With the Corey Lewandowski Interview, Devin Nunes Confirms He’s No More Than Trump’s Mole

In the wake of Michael Wolff’s publication of Steve Bannon’s insistence that Donald Trump met with the attendees at the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, we got word that Bannon — who claims never to have interviewed with Robert Mueller’s team — has hired the same lawyer representing Reince Priebus and Don McGahn for an interview this week with the House Intelligence Committee.

Two sources tell us Burck is helping Bannon prepare for an interview with the House intelligence committee, which is currently scheduled for next week. Sources also said Bannon plans to “fully cooperate” with investigators.

Burck also represents White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the purposes of the Russia probe, as Law360 reported last September.

It is not unheard of for one attorney to represent more than one client on the same matter. But the fact that several key players with Trump administration ties have the same lawyer could irk investigators.

Then, yesterday, news broke that Corey Lewandowski will interview with HPSCI this week. He, too, claims he has never interviewed with Mueller’s team.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says that he has yet to be contacted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.

Lewandowski, who was interviewed by WABC’s Rita Cosby on Sunday, also confirmed reports that he will be interviewed on either Wednesday or Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe.

“I have nothing to hide. I didn’t collude or cooperate or coordinate with any Russian, Russian agency, Russian government or anybody else, to try and impact this election,” Lewandowski says he plans to tell the House panel.

Daily Caller is right — it’s odd that Mueller hasn’t interviewed Lewandowski, given that he had these critically timed interactions with George Papadopoulos.

April 27: Papadopoulos to Corey Lewandowski

“to discuss Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump. Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.”

April 27: Papadopoulos authored speech that he tells Timofeev is “the signal to meet”

[snip]

May 4, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski (forwarding Timofeev email):

“What do you think? Is this something we want to move forward with?”

May 14, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski:

“Russian govemment[] ha[s] also relayed to me that they are interested in hostingMr. Trump.”

[snip]

June 19: Papadopoulos to Lewandowski

“New message from Russia”: “The Russian ministry of foreign affairs messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if it’s in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”

The decision to call two key Trump people whom Mueller hasn’t met happens in the wake of events that haven’t gotten sufficient attention. On January 3, Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray met with Paul Ryan to request that he limit the documents Nunes had requested from FBI. Ryan backed Nunes, which led Rosenstein and Wray to agree to show a bunch of highly sensitive documents to HPSCI investigators, as well as agree to interviews with the FBI and DOJ people who had either touched the Steele dossier or been witnesses to Jim Comey’s claims that Trump demanded loyalty from him.

At Wednesday’s meeting — initiated at Rosenstein’s request — Rosenstein and Wray tried to gauge where they stood with the House speaker in light of the looming potential contempt of Congress showdown and Nunes’ outstanding subpoena demands, sources said. CNN is told the discussion did not involve details of the separate Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

While Ryan had already been in contact with Rosenstein for months about the dispute over documents, Rosenstein and Wray wanted to make one last effort to persuade him to support their position. The documents in dispute were mostly FBI investigative documents that are considered law enforcement sensitive and are rarely released or shared outside the bureau.

During the meeting, however, it became clear that Ryan wasn’t moved and the officials wouldn’t have his support if they proceeded to resist Nunes’ remaining highly classified requests, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Sources also told CNN that the Justice Department and the FBI also had learned recently that the White House wasn’t going to assert executive privilege or otherwise intervene to try to stop Nunes.

The focus on all the reporting has been on the dossier; indeed, one of CNN’s sources says Mueller’s investigation didn’t come up. It’s not clear that makes sense, given the implication that Trump might claim executive privilege over something being discussed, unless the privilege claim pertained to the two-page summary of the dossier given to him and Obama.

Moreover, the letter memorializing what Nunes forced Rosenstein and Wray to give up suggests the discussion involved all “investigative documents that relate to the Committee’s investigations into (a) Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election,” as well as its efforts to find evidence of politicization at DOJ.

As agreed, designated Committee investigators and staff will be provided access to all remaining investigative documents, in unredacted form, for review at DOJ on Friday, January 5, 2018. The documents to be reviewed will include all FBI Form-1023s and all remaining FBI Form FD-302s responsive to the Committee’s August 24, 2017 subpoenas. The only agreed-upon exception pertains to a single FD-302, which, due to national security interests, will be shown separately by Director Wray to myself and my senior investigators during the week of January 8, 2018.

You further confirmed that there are no other extant investigative documents that relate to the Committee’s investigations into (a) Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election or (b) other investigatory documents germane to the Committee’s investigations regardless of form and/or title. If, somehow, “new” or “other” responsive documents are discovered, as discussed, you will notify me immediately and allow my senior investigators to review them shortly thereafter.

[snip]

It was further agreed that all documents made available to the Committee will also be available for review by the minority Ranking Member and designated staff.

If that’s right — if the document requests pertain to both the Steele dossier and the Mueller investigation, then on January 5, HPSCI would have been able to determine everyone who had been interviewed and what they had said (which is a good way to ensure that witnesses not cooperate with Mueller). And last week, Nunes, would have been able to review a 302 (the forms FBI uses to report their interviews with witnesses) that, for some reason, was even more sensitive than the FISA orders and confidential human source reports they had reviewed the previous Friday. From his language, it’s not clear whether Adam Schiff would have been included in that review.

Last Wednesday, Wray and Rosenstein gave briefings to Adam Schiff, reportedly by himself, and Richard Burr and Mark Warner together. If Schiff wasn’t included in the review of that 302, then that may explain what the briefing pertained to.

Just last month, Nunes was digging in and refusing to let Democrats call obvious witnesses. So the news that HPSCI will interview two key Trump people with whom Mueller has not yet met makes it clear — if it wasn’t already — that Nunes is trying to identify everything that Mueller might learn, so that he can then give Trump a clean bill of health and insist the entire investigation was just a political stunt drummed up from the Steele dossier (which is what Paul Manafort seems to have recommended last year).

And as all these machinations have gone on, Trump has vacillated about whether or not he’ll submit to an interview with Mueller. Perhaps Nunes has told him that the one thing that might make Mueller’s case is either a confirmation or denial from the President whether he knew or attended that June 9 meeting?

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

131 replies
  1. Trip says:

    It’s looking more and more like an expensive farce, isn’t it? The bipartisan committee clearing Nunes so he could un-recuse himself is one small part. How a transition team member was in charge of an investigation, where he took part in the administration being investigated, is an outrage and joke.

