So — What’s New, Rick? Paul? Fresh Indictments Today on Bank, Tax Fraud

Open thread for you folks to talk about the latest developments in the Trump-Russia investigation.

Earlier this afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected the bail package offered by Paul Manafort as the property offered as collateral wasn’t free and clear.

From reports about this rejection there were hints another shoe would drop soon.

Bingo — multiple counts of bank and tax fraud levied against each and both Manafort and his partner, Rick Gates.

Manafort was charged with a count each for each year:
Subscribing to False U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns for years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Failure to File Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts for years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Gates was charged with a count each for year:
Assisting in the Preparation of False U.S. Individual Income for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Subscribing to False U.S. Individual Tax Returns for years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Subscribing to False Amended U.S. Individual Tax Returns for 2013
Failure to File Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts for 2011, 2012, 2013

Both Gates and Manafort were charged with one count for each year:
Bank Fraud Conspiracy (Lender B/$3.4 million)
Bank Fraud (Lender B/$3.4 million)
Bank Fraud Conspiracy (Lender C/$1 million)
Bank Fraud (Lender C/$1 million)
Bank Fraud Conspiracy (Lender B/$5.5 million)
Bank Fraud Conspiracy (Lender D/$9.5 million)
Bank Fraud (Lender D/$9.5 million)
Bank Fraud Conspiracy (Lender D/$6.5 million)
Bank Fraud (Lender D/$6.5 million)

That’s 18 counts for Manafort, 23 counts for Gates. (Do check my math, I am working off a ridiculously small mobile device screen – thanks!)

These charges open many questions, but perhaps we ought to spend our time looking at the indictment itself. I know you’ll find parts amusing.

You can read it at this link (pdf).

Quentin Hardy observed via Twitter:

Nice touch in the new indictment: Manafort has “a lavish lifestyle,” while Gates is portrayed as just a simple suburban money launderer.

Better buy up extra popcorn, gang. We’re going to need it.

191 replies
  1. Jane Huey says:

    I don’t see how they could get a good enough plea deal on either side at this point.  My question: How willing is Mueller to take all this to court?  Are Manafort and Gates trying to call Mueller’s bluff?

    • Avattoir says:

      I’m curious as to the sense in which you use the term “bluff”.

      This isn’t really all that hard a case to present. The hard work’s all in the investigation. The way this kind of case gets presented to a jury is pretty much as dry as 90% of this indictment suggests. How, for instance, do you imagine Manafort and/or Gates going about in response to the case described in this indictment? IOW, it’s not a ‘bluff’ in the sense of the case not being there.

      So, in what other sense are you saying that it might it be called a “bluff”?

      • Peterr says:

        It could be — and in my humble opinion, highly likely — that Mueller has yet to reveal all he has against Manafort and Gates.

        I can imagine Mueller sitting down opposite Manafort and Gates with a manila folder in front of him and a stack of other folders to his right. “Still don’t want to help out? OK, we’ve already looked at this one (sets the folder aside), so let’s see what’s in this next folder. Oh, look — it’s tax fraud and bank fraud! My, my, my . . . you boys have been busy. Hmmmm . . . Paul, you really should learn how to use Microsoft better if you’re going to use it to steal from a bank. I wonder what those bankers are going to think when this becomes public. More than that, I wonder what the folks BEHIND the bank are going to think. Well, we’ll probably find out from them after this evening, when they start screaming.”

        He pauses, and looks each of them in the eye. “So, how are your families holding up?”

        Silence. Then Mueller shrugs, and picks up the next manila envelope and opens it up but shields it from Manafort and Gates. “Wow — my staff is really doing a bang-up job these days. Would you like a look?” Gates reaches for the folder, and Mueller pulls it back.

        “If you’d like a look, you’ve got to do more than just ask nicely . . .”

  2. Avattoir says:

    Overall, it appears there’s an awful lot of FUBAR for FBAR.

    The term “co-conspirator” appears 3 times, each time in relation to someone who’s not either Manafort or Gates.

    By the end, I was almost expecting no charges for defrauding “Lender D”, the Chicago Bank with the CEO so much in the news the last few days. But then, it’s framed in relation to Bank’s interest-holders and the federal bank deposit insurance program (namely us).

    By now it’s no surprise how thoroughly bent is Manafort; but it’s remarkable that, still in the relatively fresh memory wake of the FBI raid on Manafort’s home in Alexandria, and only 5 days before the first indictment gets dropped on these 2, on October 25, 2017, Gates is portrayed as STILL involved in falsely swearing to an income tax declaration in a return for Manafort (!).

    That last bit makes me think the whole thing that’s been going on for a while (even right up into today?) between Gates and attorney Green, was Green trying to get it thru Gates’ thick skull how screwed Gates really is. Also, it kinda suggests that Gates wasn’t all that giving during his turn as Queen for the Day.

    I’d expect the lads at to get a big rise in visits to their site out of this.

    • Rayne says:

      I went back and re-read the October indictment after reading today’s and I’ve come to the conclusion there is at least one banker who is squirming badly. How did all this cash moving around never generate Suspicious Activity Reports?

      But one could understand it if a bank didn’t generate SARs for certain accounts.

      • Trip says:

        They did. I’m re-posting a link:

        “We had him in 2014,” one of the former officials said. “In hindsight, we could have nailed him then.”

        Eight banks filed 23 “suspicious activity reports” between 2004 and 2014, which includes the years that Manafort and his consulting company, Davis Manafort Partners, worked for Yanukovych. These reports, reviewed by BuzzFeed News, show that between October 2008 and July 2013, Manafort’s personal and business accounts received about $30 million from banks in offshore havens such as Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines…By law, banks must file suspicious activity reports with the Treasury Department when they spot transactions that bear hallmarks of money laundering or other financial misconduct. Such reports can support investigations and intelligence gathering — but by themselves they are not evidence of a crime.

        More at link:

        • Rayne says:

          Something about this is just plain fishy. For comparison’s sake, note Eliot Spitzer getting nailed on transfers of a few thousand bucks while these fairly regular and much larger transfers didn’t trigger alarms for years? There’s something missing in this equation.

          EDIT — 9:42 pm EST — I think I know what’s bugging me about these transactions. I worked in export/import for a number of years. Buying/selling overseas required a mess of paperwork, like bills of lading, insurance certificates, phytosanitary certs (on plant matter), a host of other documents. How did these fake sales get passed off beyond fake invoices? Who cleared these transactions? What made the transaction look genuine?

          Makes me sick thinking I did carloads of export/import documentation for nothing. That’s not even true — I had banks and customs officials contact me about documents to confirm they were valid when my freight forwarders couldn’t satisfy them. There’s something more missing.

          • david Sanger says:

            aren’t these loans rather than international sales (import/export)? money wired from offshore was used to settle payment for domestic purchases. much simpler.

            • Rayne says:

              Payments to a men’s clothing store, home automation company, antique rug store, Range Rovers? Nope. Would have been less paperwork to the landscaper for services but those kinds of payments should have triggered a SAR (and maybe they did but got waived).

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Something like this?
            [SWIFT, Letters of Understanding]


            The government has swung into action, with multiple agencies currently probing the modus operandi behind the biggest financial fraud in recent years. It was found that funds were siphoned off from the bank by employees who willfully manipulated SWIFT, the electronic messaging system used for overseas funds transfer. This was accomplished by issuing letters of understanding (LoU) on behalf of companies associated with Nirav Modi, to avail credit from overseas branches of Indian banks.

            Allahabad Bank, Union Bank, Axis Bank, among others offered credit based on the LoUs issued by PNB, adding to their exposure to the scam.

