idiot tweets out “THE JURY MUST FIND MANAFORT INNOCENT!1!!” when the defense rests, which would present an interesting challenge for Judge Ellis.

            • pseudonymous in nc says:

              Tampering. (“Nobbling” is the more evocative British term.) Not necessarily in the traditional manner by threatening or bribing jurors. A blatantly prejudicial statement that got widespread publicity before the judge had a chance to sequester the jury might be enough And a mistrial would probably suit Paulie’s preferred calendar.

              Again, not saying it’s likely, but King Idiot made the comparison to a mob trial, so mob trial rules apply.

  6. obsessed says:

    New Murray Waas on Trump’s obstruction exposure vis a vis Flynn & Comey:

    • SteveB says:

      I note that Charlie Savage has tweeted


      Observation: Every quote from WH Flynn timeline memo in the NY Review of Books article was already public – each excerpted in Dowd/Sekulow memo. Oddly, article never actually quotes the purported line saying McGahn/Priebus explicitly told Trump that Flynn was under investigation.
      7:28 PM · Jul 31, 2018

       I was initially impressed by the article as it appeared to move the obstruction case up a notch, specifying evidence pinning Trump with knowledge, that had previously appeared in the public record only as inferences from other known facts; but I am more dubious in the light of CS observation.

      From twitter exchanges with the author it is clear that EW is scathing about the focus on obstruction, on the basis it is playing into a narrative TrumpTeam want to promote.

      I think that understanding the conspiracy is the main issue, but that the ongoing obstruction and manipulation of legal/investigative processes is an aspect of the evolving conspiracy, and nailing down the evidence of steps taken to obstruct is necessary work too.

  7. greengiant says:

    >> he spends his time discrediting the Russian conspiracy case << and staying in the joint defense agreement in order to forward anything Mueller gives him for trial straight to In regards to "I need to walk that back" Rudy, like Trump the only way I can deal with it is to assume everything they say is a lie until massively proven otherwise. Then meager entertainment in why the distraction and denigration.

  8. Rusharuse says:

    Paulie playing “pardons Russian roullete”? Suggest talk to Chris Walken about possible downside(s)!

  9. Flounder says:

    The problem with using Rudy to generate attacks on Mueller is the “say some things that damn Trump and then clean them up for 24 hours” routine come across more as flop sweat.

  10. Avattoir says:

    Adding fog to fog never makes it less foggy.
    But when the ambient fog lifts, among things that can become starkly apparent are cackling wizened cadaverous little golems working the cranks on dry ice machines.

    OTOH, that may well be how a golem wishes to be recalled in history books; but on the other, it may well be some golem made such a fateful choice in advance of some pivotal event, like a national election.

  11. Rapier says:

    There are a lot of ifs before we ever get there  but if Paul gets his pardon it will be a presented and advertised on the conspiracy and obstruction charges in the other trial,  the phoney one in Trump’s telling, but it will include this one too and so it will be a pardon for “epic corruption”.   Such would be a perfect and fitting ending for this drama.  Perfect in its symmetry.  You may not like it if it comes to pass but you would have to admire the art of it all.

  12. Kevin Finnerty says:

    It’s too bad no one has been able to crack who is currently still in the joint defense agreement (or, more importantly, who has left). I’d be most interested to know whether Hope Hicks is or was a member. Her abrupt departure from the White House, coupled with Trump’s cryptic tweet about “young and beautiful lives . . . that have been devastated and destroyed” and reduced to “tatters” makes me think she may have cut a deal, or at the very least, pulled out of the JDA.

    • bmaz says:

      Why do you think that the people that need to know in that regard, don’t know? I would not short sell the ability of people to understand this.

      • Kevin Finnerty says:

        bmaz- I was referring specifically to reporters. Of course it’s possible to make (very strong) educated guesses about who would part of the JDA. But for as many slip ups as Giuliani is making across multiple networks, it would seem worthwhile for someone to pepper him with questions about who remains part of the JDA—if only in the hopes that he spouts something interesting in the inevitable stream of verbal diarrhea.

        How many times can reporters re-hash with Giuliani whether he thinks it’s possible for the president to obstruct justice? I mostly just wish CNN would throw him a curveball and see if he takes the bait.

  13. Abrrrr says:

    Manafort’s going to get indicted in the Russia investigation as well….that’s a lot of pardon band width for the buck

  14. Rusharuse says:

    Coming plot (or knickers) twists:
    State charges for the ostrich wrangler? Will Madame Mannaforte be invited into the “game”? Deus ex Machina- Novichok in the oil of Olay bottle?

