The Gates Flip and the 404(b) Delay

CNN reported tonight that, after not getting funded by rich GOP donors (perhaps in part because Trump thinks his cooperation won’t imperil him), Paul Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, is about to flip.

Gates has already spoken to Mueller’s team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He’s had what criminal lawyers call a “Queen for a Day” interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors’ team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed.

[snip]

Once a plea deal is in place, Gates would become the third known cooperator in Mueller’s sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It would also increase the pressure to cooperate on Gates’ co-defendant Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, who has pleaded not guilty to Mueller’s indictment and is preparing for a trial on alleged financial crimes unrelated to the campaign. Gates pleaded not guilty on October 30 alongside Manafort.

[snip]

Gates has told associates he had hoped for outside assistance from a legal defense fund, but deep-pocketed GOP donors have shown little interest in helping either Gates or Manafort cover their legal fees, two sources said.

The judge has already acknowledged that Gates could not show he had $5 million in assets to secure his bail. His financial situation is further hampered by assets he would have to forfeit to the government if found guilty of money laundering charges. A complex criminal case such as this could cost a defendant more than a million dollars in legal fees, especially if he were to go to trial, according to several people familiar with the legal industry.

Hopefully I’ll have time tomorrow to lay out what Gates might have offered Mueller. But for now, I want to look at a detail from the Gates/Manafort docket.

On Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson held a status conference. With Manafort, she appears to have discussed his continued efforts to make bail (one thing that CNN reports pressured Gates financially enough that made him willing to flip).

With Gates, she appears to have discussed his confusing legal situation, where his existing lawyers are trying to ditch him so his new lawyer, Tom Green, can finalize this plea deal. The night before, Gates had filed a pro se motion asking Berman Jackson to hold off on deciding whether his current lawyers can ditch him until February 21.

In response, Berman Jackson granted Gates his week.

Defendant Manafort’s (1) Sealed Motion 153 for Reconsideration of Conditions of Release remains under advisement. Defendant Manafort (1) must supplement the Motion. The 161 Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Defendant Gates (2) remains under advisement. Defendant Gates is to advise the Court of his position on the Motion by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, 2/21/2018.

Just as interesting, Berman Jackson held off on resetting deadlines and on deciding whether or not the government can delay providing 404(b) notice of the evidence of other crimes the government will submit at trial.

The Current Briefing and Hearing schedules that were established at the Status Conference held on 1/16/2018, and in the Minute Order issued on 1/17/2018 are suspended pending further Order of the Court. The government’s 155 Motion to Modify the Court’s Schedule for Rule 404(b) Notice and Briefing remains under advisement. SO ORDERED. By Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 2/14/2018. (jth) (Entered: 02/14/2018)

I noted, when the government submitted that request, that Mueller’s team likely wanted to hide what other crimes Manafort and Gates had committed to save their value for when they testify against Trump and his family.

First, Mueller doesn’t want to tip his hand to the many crimes it has found Manafort implicated in. Perhaps, he also wants to avoid making other obvious allegations about Manafort and Gates to preserve their credibility when they flip on the President and his family. But it also seems to suggest Mueller expects he’ll be finding other crimes Manafort and Gates committed for the next 8 months.

Everything’s on hold, now, until Gates can plead guilty to crimes that involve only indirect taint of conspiring with the Russians, so the government doesn’t yet have to reveal how much it knows of that taint, at least not publicly.

I could be wrong, but this may answer something we’ve been trying to understand about George Papadopoulos and Mike Flynn — whether the government let them plead to far lesser crimes because that’s all they’ve got or because Mueller is trying to keep his witnesses relatively clean for when they testify against Trump.

I think Mueller’s trying to keep them clean, and in the process trying to keep his poker hand still close to the chest for when he starts to use it against the big guns.

I’m also interested in the timing, which would put at least one more guilty plea into place before Rachel Brand leaves.

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101 replies
  1. Ed Walker says:

    This investigation is taking too long to allow time to deal with our political problem of Republican intransigence on Russian attacks on our elections. We’re going to have another election with unseen hands on our election levers.

      • greengiant says:

        Paper ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere are read by hackable optical scanners. Hand recounts are not permitted.  Neither are verification tests of the scanners. Vote totals can be mangled at the county or state level. Paper ballots are a necessary but not sufficient improvement.

        • Watson says:

          Ditch the scanners. Paper ballots placed in clear plastic boxes, so that laypeople can count the votes and confirm the results.

        • Rayne says:

          There’s tabulation software even with the optical scanners in Michigan. There’s software uploading the votes to the state’s records. And we still can’t rule out humans in the chain. Every step must be more easily monitored and audited, beginning with paper ballots.

  2. canucklehead says:

    It’s amazing just how close to the chest this entire SC investigation still is. 9 months in and we’ve had confirmed almost no descriptive details from the interviews of Flynn, transition troglodytes, current and former Whitehouse staff, and now Bannon. The evidence stockpiled must be enormous in depth and breadth. Nothing confirmed, barely whispered. Astonishing.

    The headless minions continue to screw up so magnificently, daily, that they are approaching a complete floundering flailing standstill. I’m one who thinks the Porter fiasco will mushroom into a security clearance morass so sticky and glommy that even Gowdy’s accidental oversight might blow this up, might show who really waived security clearances. Explicit policy of ignoring the safety of the country’s secrets, as decreed by the Trump. Get Kristol to cheerlead. So simple it might stick.

    Collision course between Mueller and a security hobbled President please!

      • orionATL says:

        yes it is. and i’ll be that trump and company, in all their lawyer-led cheating partners and banks years as developers, never met as tough, focused, and experienced a group of lawyers as mueller’s prosecutors.

        but the team must be feel under tremendous time pressure between knowing trump can destroy their effort in a morning and yet knowing they have got to make their charges and the information those charges are based reasonably broad based and bullet-proof politically.

        a very dicey time game requiring nerves of steel.