        • orionATL says:

          trip –

          i recall reading this story some days ago. what it says, in effect after your cited part, is that doj decided not to pursue charges against manafort because his multi-million $$$ breech of law was too piddling compared to the billion $$$ breech of law doj was pursuing.

          seems suspicious unless you recall that attny gen eric holder (whose previous firm and holder himself represented banks) decided not to pursue bank execs after 2007. file it under general, permissable corruption of public officials.

          actually, this. permissable corruption is usually excused (by doj) as doj’s not having the resources to pursue all or some parts of a breech of law compared to the private law firms that would be hired to protect malfactor.

          • orionATL says:

            trip –

            going again on memory, i think my comment about holder and suing bank executives may be unfair.

            on reflection, i believe it was obama’s irrascible chief of staff, rahm emmanuel, who harrassed holder about not suing major bank execs after the 2007 economic collapse. so the word not to sue presumably came from the prez himself.

            perhaps others can contribute more info.

    • SC says:

      Thanks for that 377 Union link! Wow! Lots of fun reading there. (And, some amusement since I walk by 377 Union a few times a week.)

  3. cfost says:

    I was just reading SpaceLifeForm’s link to (in the previous thread) when the new indictments came down. An excellent recap.

    This Manafort guy is turning out to be one interesting fellow. I see a pattern of compulsions forming. Question is, is it psychological or is it gun-to-the-head? Maybe it’s not just Donnie who wants Paulie to refrain from flipping. A whole bunch of folks, foreign and domestic, appear to share Donnie’s desire.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Believe this goes higher than Trump.
      Which explains why things that could have happened legally a decade ago did not.
      Have to keep collecting evidence to catch the big players that believe they are immune.

  4. Sid Chase says:

    This stuff is almost laughably stupid — while Manafort was trying to borrow, his credit rating was getting trashed by a $300K unpaid Amex bill, so he convinced Gates to write a letter saying he made the charges and was going to pay the bill.

    Considering how fast and loose Trump was with the way the Trump foundation was paying his business and legal bills, you have to expect that Mueller will reveal similar shenanigans if he chooses to follow them up — I don’t know if that will be something he pursues, or if he refers them to others in DOJ, or sends them to the state AGs, though.

    I do wonder if the key to Trump’s obstruction of justice really wasn’t that focused on Russia in the end, and to what extent it was fears of what the FBI would dig up regarding his finances. Psychologically, winning the presidency was important to the man, but I think the absolute core of his ego is his mythos as a brilliant businessman. I can see him emotionally surviving a finding that the Russians provided measurable help in the election, but I think he would be wrecked emotionally if Mueller dared point out that any major part of his business was as hollow as what Manafort had cobbled together.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump may well be at risk for both his Russian-linked actions and for his tax and financial past.  He’s been playing with questionable investors for decades and he doesn’t know how not to lie when money’s on the line.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      One takeaway from this indictment is the obvious sense of distaste at Gates and especially Manafort living it large, treating taxes as voluntary, and then going full-on bank fraud when the dirty cash spigot went dry. Mueller & co obviously think the two of them are scofflaws and shits who were able to get away with it for far too long.

      Extrapolate that to the orange idiot.

  5. Avattoir says:

    I raised this rhetorical question in an earlier thread in this serial, but just in relation to Zackson. Russo & Termine’s timeline at 377 Union Street depict Manafort’s ties to Barrack (who wasn’t just a lender to Manafort, he was a lender to a borrower in distress who further bailed out his borrower), & also to Kusher’s father (Charles lent Manafort money in 2002), in each case going back decades.

    And surely if there are those 3 – Zackson, Kushner & Barrack – especially given Manafort’s active involvement from no later than 1976 in presidential politics, and then from no later than 1980 with Roger Stone, Lee Atwater, Charlie Black, and that bunch, all of them well acquainted with Roy Cohn, how likely is it, really, that those would the ONLY ties between Manafort & Trump?

    I mean, by the early 1980s, Manafort’s a made guy in the political world, a budding Duke of Mantua or princeling of the dark arts of rat fucking, knows everyone AROUND Trump, but somehow doesn’t know Trump?

    I continue to be deeply skeptical of the story of Tom Barrack’s introduction being in any way critical to Paul ‘meeting’ Donald. It strains credulity to accept it as anything more than a cover story.

    • Trip says:

      You would be correct. His firm actually did work for Trump in the 90s:

      In 1980, Manafort, Charles Black, and Roger Stone (all Ronald Reagan campaign officials) opened a lobbying shop in Washington, D.C. One of their very first clients: Donald Trump, who employed the lobbying firm of Black, Manafort & Stone through the early 1990s…Both Manafort and Trump were active in the New Jersey political scene in the 1980s, and later, both men were involved in lobbying Capitol Hill on American Indian gaming issues. Since 2006, Manafort has owned a condo in Trump Tower in Manhattan, and around the same time, became involved in the Manhattan real estate scene.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Russian connection seems a more fruitful explanation.

      Manafort’s campaigning experience was decades old; it predated the internet.  There’s no obvious reason a campaign would hire him for such outdated experience when other GOP operatives had more current expertise to offer.  He was a cold, amoral, fixer and arranger, in the mold of Roy Cohen.  But that’s not a figure you normally want to put in front of the cameras or skittish voters.

  6. harpie says:

    Ellen Nakashima‏Verified account @nakashimae  Putin ally said to be in touch with Kremlin, Assad before his mercenaries attacked U.S. troops
    Laura Rozen @lrozen [Laura Rozen Retweeted Ellen Nakashima]  intercepted comms show Prigozhin personally involved in planning attack, discussed it w/ Syrian offls, inc.Min of Pres.Affrs Mansour F.Azzam / US seems to be saying has evidence Feb 7 attack in Syria that led to US counterattack killing Russia mercenaries was pre planned for wks

    • harpie says:

      Molly McKew@MollyMcKew  
      <blockquote>More on Prigozhin — in this iteration, a central player to the attack by Russian “contract soldiers” on US forces/assets in Syria.
      The assets in the “troll farm” are just another version of deniable mercenaries in another battlespace. </blockquote>

      [I can’t get the blockquote key to work…]

  7. Fran of the North says:

    As others have stated, this ups the pressure on both PM and RG. But I wonder whether the timing of this indictment and the level of detail presented was designed to be a shot across the bow of others involved in questionable real estate financing.

    “We are very capable of unraveling the murkiest of transactions. Sure you don’t want to rethink your defense strategies?”

    • david Sanger says:

      yes but there are differences. Manafort was primarily a political operator and laundered his money into US real estate. Then he had to keep skating to stay afloat.

      Others like Kushner are primarily real estate players, cutting deals with anyone, savory or not, to swing financing for more deals. And maybe then skating to stay afloat.

      • Trip says:

        It’s also important to recall the methodology of (C) Kushner business past: Blackmail.
        His plot against his own brother in-law and the rapid resignation of NJ governor McGreevey, who C Kushner threatened hours before the big gay announcement. How much of these tactics are being used in foreign diplomacy for personal gain by son Jared? How much damaging collateral does Kushner hold over D Trump, being an insider? Carrots or sticks, maybe both?

  8. posaune says:

    Rayne, bmaz:   Is this a “superseding indictment?”   what does that mean, exactly?

    Also, is there a change of venue, i.e. Virginia vs. DC?   Does that mean a new judge for ALL the indictments?


    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      IANAL, but it means that there were charges previously filed (under seal) in EDVA and this indictment supersedes them. Lawyer Twitter looked at the docket number and placed their filing to just over a week ago. That might also be why Gates and his rotating cast of attorneys were busy last week.

      I’ll let the lawyers talk about the logistics of having two cases running side by side in two districts.

    • Peterr says:

      A superseding indictment is a substitute for the original indictment (in this case, adding new charges), which keeps the whole case before the same judge. “Your honor, further investigation has produced additional charges against the defendants . . .”