  15. Trip says:

    Sorta OT: Thinking about the first meeting where Trump agrees to have Manafort, Jr, et al collect info on Clinton (as spewed by Rudy), what about Rhona Graff being present? She’s the one who sets up all of Trump’s private conversations. No way she wasn’t somehow in the loop, as mentioned in the Goldstone email. Does anyone know if she’s been interviewed by Mueller’s team? I think the congressional committee met up with her (but only the GOP, who traveled to NYC?). I’m guessing there are no transcripts of the conversation.

  16. Trip says:

    In today’s jumping the shark news:

    Greenwald retweets a complaint that “progressive” MSNBC featured Republicans. Meanwhile, Greenwald appears on Fox News (Trump TV, that insanely progressive channel).

    • bmaz says:

      The retweet was of Michael Tracey. For what it’s worth, Glenn has long taken after “experts” on cable news, and he is often right (for instance as to Malcolm Nance, an MSNBC staple that is just horrible).

      Not here though. For a “former Bush official” Nicolle Wallace has turned out to be a stunningly good, and fair, cable news host. She has really acquitted herself pretty well. Chuck Rosenberg is, by my eye, maybe the best legal expert appearing on television today. He is fair, reserved and quite good. Jeremy Bash is, sure, “former CIA”, but he was no spook, he was a chief of staff/legal advisor. He was basically Leon Panetta’s right hand man. I wish the population of people appearing on cable news were larger and more diverse, but these three are all pretty grounded and reasonable. Frankly, if any of them is “partisan” it is probably Bash, and he is not that bad.

      • Trip says:

        If having someone on, or speaking to someone in their domain legitimizes them for all positions or past actions, does that say Tucker gets the Greenwald stamp of approval?  Because, well, um, cognitive dissonance.

        *I wasn’t arguing that MSNBC shouldn’t have more of the left represented. In fact, I’ve had my own complaints about the rightwing or center right Dem darlings taking up too much airtime. I watched the segment you speak of and it was fairly dry, without political spin.

        That said, again…Tucker-Fucker-Carlson, Fox News.

        Do as I say, not as I do?


    • Bob Conyers says:

      On the subject of Greenwald, Chait has a bad piece scolding “the Left” for not taking a harder line on Trump-Russia, with a cherry picked list of examples leaning heavily on Greenwald and a couple from The Nation.

      Since he struggles to find much on the left going so far as Greenwald, he then tries to fold in people he considers softies who argue that there are other fronts to be fought besides just Trump-Russia.

      What Chait goes out of his way to ignore is the striking fact that there are so few skeptics on the left, and his model of the far left and the far right being birds of a feather is bunk. Greenwald does not define the left, and he is isolated in a way that denialists on the right like Hannity are absolutely not.


      • Trip says:

        Chait argues against his own argument in the 2nd to last paragraph:

        Few leftists actually want to shut down the Mueller probe, or are even arguing that Democrats should refuse to investigate Russia if they gain congressional majorities. Some of the skeptics complain that Democrats are emphasizing Russia too heavily, but this complaint confuses liberal journalists and activists with Democratic politicians, who are mostly concentrating their rhetoric on health care and other economic issues.

        In my opinion Greenwald leans a little more toward Libertarianism than left, but that is my perspective.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’ll take all the civil libertarians I can get.  Plutocrats?  Meh.

          I would say no “leftists” want to shut down the Mueller probe.  Anyone who wants to shut down Mueller is afraid he will be implicated by his investigations or lose dominance as a consequence of it.

          I imagine a few look forward, not back Democrats might be happy to ignore Russia, on the argument that, as with prosecuting banksters, it would detract from their “positive” agenda.  Whatever that is.

          Most of the party probably feels that further protecting American elections from foreign interference, and from illegal domestic interference, is a good thing.

          Most Democrats are concentrating on health care and economics because that’s what’s important to the vast majority of Americans.  It’s also because Republicans, following the will of their corporate donors, are helping to strip from Americans access to health care, affordable education and better, more secure and well-paid jobs.

          Those same Republicans will be screaming Deficits! Deficits! when Democrats gain control of either or both houses of Congress.  That won’t be because they care about balanced budgets.  It will be because they do not want Democrats or government to promote those ends.  They want government to promote the goals of plutocrats.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The Right tries to use “Greenwald” the way it uses “Pelosi” and “Hillary”.  It’s an epithet and a substitute for such impolitic attitudes as homophobia and misogyny.