  3. Erin McJ says:

    This is a reply to greengiant’s claim that hand recounts are not permitted in Wisconsin. This is not true. From the recount manual:

    Unless a court orders otherwise, the board of canvassers may decide to either hand-count or use voting equipment to tabulate the ballots. The board of canvassers may also choose to hand-count certain wards, while using voting equipment to tabulate other wards.

    Full manual here.

    • greengiant says:

      Thanks.  As you probably already know when the fix is in the board of canvassers will not permit a hand recount nor a test of the tabulating equipment.

    • Herringbone says:

      In North Carolina, audits based on hand-counting of optical scan ballots are supposed to be performed in randomly chosen precincts regardless of whether there’s a challenge to the results. That law was passed in ’05 or ’06, and nobody’s clear that any audits have ever been performed in any part of the state.

      • Willis Warren says:

        frosting on the cake, there.  I mean, there’s a lot of examples of private sector offering jobs to public servants to change policy (opioid crisis, anyone?), but this one is particularly weird.  She may just not want to be remembered by history as the one who had to fire Mueller, but that stinks, too

        • Trip says:

          That’s probably part of it. But I can’t help but wonder if the  job offer came with the agreement of some preemptive measures before her employment.

          Another Day, Another Walmart Class Action Employee Lawsuit
          How U.S. Retail Employment Is Defined in Courtrooms By Walmart’s Ethics
          The frequency with which class action employee lawsuits are filed against Walmart gives rise to questions about whether Walmart employees are exceedingly disengaged and litigious, or whether Walmart’s overarching relationship with its employees is exceedingly contentious. Either way, Walmart class action employee lawsuits seem to happen often enough to be considered “business as usual.”  Another day, another Walmart class action employee lawsuit.

          https://www.thebalance.com/walmart-classic-action-employee-lawsuits-3974960

          Of course, this might simply be SOP for someone with her political leaning, anyway.

          I get not wanting to be in the swirling vortex of Trump clusterf-ckery, but it’s interesting how public service life appears contingent upon fair weather circumstances. While the public actually needs competent service MORE during a storm.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I am not sure I am ready to buy into that. Not yet. There may be a time, but not yet.

      Brand is smart enough to have just wanted out. This deal did not happen on a lark. And she would have had a lot of suitors.  So, maybe yes, maybe no, let us see where actual facts take us.

  4. Trip says:

    Trump’s Inaugural Committee Paid $26 Million to Firm of First Lady’s Adviser

    The company that received the biggest payment — $26 million — was WIS Media Partners of Marina del Rey, Calif. Records show that the firm was created in December 2016, about six weeks before the inauguration, and its founder, according to a person familiar with the firm, was Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a longtime friend of Mrs. Trump’s. Otherwise there is very little information available about the company. Ms. Winston Wolkoff made her name planning Manhattan society galas….Ms. Winston Wolkoff has subsequently been brought on as a senior adviser to the first lady’s official government office.
    Two people with direct knowledge of Ms. Winston Wolkoff’s role, who asked to remain anonymous, said she often invoked Mrs. Trump’s name with transition officials as she delivered instructions for the inauguration. But Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump, said the first lady “had no involvement” with the inaugural committee “and had no knowledge of how funds were spent.”…An inaugural committee official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the details publicly, said Ms. Winston Wolkoff’s firm also paid the team used by Mark Burnett, the creator of “The Apprentice,” whose involvement in the inaugural festivities was requested by Mr. Trump…The committee spent heavily on administrative expenses, including $9.4 million on travel, $500,000 on legal fees, $237,000 on fund-raising and $4.6 million on salaries and benefits for its 208 employees. That included $100,000 paid to Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aide, who has since been indicted on a host of charges by the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to the operative who worked with the inaugural committee.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/us/politics/trumps-inaugural-committee-paid-26-million-to-first-ladys-friend.html

    Pure speculation, but anyone else wonder if the $ 26 mil payment is partially a re-negotiation contract to keep Melania in the game, via Wolkoff? And the payment to Burnett is also ‘keep your mouth shut money’? Rick Gates is mentioned as well. I wonder if he has knowledge about where the bodies are buried, with all this money.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Couple of layers missing, but it’s a credible supposition.

      It would be typical of Trump to recirculate payments for ostensibly objective expenses within the “family” to the maximum extent possible.  It’s also typical Trump to use someone else’s money for his own needs whenever possible, as in using campaign funds to increase payments to his wife.  And lest I forget, overpaying a related service provider with the idea of redirecting part of the payment elsewhere is a garden variety technique used by those interested in evading taxes and laundering money.

      It is all a bit odd.  If Trump had only wanted to beef up his motivational payments to Melania to stay through his presidency, he could just pay her through his loyal attorney, the way he pays off all his women.  Mueller, Mueller, where art thou?

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Question for bmaz, why would Gates be filing pro se?  Because his lawyers refuse further work – can they before they’ve been allowed to withdraw – or because he’s run out of money?

    Separately, we happily survived an assault weapons ban for ten years.  More of us might happily survive a much longer ban. Thoughts and prayers have become a routine congressional dodge for doing nothing, taking the NRA’s money, and sitting on their souls.

    AR-15 style weapons are not for hunting or home defense, they are for playing GI Joe. Time to overturn Citizens United. Time to ask the NRA and its moneyed backers how they intend to pry our children’s safety from their cold dead hands.

    • bmaz says:

      I have very serious issues with what Gates’ (want to be former, but are not) lawyers are doing. We  do no know for sure what their basis for their ultra noisy attempt to withdraw is, but there is almost no discernible reason that would warrant the way they have done it. Irrespective of the basis, their actions are stunningly bad.