    I don’t expect Bannon to say anything damaging to Trump, at all. All he offered in the book was supposition. Further, none of it was under oath, and conveniently, Wolff’s book allowed, as he admitted, that some of it was ‘painting a broad portrait’ rather than nitty-gritty details being fact checked and/or corroborated. As an opportunist and survivalist, I can see this as an opportunity for Bannon to get back into the fold and gravy train, although I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I don’t recall any committee vote (which would have been along partisan line, not “bipartisan”) when Nunes “un-recused” himself, Nunes just started issuing subpoenas as chairman of the Intel committee (he never gave up the gavel to Goodlatte, just the Russia investigation).

      Keep believing the Bannon’s got nothing to say, nor Lewandowski because they will be before Mueller soon enough (since Bannon’s lawyered up, it’s probably inevitable).  On another thread, I tossed out the idea about a pool on how Corey will dodge the Democratic questions so maybe we can add Bannon to the pool as well.  Memory loss, 5th Amendment, Executive Privilege and Attorney-Client Privilege are the choices.

    • Trip says:

      How so? Bannon never said he was a witness to the meeting (at least how it was reported by Wolff). He also never said he was told that Trump listened in, attended the meeting, attended another meeting, etc. His quote was “The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.” He never alluded to direct knowledge one way or another. He was speculating based on his opinion of Junior’s character. That’s not witness testimony when you mention ‘chance’.

      • bmaz says:

        That is easy: Because of 18 USC §1001 false statements. Mueller could, and would, charge Bannon on the spot after hearing Wolff’s tapes.

        • Trip says:

          How is stating, and then changing an opinion, either a true or false determinant of facts?  Unless he has something to offer as a direct witness, what difference does his opinion make, was my point? Bannon also stated some ridiculous percentages of chance that Trump will be removed (if I recall correctly, he said a 33.3% ‘chance’) via the 25th Amendment and the same for impeachment. Saying that doesn’t make the percentages accurate. It’s all believing versus knowing, (KWIM) and is it a lie when you say you believed something and then changed your mind?

          As a disclaimer, I will state that I have not read the entire book, I’ve only read excerpts, so perhaps there are statements Bannon made about direct first hand or second hand knowledge of conspiratorial acts.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, I see, it is all just “changing opinion” eh?

            You got me, the law cannot possibly apply!*

            * Noting, however, that your “theory” has never worked for shit in defense of my clients so similarly confronted and charged. Perhaps this is an unique “Trump Exception” you have?

            • Trip says:

              He could lie and say “I never stated that to Wolff”. But even if he did state it to Wolff,  how he stated it was in the form of an opinion. Unless there is something more to the opinion, as in truly knowing, what is the point of charging him for lying about a previously expressed opinion?  Don’t you want to charge someone (a smaller fish) with a small crime to get a bigger one?  I mean, he wouldn’t necessarily be lying about facts, just lying about having made a bloviating opinion to a tabloid-ish writer. I hope you don’t interpret this as some form of advocacy in defense of Bannon. I think, thus far, he hasn’t stated anything of substance. It’s easy enough for him to go in front of Nunes et al and tell them he changed his opinion and/or he meant Manafort but misspoke to Wolff. If he doubles down on saying Wolff misquoted him, it would probably be a protracted battle to get Wolff to reveal sources, but THAT would be interesting. Don’t you want to corner people who have made it obvious what they know, as in legit facts?

              **responding to your edit: You must not have read any of my other comments if you really think I am a Trump supporter.

  2. Mark Brooks says:

    Because Mueller hasn’t yet met with Lewandowski and he is to meet with the HPSCI doesn’t necessarily mean that Nunes “is trying to identify everything that Mueller might learn, so that he can then give Trump a clean bill of health…” If Lewandowski (or anyone else) was essential to Mueller’s investigation, he would have already interviewed him. Is Lewandowski not one of the people that Democrats on the HPSCI want to interview ? In regard of Wolff’s publication of Steve Bannon’s insistence that Donald Trump met with the attendees at the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, 1) Wolff’s claims are not exactly flawless ! 2) Anything that Bannon might have said about that June 9 meeting would be speculation as he was NOT involved with Trump then. 3) I can’t imagine that if Veselnitskaya had met with Trump Snr. that she would not say so !

  3. John Forde says:

    Your last sentence, “Perhaps Nunes has told him that the one thing that might make Mueller’s case is either a confirmation or denial from the President whether he knew or attended that June 9 meeting?”
    Does this push the probability of Trump taking the fifth to 100%?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree that that’s the only part of the Constitution the Don is aware of.  But even the Don should be aware of the consequences of using it.  After all, his favorite mentor and BFF was Roy Cohn, who savaged committee witnesses who dared to use it or suggested that his senator’s committee hadn’t the slimmest legal basis to ask its questions.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There’s been some discussion today about Roy Cohn’s work for Donald Trump, and about the time that Cohn sued MLK for slander, a suit that died with King.  The point I want to emphasize – to contradict some of the reporting – is that Cohn was no simple, intimidating but idiosyncratic NYC lawyer.

      Cohn had been an assistant federal prosecutor and lead counsel for Joe McCarthy’s Senate committee.  He had graduated from both Columbia College and Columbia Law School when he was twenty.  He had to wait a few months, until he turned 21, before he could sit the bar exam.  He had lots of smarts, more ambition, and few scruples.

      Cohn’s network was A+.  His BFF for decades was J. Edgar Hoover.  In the fifties and sixties, Hoover’s reputation in and outside of Washington was godlike.  That meant Cohn and any local FBI office probably got along well.   That would have helped a lot of clients.

      Another BFF in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s was Francis Cardinal Spellman, the powerful and political archbishop of New York for nearly thirty years.  The predatory, flamboyant, and famously anti-communist Cardinal had a slew of volatile secrets that powerful people helped him keep secret.  Cohn’s other friends included top newspaper and radio columnists.  His clients included billionaires – Sy Newhouse, the Trumps – the merely wealthy, mafia dons, and A-list celebrities, including Barbara Walters.

      Trump’s quote about Cohn being a winner but a lousy lawyer is typically wrong. Cohn was a great lawyer but a lousy human being. Cohn was one of the era’s great fixers.  His clients had lots of money and often a lot to hide.  If they had a problem, Roy could usually make it go away.