    • harpie says:

      Here’s some info on the venues:
      [quote] Scratching my head about this in the Manafort/Gates status report: The government offered to proceed only in DC, but one defendant (almost certainly Manafort) refused to waive venue. So now everyone has to schlep btw two courthouse [screenshot] / A separate filing in DC on Manafort’s bail conditions confirms that it was Manafort who refused waive venue, and the Special Counsel’s office is pretty chafed about it. [screen shot] / This is the footnote of the day so far imho. [end quote]

  9. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Filed in EDVA and not DC because Muller’s office couldn’t validly file those charges in DC and Manafort wouldn’t waive his right to venue. (For what reason? To drag the case out, to get a different judge, to be an arse?)

    But we now know that the EDVA grand jury meets on Thursdays. (And that Manafort ran an illegal AirBnB.) And cross-referencing the public documents to the indictments, I think we have: Lender A: Genesis Capital; Lender B: Citizens Bank N.A.; Lender C: ? ; Lender D: Federal Savings Bank.

    • posaune says:

      Thanks, PinNC,

      What were the previous charges filed in EDVA?   or were those sealed/

      Were any new charges filed in DC?   I thought the bail negotiations were in DC?

      The NYT article seemed confusing to me, seemed to assumed that all was in DC?

      maybe I misread it.


      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Again, IANAL, but:

        * We don’t know what was filed in EDVA before this superseding indictment; the people with PACER access can’t see anything publicly filed earlier on that docket.

        * There’s sealed stuff on the DC docket, along with a status report notifying the DC judge of the EDVA charges and some public stuff related to Manafort’s bail-fail talking about how he chose not to waive venue.

  10. posaune says:

    Another question:  sorry if this is simple-minded:

    Let’s say Defendant A commits bank fraud vis-a-vis a fraudulent mortgage application for Property Q with Bank X;  the mortgage is issued to A;  then, A is indicted for mortgage fraud; can A use Property Q for bail security?   Yes? No? Partly?  Or can A only use a non-tainted property for bail security? What are the restrictions on this? or is it up to the prosecutors and/or judge?

    • Peterr says:

      IANAL, but leaving aside the fraud angle, a defendant could only use the equity in a property as a guarantee of bail. The rest of the property doesn’t belong to them — it belongs to the bank — and thus can’t be presented to the court as the defendant’s.

  11. bloopie2 says:

    My mother had two rules of voting:  “Vote No”, and “They’re All Crooks”.  Boy, was she ever right.
    “Missouri governor booked on felony charges today:”

    (Note, I have given up on “innocent until proven guilty”as to Manafort and Gates and Trump; there are too many allegations.  Lock ’em up.)

    • Peterr says:

      That opinion of Greitens is pretty bipartisanly shared here in MO. Greitens has been governing like an autocrat since he took office, screaming at GOP legislators who dare to question him or disagree with what he wants. In a lot of ways, he ran against the GOP establishment, and the GOP establishment is pretty happy to let him dangle over the fire all by his lonesomeness.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Interesting, I did not know that, thanks.  Still, find something for which we can throw him in jail, just for that?  Maybe it has come down to that, since voting doesn’t seem to work any more.

  12. Avattori says:

    I’ve tried to have some fun (well, fun to me, anyway) with Iain Banks’ names for mind-run spaceships, and the penchant those have for communicating among themselves in ways denied to human-type species, being something of a parallel to Team Mueller only communicating to the public by indictment.
    Any, these two bits here are more in that vein (i.e. fun).

    A Russian Angle:
    One of the two young (to me, anyway) attorneys who set up & run the 377 Union Street site is named Julian Russo-Giuliano. Guiliano is an Italianate variation on a Latin-originating name, Julian; thus, he’s Julian Russo-Julian.
    The Italianate name Russo looks tantalizingly like Russian, and indeed can be taken to mean that. But it also can be derived from the Latin word for red, or historically from the Roman Empire era word for someone from the north, meaning any of the lands along the shores of the Baltic Sea, from northwest France all the way to (almost) Russia. So, his name could be Julian Red Julian, or Julian Norske Julian, or even Julian Rus Julian. Fun!

    An Italian Feature:
    I’ve been unable to find any ‘historical’ name Manafort, but the name Manifart is identified with a French (France) design outfit. As well, the name Manifart is appears to derive from somewhere along the area of the eastern Atlantic & Mediterranean shores from Morocco to Libya – particularly Marrakesh / Marrakech at the most southerly and Malta at the most northerly.
    Malta’s about equidistant from Tunis to the west and Tripoli to the south, but closer by far to Sicily, Italy.
    I also understand manifart to be loan word in France (tho at least as plausibly first FROM France TO northern Africa in the diminutive form “manif”, meaning something associated with the hand (e.g. like a hand, made by hand, of the hand), then thereafter rebounding back into France as manifart, meaning something ‘handy’, such as a model, e.g. a demo model of say a building or a ship used at the design, sales and even construction stages.
    The original immigration records of Paul Manafort’s family into the U.S. show his grandfather’s name as “Manifart”, entering the U.S. in 1907. That would have been during the later years of the Great Italian Diaspora that commenced at the end of the first generation following Italian Reunification, and ended with the outset of WWI (per the comment in Wikipedia, ” by many scholars … considered the biggest mass migration of contemporary times”).
    Once in America the family name was (understandably) changed to Manafort, with the country of origin shown just as “Italy”, without specifying WHERE in Italy. That’s consistent with the great bulk of the diaspora having involved southern Italians, particularly from Calabria & Sicily – Sicily, again, being the closest larger land mass to Malta.

    (I actually intended to key in “Avattoir”, but for whatever reason it came off as “Avattori” and now, given the content of this comments, I don’t feel moved to try to ‘correct’ it.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    About yesterday’s “presser” with Trump and Florida’s attorney general, I was impressed with how quickly Pam Bondi lost Donald. About two sentences in, he was floundering badly, he hadn’t a clue what she was talking about.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump never fails to demonstrate his immense narcissism. Calling a Parkland student, who survived being shot twice by Cruz, the president began his call with, in effect, “I hear you’re a big fan of mine. I’m a big fan of yours, too.”

    • harpie says:

      Kyle Griffin Verified account @kylegriffin1:
      [quote] Parkland survivor Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs, said she’d felt no reassurance during a phone call from Trump: “Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life. He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.” [NYT] [end quote]

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump and giving teachers weapons. Twenty percent, more. Give ’em a bonus to conceal carry.

    There you go, “practically for free,” says Donald, you’ve improved school safety, because there are so many ex-Marines who put in their 20 and become teachers. The Don has spent too much time watching old movies. Tom Berenger (The Substitute) and Treat Williams (The Substitute 2) are actors, Don. They’re not former special operatives or Marine snipers, they’re not even school teachers. Tom studied journalism, Treat is a distant relative of P.T. Barnum.

    Even if they were former Marines, it doesn’t mean they were trained in protective detail or know how to use their weapons in a civil, law enforcement role. They can’t just take out a gun and start shooting with impunity. Teachers haven’t enough time to teach and mentor their students now. They can’t and shouldn’t do two jobs. They aren’t paid enough for the one they already do or adequately reimbursed for what they already spend on it.

    I don’t imagine Don is planning to fix that, either. Normally, I’d tell Don to get a grip. If he did, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.

    • bmaz says:

      Earl, the only “actors” are clearly the kids from Parkland. Or so I am told that is the Fox News message.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        True, Don isn’t much of an actor.  He can’t fake interest in anything but his profile.  He’s wooden as a barge pole, as obvious as a Dennis Miller punchline.

        It would be healthy if a considerable majority of voters rejected the argument about student “actors” and any politicians who advance it.  It is grossly cynical, an example of Nixon’s Big Lie, a lie so big no one on Main Street would ever imagine it was a lie.

    • Trip says:

      “You came through for me, and I am going to come through for you,” Trump promised the NRA at its 2017 convention. “I will never, ever let you down.”

      This says it all.