      As to your bottom line initial question, even though they are still the attys of record, my guess is that Mack et. al refused to facilitate filing of Gates’ request, so he did it pro se. The better question is where art though Mr. Green?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Thanks.  Mr. Green noisily avoided the courtroom, but met his apparent client outside of it immediately after the hearing.  A lot of stuff going on behind the curtain.

      • JAAG says:

        I haven’t followed this and google isn’t turning up much. What do you see as the prejudice to the client?  Interested in your thoughts.

        I am wondering if the old counsel(s) was being told he couldn’t pay and was giving him time to get cash out of whatever asset, only to see he has found other counsel who are walking in to Mueller building and negotiating plea deals, clearly having been retained with said cash.

        This has happened to me, its infuriating. There are a lot of other explanations that are plausible beyond what I am saying.

        OT a bit : Schiff is calling into question the lawyer who is repping three of the accused transition people in the info sharing agreement. Its getting gnarly.

    • matt says:

      Oh, no.  EOH, you are so informed on so many a topic… I have deep respect for your many comments… But, an AR-15 ban?  That will do absolutely nothing.  A semi-auto gun is a gun is a gun…. they are all the same.  All, handguns, shotguns, deer rifles,  and military rifles in semi-auto fire a round when you pull the trigger.  I do believe the cause of this violence is social- the absolute disregard for issues of poverty, addition, and mental health in our social infrastructure.

      If you ban the AR-15, by logic you would need to ban all semi-auto firearms.   99.9% of AR-15’s are responsibly owned.  And, yes… many Americans believe they have a right to defend themselves from a tyrannical government.  In light of the Trump administration and the 702 surveillance abuse. so ravenously discussed on EW, what do you think would be the last defense against an unchecked National Security State?

      • Trip says:

        In a security state with tanks, armed drones and surveillance, do you really think you have a chance in hell?

        There can be sane gun regulation. Background checks, a national registry, waiting periods, licensing that must be renewed every couple of years similar to a driver’s license: With an evaluation of related police activity, threats and mental health intervention within that time frame.

        • matt says:

          I absolutely agree with you.  I just wanted to make the point that the “ban everything” approach is not effective and severely hampers dialog with gun rights advocates.  Do gun owners have a chance in Hell vs. the Security State?  Yes.  Look at those mountain goat herders in Afghanistan who have held off two world superpowers for nearly 40 years.   It would not be an easy road, but an alternative to total submission.

          That said, the NRA has done an awful job advocating for gun safety.  Their only message now, is that Liberals are trying to take away your guns… so arm your selves to defend against them? (the one’s without the guns, peacefully protesting).  Yea, responsible gun owners need an organization that will take the lead in all the suggestions that you made.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        As I said, the assault weapons ban worked just fine for ten years.  It works well in some states now.  And no, a semi-auto is not a semi-auto.  A SIG 226 9 mm with a 10 or 15 round magazine can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time as a Sig MCX with a Nato 5.56 and a thirty-round clip.  With the latter, a perp could stand off a quarter mile or at one end of a football field and do a lot more damage to his classmates.

        The lethality of assaults is an issue that can be addressed now.  Waiting for a government that begrudges providing dental or medical care to increase access to better mental health care would be waiting for Godot.  Or like waiting for the US Air Force to file required documents in a national registry.

        We can address the lethality issue now.  Improving human nature may take longer.  We can limit access to such guns to a need to use, such as law enforcement and state militia.  Who would want their child to be the one who didn’t survive because the perpetrator used an AR-15 instead of a Colt revolver or kitchen knife?

        Connecticut and other states already bans AR-15 style weapons.  Must every state wait until it has a Sandy Hook in order to take rational steps to avoid them or their lethality?

        • matt says:

          A SIG 226 9 mm with a 10 or 15 round magazine can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time as a Sig MCX with a Nato 5.56 and a thirty-round clip.

          Wrong.  Depends on the range- at close range in a building the 9mm would be more damaging.  Obviously, a rifle is designed for long range.  And, let me state the obvious- it takes .5 seconds to change a gun magazine.  Honestly, I’m not against regulating the magazine capacity, I just don’t think that its going to have any effect on the body count.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I said a 9mm “can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time” as a rifle round.

            Fifty feet across a classroom, a hundred down a hallway, two or three hundred across a parking lot.  An assault rifle, with a 5.56 that tumbles on entry or a heavy, spinning .30 caliber, has more stopping power than a 9mm pistol load. A “tasteful round hole” or “tear off an arm or a leg”.  The 9mm could be accurate in a room, not so much across fifty or seventy-five yards.

            A highly trained shooter might change a clip in under half a second.  A not so highly trained teenager, pumped with adrenaline, would be different.  Getting off 10 or 15 rounds in between clip changes is not the same as firing off 30 at a crack, especially on open terrain down school hallways or sidewalks or across parking lots.  How many students could get behind a two-inch hardwood door or concrete parking lot barrier in half a second?

            Lethality is a significant issue.  We can address it.  But I don’t think we’re arguing about facts.

      • bmaz says:

        Good. Let us ban all the semi-automatic guns. If you think you need that to “protect” you, you are an idiot.

        I am tired of this crap. If you want to go all “the 2nd Amendment requires daily school massacres” fuck off and rot.

        • Trip says:

          If people argue that assault rifles are SOOO important for sports at shooting ranges, then only permit rentals on shooting ranges. No take homes.

          • matt says:

            The sporting use of AR platform rifles is just for fun.  The real reasons are to provide for the common defense against:

            1). criminal cartels/mafia/domestic terrorist groups.

            2). homeland defense against a foreign enemy.

            3). defense against a tyrannical government or government entity.

            Should any of these events occur on our soil, you will be damn happy that a portion of America’s are educated in the proper and justified use of firearms.

            • Trip says:

              1.Are you serious? When was the last time a citizen brigade took on the mafia or a terrorist group for that matter? Do we really want a vigilante state?