  4. Rapier says:

    Completely out of the blue last night the thought occurred to me that it might be possible that Nunes could or should be charged with obstruction of justice. Setting aside the oddity of this idea coming to mind then, out of the blue, the would or should part seems pretty cut and dried in the affirmative. At least as a practical matter if not strictly a legal one.

    • John Forde says:

      I was wondering the same. Who was in the Wray/Rosenstein/Ryan meeting? Anyone else?

      Might Wray & Rosenstein have implied to Ryan that Nunes is in indictable territory?

      • Avattoir says:

        I interrupt your colloquy with this 3-word rebuttal that substantially disposes of the question: John Caldwell Calhoun.

        • John Forde says:

          Avattoir I am going to need your Cliffs Notes of question disposition. Are you saying Nunes going to induce Civil War 2?

          • Avattoir says:

            Maybe you think you know all about Calhoun (My impression is that clearly you do not.), so that there’s no need to read up on, let alone consider, the positions Calhoun took on the Constitution, the things he said & did, against the offices he occupied (including Secretary of War & VPOTUS to two different POTUS’) your comments here on Nunes amount to nothing more than bubbles of fulmination scattered about floating wreckage.

            Trying to float ideas like going after Nunes for obstruction, when he’s chair of a key House cmte, supported by the Speaker, fortified within the majority party, in a context where his own party controls the agenda of every branch of the federal govt, including a POTUS, who supports him with unseemly enthusiasm, is fantasy. Even presidential impeachment is a relative snap.

            Moreover, just b/c Nunes ‘may be’ (very probably is) intimately involved in a scheme to hoover up & share with the mob all the contents of the government’s brief on Trump-Russia, that does not necessarily mean such will prove to serve his, or Trump’s, advantage. It could, indeed, blow up in their faces right at the operational level. This bunch may be empowered & busy, but they’re not very bright.

            • John Forde says:

              Thanks Aviattoir. I assume Ryan knows there is a chance Nunes might screw up at the operational level. Wray and Rosenstein know it too. There must be 99 reasons for this to remain unspoken amongst those 3.

              I was merely asking if there might be one reason to make it spoken.

            • Rapier says:

              Admittedly I’ve got a glass jaw but I can easily take the bubbles of fulmination punch if it was thrown at me. It is just fulmination.  For me I don’t look forward to any criminal indictments anywhere up and down the line of these drama queens playing Risk.  Not Nunes nor even Trump. I kind of wince at the idea of court with them.

              • John Forde says:

                Thanks Rapier. I felt it. Thought about countering but thought better of it. The ad hominem has it’s place. But I have found very little utility in using it with strangers.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If Mueller interviews Trump under oath, Trump seems likely to express his variation of, “I have no recollection of that, Senator,” or, as EW would say, a full Schultz: “I know nussink.”  One can but hope that in frustration at having to explain himself to an underling, a mere lawyer lacking his brilliance, genius and insight, the Don let’s go and does a full Colonel Jessup, “You’re God damn right I did!”

  6. John Forde says:

    I’ve been curious lately about the legal gray area between plausible deniability and willful blindness. Would it be classic prosecutorial technique to hand Trump a document and ask him, “What do you know about this”? then let him fib on the fly, as he traps himself ever deeper into inconsistencies?

    • Avattoir says:

      I’m trying not seem mean, but your cup seems filled to the brim today with the highly impracticable & the fundamentally moot.
      AOT, I’ve never heard of any such “classic prosecutorial technique”; but then, I’ve only been in the biz for 4 decades.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s statements would become inconsistent after about a minute.  That’s what he does.  And I agree that while Trump is familiar with civil depositions, he has no experience in being interviewed in connection with a criminal prosecution.  Consistency, coherence and flow are heady challenges for Trump at the best of times.  His finding those attributes when his personal criminal liability is on the line seems improbable.

    Mueller would want Trump to speak for as long as possible, to dismiss the idea that his inconsistencies are a result of confusion or mistake.  If his statements circle the truth, always avoiding it but from different angles, deceit would become easier to establish.

    That’s one reason the Don’s lawyers would want to avoid a live interview, where Trump doesn’t know the questions ahead of time.  They will be desperate to control the questions, their duration and pace.  Mueller seems unlikely to allow him that luxury.

      • bmaz says:

        The only way Trump would take the 5th is if Mueller thinks he has not cooperated sufficiently (and Trump won’t, that is a given at this point) and Mueller has the cojones to subpoena Trump, thus compelling either testimony to the GJ or pleading of the 5th.

        Frankly, I think Mueller would be compelled to subpoena Trump, but I may be in the minority in that view.

        • Avattoir says:

          That’s intriguing. I think a post aimed at that sort of process might be helpful to at least some here.

          But I feel bound to observe, I remain unconvinced that this talk of whether & by what means PTrump might ‘testify’ (or whatever) is actually out there in the media zeitgeist at Mueller’s instigation. Trump’s several attorneys (each, we’re led to understand, acting for some part of Trump – Lord Protector of the Coif, etc.), or at least some of them, let leak the rats of pizza on this supposedly Big Freaking Deal of a meeting for weeks in advance of it.

          I’ve asserted several times since that it seems to me their emergence from that meeting with just these subjects of ‘whether’ & ‘how’, are truly pathetic fare to return home with following such a grandiose departure for the hunt.

          • KM says:

            That they surely are.  But then what exactly is the motive for (some of) Trump’s attorneys to leak this?  To have at least something to say after the big fanfare around “the meeting”?

            • bmaz says:

              My money says the chatter over the existence of the meeting, and the supposed “plan” after it, was all chatter by Trump team attorneys trying to publicly manage their client and his delusional rage.

            • bmaz says:

              No, it was not. Then again, Bush and Cheney negotiated and agreed to a private interview. The question is will Trump do that to where he faces live questioning and cross-ex including followups? I don’t think so. So then what? There is certainly precedence for a subpoena and GJ testimony thereon considering how Starr attached Clinton.

              • KM says:

                There is certainly legal precedence, and in a just world that would be enough.  But that’s not the world we’re living in, and I think there are decent reasons to doubt that Mueller will go that route, whatever his legal justification.

                • bmaz says:

                  Well, I am not particularly one to bite into the “gosh, the whole world is not just so Trump gets a walk” theory. What are your “decent reasons” Mueller simply cannot subpoena him? Because I can only think of one, and that is political blowback from Trump, Nunes, Jim Jordan and the other howling fuckstick monkeys.