        In GG’s case, it’s because he’s unabashedly gay, a lawyer and a civil libertarian “extremist.”  The latter means he believes in reading the Constitution the way the Supreme Court did in the 1960s, not the constipated reading given it under Reagan, Bush II, Obama (the 4th Amendment) and Trump.  It’s also because he’s a critic of the Israeli government, which he distinguishes from Israelis and the Jewish religion, a position Israeli citizens are allowed to hold, but not, apparently, Americans.

        For the Right, though, it’s all about creating myths and straw men.  They are easier to tear down, and much less popular than the real people and ideas they oppose.

        • Trip says:

          He has fans on Fox, though, because he aligns with the opinion on the Russian investigation, more or less.

  17. Dedalus says:

    Such gamesmanship is part of much litigation and serves Manafort’s own interests in defending himself as much as it serves Trump.   However, Marcy could well be right to see deeper Machiavellian stratagems.

  18. Frank Probst says:

    Wait a sec.  Manafort’s lawyers asked to bump the DC deadline–which is today (Wednesday)–just two days ago?  So what happens if they miss the deadline today?  I’m assuming there’s some sort of penalty.  Can @bmaz or one of the other lawyers tell us what it might be?  I’m guessing the judge has some discretion here, but Team Manafort has used up most (if not all) of his benefit of the doubt in both DC and in EDVA.  So what’s the range of penalties for something like this?

    • bmaz says:

      The court could strike their evidence and witnesses. But that rarely, like almost never, happens. They will file timely. The court will allow them to supplement if they show cause. That is how it works.

      • Frank Probst says:

        This isn’t a normal trial, though.  Could this be part of a pardon strategy?  It’s an easy narrative to follow:

        1.  Team Manafort asks for more time to file paperwork, because they’re going to be in the middle of another trial.

        2.  The request is denied, because they knew they were going to have to deal with another trial.

        3.  Team Manafort intentionally misses the deadline, resulting in some sort of penalty.

        4.  Trump starts rage-tweeting about Manafort not being able to get a fair trial in DC, because his lawyers didn’t file some “trivial paperwork” while they were in the middle of another trial in the EDVA.

        If all you’re seeing is #4, it looks like Manafort is getting unfair treatment from a “Democrat judge”, so Trump uses his pardon power to shut the whole thing down.


        • bmaz says:

          Most trials really are pretty normal and pedestrian. Even these. The hype around them may be exacerbated, but the trials themselves are usually pretty normal.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The Ostrich Jacket will be put on display in the courtroom for the entire trial? Then re-deployed in DC?

      After all, it *is* evidence.

      And only fitting, since some have their heads in the sand.

      • bmaz says:

        What in the living hell are you prattling on about? That prosecutors put on evidence to support their theory of the case? You seriously have no idea in the world about criminal trial procedure.

        Just a few days ago, you were babbling that this trial would be delayed. That was unadulterated and unsupported garbage. So is this. Please try to pay attention and not spew shit you have no clue on.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding the GOP as the Putin Party seems as correct as that it has gone all in for Donald Trump.  Couldn’t separate them with a crowbar.

    Regarding the GOP’s anti-democratic stance – its fear of democracy, its fear that it and its base are fated for permanent minority status, its gerrymandering and illegal voter suppression – that’s all true, and an understatement.  But it has a long pedigree.

    The US Constitution itself is anti-democratic.  That’s why we have a Senate and an electoral college, to leave decision-making to our betters.  Its signers, after all, were among the wealthiest people in America.  Their objective was to lead unopposed a society based on the free use of property (theirs), especially when more could be had for the taking.

    One of Pennsylvania’s most progressive early constitutions was the subject of a long campaign to replace it with something less “dangerously” democratic.  Alexander Hamilton, the mythological figure who has become so popular on Broadway, was vehemently opposed to democracy, as were his wealthy NYC patrons.  Jim Crow was built on fear of democracy and the free black vote.

    Progressives have been fighting anti-democratic forces for a long time.  It’s why women and people of color have the vote, it’s why we have unions and universal suffrage, the weekend and so many other things that are under constant attack by Republicans, the environment and public health among them.

    Progressives need to work harder.  These gains are ephemeral.  They disappear when under violent attack by a proto-fascist narcissist who declares the press and his own Department of Justice public enemy no. 1, when his party declares those many successes unaffordable, when the desperate and marginalized believe them and lift their angry middle finger at those portrayed in Donald Trump’s daily two minutes of hate.

    • Trip says:

      Worse are the wealthy benefactors like the Kochs, Mercers, the war criminal Kissinger, et al operating the levers behind the curtain of the giant idiot head narcissist Oz.