              2. Taxes pay for a ridiculous amount of homeland security. I’d rather not have drunken idiots, mentally deranged, or bigoted people with guns determining who they are providing security against. Because that answer could be ANYONE.
              (that is not to say I am describing all gun owners in this manner, but you can not dispute that there are some for whom the description matches)
              3. See my previous comment about the arms differential there. Even the police have been militarized.

              I’d rather see protestors en masse rather than a group of gun owners deciding who is and isn’t an enemy. Who gets to be general?

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Tautology.  And I saw that movie, Patrick Swayze, Red Dawn, 1984.  I always liked Harry Dean Stanton.

              We’re not gonna agree on this.

        • jayedcoins says:

          Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I just want to say that, on this reply, fuck yeah, bmaz, you are on the fucking money!

          I’ve never been a hunter, sport shooter, or shooter in any capacity. Doesn’t interest me. But I grew up (and still live) in an area where outdoor sports like hunting, targets, clays, etc. are very popular, and most of my male family members enjoy those sports. So I’ve always tried to be a “common sense gun control” advocate. Even after goddamned Sandy Hook — which was before I had my own kids — I bought the “common sense” schtick.

          After what just happened, with a son that has been in public school pre-K, and is about to start kindergarten… I’m fucking done. Yeah, this is selfish of me. But it’s a hell of a lot less selfish than someone’s want to have a trophy to hang on their wall, whether it be the head of a deer, or a big, shiny gun that they can show off to their friends.

          The second amendment has two clauses… funny how we all act as if the debate is settled, like the first clause doesn’t exist. The second amendment is an anachronism that has no place in 21st century America.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Defenses against a national security state are laughter and derision, sunshine and fresh air, the courtroom and the ballot box, the press and the streets, a wholesome and legitimate venue for public assembly and freedom of expression.

        As for gun regulation, which you seem to like in the abstract but not in any specific circumstance, I would compare how little we do there with how we overreact to the supposed threats from immigrants.  Like, oh, Donald Trump’s family and millions of others.  Like the physicists who gave us the bomb.  Like the millions who built our railroads, made our steel, pick our fruit, clean our babies and houses, manicure our fairways, serve food and wash dishes at Trump properties, and volunteer to serve in our military.

        Most are among the hardest working, most law abiding, religious and family-oriented people in America.  A few bad apples, like bribed legislators in Albany or a bent governor, congressman, prosecutor or sheriff.

        Yet the government allows the DHS to define the border as, well, not the border.  It is every acre within 100 miles of the border, nicely capturing about 85% of the population.  We stop buses from Buffalo to Albany and Miami to Jacksonville and demand, “Papers, please.”  On occasion we stop cars on the freeways between San Diego and LA or LA and El Paso, especially in Arizona, and ask the same question. Overkill?  No.  To protect the Fatherland.

        Given how few criminals such enormous efforts trap, and how few criminals live among immigrants, we aren’t doing it to protect.  We are doing it for the political theater, to spend and to militarize the border and to normalize that change.  We do it to protect politicians from once in a lifetime catastrophes, while those same politicians ignore the daily catastrophic deaths from opioids and healthcare too expensive to use, and the weekly shootings in US schools.

      • orionATL says:

        really, matt.

        this talk of an “unchecked national security state” is phantasy nut talk. it is no sound argument for any gun ownership let alone assault rifles and militay ammo.

        it is a matter of self induced political paralysis that each time there is a gun massacre there are blowhards who opine editorially that such and such a law won’t work – mentally ill, assault rifles, background checks.

        that’s all self defeating nonesense. any law would be a good start, but a SETof laws would be much more effective. of particular importance is closing down the money trail guns sales create – gun show loopholes, changing gun ownership, gun ownership registration, liability laws targeting gun manufacturers ans sellers.

        and of course tackle the nra politically where it is vulnerable and investigate it thoroughly as a non-registered foreign agent for gun manufacturers.

        equally important gun and ammo marking, personalized safeties, gun insurance.

        in many respects gun ownership can be treated by governments state, local, and national as no different from car ownership.

        the fact that the u. s. is such and outlier compared to outher nations in both gun ownership and gun deaths per 100k gives the lie to any assertion that nothing can be done in the u. s.

    • orionATL says:

      NOTICE:

      ALL GUN TALK THRU:mattsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Oh, no.  EOH, you are so informed on so many a topic… I have deep respect for your many comments… But, an AR-15 ban?  That will do absolutely nothing.  A semi-auto gun is a gun is a gun…. they are all the same.  All, handguns, shotguns, deer rifles,  and military rifles in semi-auto fire a round when you pull the trigger.  I do believe the cause of this violence is social- the absolute disregard for issues of poverty, addition, and mental health in our social infrastructure.

      If you ban the AR-15, by logic you would need to ban all semi-auto firearms.   99.9% of AR-15’s are responsibly owned.  And, yes… many Americans believe they have a right to defend themselves from a tyrannical government.  In light of the Trump administration and the 702 surveillance abuse. so ravenously discussed on EW, what do you think would be the last defense against an unchecked National Security State?

      Reply

      Tripsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 11:28 am

      In a security state with tanks, armed drones and surveillance, do you really think you have a chance in hell?

      There can be sane gun regulation. Background checks, a national registry, waiting periods, licensing that must be renewed every couple of years similar to a driver’s license: With an evaluation of related police activity, threats and mental health intervention within that time frame.

      Reply

      mattsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      I absolutely agree with you.  I just wanted to make the point that the “ban everything” approach is not effective and severely hampers dialog with gun rights advocates.  Do gun owners have a chance in Hell vs. the Security State?  Yes.  Look at those mountain goat herders in Afghanistan who have held off two world superpowers for nearly 40 years.   It would not be an easy road, but an alternative to total submission.