                  Now maybe that is enough to scare Mueller. I am hoping Mueller is not scared and does the right thing. He has been beyond professional in his job so far. Let’s see how it goes. But you are seriously underestimating the leverage he has against Trump with the subpoena power, and how actual prosecutors wield such power.

                  • MK says:

                    And – the SC will rule on that power to force testimony. Forget the 5th – just EP and I’m not talking to you na na na boo boo – charge me and let’s see the country fall into CW2

                    • bmaz says:

                      Heh, what??? You may need to refresh your recollection of when, where and how Executive Privilege actually can and/or does attach.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Apples and pineapples. Different facts, different people, different set of possible crimes.

              Cheney, for example, was many things, but he chose his staff with care.  Policy was people.  He was loyal to a fault and his staff returned the favor.  Libby and Addington would have jumped off a cliff before ratting him out.  They probably still would, and Cheney would respond in kind.  That behavior is foreign to team Trump; its opposite is the norm.

            • emptywheel says:

              I may know the answer to this, but do we actually know the circumstances that led Cheney to sit for a second interview that was treated as a Grand Jury appearance?

    • Peterr says:

      Reading the transcript of Trump’s deposition in the civil suit against chef Geoffery Zakarian for backing out of a restaurant deal at Trump’s DC hotel after Trump’s “Mexico is sending rapists” comments (and watching the video) makes it clear to me that Trump does not do well when faced with a determined and organized questioner who cannot be mocked or walked away from. Despite his proclamation of great business acumen and vast intelligence, his performance in this deposition suggests otherwise. As Jim Newell noted for Slate:

      My favorite recurring trend of this deposition is:

      [QUESTION]

      Trump: Yes.

      Trump’s lawyer: Objection.

      He did no prep. He gave wandering answers and repeatedly ignored his own lawyer. He demonstrated that inside his own company, he has little grasp of what goes on. He did not look comfortable, confident, or competent.

      I suspect Mueller’s team has (or will have) watched this before deposing Trump in the Russian case, and will find a wealth of information on how Trump acts under legal questioning, which they can then use to frame their own questioning and approach to the interview.

      This should worry Trump’s lawyers a great deal, though Trump himself likely sees no danger.

        • bmaz says:

          Bill Bel the best ever. Gonna need to win more championships to catch Lombardi. Okay, granted, different eras. Maybe co-greatest ever?

          But yep, bet the Mueller shop is watching game film!

  8. dalloway says:

    Does Nunes get what Flynn has told Mueller?  If so, and when he takes it to his master in the White House, isn’t it obvious it will blow up any corroborating testimony from the remaining witnesses who will know what Flynn said and deny it, point by point, all telling the same false story that they’ll reverse-engineer from Flynn’s testimony?  Then Drumpf can fire Mueller with impunity because the “witch hunt” will have been shown to be based on one disgruntled former employee trying to save himself from prison for his own crimes, which had nothing to do with Drumpf.  That’s why Manafort isn’t flipping.  He knows if he holds out long enough, there’s a good chance Mueller will be discredited and the federal case against him will never get to trial.  Manafort can then use the same “witch hunt” defense to get state charges thrown out as well.  If that’s the plan, I’d bet it came straight from the Kremlin — from which our “government” will be indistinguishable very soon.

    • Avattoir says:

      One thing missing from this is something akin to the Warren Commission: a truly massive kitchen fully equipped to accommodate all manner of experimental cuisine.

  9. gedouttahear says:

    trump has done a zillion uber-outrageous things without suffering consequences that would have brought any other candidate or president down. Though he and most of his advisers are dumb as shit and make bigmistakes, it seems to me highly unlikely that he will submit to an interview by Mueller’s team under oath. I hope I’m wrong.

  10. Desider says:

    Well, if Nunes goes running to Daddy with all this info, it’s possible someone else will keep tabs on his midnight run this time.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice piece from Amy Goodman today at Democracy Now! A rare recovered audio of a speech by MLK on December 7, 1964, in London, shortly before he received the Nobel Peace Prize. The speech is well worth listening to in its entirety.

    His “I Have a Dream Speech,” from 1963, and his Riverside Church speech in 1967, are more well-known. But this one, too, is direct, powerful, gentle. It would be a rare speech for a politician in any age, rarer still in its poignancy for the early 1960s.

    Many lines in it are memorable. In one, King is responding to those who argued for delay by saying that we cannot legislate behavior; we have to change our hearts. King agreed that changing hearts would be a good thing, but one way to get there was to change behavior. Laws may not change what’s in a man’s heart, but they might stop someone from lynching me, which would be a good thing. Amen.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As Gandhi is reputed to have quipped, when asked what he thought of western civilization: “It would be a good idea.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Something to consider now that Trump has dragged us down the rabbit hole with him.  From fifty years ago, by MLK:

      “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

  12. GRichter says:

    Am I understanding this correctly? Nunes et al have been allowed to review the list of witnesses Mueller has interviewed, and summaries of those interviews? This sounds devastating utterly for the investigation—a true scandal.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We should pay homage to der Spiegel. Unlike Trump’s fake Time magazine cover, der Spiegel’s cover art is sublime. It inverts the normal 1950s biology image of the descent of man, a range of silhouettes, increasing in height from left to right, lowly ape to western (white) man.

    Der Spiegel’s version reverses the image. The silhouettes shorten, from left to right. Western man descends to the lower orders. The line-up ends with the shortest figure, no longer in silhouette, but in color: a rotund, dark-suited, outrageously coiffed figure with drooping red tie. (You can see a version of it at Digby’s.)

  14. Rugger9 says:

    Nunes as the head of the intelligence committee will have the list of witnesses at hand. I don’t think he will have summaries of testimony since until Mueller goes public with an indictment it’s all investigatory and in Mueller’s shop locked away for when it is needed.

    Manafort will have to choose his poison: cooperate with Mueller and get on the WH and Putin bleep-list with the consequences therein (especially Putin). Or, dig in on providing more info and (maybe) get square with the Kaiser but run afoul of Putin (whose op is blown now, and will need to do something else) and Mueller plus NYS AG Schneiderman for the state money laundering charges still available that will send him to Sing Sing if not Leavenworth or Marion for a long time. I see no path for Manafort to make Putin happy, so it may behoove Paul to be safely behind bars, so to speak.

    IMHO, if I were Mueller with the transition emails already in hand, combined with the wire info from Papadopoulos and various and sundry intercepts and prior testimony, I would prefer to have Corey and Bannon talk to the Committee first just so they can set out their own rakes to step on so Mueller doesn’t have to.