      Also, lather, rinse, repeat:
      NRA President: “I Think it Went Pretty Well”   
      “I think it went pretty well,” NRA President David Keene told the Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove a mere nine hours after NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre seemingly blamed everything but guns—including movies and pop music—for the Sandy Hook shooting…“Certainly from our perspective, we had thousands of supportive calls at the office this afternoon,” Keene said. “We’ve got thousands of retired police officers, veterans, and the like who were saying, ‘We’ll volunteer and do whatever we have to do’” to help make the NRA’s plan to put armed guards in every school a reality.
      Keene explained that the NRA would provide the security training but it would be up to the individual school districts to decide how, or whether, to implement what the pro-gun group has dubbed the “National School Shield” program.

      • Trip says:

        Best comment I’ve seen against the more guns makes everyone safer position of the NRA:
        Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw
        If only there was a trained armed good guy or gal at the Fort Hood shooting the 13 soldiers that were murdered and the 30 injured would be here today.

        • scribe says:

          Please keep your facts straight:  at the time of the Fort Hood shooting, soldiers on-post/on-duty were not permitted to carry personal firearms for self-defense.  Posse comitatus, you know.  And service weapons are ordinarily stored, racked, in a locked “arms room” unless they are being used for duty (e.g., armed guard), training or maintenance.   Contrary to the misconceptions held by those who never wore the uniform, soldiers do not just wander around post under arms 24/7.

          So while it’s easy and fun to make the comment you quote, it’s not grounded in reality.


          Besides, we’re talking about the Manafort-Gates superseding indictments here.  Stay on topic.

          • Trip says:

            I posted directly under earl, who was talking about Trump and the guns/NRA issue. Are you the new moderator?
            Trump mentioned teachers storing guns in lockers, not wearing holsters, or having guns in their hands at all times. Your argument falls flat.

          • Madchen Vapid says:

            When I was an Army combat medic, I as trained in hand-to-hand combat. That meant, that even without firearms, I had developed skills to respond to an armed aggressor. That just makes the very pertinent point. Weapons are a force multiplier that even the most skilled unarmed people (civilian or military) have difficulty countering.

            Also, the reason that active duty military installations don’t generally have armed guards roaming around (as in hospitals and other medical activities, among other places, where I was posted) is because their presence alone is dangerous. “Posse comitatus,” has nothing to do with why military people are precluded from carrying weapons on federal military installations. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), among other codes, does. See the following: (1) UCMJ Article 134: Weapon: Concealed, Carrying, (2) Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5210.56, Arming and the Use of Force, and (3) The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004.

            Frankly, your mention of “Posse comitatus” alone makes me suspicious about who among us served in uniform.

              • bmaz says:

                Yes. Because nobody else could talk about guns other than gun nuts, right? ONLY YOU can possibly understand. Right?

                Seriously, spare me this tripe. It is total horseshit, and I bet I was “NRA certified” before you as a kid. Again, completely fuck off with this trite gun nut horse manure. And if you want to talk back with some NRA talking points, you can go to fucking hell.

                • Trip says:

                  Thanks bmaz.  I almost responded and but realized it was a blatant trolling comment, so I thought better of it.

  16. Anne says:

    Avattoir, thank you for sending the 377union link. Can anyone expain how they could borrow/leverage against the Lane proprty for more than they paid, within just a few years? Were they repaying the loans quickly with laundered money or something, preserving cash? They played this game with all the properties. Did the banks let them do this because they were mostly LLC structures?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Banks normally lend large amounts against collateral whose value exceeds the loan amount, plus costs and fees.  When the collateral is inadequate, banks usually demand more collateral or a pay down of the loan amount.  It is not normal practice to lend an amount as large or larger than the fair market value of the collateral.  Short-term loans for a customer with a long reassuring history might be done, but normally not a longer arrangement.

      If the bank let the value of the collateral fall too low, it was mismanaged, intended that risky outcome (normally, bad banking practice), or had other collateral or business with the borrower that mitigated the risk.  Non-arms length lending is a major red flag regarding both the bank and the borrower.

      Mueller appears to be building a case for money laundering by showing that Gates and Manafort had a pattern of financial abuses, which can best or only be explained by money laundering.

      • Avattoir (formerly Avattori) says:

        Thnx, earl. Wasn’t around to take a stab at answering that, but if I had, I doubt it would have been any improvement on yours.

      • Anne George says:

        Earl, thanks as well.  It’s  like Manafort lives in his own giant ponzi scheme.  I wonder if this is going to leave his family out on the street or if they’ll be able to access his off-shore accounts, or if he’s somehow isolated them.

        • Anne George says:

          Another piece I would love to know is if this 10mil loan is the alleged “suitcase full of cash” Manafort walked off with from Oleg Derapaska.

          “March 6, 2012:  Jesand, LLC enters into a loan facility with Lucicle Consultants Limited, a Cypriot entity, pursuant to which Lucicle Consultants Limited agrees to loan $10,000,000 to Jesand, LLC (link).”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Excluding the mortgage securitization industry, where loans can equal 100% of the purchase price.  The game there is the fraudulent securitization process, backed by a highly questionable ratings process, which turns bundled mortgages into securities and then into cash, payable in various tranches.  The mortgage lender does not hold the underlying assets any longer than it takes to bundle and sell them.

        It is a game of hot potato with the risk.  It’s the investors in the nominally highly-rated mortgage backed securities that take the attendant risks, but wait longest to get paid.  Nice work if you can lobby to be immunized from the corruption and get paid, too.

    • Trip says:

      It’s a roller coaster with Gates. I guess after seeing the new charges, he kept Green on, getting a new perspective on his situation.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Gates was the big winner in the latest indictment in terms of charges. As is usual practice, Manafort was the puppetmaster; Gates the puppet.

        I bet the thought process went something like this: “I’m going to do how much time while that guy drinks Perrier and wiggles his toes in Persian rugs?”

        • Trip says:

          Gates might be more valuable to the prosecution, even though he was mostly assisting Manafort as a subordinate, to Manafort’s ‘lifetyle’. Gates stayed with the Trump campaign, moved on to run the Trump non-profit, was the deputy chair for the inaugural, and was a fundraiser for the RNC. There is probably more meaty stuff he may have to offer in re to the campaign/transition investigation than Manafort’s long-running scumbag, money-laundering, dictator lobbying and conman game. Since Gates already had likely contacts as a back channel to Deripaska and possibly other oligarchs, he might have the most insight into any knowledge of this the WH may have, or any peripheral players, and potentially the NRA and its increase in spending on Trump.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          “Manafort was the puppetmaster; Gates the puppet.”

          Except, Manafort still does not realize he is a puppet.

          He may think he was the puppetmaster, but…

          See russian dolls. Similar concept.

      • bmaz says:

        Trip, you bought into the idiotic rolling press coverage. That was never what was really going on legally. It has been an ongoing negotiation of terms as to Gates. That is all.

            • Avattoir (formerly Avattori) says:

              (imagined NBCNews’ Betsy Woodruff: ‘I stand by my entirely mundane typical & non-thinking knee-jerk reflexive Beltway community newsertainment insider-type access & my it’s-who-you-know-not-what msm journamalism, and more puff-upishly so does my employer who you DO know carries a big freaking pail of water in this town, bub, so…oh…)

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Do you think anyone would have been admitted to Trump’s speech at CPAC if he’d been wearing that t-shirt with Geronimo and friends on one side and “Fighting Armed Terrorists Since 1492” on the other?

    I never thought I would see Don, raccoon-eyed from the tanning bed, small-fingered, red-tied down to this knees in compensation, lead a campaign rally crowd orgasm on national crooked media television.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Donald Trump still doesn’t think he won his election fair and square.  (Or he knows he didn’t.)  He keeps re-fighting his bout with “Crooked Hillary” in every speech.  Good sign of memory disorder.

      • Trip says:

        It gets the cult riled up, that’s why he repeats it. The same way the NRA perpetually claimed Obama was taking all guns away, even though he rarely spoke about guns.