      That said, the NRA has done an awful job advocating for gun safety.  Their only message now, is that Liberals are trying to take away your guns… so arm your selves to defend against them? (the one’s without the guns, peacefully protesting).  Yea, responsible gun owners need an organization that will take the lead in all the suggestions that you made.

      Reply

      earlofhuntingdonsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      As I said, the assault weapons ban worked just fine for ten years.  It works well in some states now.  And no, a semi-auto is not a semi-auto.  A SIG 226 9 mm with a 10 or 15 round magazine can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time as a Sig MCX with a Nato 5.56 and a thirty-round clip.  With the latter, a perp could stand off a quarter mile or at one end of a football field and do a lot more damage to his classmates.

      The lethality of assaults is an issue that can be addressed now.  Waiting for a government that begrudges providing dental or medical care to increase access to better mental health care would be waiting for Godot.  Or like waiting for the US Air Force to file required documents in a national registry.

      We can address the lethality issue now.  Improving human nature may take longer.  We can limit access to such guns to a need to use, such as law enforcement and state militia.  Who would want their child to be the one who didn’t survive because the perpetrator used an AR-15 instead of a Colt revolver or kitchen knife?

      Connecticut and other states already bans AR-15 style weapons.  Must every state wait until it has a Sandy Hook in order to take rational steps to avoid them or their lethality?

      Reply

      mattsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      A SIG 226 9 mm with a 10 or 15 round magazine can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time as a Sig MCX with a Nato 5.56 and a thirty-round clip.

      Wrong.  Depends on the range- at close range in a building the 9mm would be more damaging.  Obviously, a rifle is designed for long range.  And, let me state the obvious- it takes .5 seconds to change a gun magazine.  Honestly, I’m not against regulating the magazine capacity, I just don’t think that its going to have any effect on the body count.

      Reply

      earlofhuntingdonsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      I said a 9mm “can’t do as much damage at the same range at the same time” as a rifle round.

      Fifty feet across a classroom, a hundred down a hallway, two or three hundred across a parking lot.  An assault rifle, with a 5.56 that tumbles on entry or a heavy, spinning .30 caliber, has more stopping power than a 9mm pistol load. A “tasteful round hole” or “tear off an arm or a leg”.  The 9mm could be accurate in a room, not so much across fifty or seventy-five yards.

      A highly trained shooter might change a clip in under half a second.  A not so highly trained teenager, pumped with adrenaline, would be different.  Getting off 10 or 15 rounds in between clip changes is not the same as firing off 30 at a crack, especially on open terrain down school hallways or sidewalks or across parking lots.  How many students could get behind a two-inch hardwood door or concrete parking lot barrier in half a second?

      Lethality is a significant issue.  We can address it.  But I don’t think we’re arguing about facts.

      Reply

      bmazsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Good. Let us ban all the semi-automatic guns. If you think you need that to “protect” you, you are an idiot.

      I am tired of this crap. If you want to go all “the 2nd Amendment requires daily school massacres” fuck off and rot.

      Reply

      Tripsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      If people argue that assault rifles are SOOO important for sports at shooting ranges, then only permit rentals on shooting ranges. No take homes.

      Reply

      mattsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      The sporting use of AR platform rifles is just for fun.  The real reasons are to provide for the common defense against:

      1). criminal cartels/mafia/domestic terrorist groups.

      2). homeland defense against a foreign enemy.

      3). defense against a tyrannical government or government entity.

      Should any of these events occur on our soil, you will be damn happy that a portion of America’s are educated in the proper and justified use of firearms.

      Reply

      Tripsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      1.Are you serious? When was the last time a citizen brigade took on the mafia or a terrorist group for that matter? Do we really want a vigilante state?

      2. Taxes pay for a ridiculous amount of homeland security. I’d rather not have drunken idiots, mentally deranged, or bigoted people with guns determining who they are providing security against. Because that answer could be ANYONE.
      (that is not to say I am describing all gun owners in this manner, but you can not dispute that there are some for whom the description matches)
      3. See my previous comment about the arms differential there. Even the police have been militarized.

      I’d rather see protestors en masse rather than a group of gun owners deciding who is and isn’t an enemy. Who gets to be general?

      Reply

      earlofhuntingdonsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Tautology.  And I saw that movie, Patrick Swayze, Red Dawn, 1984.  I always liked Harry Dean Stanton.

      We’re not gonna agree on this.

      Reply

      earlofhuntingdonsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Defenses against a national security state are laughter and derision, sunshine and fresh air, the courtroom and the ballot box, the press and the streets, a wholesome and legitimate venue for public assembly and freedom of expression.

      As for gun regulation, which you seem to like in the abstract but not in any specific circumstance, I would compare how little we do there with how we overreact to the supposed threats from immigrants.  Like, oh, Donald Trump’s family and millions of others.  Like the physicists who gave us the bomb.  Like the millions who built our railroads, made our steel, pick our fruit, clean our babies and houses, manicure our fairways, serve food and wash dishes at Trump properties, and volunteer to serve in our military.

      Most are among the hardest working, most law abiding, religious and family-oriented people in America.  A few bad apples, like bribed legislators in Albany or a bent governor, congressman, prosecutor or sheriff.

      Yet the government allows the DHS to define the border as, well, not the border.  It is every acre within 100 miles of the border, nicely capturing about 85% of the population.  We stop buses from Buffalo to Albany and Miami to Jacksonville and demand, “Papers, please.”  On occasion we stop cars on the freeways between San Diego and LA or LA and El Paso, especially in Arizona, and ask the same question. Overkill?  No.  To protect the Fatherland.

      Given how few criminals such enormous efforts trap, and how few criminals live among immigrants, we aren’t doing it to protect.  We are doing it for the political theater, to spend and to militarize the border and to normalize that change.  We do it to protect politicians from once in a lifetime catastrophes, while those same politicians ignore the daily catastrophic deaths from opioids and healthcare too expensive to use, and the weekly shootings in US schools.