    Corey’s a blabbermouth like Page is, and Manafort will have to figure out how best to look out for himself with no appealing alternatives. As far as Manafort and Flynn and Bannon, they are already being painted officially as coffee boy liars by the Kaiser’s palace so there is no significance to what they say in Congress with respect to whether Trump moves on Mueller. He’s looking for a reason, nothing more.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If Trump and Putin are having a fling, and Manafort has any info on it that Putin doesn’t want disclosed, Manafort is unlikely to roll over for Mueller.  Given how Putin reacts to FSB generals that disappoint him by talking to Steele or his sources, Manafort can expect no better treatment.  It’s hard to think of any punishment or pleasure Mueller could offer Manafort that would trump that.

  16. John Forde says:

    So is the distinction correct that Nunes will have access to FBI interview summaries but will not have access to GJ testimony summaries?
    Is this “utterly devastating” as GRichter writes? Or could the GJ testimony hold significant legal surprises and pitfalls beyond what can be inferred from the FBI interviews?

    • emptywheel says:

      I think that may be right. And yes, there may be things of great interest in the GJ testimony. Though the most cooperative witnesses would presumably be interviewed rather than hauled before GJ.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes. And if Nunes et. al get actual Rule 6 testimony/material, I would be beyond stunned. If so, then I would support an investigation of Mueller. But that is not happening, and investigation of Mueller at this point is fever dream stupid BS.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Are you implying that Sessions can not do the dump to Nunes? Even though he recused himself, does that really mean that he has no access to the investigative records? How can we know for sure?

          If he can, and did do the dump to Nunes, how would we know if or if not it was him? What if it was Wray? Why would Mueller be at fault?

          • bmaz says:

            No, not implying. Am noting that this decision has been made in the DOJ, and if you can credibly assert Sessions had no role whatsoever, please let me know. No, it would never be one person in this regard, Wray may have agreed, we shall see in time. But that would not in any normal event, nor any event imaginable, be how it would occur. There would have to be signify from attorney(s) at Main. No, this has nothing to do with Mueller, other than it fucks him.

  17. lefty665 says:

    In regard to the repeated emails Papadopoulos sent to Lewandowski indicating the Russians wanted to meet, are there indications that Lewandowski replied, and if so how?

    Did he pursue the prospects, or did he brush off Papadopoulos with the equivalent of ‘Go away kid ‘ya bother me. Can’t you see I’m a busy man? I’ve got a presidential campaign to run here.’  You’d think if Papadopoulos had more of an email chain than ‘I told him this, and this and this’ we’d have heard about it. Did Lewandowski just ignore him?

    If Mueller had evidence of Lewandowski’s pursuit of the Russians from Papadopoulos, FISA or anything else, it seems he might have been questioned by now. Lewandowski’s denial Marcy quoted was unequivocal. Doesn’t mean it’s true, just that Lewandowski seems pretty sure there is not a smoking email or intercept lurking out there waiting to bite him. Will Nunes confirm that for him?

    • bmaz says:

      Lewandowski is a fucking proven liar, and an unrehabilitaed one that has never come clean. And you have no idea what Mueller has, or may yet obtain as he works further witnesses. Making such untethered from fact assumptions, and taking Lewandowski’s statements at face value as here, is absurd. It is easy to squawk about the Congressional Committee investigations, because they have all leaked and postured like sieves. Thinking you know anything about where Mueller is, frankly, is ludicrous.

      • lefty665 says:

        Thank you for your candid opinion bmaz. I ain’t a lawyer, and learning from some of yous that are is one reason I hang around here. Your opinion of Lewandowski is, if anything, more flattering than mine.

        Are there any indications that there is more to Papadopoulos’s assertions than his own one sided emails to Lewandowski?  Mueller’s been after this for close to a year. What we’ve got so far is charges of lying to the FBI and prior money laundering. There is precious little demonstration of conspiracy with the Russians beyond dumb fuck rich kids Junior and Jared in way over their heads and splashing around. Is Lewandowski the smoking gun (as if being a total fucking jerk was not enough)? If so, why are we so far into this and he has not been questioned?

         

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Are there any indications that there is more to Papadopoulos’s assertions than his own one sided emails to Lewandowski? 

          We have a glimpse of the other side of the correspondence in the case of Sam Clovis, and we know that Papadopoulos was doing “shuttle diplomacy” for the campaign. For the moment, a plausible working reading would be that interactions with Papadopoulos got triaged/forwarded on to a couple of people in the campaign — not necessarily Lewandowski — and that’s more plausible than the assumption he was sending out a bunch of eager tips about friendly Russians and the campaign filed them in the bitbucket and told him to head off somewhere in Europe instead.

            • pseudonymous in nc says:

              My point of reference here is the Papadopoulos statement of facts, which remains the primary text on P.’s interactions with the campaign.

              I’m saying that the statement of facts describes “High-Ranking Campaign Official” (Lewandowski) forwarding one of P’s emails on to Campaign Supervisor (Sam Clovis) because Clovis was “running point” on that area.

              Even a chaotic and murky campaign presumably had some division of responsibilities. We assume that P. was receiving some kind of direction on his schedule — he wasn’t simply freelancing his foreign trips and interactions with government officials — but we don’t know who it was coming from.

          • lefty665 says:

            Are you suggesting that dirtbag Lewandowski is telling the truth here and that he did not respond to Papadopoulos, or have anything to do with the Russians as he stated?  Is that why Lewandowski has not been questioned so far, on this topic he’s squeaky clean? Doesn’t seem to much fit his MO.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Your questions seem to assume that Papa was more the coffee boy depicted by Trump’s defenders.  If he had pursued these Russian contacts on spec, and had no idea whether he could “sell” them to a distant Trump’s team, he would have been discarded quickly as a potential embarrassment or worse.

      But Papa stayed on the campaign, in contact with Trump’s team and the Russians.  He would have stayed because he was doing work his patrons wanted done.  That looks a lot like he was a useful cut-out for both sides.  If Papa had coffee, it was at the Dorchester, and it was served to him.

      To re-ask the obvious question, why were so many on Trump’s team, including his family and top advisers, convinced that they absolutely, positively needed to be so close to Putin?

      • lefty665 says:

        You ask an interesting question, to which I don’t pretend to know the answer.