  18. cfost says:

    Any questions about Manafort’s motives can be answered with a simple skim of the 377union report. 1. The train wreck mess of mortgages involving Manafort may intentionally so, depending on the desires of the real money sources who fund his offshore banking. 2. Barrack and Kushner have been involved for many years. 3. BB&T gave Manafort a loan on one property WHILE they were foreclosing on another. Huh? 4. Several times mortgages were secured by cash as collateral. Raises questions about his need for cash, unless that cash was the foreign bank accounts, and he was trying to avoid US scrutiny. I’m not a banker: would a bank issue a loan with a foreign bank balance as collateral? Sounds like a TON of trouble in the event of a foreclosure. Also, with a bank as co-conspirator, the cash/foreign bank balance can be used on paper to justify the loan to an underwriter, then “removed” later, which would free up the cash for another loan. 5. A decades-long trail of angry creditors (credit card, travel agent, photographer, former partners, etc) lies behind Manafort. This speaks volumes about his character and his motives. 6. Speaking of former partners, who is Jeffrey Yohai? Why hasn’t the recent bankruptcy proceeding involving him and Manafort not been in the MSM? Yohai is making some serious allegations. 7. What about Manafort’s French and Pakistani connections, and the recent indictment of the former French prime minister, which may implicate Manafort?
    And this is just the publicly available stuff. Add to that the known lineage of his Neolithic sub species which dates back to the 1950s: McCarthy, Cohn, Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly, Ailes, Murdoch, et al. These are amoral humanoids who border on psychopathic. Black and Kelly are particularly interesting because of their clientele and their involvement with “voting systems.” I’m not convinced that Facebook and Google weren’t co-conspirators. If we then add in the list of known actors surrounding Trump, it becomes quite obvious that it is a criminal enterprise, that it has been going on for a long time, that these people are all acquainted, that some of these people (Trump, Page, Nunes and other congressmen, Flynn) have been carefully “handled” for many years, that the United States isn’t the only regime to be looted, that the ones in charge are smart and patient, that they are running out of places to launder money, and that this is primarily about money and greed, given the huge sums involved. Let me echo Avattoir and say that any attempt to explain otherwise strains credulity, absent some blockbuster new revelation.
    We may not know enough facts yet to indict Trump and his crowd in the executive, judicial (check out Clarence and Ginny Thomas) and legislative branches, but I know enough already to decide that I don’t want him or his in my government.

  19. scribe says:

    Looking over today’s indictment, I come to the conclusion that Mueller is not likely to force a plea out of this.  Given Manafort’s age, the size of the amounts involved and the number of charges, anything other than a Petraeus-level sweetheart deal is likely to result in an effective life sentence for him.  He has no incentive to plea.  As to the younger Gates, he might have some incentive to flip, but any disparity would also have to be weighed against the bad precedent an easy deal would set.  We see already how mightily judges try to distinguish harsh sentences for low-level people who leak minor classified information from the generous deal Petraeus got for sharing President’s-eyes-only stuff with his mistress, in exchange (presumably) for blowjobs (actual, literary or both).

    I also note a mention to a “conspirator” in Bank B, who cooperated in one or another of the frauds.  He/she’s sweating, if not already working out a plea to an information.  And an additional quote of an email “looks Dr’d.  Can you send me a clean Excel?”, the kind of juicy stuff prosecutors love.  Tax and bank fraud trials are notoriously dry and capable of boring jurors.  It’s this kind of stuff that keeps them awake, waiting for the next juicy tidbit.

    As to tax cases, prosecutors uniformly win them.  The documentary nature of the evidence is pretty much irrefutable by the usual means criminal defense attorneys use – impugning the character of the witness(es) because they’re criminals, too, etc. – and once you get past the 4-6 percent of the population of prospective jurors who believe the income tax is unconstitutional, you get juries who take their free lunches and parking and convict.  I was called for federal jury service a couple autumns ago, for a tax and medicare fraud case, and there were about 10 people out of 150 or so summoned who answered “yes” to believing the income tax unconstitutional.  When I practiced actively, I once had a client sued by the state for civil penalties for insurance fraud (after completing his 3 year prison term).  My voir dire answer that the experience of representing him made me much more sympathetic to the plight of defendants pursued by the government managed to get the prosecution to exercise one of their peremptories on me, sending me back to work.

    By WAG right now is that neither Manafort nor Gates flips.  Mueller won’t give sweetheart deals.  Manafort will get an effective life sentence.  Gates, if he’s smart, will have his lawyer work out a back-channel deal with the WH wherein he pleads to the indictment promising silence and in return is promised a pardon or, more likely commutation to time served (to keep him quiet – as discussed many times in the past here and elsewhere, after a pardon he can be compelled to testify), to be delivered the night before Trump leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Whether Trump follows through, another matter.  It’s not like he hasn’t screwed over counterparties to his deals before.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for your perspective. Very helpful. I can’t help wonder if the as-yet-undisclosed findings from this investigation shaped the way the indictments were presented. For example, the bank and tax fraud in yesterday’s indictment only covered 2010-2014 — can’t help wonder what’s in 2015 bank and tax filings.

      • scribe says:

        It may be – I am neither a CPA  nor a tax specialist – that the 2015 tax returns, etc. are not finally due and therefore are still subject to amendment to correct inaccuracies, etc.  If that’s the case, then it may be the inaccuracies are not yet ripe to be charged.  Keep in mind that the charges encompass 2010 tax returns, but that’s more than 5 years ago and the general federal statute of limitations for criminal actions is 5 years.  Mueller and his crew are not dumb enough to charge alleged crimes beyond the statute of limitations, so ….

    • bmaz says:

      Scribe, Gates has been flipped for a while now. That has been done, they have just been haggling over the money. He is literally on his was to the courthouse as we speak. Manafort is the better issue. And at this point, his family may be a bigger concern for him than his own liberty is.

  20. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So the superseding information that presumably leads to a plea deal says that Gates lied in February — during his “queen for a day” proffer, I guess? — about a 2013 meeting between Manafort and Rohrabacher. That’s quite something, given that the only way any proffer testimony can be used against you is if you demonstrably lie. And that’s also probably why Gates has been rotating through lawyers this past month.

    • bmaz says:

      It is literally part and parcel of the plea. That is why it is in the form of an information, and not indictment. And the lawyer shuffle was well underway prior to February 2.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Yeah, I’m just not calling it a plea until he’s in the courthouse.

        The filing from counsel to withdraw was the day after the proffer. You’re assuming that Gates’s counsel knew he planned to make a false statement, advised him not to while making their plans to leave, and headed for the exits ASAP, or that Green was already providing unofficial legal advice in January?

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good comment from a teacher and student at Parkland about the sheriff deputy’s supposed delayed or frozen response.  The shooting apparently took three minutes.  There were multiple different events: fire alarm and “code red” among them.  He didn’t know where the shooter was and if he did, he had to get there and choose a response.   Shooting down a hallway full of innocents and a single shooter might have added to the mayhem.

    It’s possible the deputy was hesitant, more facts would help.  Maybe he was slow.  But a more assertive response, “a good guy with a gun” is unlikely to have been the fix the right’s propaganda machine is claiming it to be.  As both Parkland student and teacher said, this is another distraction.

    More guns, teachers with guns, is not any answer.  It would add to the problem and cause more deaths.   A better path is to cut the number of guns, insist on basic training, mandatory licensing and checks, and prohibit civilian ownership of assault weapons.

    As for the president’s refrain that shooters like Cruz are “cowards”, my rejoinder is this.  They might be running away from their problems through random violence.  But they are acting out in circumstances where their own deaths are likely.  George Custer had plenty of courage.  He also got most of his command needlessly killed.  Two dimensional choices between “courage” and “cowardice” neither analyze nor solve these problems.  They distract us from doing what we already know we should do.