      Reply

      posaunesays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Then there’s on-the-road civil forfeiture bonuses.

      Reply

      orionATLsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      really, matt.

      this talk of an “unchecked national security state” is phantasy nut talk. it is no sound argument for any gun ownership let alone assault rifles and militay ammo.

      it is a matter of self induced political paralysis that each time there is a gun massacre there are blowhards who opine editorially that such and such a law won’t work – mentally ill, assault rifles, background checks.

      that’s all self defeating nonesense. any law would be a good start, but a SETof laws would be much more effective. of particular importance is closing down the money trail guns sales create – gun show loopholes, changing gun ownership, gun ownership registration, liability laws targeting gun manufacturers ans sellers.

      and of course tackle the nra politically where it is vulnerable and investigate it thoroughly as a non-registered foreign agent for gun manufacturers.

      equally important gun and ammo marking, personalized safeties, gun insurance.

      in many respects gun ownership can be treated by governments state, local, and national as no different from car ownership.

      the fact that the u. s. is such and outlier compared to outher nations in both gun ownership and gun deaths per 100k gives the lie to any assertion that nothing can be done in the u. s.

      Reply

      Raynesays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      There’s a gun thread. Gun talk goes there starting now.

      Reply

      orionATLsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      rayne –

      it’s probably difficult if possible, but could all these gun threads be moved out en masse to the new gun talk home?

      the talk is important but is going to die here.

      i’m going to copy mine there.

      happy to then delete here if i could figure out how.

      Reply

      orionATLsays:

      February 16, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      the fact that the u. s. is such and outlier compared to outher nations in both gun ownership and gun deaths per 100k gives the lie to any assertion that nothing can be done in the u. s.

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/12/16418524/us-gun-policy-nra

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/12/4/9850572/gun-control-us-japan-switzerland-uk-canada

      Reply

      ALL GUN TALK THRU 2:51PM COPIED TO NEW THREAD.

      AKKKK AKKKKKK AKKKK AKKKKK damn, missed that fucking doe!!

  6. Trip says:

     

    Interesting, from Risen:

    Is Donald Trump a Traitor?
    I find it hard to write about Donald Trump.
    It is not that he is a complicated subject. Quite the opposite. It is that everything about him is so painfully obvious. He is a low-rent racist, a shameless misogynist, and an unbalanced narcissist. He is an unrelenting liar and a two-bit white identity demagogue. Lest anyone forget these things, he goes out of his way each day to remind us of them….The fact that such an unstable egomaniac occupies the White House is the greatest threat to the national security of the United States in modern history.
    Is he a traitor?
    Did he gain the presidency through collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin?
    One year after Trump took office, it is still unclear whether the president of the United States is an agent of a foreign power. Just step back and think about that for a moment….How closely aligned is Mueller’s mandate with the legal definition of treason? That boils down to the rhetorical differences between giving “aid and comfort, in the United States or elsewhere” to “enemies” of the United States and “any links and/or coordination” between the Russian government and Trump campaign aides related to “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”
    Sounds similar to me.
    https://theintercept.com/2018/02/16/trump-russia-election-hacking-investigation/

    Heads are probably exploding in the comment section.

     

    • Madchen Vapid says:

      I wonder if someone at The Intercept had to remind Risen to be careful using the “T” word(s)? After all, Russian is not our “enemy,” and we are not at “war” with them. In fact, the U.S. is not “at war” with any countries. Therefore, the U.S. is “at peace” with all countries. Right?

    • orionATL says:

      risen ‘s piece is an important, nicely detailed contemporary history story going back as far as 2014.

      thanks.

      • dalloway says:

        Risen’s piece is interesting, but we don’t have to get into the thorny issue of treason — Drumpf’s criminal exposure is vast enough without it.  I think Mueller probably has evidence of multiple violations of the Espionage Act, working for a foreign power against the U.S. and taking money for it, by multiple people in Drumpf’s orbit, up to and including him.  That’s enough to put him in prison for the rest of his life, without even considering his other crimes, like money-laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy and obstruction.  It’s more than enough to impeach him.  The rub, of course, is that Drumpf will try to make a deal:  total immunity from all criminal prosecution, including state charges, in exchange for his stubby little hands being permanently removed from the nuclear codes via his resignation.   Ryan and McConnell would make that deal.   That’s why Democrats need to take control of Congress, to make sure this boil on the butt of our republic, gets lanced.  If not, the infection may kill our  whole democracy.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Heads Exploding? More like troll type-offs. The false equivalence and ‘What Abouts’ are flying like geese in the spring.

      And this is only part I of a IV parter. It’s gonna be a flame war for sure.

    • Trip says:

      Wow, incredibly specific on details and unequivocal in stating the efforts were PRO trump.

      *We await the twitter melt down*

      • Trip says:

        Deputy Atty. General Rod Rosenstein says the indictment does not allege that any American was a ‘knowing participant’ in Russian meddling.

        ‘There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election’ — Deputy Atty. General Rod Rosenstein

        Pres. Trump was briefed personally by Deputy AG Rosenstein & FBI Director Wray on the Mueller indictments earlier today.

        So is this the end of the road?

        • Madchen Vapid says:

          The use of “unwitting” seems rather important. As does “known and unknown” when referring to the grand jury. Also, “Defendants and co-conspirators,” does not possess a ring of finality. Thus, “witting,” “unknown but knowable,” and “co-conspirators” seems operationally important, but I will wait for EWs next post to chime in on that thread. Personally, I would like to hear about “witting, witless, and known co-conspirators.”

          • Trip says:

            Yeah, I wondered if “co-conspirators” was only a reference to those directly linked (or the other Russian LLCs) rather than outsiders to the operation.