    • Tracy says:

      You bring up a lot of great points, including about the founding fathers! To your points: Michelle Goldberg (NYTimes opinion writer) last year wrote a piece about how Republicans are using increasingly devious, if not outright unethical, (or unconstitutional, my words), tactics to maintain power, as they are less able to do so using regular power levers. They seem not to have not been “playing fair” for some time, and are increasingly OK with using whatever tactics necessary to stay in power.

      Take the Republican strategy on the courts, and Mitch McConnell’s underhandedness alone: denying Merrick Garland a hearing, stacking the courts with far-right-wing, young (sometimes unqualified) judges, refusing to extend Dems the same courtesy as Dems extended Repubs with Elena Kagan to review ALL Kavanaugh’s WH materials. It seems that as far as Repubs go, what is good for the goose is NOT good for the gander.

      Then, as you mention: extreme partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression, the electoral college are increasingly counter-d/Democratic (with small and big “d”!!).

      In an interesting NYTimes “The Daily” podcast yesterday (July 31st), Alexander Burns of NYTimes talked about how Republicans, when they are in power, prioritize doing what they need to do to stay there (we even see it now with their united front in support of the Criminal in Chief). I am NOT advocating their blind obsequiousness to Trump, nor using immoral and unethical tactics to stay in power (including ignoring on-going Russian attacks), but Burns’ point was that Obama missed opportunities to expand and solidify Dem votes, which he could have done by: 1) creating a path to citizenship for immigrants, 2) passing union-bolstering legislation, and 3) passing anti-voter-suppression legislation.

      While Burns suggests that Obama should have invested more political capital in strategic actions for the party, rather than in healthcare, I personally think that Obama did healthcare b/c it was the right thing to do – but I appreciate the point: Dems have never lost so many seats. (Another thing Obama surely regrets is early action on gun control…).

      If you are interested in Dem strategy to claw our way back, this podcast was not ego-stroking, but a good wake-up-call, “Democrats Come-back Plan:”

      (If you know/ like “Pod Save America,” I like Jon Favreau’s new podcast, “The Wilderness,” which goes into history of Dem party and strategy going forward).

      Thanks for your post, and I agree with a lot of the issues you raise.

    • orionATL says:

      earl of h –

      if you are using the word “progressive” in the general, non-political party way it has been used in american english for ages, e. g.

      actively searching for and then implementing better solutions to individual or group problems, including better rules for governing; being open to new ideas or ways of doing thing; being tolerant of ideas and people people differant from ones own; then your statement reflects the general attitude of americans and the movement of american society over the last 250 years.

      if you are using the word “progressive” to refer to a current sub-group of the democratic party and its values, you are re-writing history and arrogating to that sub-group praise and a history it has never earned.

        • orionATL says:

          earl of h –

          now that, my friend, sounds mightily like projection.

          there are two political groups in this country who stand out publicly as “having got it all figured out” or “knowing it all” – the tea party right and the tea party left, aka, “righteous progressives”. both have been disastrous for this nation’s future.

  20. Drew says:

    We have a system that is narcissistic–meaning one that focuses on individualized self-interest without real regard for the well-being of the whole. The GOP has become so cynical in this regard that it is cartoonish and arranged for the election of a cartoonish president. (as Trip notes, the wealthiest benefactors do this largely behind the scenes, technically from outside government, though I would point out that they are really even more beneficiaries of this narcissistic system than benefactors).

    However, the cartoonish cynicism of the GOP tempts people to think that the narcissism in the system resides entirely there, but that’s not the case. I see plenty of self-identified “Democrats”, “Liberals”, “Progressives”–even “Socialists” or “Berniecrats” whose concern is for grabbing a win for their side, rather than building, over time, a better life for all and a renewed, less narcissistic system. In other words, replacing their “Great Leader” with our  “Great Leader.” It’s tougher to do that, and it’s a much longer game.

    earlofhuntington is right. There is a fear of democracy in those who benefit from narcissistic dominance–it’s a long process and takes harder work. Good will is not actually the default setting of human beings, not in my experience, not in the world as we experience it, any way. People want to be perceived as “nice” but that is not the same thing. Good will requires a recognition that the common good transcends individual self-interest and a commitment to the common good.

    So it will take a lot more than getting ridding of the current proto-fascist regime to get to a reasonably balanced and productive society.

  21. Rusharuse says:

    The President has just ordered Sessions to shut down the Mueller probe. I guess that’s it then, just when things was getting interesting. Who needs democracy anyway?

      • Rusharuse says:

        He rocks in the tree-top all the day long
        Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singin’ his song
        All the little birds on Jay Bird Street
        Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

        Rockin’ robin tweet tweet tweet
        Rockin’ robin tweet, tweedly fucking tweet

    • Tracy says:

      Acting more and more like a crazed, cornered animal – would have heard by now through lawyer-backchannel what Gates has said about him, and/ or possibly through Putin backchannel what Mueller’s got on him!