    • NorskieFlamethrowere says:

      I’m not a lawyer and I’m too old to understand the cyber-world that twists and squeezes my life every day, so this conversation about identifying the crimes being investigated and the path and source of evidence for them is more than a bit confusing. So as the entire universe of crimes grows and the cast of criminals expands daily, I am having trouble understanding how in hell Mueller can find a way to take the entire criminal enterprise which encompasses the Republican Party, a good portion of our military command and most of the international oligarchy down together. So can someone please explain RICO to me and specifically: is RICO a civil or criminal statute and must it be brought in federal court or do state prosecutors get a shot?  Thank you all.

    • matt says:

      A better path is to cut the number of guns, insist on basic training, mandatory licensing and checks, and prohibit civilian ownership of assault weapons.

      All weapons are “assault” weapons.  I’m so tired with the new “AR-15 bullets are designed for extra special tissue damage” argument- does that imply that .308 larger caliber bullets are safer?  or, are shotguns safer?  or, 9mm hollow points? Of course not.  All bullets in all guns kill.  Its not the number of guns, it’s the number of guns easily obtainable by criminals or the mentally ill.  I had a conversation with my county sheriff- his idea…. just like there is mandatory reporting by teachers and health care workers and a State database for child abuse… there should be a mandatory reporting and a database for individuals unfit to own firearms.  That would SPECIFICALLY target known individuals/students in the community whom pose a risk to the public.  As long as Walmart sells guns and ammo (of any type) to anyone who walks in the door… there will sadly be mass shootings.

    • Anne says:

      Edward Abbey called bs on the “good guy with a gun” argument decades ago:

      Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  And people with guns kill more people.  But that’s only natural.  It’s hard.  But it’s fair.  – Edward Abbey

      Of course, the NRA bastardized this quote to suit their now-twisted agenda.

  22. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Can someone tell me if my comment/question of 5 minutes ago was just tossed or moderated out. It was an honest question.

  23. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Well then, thank you may I have another! But my question remains, why couldn’t a RICO suit be used to get the assets of the “enterprise” if defined as Trump’s businesses and anyone who profited from them in order to put ’em all out of business? I now understand why Mueller is pursuing “conspiracy” charges as opposed to treason but to get “justice” out of all this it seems to me that we would want to bankrupt the lot of ’em.And please, I know I’m a dinosaur and am so old I only have 3 brain cells left but it is an honest question. Thanks

    • greengiant says:

      In before Bmaz:   “bmaz says:

      January 31, 2018 at 11:56 am

      I renew what I have long said: Only buffoons reference “RICO”. It is a signal for laughter.”

      The link


  24. Trip says:

    “Hapsburg Group,” secretly hired a group of former senior European politicians to promote positions favorable to Ukraine in the United States….paid $2 million euros from offshore accounts, they lobbied members of Congress and other U.S. officials on behalf of Ukraine.

    Who are they? Anyone know?

  25. orionATL says:

    mueller may be interested in what gates has to say about manafort, but he (and i) has got to be more interested in what gates has to say about the trump presidential campaign activities. the nytimes reports that, although manifort left the trump campaign in august, gates stayed on and flew on trump’s plane thru election day.

    the washington post reports:

    “… Unlike Manafort, who resigned from his position as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016, Gates remained with the campaign until Election Day, working at one point for the Republican National Committee. He then joined the inaugural committee as deputy chairman. Once Trump took office, Gates helped launch an allied group to support the president’s agenda and was a regular visitor at the White House…. ”

    among other info, gates may have something to tell mueller’s team about the trump campaign’s media planning. he certainly will have something to say about inaugural committee activities and donors on which he served as deputy chair. coal barrons dumped money into the inaugural committee and “extracted” from trump, as one of his very first presidential actions, a set of highly favorable policy decisions involving cancelling of environmental regulations:

    gates may prove to be a way to get to manifort (or not), but i don’t think he is merely small potatoes.

    • Trip says:

      Even if the conspiracy never reaches Trump directly, I will be happy if all of the dark (and sometimes stolen) money, criminal donations/ lobbying are exposed.

      “Conspiracy as Governance,” which sought to apply graph theory to politics. …. that illegitimate governance was by definnition (sic) conspiratorial—the product of functionaries in “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population.” ….when a regime’s lines of internal communication are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves.

      Guess who the above quote was from, in 2010.

      • orionATL says:

        “…Even if the conspiracy never reaches Trump directly, I will be happy if all of the dark (and sometimes stolen) money, criminal donations/ lobbying are exposed…”

        that should be the central focus and goal of mueller’s investigations and charges.

        file the legal papers; get to depositions under oath and find out what happened. everything else (convictions) is gravey.

  26. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Susan Rice’s lawyer (former WH counsel Kathy Ruemmler) responded to Grassley/Graham’s letter about the January 20th memo. Most notable bit: “concerning communications… before and after the election.”

  27. harpie says:

    Sorry, this is not on topic, but:
    Five minutes ago, bmaz tweeted:
    [quote] And for the ill informed souls who keep finger pointing and shaming the FBI, the FBI literally had close to zero jurisdiction at all. Because of the laxity in gun laws as demanded by gun nuts and  the Death Merchant NRA, there was no power over Cuz. [end quote]
    I think these two pieces are related to those concerns:
    The N.R.A. Lobbyist Behind Florida’s Pro-Gun Policies ; New Yorker; [2/23/18] 3/5/18 Issue; Mike Spies
    1] [Marion Hammer’s unique influence over legislators has produced laws that dramatically alter long-held American norms. ]
    2] Erik Wemple Opinion; ‘Scripted’ controversy: CNN releases emails of correspondence with Florida student; Erik Wemple February 23 at 7:28 PM
    [PS: Is anyone else having trouble with the Blockquote button on the comments?]

    • Trip says:

      At times, the menu of options on fonts and structures etc, doesn’t show up at all.  If I wanted to blockquote in that case, I’ll just use the standard <> and </> with blockquote in between each of the <> </>.

      It doesn’t always work the first time, you’ll see the blockquote symbols, but no blockquote, go back and edit, doing the same thing, and it’ll then work. I have no idea why.

      • bmaz says:

        Honestly, the inconsistency is a little perplexing on the back end where we are too, not just on the front end you guys see.

        It is on a list of things to address in our next update. I know that is only worth so much, but, yes, we are aware of the issue.

          • bmaz says:

            Absolutely, and thank you for that. It is indeed frustrating. There is a tradeoff for no advertising. Unfortunately, occasional things like this may be one of them. We will always work to improve.

            • harpie says:

              This is the best blog around, with or without a blockquote key.

              …though, [since you say you’ll always work to improve]…after reading Matt’s 11:23, I did find myself wishing for a popcorn emoji. :-)

  28. matt says:

    (reply in comment not working again)

    I read the New Yorker article Harpie linked to. This gun debate is very similar to the abortion debate- all or nothing, and not rational at all. The best way to lower the number of abortions while still keeping the right to have one… is to change the social parameters that cause increased abortion. Two easy examples are more support programs for pregnant women in difficult social/financial situations, and a streamlined/improved adoption system. Control over your reproductive system is protected, yet as a social statistic the number of abortions could be tremendously lessened while lives of infants/children improved. This is a “systems theory” approach and it is not ideological. As we speak there are hundreds of other at risk teenagers like Nik Cruz with violent potential. How can we identify this population and get them the help they need? Trump has taken the discretionary budget and allocated a huge portion to the remake of a nuclear arsenal. All the while, health care access, social services, mental health centers, and addictions programs are destroyed. This is why America has so much more violence (gun and other) than our European counterparts- we have much more poverty, class division, religious extremism, and concentration of power/wealth.

    • bmaz says:

      Take away the guns. Nearly all of them. Fuck the NRA, fuck the gun nuts, take the guns.

      You can blow all the disingenuous  bullshit you want, the one difference between the US and the rest of the civilized world is the sheer amount of deadly guns. We in this country, thanks to an idiotic 2nd Amendment, and an asshole duplicitous interpretation of it by Scalia, are idiots and outliers, and fuck the gun nuts.