            At any rate, the interference can’t be called a ‘hoax’ any longer with indictments.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I read this as Mueller laying pipe, establishing a foundation for more to come, and making it harder for Trump to succeed in stopping these investigations by firing Mueller.

            • Fran of the North says:

              I wish I shared your sentiments on peak hoax. Unfortunately those who scream loudest read and reason least.

              But I agree that for the rational, the facts are aligning themselves into discernible patterns.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            The “unwitting” language seemed very general.  To me, it was a reference to the population at large. I did not read it as exculpatory for those related to Trump.

            Rosenstein, for example, was careful to limit his exculpatory language to apply to the claims in this indictment, not to other possible indictments or everything Mueller is working on.

            I think the press and commentators are both overplaying what this indictment doesn’t say and underplaying what it does.

            • pseudonymous in nc says:

              I’m reading it narrowly.

              This establishes the St Petersburg trolling factory as a criminal operation to influence US elections. It’s not the only Russian point of influence. It’s defining part of the other side of the puzzle.

              We’re going to start to see the middle filled in.

          • Trip says:

            “unwitting”?
            Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days Before the Election
            Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. pushed messages from an account operated from Russia’s ‘troll farm’—including allegations of voter fraud a week before Election Day.
            Some of the Trump campaign’s most prominent names and supporters, including Trump’s campaign manager, digital director, and son, pushed tweets from professional trolls paid by the Russian government in the heat of the 2016 election campaign.

            The Twitter account @Ten_GOP, which called itself the “Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans,” was operated from the Kremlin-backed “Russian troll farm,” or Internet Research Agency, a source familiar with the account confirmed with The Daily Beast.

            Two days before election day, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted a post by @Ten_GOP regarding Hillary Clinton’s email…Three weeks before the election, Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign’s digital director, retweeted a separate post from @Ten_GOP.

            https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-campaign-staffers-pushed-russian-propaganda-days-before-the-election

            • Rayne says:

              Stick a pin in this: Brad Parscale’s business is located in San Antonio, Texas.

              Now look for Texas in today’s indictment against foreign digital operatives.

              Is there a link? Don’t know. But worth keeping an eye on this intersection. O_o

              • pseudonymous in nc says:

                I think the dude with the Julian Assange poster in his campaign office was operating higher up the ladder.

                The intersections with the St Petersburg troll castle are more likely to be with enthusiastic Joe and Jolene Magahat types. But there’s a blurry space occupied by shitpiles like Chuckie Johnson and Pissboy Posobiec — not directly on the payroll but clearly working for the cause — where I would not be surprised to find some degree of overlap.

              • greengiant says:

                Before the indictments came in I was wondering if any one has cross checked Trump/Parscale’s FEC donation reports versus oligarch fake people lists or do cut out PACs have fewer reporting requirements?  Dick Armey fired Glenn Beck for not being cost effective so how come Parscale had secret sauce that worked?  Too good to be true?

                • pseudonymous in nc says:

                  The question there has always been “where did he get his Custom Audiences and where did he get his targeting criteria?”

                  From that Bloomberg piece before the election I keep citing:

                  “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. 

                  On the one hand, that was going to be the tactic no matter what; on the other hand, the St Petersburg troll factory had been doing that work.

                • Rayne says:

                  Good questions, haven’t looked into this myself. I was under the impression — and I need to do some research on this now — that Parscale may have done some of the early work as a donation-in-kind and later used the digital platform to raise funds to support their “outreach” online.

                  Money could have been laundered so many ways into PACs before PACs made donations. It’s a major problem given Citizens United.

              • Madchen Vapid says:

                I am curious about the “co-conspirator” who traveled to Atlanta, GA in November of 2014. He is not named in the indictment, and his name isn’t revealed like the other travelers to the U.S. There is mention of his “summary” rather than an “intelligence report.” Georgia was not one of the “purple” states targeted for “intelligence gathering.” As stated in “Manner and Means of the Conspiracy” item number 30, all of these people “…traveled and attempted to travel…under false pretenses…to collect intelligence.” If so, what was different about this person, and is it important?

                • Rayne says:

                  Yeah, that. Very interesting, hmm? Did they already know in 2014 that then-Rep. Tom Price’s seat was going to be up for grabs because he was going to get a nod for Secretary of HHS if Trump won? Did the Russian snooping include checking Georgia’s voting system so that somebody knew to wipe them if a race for GA-06 was close enough for a recount?

                  And if Price had already been earmarked, who really picked him?

                  Definitely curious.

    • matt says:

      I apologize for my part- I did take the gun comments to the other thread.  You might want to delete ATL’s re-post at 5:38 of the entire discussion on this thread… he already moved it to the other thread… must have copied here again by accident.

  7. Ed Walker says:

    A few hours after I put in the first comment on this post, Mueller indicts a bunch of Russians. Let’s see if the Republicans do anything. The indictments are mostly about internet trolling and organizing, and not about fiddling with voting lists or voting machines, so there’s an easy out for the Rs who don’t want to kill a good thing for them.

    • Trip says:

      Spying, infiltration, identity theft, and servers in the US. Don’t leave that out. I imagine the spies weren’t broken-English-Russian-accent-speaking types.

      • Rayne says:

        It’s funny you should mention the accent. The Illegals Program might have taught Russia exactly how much of an accent Americans will let slide before they catch on. Still amazes me how some people :knew: an Illegal’s accent didn’t match their background but then never flagged it to anybody.

  8. JAAG says:

    The first thing Trump and oval will do is ask for intel underneath this indictment. Given that hardly anyone at oval in natsec has a real clearance and that this is a family business, how the hell do we have confidence that say, Jared isn’t benefitting from info he shouldnt have.

     

  9. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So Manafort’s lawyer tries another approach to get bail, and Mueller’s team comes back and says “actually, most of those properties are either subject to forfeiture or mortgaged for more than their appraised value, and it looks like one of those mortgages was obtained with doctored statements so we’re going to charge you with mortgage fraud at your next bail hearing.”