      Hard to see how this is sustainable at this fever pitch… Something has to give… :-/

  22. Tracy says:

    Thanks for your reporting here, Marcy – this is troubling. At times, I wonder how justice will ever be served! I hope, I think like you suggested on Pod Save America, that there are others like you who’ve witnessed things and felt compelled to step forward and tell the special counsel what they know/ observed, outside of the central figures who are leaking/ getting leaked about.

    It seems challenging for the special counsel to wring anything out of the Manafort-Gates-Don Jr-Jared-Cohen-(Trump)-meetings, since several/ all of these criminals are likely conspiring/ behaving nefariously and in bad faith. As Dan Pfeiffer said on Pod Save America: “There are no heroes in this story” – except for the behind-the-scenes people, such as yourself!

    I’m sure Mueller is on to Manafort’s efforts to surreptitiously thwart justice, it’s just frustrating. My hope is that all the things NOT leaked about are seriously bolstering the case.

    Thanks for your work in bringing all these details to light, please keep it up! :-)

  23. HanTran says:

    Whats up with the word “us” here from Rudy? Do we know who has JDA’s with The Donald?

    Not only that, they had done so “under oath on it and the other two couldn’t possibly reveal it because [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller never asked us about it.”

  24. SpaceLifeForm says:

    d) a notice of intended expert witnesses;

    [Delay buys time to find mud or create spin on the witnesses]

    • bmaz says:

      You do not know your ass from a hole in the ground, and you are so full of shit your eyes are brown. STOP blowing shit up our commenter’s asses.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        You are so used to normal legal procedure, that you expect it.

        These legal times are not normal.

  25. JAAG says:

    Mueller better hurry up and indict Jared; my bets were laid early and the Candian bookies keep narrowing the odds (Jarvanka in orange). If he gets it done I’m paid.

      • jaag says:

        I used to think Jared first, but what do I know.  There was lunchroom discussion in which I maintained that Jared would flip easily, whereas Don jr. had Freudian reasons for proving that he was strong. Hence, Mueller would indict Jared to get at the rest of the family.   Ok, so we only bet a cheap starbucks card.   I tried to get him to bet on how long it would take for the Olvier Stone movie, but we both agreed it was under two years post-indictment.

        The suspense is killing me, frankly.  No sarcasm, I can’t wait for the next indictment.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          I don’t know if either Kushner or Don Jr. end up indicted, but it would have to be Kushner who flips, if anyone does. He’s got more to lose, and I suspect his list of crimes is longer and more serious. He’s also not really a family member, just like Henry Hill could never get the protections of being a made man because he wasn’t full Italian.

          Also, I think it would kill Don Jr. if Daddy went down, whereas Kushner is sociopathic enough to have no real feelings for anyone. But obviously this is just wild guesswork.

  26. Tracy says:

    On Ari Melber’s show tonight, firstly, one pundit said that Giuliani dropped a “gem” during his recent unhinged performance: Trump’s team sent a proposal to the special counsel for Trump to testify 11 days ago, and they haven’t heard back – she posits that this could partly explain ratcheted up fears that Trump is now an investigation “target.”

    Secondly, long time mafia prosecutor says that there are lots of similarities between what he saw in mob prosecutions and what’s happening here – he says it’s like trying to penetrate a tight-knit family, and usually you do this by getting one by one to flip.

    Thirdly, many are noting Trump’s increased interest in/ tweeting about Manafort, and his creating of a narrative (parallel to what he did with Arpaio, they note), that Manafort is misunderstood, mistreated and persecuted. Apparently there’s a story in The Spectator by Jacob Heilbrunn (Trump is “disgusted” by Manafort’s treatment; I wasn’t able to find it).

    • orionATL says:

      the rep jim jordan splash in the media pool re association with pedophilary seems to have taken the edge off the impeachment attack on rosenstein. wonder if the spooks/fbi were involved and if other committee members have prior deeds to fear?

      • Rusharuse says:

        Deep state? Terrible idea this deep state, unless of course they happen to be on your side. In the case of Ramesses 45 (and his hierarchy)- I really hope there is a deep state, they are on my side and they wring his fucking neck!

  27. Avattoir says:

    Been looking for even just one (1) news report on the suppose’d LF OSC to Team Trump re: former questioning Trump on whatever, that actually:
    A. quotes from the letter,
    B. confirms with Mueller, an OSC spokesperson, a janitor in the building, anybody, on anything at all concerning Rudy’s spin on the letter.