      • matt says:

        You mean the “civilized” world protected (armed to the teeth) within the social construct called the NATION STATE?  You know that globalized violence, oppression, and murder are the fundamental realities that support your privileged American ass.  Emotionalism and irrationality on both sides of political continuum are what’s ruined the country.  Your idiotic comment is evidence of that.

        • bmaz says:

          No, I meant exactly what I said. Don’t ever pretend to put words in my mouth.

          You are barking up very much the wrong tree. Take your gun nut shit and park it where there is no sun. Do not pull that that cheap ass talking point crap with me. This is NOT where you are going to pull that shit.

          • bmaz says:

            And, by the way “Matt”, if you think the gun debate is analogous to the abortion issue as you so proudly pronounced at 10:43 am blog time today, then, seriously, bugger off.

            • Palli Davis Holubar says:

              Thank you, Bmaz

              Matt, as a woman with miscarriages & abortions to her family history, no, abortions have nothing in common with guns, except as the former is deviled by concocted lies, the other is enshrined by concocted lies.

            • matt says:

              Anybody try to have a debate with a Pro-Lifer?  They do not reason or compromise, because they believe that all abortion is murder.  The analogy is fitting, to the gun debate (on both sides), because you have the NRA on one side- “from my cold dead hands,” and BMAZ and company on the other,

              Take away the guns. Nearly all of them. Fuck the NRA, fuck the gun nuts, take the guns.

              I’m all for regulation, just not for outright bans- which makes me a moderate, not a gun nut.  The irony, is that uninformed liberals only embolden the NRA and their fear mongering.  They shift the debate from well thought out regulation to “those liberals want to take away all your guns!”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If you think the gun debate here is all or nothing, you’re not paying attention.  We are discussing legitimate regulation of an inherently dangerous article.  Prescription drugs, hair products, food products, bleaches, motor cars are all regulated.

      All our constitutional rights are regulated.  Freedom of assembly requires a permit, free speech is restricted and often shunted into zones hidden away from press coverage and the politicians who refuse to hear it.  Civil and voting rights are commonly restricted, often under the guise of “protecting them”.  Six Amendment rights to assistance of counsel, Fourth Amendments rights to reasonable search and seizure – poof, to keep us safe.

      The most obvious way to help the Nick Cruzes of the world is to prevent them from getting their hands on a dangerous product.  Social and health programs would help, too, except that the people most protecting unrestricted access to guns are the first ones to promote cuts or denial of funding for those programs,  Trump and his GOP prominent among them.

      Your comment that social division is exceptionally high in contemporary America is correct.  The GOP has campaigned on heightening those divisions for fifty years.  Trump’s CPAC speech is a good example of it.  That division is, too, a product of rampant neoliberalism that accelerates economic division and inequality.  Governmental policies that emphasize punishment to the exclusion of all other responses heightens it.  So does unregulated greed: drugs pricing by Shkreli; insurance companies like Aetna, whose medical director spent years responding to claims without looking at a patient record.  Deny, deny, deny.

      If a room is full of gasoline vapors, is the solution to light a match or open the window?  Does most of America prosper when it listens to the burn it all rhetoric of LaPierre and Loesch, or the reasoned suggestions of the articulate survivors of Parkland?

    • TheraP says:

      Last night on the PBS Newshour, there was a short clip showing students practicing for hiding from a shooter: They huddled in a corner. Each one holding a book in front of their face!

      Did anyone imagine a book would stop a bullet? Even a regular bullet? Did they imagine if they hid behind a book, a killer would not see them? Or at least would not see their terrified face when they shot it?

      I am gob-smacked!

      • pdaly says:

        Wow. Had not heard that.
        Sounds like the revamped duck-and-cover from atomic bomb days with equally bad odds of survival if the real event were to happen.

        Remove most guns (and not just the semi-automatic weapons) from American society and save lives. Then we might have spare time and energy to offer our ‘thoughts and prayers’ to any people lamenting the loss of their beloved guns.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      On the argument that all guns are “assault weapons” and that all bullets can kill, from a radiologist who treated some of the Parkland victims cited by pdaly:

      In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

      I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

      It is not factual to compare the damage a 9mm pistol round can do with the damage a round from an assault rifle can do.  From the same Atlantic article:

      One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

      The assault rifle round is typically small and fast, so fast, it creates a pressure wave that by design does far more damage to tissue than does the bullet slicing through flesh.

      The world is a dangerous place.  Let’s make it safer one step at a time.  Harsh words, fists, beer bottles, knives and pistols do not do as much damage to so many people in so short a time as an assault rifle.  Civilians don’t need them on America’s streets.  Prohibit them.

      If you want to be a man, learn that no means no.  If you want camaraderie, join a ball team.  If you want to decrease the surplus population, the Sackler family’s opioids and others are doing a fine job, nearly 1,000 dead a week.  If you want to add to that number, don’t regulate firearms.

      • bmaz says:

        I am absolutely shocked.

        Gun nuttery can kill children? If only sane people had realized this decades ago. Also, Scalia was a piece of garbage.

        • matt says:

          EOH, you and the surgeons are correct!  That was never my point- that the .223 was not deadly- of course it is.   My point was that it is no more deadly than other rounds which have equally devastating terminal ballistics.  There are 25-30 common calibers between .22 and .45 and they come in rounds with different grain bullets and gunpowder “charge.”  .243, 25-08, .270 are other common small caliber, high velocity rounds in rifles other than the AR-15.  As to .30 and larger calibers, these can also be high velocity depending on the cartridge you buy.  And, any .30 cal lead hollow point hunting round will be equally deadly for humans or game.

          So here’s the problem, if you ban NATO rounds, you’d have to ban the other small caliber cartridges.  If you ban semi-auto AR-15’s you’d have to ban semi-auto hunting rifles.   Sure, some would like to ban them all- but this would be an extreme measure.  Even if you feel it is morally “right” it would be politically impossible.  From a “systems” approach your likelihood of success with magazine regulation, licensing, age restrictions, and improved background checks is very high- enough to lessen mass shootings and save lives.   Semi-auto bans or small cal cartridge bans would not likely be successful in our political climate, and you would have made no progress whatsoever in other attainable regulations in your quest to lessen mass shootings.

          • bmaz says:

            Seriously, this is your argument? Are you being paid for this gun nuttery? You think you have inserted yourself as some kind of “gun” expert spokesman here. You can take your guns and go to hell.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Your arguments look a lot like one: nothing works so don’t do nothing, which seems to be the desired end.  I caught that monologue at the CPAC convention.

            Ms. Hammer’s wet dreams aside, most Americans don’t agree with that and won’t accept it, regardless of the money the NRA slaps around.  It’s as responsible and as likely as Harvey Weinstein getting his old job back.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            If you read the Atlantic article cited by pdaly above, it seems you were interested only in refuting the radiologist writer’s conclusions.  Here’s another one (emphasis mine):

            As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 or other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet.  I have friends who own AR-15 rifles; they enjoy shooting them at target practice for sport, and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their hobby supersedes my right to send my own children to school, to a movie theater, or to a concert and to know that they are safe. Can the answer really be to subject our school children to active shooter drills—to learn to hide under desks, turn off the lights, lock the door and be silent—instead of addressing the root cause of the problem and passing legislation to take AR-15-style weapons out of the hands of civilians?

            • cfost says:

              The year: 2014
              Gun deaths in United States: 33,500
              Gun deaths in Japan: 6
              Population of United States: about 320,000,000
              Population of Japan: about 125,000,000
              Source: Japan Times
              Why is this? Guns are very strictly regulated in Japan, even hunting guns.
              It puzzles me that “keep and bear arms” is mentioned far more than “the security of a free state” when people discuss the Second Amendment. But, importantly, before all the logical and syntactical torture involved in the interpretation of the Second Amendment, we hear other, more important, unalienable rights mentioned, which are self-evident and true, and take precedence, even over the Constitution of the United States. Governments are instituted in order to secure these rights.