    He doesn’t have a brass cent that’s clean.

    • Trip says:

      In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer bragged to a colleague that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to pay Clinton back for what President Vladimir Putin believed was an influence operation she had run against him five years earlier as Secretary of State. The GRU, he said, was going to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. election.
      What the officer didn’t know, senior intelligence officials tell TIME, was that U.S. spies were listening. They wrote up the conversation and sent it back to analysts at headquarters, who turned it from raw intelligence into an official report and circulated it. But if the officer’s boast seems like a red flag now, at the time U.S. officials didn’t know what to make of it. “We didn’t really understand the context of it until much later,” says the senior intelligence official. Investigators now realize that the officer’s boast was the first indication U.S. spies had from their sources that Russia wasn’t just hacking email accounts to collect intelligence but was also considering interfering in the vote. Like much of America, many in the U.S. government hadn’t imagined the kind of influence operation that Russia was preparing to unleash on the 2016 election. Fewer still realized it had been five years in the making…

      As Russia expands its cyberpropaganda efforts, the U.S. and its allies are only just beginning to figure out how to fight back. One problem: the fear of Russian influence operations can be more damaging than the operations themselves. Eager to appear more powerful than they are, the Russians would consider it a success if you questioned the truth of your news sources, knowing that Moscow might be lurking in your Facebook or Twitter feed. But figuring out if they are is hard. Uncovering “signals that indicate a particular handle is a state-sponsored account is really, really difficult,” says Jared Cohen, CEO of Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which tackles global security challenges….

      It turns out Putin had outside help. One particularly talented Russian programmer who had worked with social media researchers in the U.S. for 10 years had returned to Moscow and brought with him a trove of algorithms that could be used in influence operations. He was promptly hired by those working for Russian intelligence services, senior intelligence officials tell TIME. “The engineer who built them the algorithms is U.S.-trained,” says the senior intelligence official…When it comes to defeating Russian influence operations, the answer is “transparency, transparency, transparency,” says Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. He has written legislation that would curb the massive, anonymous campaign contributions known as dark money and the widespread use of shell corporations that he says make Russian cyberpropaganda harder to trace and expose.

      http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/

      • Trip says:

        This article is the subject of a legal complaint on behalf of Cambridge Analytica LLC and SCL Elections Limited.

        Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit

        The US billionaire who helped bankroll Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency played a key role in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, the Observer has learned.
It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook – a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission…By law, all donations of services-in-kind worth more than £7,500 must be reported to the electoral commission. A spokesman said that no donation from the company or Mercer to Leave.eu had been filed…A British version of Breitbart was launched in 2014, Bannon told the New York Times, explicitly to try to influence the upcoming general election. He and Farage have been close friends since at least 2012 and the site has been an important cheerleader for Ukip, with its editor, Raheem Kassam, at one point working as chief adviser to Farage.
        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/us-billionaire-mercer-helped-back-brexit

        Back to the Time article linked above:
        As they dig into the viralizing of such stories, congressional investigations are probing not just Russia’s role but whether Moscow had help from the Trump campaign. Sources familiar with the investigations say they are probing two Trump-linked organizations: Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics company hired by the campaign that is partly owned by deep-pocketed Trump backer Robert Mercer; and Breitbart News, the right-wing website formerly run by Trump’s top political adviser Stephen Bannon.
        The congressional investigators are looking at ties between those companies and right-wing web personalities based in Eastern Europe who the U.S. believes are Russian fronts, a source familiar with the investigations tells TIME. “Nobody can prove it yet,” the source says. In March, McClatchy newspapers reported that FBI counterintelligence investigators were probing whether far-right sites like Breitbart News and Infowars had coordinated with Russian botnets to blitz social media with anti-Clinton stories, mixing fact and fiction when Trump was doing poorly in the campaign.
        http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/

      • Rayne says:

        Hey Trip — this excerpt is really pushing Fair Use. Try to find a way to use 100-300 word excerpts and summarize the rest or risk a takedown. It’s no fun for the team dealing with DMCA takedown letters from news orgs because of comments. Thanks.

          • Rayne says:

            The one to which I replied. I will leave it this once, but believe me, if there’s a takedown letter sent, it’s gone. It’s not unreasonable to expect commenters here to be familiar and comply with Fair Use rather than expect Team Emptywheel to bat cleanup.

  10. Trip says:

    Last one, I promise:

    Revealed: how loopholes allowed pro-Brexit campaign to spend ‘as much as necessary to win’
    But here’s another strange thing: Darren Grimes didn’t spend the money at all. All the donations to cover his bills were paid by the official Leave campaign, Vote Leave, directly to AggregateIQ, the controversial data analytics firm linked to Trump-backer Robert Mercer. The firm was used by a range of different Leave campaign groups, who between them paid £3.3m for its services during the referendum.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/peter-geoghegan-adam-ramsay/new-email-release-shows-how-leave-campaigners-used-vast-loo

    _____________

    …as you will have read in certain newspapers, increasing evidence that some of the campaigning organisations – particularly those that mobilised a lot of the data that was used in the referendum last year – were funded and organised by Trump supporters from the other side of the Atlantic. Robert Mercer, in particular, one of the founders of Breitbart, seems to have played an important role.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/nick-clegg/brexit-british-litist-revolution

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/jenna-corderoy-peter-geoghegan/uk-diplomats-met-talked-brexit-with-trump-aide-linked-to

    search articles/Mercer
    peter-geoghegan/uk-diplomats-met-talked-brexit-with-trump-aide-linked-to

    • orionATL says:

      thanks, trip.

      i believe that what happened with the british leave campaign and who was involved is very important to understanding the big picture about what happened in the u. s. presidential election a few months later.

      i’ll just mention as an aside that russian involvement in both is not out of the question.

Comments are closed.