    1. ABCNews quotes Rudy and cites “sources”, only namechecks Rudy, AND includes a ‘graph where OSC declines comment … of ANY kind.
    2. CNN quotes Rudy and cites “sources”, only namechecks Rudy, and doesn’t even ref having checked with the OSC (cuz they didn’t? yeah, that didn’t find it ‘newsworthy’).
    3. WaPo – Carol Leonnig FCOL who one hopes knows better, namechecks rudy, then notes the OSC “declined comment”.

    What the living fuck is the matter with them all? It’s sitting up there like on a freaking platter of hors d’oeuvres brought in with the complementary chardonnay cocktails: Carpe the freebie!

    ‘There is no confirmation from the OSC and no independent evidence at all that the communication from the OSC says anything other than Here’s our offer: nothing. POTUS sits down and answers our questions, whatever they are, wherever they go.’

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Throw in the NYT which just threw out this piece from the usual suspects:

      I’m not sure that quoting the actual document or getting comment from Mueller’s office matters in the grand scheme, other than to perpetuate the bullshit of access jernalizm. It’s like the game “Guess Who?” — the negotiation process probably reveals more about where King Idiot feels vulnerable than having him answer questions directly, except Rudy911 & co. are wrapped up in the idea of him perjuring himself three seconds into any sit-down.

      • Avattoir says:

        Thnx for that NYT link; I missed it – tho clearly it’s, as we all should have expected, by far the most egregious spin of Rudy to some multiple of Rudy.

        I mean, from how it reads LITERALLY as to what the LF Mueller supposedly says, it’s completely consistent with:

        ‘Over a year ago we invited you to submit to an interview. Since then we tried to help where ethical and responsible, such as by previewing areas of particular interest. But we’re not negotiating; there’s no bargaining going on here; and we’ve not put anything on hold waiting for you to make up your mind. Time has passed, the investigation has moved on, it’s entirely up to you whether to be involved, and don’t be surprised at where it might go or what we might do when you can’t even make you mind on participating.’

  28. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    EW wrote: “But this ploy with the DC schedule makes it clear he continues to do what he has been doing from the start: using his trials as an effort to discredit Mueller as much as possible, while obtaining as much information about the case in chief — the conspiracy with Russia.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, that seems to be the terms of his pardon deal with Trump: he spends his time discrediting the Russian conspiracy case, and in the future, Trump may reward him in kind.”

    Trump’s tweets today trigger the image of an egg slowly sizzling on asphalt on an extremely hot day. Biological systems like to be within safe parameters, and Trump’s tweets suggest that he’s in dangerous territory. It would be interesting to know what his blood pressure, cortisol, and other measures are like when he tweetRants.

    Brings to mind:
    The egg does not fry quickly, but it fries nevertheless.

  29. orionATL says:

    a news  report that Rick gates may not testify concerns me. such a move might not go down well with a  jury if gates has been made the defenses’ bete noir  re manafort’s innonence, as seems to be the case.

    why would the doj prosecution dare hold gates aside?

    what do experienced lawyers make of this news report?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Josh Gerstein (who knows EDVA) suggested that it was tactical, to give more room to question witnesses about earnings given that the def. strategy is to argue that Gates bilked all the dirty money.

      Judge Ellis seems to balk at presentations that emphasise ostentatious wealth and oligarch paymasters — in essence, that it’s okay in principle to be rolling in dough from dubious foreign sources (his beat does cover NoVa) — but we haven’t yet reached the point where the tax returns imply that Paulie the Rug was striving abroad for $2.31 plus tips.

    • Trip says:

      One lawyer mentioned that it may be better not to have Gates testify, if the paper case is strong enough, so that he can be saved for the second trial (which is more critical). Her point was that paper can’t be cross examined, it can’t slip up and alter a story slightly, etc.  That makes sense to me, if Manafort is trying to pin everything on Gates.
      Getting too defensive on the stand is not a good look.

    • Tracy says:

      I also heard that if gates won’t be called it’s possible that prosecutors have not needed to hand over all gates’ testimony to the defense yet, including about conspiracy, and they want to keep that under wraps of course. Just a theory I’d heard, I’m not a lawyer.

    • BillT says:

      In Mannafort’s present trial, it might be better if Gates did not need to testify, if the paper trail and others’ testimony would suffice in convicting Paulie.

      If Gates does testify then Mueller’s team needs to share all of what Gates has told them about all matters covered by Gates; including any information related to Trump and his conspiracy to violate election laws and other possible criminal acts by our orange president.