        I was asking a much simpler question which was are there indications that is there evidence Lewandowski conspired with the Russians beyond Papadopoulos’s emails? I’m not grinding an axe, it puzzles me that we don’t seem to have more. Lewandowski’s denial was not hedged, it was unambiguous. That does not make it true, but it does make it remarkable. Has Nunes let  Lewandowski know the FBI has nothing beyond Papadopoulos’s emails?

        Yes, I do think Papadopoulos is a pretty sketchy (and peripheral) character, as are most of the people we’ve seen in Trump world. You couldn’t make up a cast of misfits to match these grifters, thieves, liars and bozos. Is America great or what?

  18. Rugger9 says:

    Hicks did speak with Mueller and may yet again, IIRC it was about the Air Force One write-up to cover the June 9, 2016 meeting. We can all agree that Corey is a lowlife of the worst order and has a propensity to lie like a rug. However, basing my observation on his TV appearances he is also a name-dropping dumbass (h/t Red from “That 70’s Show”) who apparently thinks he is going to be untouchable. That might lead CL to be too passive-aggressive in his visit to the Committee and say something he might regret later. Or not. Even if he says he never talked with Mueller, I would not believe his version alone (but it’s probable).

    However, looking back to Iran-Contra, where St Ronnie (through Oliver North, etc.) sold military hardware to the mullahs while they were embargoed and lied about it, we have the example of Ollie North, corporate Marine (the scuttlebutt about the services at that time was that he only wore his uniform at the Congressional hearing, why Daniel Inouye [a real war hero] didn’t eat him for breakfast then I will never understand). Ollie was able to leverage an immunity guarantee for his testimony which turned into his get out of jail free card later.

    My question is whether Nunes will do something similar for the WH cast of characters to spare the Kaiser from needing to pardon anyone. He could and would be able to ram it through on a party-line vote.

    Full disclosure, part of my service was escorting Kuwaiti tankers through the “Arabian” Gulf (“Persian” was a dirty word, officially) not long afterward which kind of pissed all of us off that the WH gave them spare parts and other hardware to (potentially) shoot at us. Yeah, we’re bitter about that.

    • lefty665 says:

      There are good reasons to question why Jared still has a clearance, but this ain’t among them. You were in the Navy weren’t you?

      • Rugger9 says:

        In my USN he never would have been cleared for Confidential, much less TS/SCI where he is now.  Nice try, troll.

        Any leverage counts when it comes to granting clearances.

        • lefty665 says:

          Let’s see, your USN cleared Walker and his family, and here’s a Commander within the last year https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-navy-officer-charged-with-spying/  That’s not to mention the passel of officers right up through flag wound up in the Fat Leonard scandal.  The Navy is not a good guide on the granting of clearances. It is little wonder you asked the question  “How does Jared still have a clearance?”

          There are lots of reasons Jared should not have a clearance, but they don’t have much to do with his and Ivanka’s acquaintance with Murdoch’s wife.

  19. Bay State Librul says:

    Why doesn’t Mueller slap an “obstruction of justice” indictment on Nunes,

    Poor Nunes only has a chip and a chair left at the table.

    An honest Russian once said

    “Wherever the law is, crime can be found.” — Russian writer Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago

     

    • bmaz says:

      I actually think Nunes’ actions are dangerously close to criminal obstruction. But he probably has speech and debate clause protection.

      • Rugger9 says:

        That could be debated (sorry) since we also have the late night snitch deliveries to the WH (maybe with some McNuggets for the Kaiser) which would not be covered by the idea that things said on the floor of the House by members cannot be used in criminal referrals.  I’d call it a clear departure.

        • bmaz says:

          I fully understand, but that was exactly why I phrased that response as I did. I do not do Speech+Debate Clause law for a living (no practicing atty does, and “law profs” that purport to know about it at functional level are blowing smoke)) but just my initial thoughts. They should be taken with a healthy grain of salt.

          • Rugger9 says:

            You are on point as usual, and I would submit that one of the things we can count on from the Kaiser’s palace is that they will test the limits of any constraint or make any loophole as large as needed to get their way.

            The palace always does things for a reason, even if that reason is self-centered, stupid or worse, and so there will be a cause for each policy.  The Kaiser is too lazy otherwise.

            I would expect that Nunes would hide behind the S&D Clause until Mueller extracts him from that defense.  I’d still like to know how much testimony can be immunized by the HPSCI from Mueller’s consideration, if any.  I’d also be interested whether the three visitors this week will be under oath.  As I recall, some time ago in another investigation (I think it was over Shrub) the witnesses were deliberately not placed under oath by the GOP majority for what appeared to be the purpose of not getting hit with a perjury charge.

  20. John Forde says:

    I have only a dim awareness of the speech and debate clause protection. That dimness led me to foist bubbles of fulmination scattered about floating wreckage. But it seems to me (IANAL) that Nunes is on thin ice. Glad to not be alone in that suspicion.

    • bmaz says:

      Speech and Debate Clause protection is a curious animal. It is FAR broader than most think (including both those that do, and do not, know of its existence). But it is also not as absolute as some think. But it is a powerful exception for members of Congress. Has Nunes flouted the norms that undergird Speech and Debate? Yes, I think so. But not sure he would ever be considered by higher courts of having per se violated them. Go google and read on the speech and debate, from Gravel, to Murtha, to Jefferson, and you will quickly see why I say all this.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It would even be hard for the FBI to open an investigation.

        I agree that Nunes’s behavior is beyond the pale.  Unfortunately, it’s of the kind that in normal times would require political censure and removal from his chairmanship and committee.

        Congress has lost the willingness to do that.  It won’t even hold normal oversight hearings for most government agencies.  This GOP, backing Trump to the hilt as they do, would never dream of it.  (Establishment Dems get a pass only because they are out of power.)  A demonstration of how broken is our lobbyist-ridden Congress.

  21. Trip says:

    “The FBI is in tatters”, a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    GOP Access to FBI Files Rattles Agents Caught in Political Fight

    • Sensitive sources or material may be exposed, agents say 

    • Republicans question FBI amid probe into Russian collusion

    Current and former officials expressed a number of concerns. One agent said some officials working on Russian counterintelligence probes of any kind might now be hesitant to report their findings to superiors, given the political furor over the Mueller investigation.A former senior agent said the credibility of the FBI is on the line, and close attention is being paid to how the situation is handled by Wray, who took over as director in August. Agents are waiting to see how assertive the director will be in defending them and other career officials and whether he’ll refuse to hand over documents that might compromise covert sources and operations, the former agent said.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-16/gop-access-to-fbi-files-rattles-agents-caught-in-political-fight

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Given that the FBI is our primary counter-intelligence agency, among its other duties (such as investigating money laundering), Mr. Putin could only look on that outcome with glee.  Well done, Donald.