      Thanks to all for sharing the many very informative posts, links, etc.


  30. Avattoir says:

    I will actively, assiduously, consistently and seriously refrain from second-guessing the moves that a first-rate team of top-notch trial talent such as anyone can see looking in any direction in the OSC, in part due to not being directly involved in the fray, partly because my ass isn’t among those on the line in this case, and otherwise because there’s bugger all I can do to affect anything at this great remove.

    If I have any concern so far, it’s how much that jerkface of a nasty old self-conceited know-it-all over-interfering judge is screwing around with a case that every attorney on either side of the contest knows better than he does by some factor of 10.

    • Trip says:

      I hear you. Although he may seem tougher on the prosecution at this very moment since they are putting on their case. Hopefully, he is FAIR enough to issue his cantankerous admonishments to the defense as well, and not coming across like he is directing jurors’ prejudice against the state specifically.

      • Avattoir says:

        It’s not the whistles, flags, tongue-lashings & cheap asides that should bother us. Nor even whether Ellis craps on both sides more or less the same amount.

        What MATTERS is that the evidence in support of each case be presented professionally, properly and in a manner that both makes sense to the listener and allows each side to make whatever they’re entitled to try to make of the evidence.

        THAT’S what Ellis is screwing with here: the flow of the case for the prosecution, the themes the government is trying to work up that led to their choices on what to include & who to leave out.

        Even from the little bits we’re seeing reported, Ellis’s unnecessary asides and unjustified rulings don’t just risk screwing with but actually screw over the government’s case, sucking it dry of humanity and messing with the intent standard the government has to beat.

        There’s not going to BE much – if any (The ideal number of defense witnesses is zero.) – of a case for the defense for Ellis to belittle and obstruct anyway. But there’s absolutely no basis for thinking that ‘make-up calls’ like you envision work to cancel out such damage. It’s the GOVERNMENT that bears the burden of proof here; if Ellis sucks the lifeblood out of both cases, inevitably that works solely to favor the defense.

        Here’s what I and colleagues in the defense do when a trial judge starts handing out these sorts of crap sandwiches to the government: we change into our  leader sweaters in local team colors with out-sized lettering that reads “JUDGE ELLIS – GREAT OR GREATEST EVER?’, line up all our mortars to pound the government’s case with noisy criticism cheap shots that echo the judge’s cheap shots criticism, and go all smug that NOW we can get our clients to agree with what we’ve said from Day 1 about never for a moment even dreaming of going on the witness stand.

        • bmaz says:

          Ellis is screwing with the actual proof of tax evasion and money laundering the government is trying to establish. Just because Manafort did it through b lying ostentatious stuff is not a valid reason to choke it off. That IS the proof.

          • Trip says:

            That is crazy and depressing. Do you think he actually has motive (to help Manafort, or bias against the gov’t), or is he just an incompetent asshole?

            He also does not seem to take issue with the president tweeting up a storm about the case. Being old isn’t an excuse for not considering the technology and presidential opinion impact. He can’t possibly be oblivious to that, unless he lives in an actual cave.

            • bmaz says:

              No, he is just a cantankerous old asshole that likes to micromanage.

              In fairness to Ellis, I don’t think he he has an unusual record as to reversals, so it seems to work out usually.

    • Trip says:

      On Trump’s tweets (“It“), as the president, during a trial with an un-sequestered jury, what do you think?
      Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw 9h9 hours ago
      Jury Nullification Advocate With Court Pulpit Charged  He got arrested. How is what “it” did today any different ? Less dangerous to the judicial process? To a fair trial on the basis of the evidence or not?

      The significance was not in the ultimate judicial holding but rather DOJ’s claimed decision to act to protect the integrity of the trial process. Todays events were no less problematic yet DOJ took no such steps. Not even a request of the court. 1/
      Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw 

Replying to @jncatron
      2/ Indeed “it’s” statement was far more problematic not just because he is the president but as a subject if not a target he stands in a very different posture than that of the gentleman who was arrested and prosecuted.

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      Those records show that a server in Trump Tower was re-caching DNS lookups for a computer belonging to Russian Alfa Bank and another at Spectrum Health in Michigan (always together). This means that there were communications between these 3 machines. The author seems pretty certain that these communications consisted of database replications but that’s a bit of a stretch. Really all you can say from those records is that there were connections so that every hour (during the periods shown in the records) the Trump Tower server would reload it’s DNS cache with the addresses of Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health (though that is saying quite a lot unless you can think of some innocent explanation as to why these 3 machines should be sending data between themselves, hour after hour). But who knows. The machines have a life of their own that is lost on most of us.

  31. Trip says:

    The obvious con. Revealed by Toto pulling back the curtain. During the Billionaire tax cut discussions, the GOP openly admitted that their donors told them to get it done, or don’t call again.
    What’s next for the Supermarket-ID-card guy, that the Kochs only support Democrats and have never had anything to do with the GOP? How about ZTE (LOTS of American workers there, eh)?

    Charles Koch of Koch Brothers, who claims to be giving away millions of dollars to politicians even though I know very few who have seen this (?), now makes the ridiculous statement that what President Trump is doing is unfair to “foreign workers.” He is correct, AMERICA FIRST!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018

    You can’t distance yourselves from the Kochs, TOO LATE! SAD!

  32. Tracy says:

    Jill Wine-Banks on Lawrence O’Donnell suggested that Trump may have been jury tampering with his Manafort-is-wrongly-persecuted tweets (unsequestered jury).

    And interesting to hear now about easing of sanctions on Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal:

  33. JAAG says:

    Didn’t Ellis ask for Asonye as counsel in the early stages?

    When Ellis objected to the flow of luxury items Asonye actually said, “umm, we have to show actual income”.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ellis told Mueller’s team it would be a good idea if they had someone on their team who was qualified and practicing as a federal prosecutor in the EDVA.  Ellis not being president, Mueller interpreted that as a demand.  Asonye got the nod.

  34. Tracy says:

    Regarding Oleg Deripaska’s sanctions relief, I note it b/c I think he is one who is very close w/ Putin, and also has manifold Manafort connections, and I’ve got a few questions:

    1) I wonder what the pay-off part of the “quid pro quo” looks like as it’s happening inside the Trump admin: Trump goes to Steve Mnuchin and says: look, the people of Rusal are suffering, lets ease off Rusal? And Steve’s like: sounds good (even though the sanctions are in place b/c Russia attacked our country?) Does Trump just mandate it and Steve (or someone else) does it? And why is no one reporting that sure, Congress passed sanctions, but is Trump actually enforcing them – his JOB under Article II to faithfully execute our laws??? (There are ZERO checks and balances in this guy…)

    2) How does Putin make his bidding known to Trump? Is there a backchannel between the Kremlin & Trump through which Putin is saying: now I want you to lay off Oleg Deripaska, now I want you to do this, now I want you to do that?… Or do the two leaders talk on a secured line when no one is around – do they have translators?

    3) Is the special counsel likely collecting evidence on how Putin’s pay-off is getting fulfilled, or are current goings-on outside of the scope? (Seems like this could fit the part of the mandate that allows following up on crimes that derive fro the investigation into the campaign). It seems pretty important: if they can’t do it, maybe they’d pass it on in FBI?

    4) With the caveat that I know very little about FISA: is it possible that if the special counsel had enough evidence against Trump that they could be tapping him? Maybe they wouldn’t go there due to political fallout (I recall Trump going ballistic with conspiracy theories that Obama had tapped him, that there was an “FBI informant” within his campaign, and of course re: Carter Page), but if they want to catch Trump in ongoing conspiratorial acts w/ the Kremlin, would they normally try to get a FISA on him, if they had the evidence?

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In the event Democrats needed a reminder that Republicans do not play by the same – or any – rules, they might ponder why Al Franken is enjoying the summer at home in Minnesota, while Lyin’ Jim Jordan is in the House and vyin’ to replace Paul Ryan.

    They might also think about why Jordan’s former head coach, with whom he worked for years smack in the middle of the OSU athletics sexual predator scandal, and who personally complained to OSU authorities about it, is now out recruiting former wrestlers to recant their claims – to save Jim Jordan’s honor.

    If the Dems have a game, they better up it. In politics, as in martial arts, you need to attack and defend at the same time if you don’t want to end up face down in a ditch.

    • Willis Warren says:

      It’s also worth noting that two of the witnesses against Al are anonymous, two are right wingnuts, and at least one has a history of mental illness.  Yes, I know that is attacking the “victims.”  But jeez, people, wake up and smell the bullshit.  Don’t let Roger Stone win this one

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Assessing the credibility of an accuser is always a necessary thing.  The list of those accusing Jordan seems deeper and more credible, but Jordan remains in denial.  That he’s orchestrated elaborate support for his denial in spite of it suggests he thinks he can get away with it, like Trump.

  36. Willis Warren says:

    I’m no lawyer, but “the bitch set me up” doesn’t seem a good defense…  It seems like this is spinning towards an inevitable finale.  The guy wearing the Komodo Dragon vest doesn’t seem credible to a jury that probably works two jobs.

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