      • lefty665 says:

        FBI is our counter-intelligent agency too. Dunno whether to be distressed or relieved that they’re not better at intelligence.

        There’s long been opinion that not much of anyone at the Bureau could find the bathroom without a paid informant. Strzok is a good current example. How the hell did he get to be head of counter-intelligence? He does seem exceptionally qualified as counter-intelligent and proof of Robin Williams theorem that “God gave man enough blood to run his brain and his dick, but not at the same time”.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Well, I did say, “the FBI is our primary counter-intelligence agency”.

          Williams’s comment is funny, and often appropriate (see, Pussy Grabbers Anonymous, with a new Pennsylvania Avenue address).  We all hope it’s not a fair description of the FBI’s skill at counter-intel.  In any case, it wouldn’t describe the A team assembled by Mueller.

          • lefty665 says:

            Indeed.

            The idea expressed in the Bloomberg article that agents would hide information from Congressional oversight because of fears it would be disclosed subverts the Constitution. I don’t much like the current majority, but I do respect the balance of power between the branches of our Gov’t.

            Pussy Grabbers Anonymous, with a new Pennsylvania Avenue address” Is that housed in the Weinstein building along with the Naval Aviation Tail Hook Association?

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              Jim Mora twisted.

              “Ah — balance? Don’t talk about — balance? You kidding me? Balance? I just hope we can win a game! Another game.”

              • Rugger9 says:

                “Lefty” seems to have some sort of pathologically deplorable fixation on trashing the USN.

                Of course, I am not aware of any positive contribution “Lefty” has made to our society, certainly there has been nothing worthwhile posted on this board by “Lefty”.

                Tailhook was a flyboy issue, most of us in the USN fleet (I was an engineer) dislike the airedales for many valid reasons.  As the joke goes: “you can tell an airedale by his straight sunglasses and flight jacket covered with Centurion patches, you can tell him by his way of flying with his hands in conversation, but you can’t tell him anything.”

                “Lefty”, leave the USN and the rest of the armed forces alone unless you can show you’ve served yourself.

                • lefty665 says:

                  My history is civilian side of DoD. Met a number of service folks in the D.C. area and have profound respect for those who have made a career of service to their country, military and civilian alike, and who have gone in harm’s way when Uncle called. I have less respect for those who wear their service on their sleeve and wrap themselves in the flag.

                  Navy types tended to be stuffed shirts and advancement depended more on being loyal members of the club than bright or able, much more so than in the other branches of the service. It got worse the further up the chain of command you went.

                  Your embrace of the Dossier and things like Jared’s association with Murdoch’s wife are precisely the kinds of positions Marcy and others have cautioned against as fatally flawed. They allow Trump and the Repubs to discredit opposition and to avoid real issues. Not too bright, sort of a modern day equivalent of lining up your battleships so the Japanese could use them for target practice, or driving your destroyer into a container ship, or running your cruiser aground in Tokyo Bay, or selling out your country for Fat Leonard’s cash and amenities, or, or, or…

                  • Rugger9 says:

                    So, you’re a sand crab (at best).  That explains a lot.

                    You should know that DC is not a good place for a representative sample. .

              • lefty665 says:

                Earl “Nope. 1600 Penn. You’ll have to ask McCain where the Tail Hook Association meets up.”

                My bad, I was thinking Weinstein annex of the EOB right there in the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave complex, but it did not make it out of my fingers. Tks for making it explicit.

    • Silence Hand says:

      Gosh, I suppose we’re gonna start seeing the Ryan-Nunes collaboration pay off.  Mueller’s shop doesn’t leak, but now we can just reverse engineer whats going on there by seeing who’s getting set up to get “immunity” from HPSCI.  As in, tell us what you told Mueller; we’ll grant immunity if you do.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Interesting.

      Steve Bannon subpoenaed *during* House Intel meeting for information the White House instructed him not to give

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Steve Bannon subpoenaed *during* House Intel meeting for information the White House instructed him not to give

        i.e. information that he’d be forced to answer or plead the fifth about at a grand jury.

        But yeah, yet more adventures in Schrödinger’s Executive Privilege.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I saw that too, and given that the whole idea was to bury the investigation it could be one of a couple of things:

        1.  The Palace has decided Bannon is going to be the fall guy du jour.  That would mean that Nunes would basically have free rein to hammer him in the hearing and perhaps Bannon’s lawyer told him to stay mum until the subpoena forced him to talk.  I would suspect the lawyer hiring last week was in response to Mueller’s subpoena last week, since Bannon’s income stream took a hit after Breitbart launched him into the gorge of eternal peril before he could bravely run away.

        2.  Bannon was subpoenaed for the purpose of immunizing testimony to protect him from Mueller later this week.  Recall that Nunes did not summon Bannon until he was warned about Mueller’s subpoena, whether directly from a snitch or by putting two and two together when Bannon hired a lawyer.  It would also explain the rush to get him into a committee room behind closed doors and unlike the Senate, there is no way for Cummings to issue a minority report that I am aware of.

    • Rugger9 says:

      So, can Nunes create a problem for Mueller by granting immunity to Bannon, Lewandowski, Hicks, etc.?  North was convicted mostly to items related to lying to Congress, and his immunized testimony was deemed upon appeal (with help from the ACLU) in 1990 to have slimed the government’s case badly enough to wipe out all of the charges which were dropped in 1991.

      In this present case it would be lying to Mueller and conspiracy to do the same, different than lying to a Congressional committee; or is it?

  22. Silence Hand says:

    I do not think it’s odd that Mueller hasn’t interviewed Lewandowski; I think it’s savvy. I think Marcy’s point is fundamentally correct. Does Nunes now know a lot more about Lewandowski intercepts, perhaps down to content, or is he misfiring? Seven reasons Mueller would (and should) ignore Lewandowski:

    1) CL is a florid and manic liar, and will certainly lie to the FBI.  Even truthful statements will be laced with lies and puffery.

    2) CL is erratic.

    3)  CL will lie to muddy the waters, creating confusion and delay.

    4) While he’s a legend in his own mind, CL is a small rabbit.  When you’re hunting bear, why spend effort going after him?  In addition to the smallness of his fry, he has zero value as a cooperating witness (see (1, 2,3) above)

    5)  Very high chance that Trump et al. would set CL up as a fall guy, a role that he would absolutely take, believing himself to be a lynchpin of world affairs.

    6)  CL would absolutely leak every aspect of his testimony (or questioning) to anyone who will listen.

    7)  They probably have enough intercept intel on CL to nail him to several walls simultaneously; they’ll get to him in due course.

    Other reasons?  Mueller is quite wise to simply avoid CL entirely.  There’s no scenario in which CL contributes to getting the work done.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I concur about the timing but not the value.  A loose cannon like CL is a gold mine for Mueller, he will say stuff on TV and in the hearing that Mueller can then trap him on later at the GJ.  Every time Corey fibs to Mueller, the name “Martha Stewart” should be in his thoughts.  I also do not think that someone like Lewandowski has the intestinal fortitude to take the proverbial political bullet for the Kaiser if given the choice between jail and no jail.  Braggarts like him usually are cowards too, so I expect him to sing once Mueller runs him over a few rakes waiting for Corey first.

    • bmaz says:

      Silence Hand – All of those factors may be, arguably are, true. But that does NOT mean that Mueller ignores him. No lawyer worth his salt, much less a prosecutor, ever fails to lock down a potential witness on the record, in this case either voluntary interview or GJ testimony. Never. You just cannot allow wildcards to not be tied down, irrespective of whether they are good or bad, for you.

      • Silence Hand says:

        I agree overall, and Mueller’s salt is valuable indeed.  I have to say that, like Marcy, I’ve found Mueller’s apparent lack of interest in speaking with CL pretty remarkable.   I have trouble imagining that Mueller hasn’t carefully considered assigning CL tertiary interest.  I think he may just now be getting into hauling serious adversaries in front of the grand jury, and possibly CL is among this next round.  My supposition is that for a number of wildcards like CL, you build a strong hand without them first.

        Why do you think Mueller has ignored Lewandowski thus far?

  23. Rugger9 says:

    “Lefty”, you forgot the USS Iowa incident and investigative fiasco by the NIS trying to pin it on Clayton Hartwig. I will also note that you moved the goalposts away from your cheap shot about the destroyers to the Walker investigation (note that Pollard was released in 2015, perhaps you’re confusing the two?). You also left out that it was Michael (the son, a relatively minor player) who walked in 2000 due to a plea bargain by John Walker that gave up his conspirators in exchange for a 25-year sentence leading to parole after 15 years. Both John Walker and his brother Arthur died in prison, and co-conspirator Whitworth is still there, accounting for all of the main players.

    Of course it is just the same as Jared still having his clearance, noting that we now have dozens of reasons to revoke something that never should have been issued in the first place (which was the whole point, “Lefty”, that you are excusing in your Trumpian logic). The story about the wives was merely one more.

  24. Jared Scott says:

    The more Trump and his people think they know about the Mueller investigation — through Nunes and others — the more it will vex them when they are asked questions. I’ve been involved in investigations before, and when witnesses or interviewees think they know what we know, and tailor their responses accordingly. they run the risk of impeaching themselves and committing perjury. The current group around Trump, and Trump himself, are not very bright, though they think they are. Coupled with imperfect knowledge they are sure to be caught lying up to their scuppers.

     

    Nunes is doing his patron a disservice. But the best way for Trump to find that out is to let the investigation play out to the end. It’s not going to be pretty for Trump — or Nunes.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As they say in Vegas, if you sit down at the card table and don’t know who the sucker is, it’s you.

  25. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So, we have “sources familiar with Bannon’s thinking” (who may or may not be named Steve Bannon) saying that he plans to be more forthcoming with Mueller than with HPSCI.

    If Bannon wanted a clean hit on, say, Crown Prince Jared while superficially following White House instructions and without giving Nunes a heads-up, that might be one way to do it.

    • Silence Hand says:

      Putting Bannon in front of a grand jury is also a way of Nunes-proofing the information he provides.

  26. John Forde says:

    It seemed the working theory was that Nunes role was to help the WH by leaking info to help participants coordinate their stories.

    Schiff says the WH instructed Bannon to not answer.

    Did the WH get cold feet as to this pre emption strategy? Or are they simply panicked and doing anything to delay?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Schrödinger’s Executive Privilege is a precedent now, and maybe there’s a use-it-or-lose-it approach. At the same time, Nunes’ value as a mole is presumably greater when dealing with people the WH can’t prep or instruct than with those it can.

    • bmaz says:

      Don’t think that necessarily implies there is a mole. Bannon had already known of pending committee requests, and so hired an attorney (an attorney wth a conflict if you ask me), and once had done so, it would be normal to refer service to counsel. Not saying there is “not” a mole, just that this does not establish it.

      • Trip says:

        Maybe applicable?
        680 F. 2d 881 – United States v. Curcio
        https://openjurist.org/680/f2d/881/united-states-v-curcio

         
        But it seems even more convoluted in that Burke was acting like a defense attorney for the WH, and not just McGahn, by running real time interference for the entire WH/president, during committee questioning.

        Maybe it’s good that the FBI didn’t get to question Bannon. Perhaps the line of questioning won’t end up in Nunes’ grubby little hands, since he’s ‘investigating’ the FBI.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, indeed. Curcio is a fairly famous case, if for no other reason that it was so blatant and went on so long. Frankly, I think the trial court ruled appropriately both times. The cite you have was the first of those. The war went on and it came back later in this opinion that eventually, curiously, allowed the multiple representation for the brothers. There is a litany of these kinds of cases across the Circuits that cut both ways. Bottom line though, unlike the brothers Gus and Frank Curcio, in the instant case the defendants are not of nearly of such equal stature and/or position. McGhan IS the legal representative of the White House. Bannon is not only not of that level, he is fired from said White House entirely. For my money it does not pass the smell test that they ought have the same counsel. I would expect the Mueller shop to be pointing this out to Bannon and insuring that he understands and waives. It is curious that HPSCI is not doing so…..

    • bmaz says:

      And KLynn – to be clear, when I said we don’t know about a “mole” I was excluding Nunes, who is so open, notorious and ham handedly working in the open that I have a hard time thinking of him as a traditional “mole”. We can see much of what Nunes is doing. It would almost are comical if not for the real effects of his handiwork.

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