              • matt says:

                Nearly 2/3 of gun deaths in America are suicides.  Yet, Japan proves that having the highly restrictive gun laws and single digit gun ownership does nothing to stop death from suicide- they have twice the suicide rate as the US.  They have begun having a national conversation about it.  Lo and behold improving social and medical support for depression is starting to lower suicide deaths.

                And, I will point out again that most gun murders in the US occur in impoverished areas of the inner cities and Rust Belt- with the use of illegal guns.  The incidence of gun violence is directly related to other indicators of poverty, lack of education, and joblessness.

            • matt says:

              I’m saying it’s not realistic to outlaw all small caliber/high velocity cartridges as many styles and models of firearms us them.   I know BMAZ would outlaw them all… but I don’t prefer to “fantasize.”  I’d rather have a discussion that could actually be had in my Senators office- that had a chance of lessening gun violence.

              • bmaz says:

                Matt, you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground.

                And you would be well advised  to never again think you do. Take your NRA shit and shove it. Stop this,  and do so immediately.

    • Trip says:

      The more I read, the more I experience empathy for the people of Russia. They have gov’t and organized crime ripping them off royally. And just like here, where our oligarchs get more, conspire, are granted tax breaks and it never trickles down, even if the Kremlin successfully influenced other nations so they could get in the game and make more money, it would still stay at the tippy top.

      • cfost says:

        I was working in Uzbekistan in 1994-95. The locals were intensely curious about us foreigners, so we got almost daily invitations to have dinner at someone’s apartment. None of us spoke Russian or Uzbek, so we dragged our interpreters along. It was no secret that most of the interpreters were ex-Soviet Army intelligence officers, and possibly KGB. Fine. The area was flooded with CIA people posing as workers, also. I could go on FOREVER about what I learned during that time. For here, three main takeaways: 1. The folks over there (there were many ethnicities besides Russian) are just like folks here, worried about job, paycheck, kids, home, etc. Some differences, of course. 2. Folks there have been suffering under inept and corrupt leadership for a very long time. They have known it but have felt helpless. They have also been kept in the dark about many important things, among which: the idea of Unalienable Rights.
        3. Propaganda has been a two- way street since 1945, with the US propaganda being an order of magnitude more sophisticated than the Soviet/Russian propaganda.

  29. cfost says:

    Not sure where to post this, so I’m putting it here:

    The top link comes from the excellent timeline at It is a statement to congress given by Roger Stone. On page 39 of that statement ( which is riven, I should note, with misleading half-truths, lies and misdirecting disinformation), in the midst of supporting documents added to Mr. Stone’s statement, is a memo from Jerome Corsi. Mr. Corsi refers to an article by CNN, which is the bottom link shown above.
    Stone and Corsi are using the article’s contents to support their argument. Let me say in advance that I’m not going to defend Clinton or Podesta. They’re not clean, and that is an investigation for another time. But I invite you to compare the article, the memo, and Stone’s testimony to page 4 of the Superseding Indictment dated February 16, 2018.
    The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
    What is obvious to me is that Mueller and his team are geniuses. Otherwise, my conclusions and opinions are still nebulous. But the disinformation which has been emanating from within the United States may be more voluminous and more sophisticated than any foreign disinformation.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Memo to CNN:

    Ivanka Trump visiting South Korea during the Olympic Games – because they are broadcast globally – is a photo op, not diplomacy.  It is not a parallel with the North Korean gambit just because it involves another pretty woman.

    Sarah Sanders refusal to tell Americans what her president proposes to do to implement the Harshest Sanctions Eveh ™ against North Korea is bullshit.  She is not revealing details because Trump hasn’t worked them out.  He’s marketing a product he doesn’t have yet, typical real estate salesman.

    Not revealing Trump’s planned sanctions – like not revealing the doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove – hides from the world what Trump proposes to do, how he proposes to do it, and what it means for the world.  His plan might be brilliant and peace affirming or ignorant and dangerously provocative.  But no one else needs to know about it yet.

  31. harpie says:

    Laura Rozen‏ @lrozen Laura Rozen [Retweeted Maxim A. Suchkov]
    MAS: [quote] Oleg #Deripaska resigns as President of RUSAL, #Russia and worlds’ biggest aluminium producer. Company’s CEO Soloviev takes over. Oligarch under-the-carpet dogfight seems to be underway at full swing. [end quote]

    • Trip says:

      harpie, thanks for posting this. I took a small dive down the rabbit hole, this morning.

      I’m sure Emptywheel probably already wrote about this in the past, but I ask myself, How did I miss this, and why hasn’t it been made a bigger deal of, in the context of the investigation and Manafort?

      AP Exclusive: Before Trump job, Manafort worked to aid Putin
      Mar. 22, 2017
      Before signing up with Donald Trump, former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire with a plan to “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” The Associated Press has learned. The White House attempted to brush the report aside Wednesday, but it quickly raised fresh alarms in Congress about Russian links to Trump associates…
      Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work…For the $10 million annual contract, Manafort did not use his public-facing consulting firm, Davis Manafort. Instead, he used a company, LOAV Ltd., that he had registered in Delaware in 1992.

      Has this since been disproven?



      • Trip says:

        More interesting tidbits:

        MI6 raises concerns after energy oligarch linked to Vladimir Putin makes £1bn on London Stock Exchange

        The Navalny Video and Fall-out:

        Oligarch met with top Russian official after Trump aide ‘offered briefings
        It reportedly took place in August 2016, a month after Mr Manafort, then Mr Trump’s campaign manager, offered “private briefings” to Mr Deripaska, according to an email seen by The Atlantic…Mr Deripaska hired Mr Manafort on a $10 million annual contract in 2006 after the Washington insider proposed a campaign to “greatly benefit the Putin government” by influencing US politics and media, Associated Press reported last year.
        The oligarch denied this and filed a defamation suit that was thrown out by a judge in October.

        And now, of course, as you posted, he has stepped down from his position.

          • Rayne says:

            I know this is going to be buried at the end of my open thread, but I finally got around to looking at 377Union.

            — The site doesn’t use HTTPS, is still on HTTP. It’s insecure.
            — The site also has no privacy policy; if you visit, your IP address may be collected for uses unknown.
            — While there is a text block featuring an excerpt attributed to The Intercept which says, “The loan data was compiled from public sources by two New York attorneys, Julian Russo and Matthew Termine, who published it on a blog,” there is no About Us page taking direct ownership of the content. There is only an active link for emailing the site’s operators.
            — Their domain’s WhoIs reveals nothing about the site’s operators.

            I will not use 377Union as a reference. I will not read anything at a link from their site until there is more transparency about the operators and their security issues are addressed.

            And I caution all emptywheel readers to be more skeptical and cautious about sourcing.

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              My apologies for ever referencing the site.
              Quite certain I was the first.

              But, note the following:

              Just because they registered the domain via proxy does not mean the site is evil.

              Just because they are not using https does not mean they are evil. The site is basically a read-only reference site. You are not posting credit-card info there just because you are reading the information there.

              Yes, they can collect ip addresses, just like CloudFlare can for which even though it appears to use https, CloudFlare can MITM everything here. CloudFlare is the MITM for *BY DESIGN*.

              And not only can CloudFlare see all traffic to/from, they can also manipulate the traffic.

              Your concerns are really unfounded.

              • Rayne says:

                A simple rhetorical question: Can that site be used as a honeypot?

                Just because they registered the domain via proxy does not mean the site is evil.” If the site fails to provide any other information about the site’s progenitors, it’s a problem.

                Just because they are not using https does not mean they are evil.” This is naive. It’s an assumption. If they don’t have malign intent, they don’t have appropriate concern for their users.

                CloudFlare is the MITM for *BY DESIGN*.” Your choice to use this site. Nobody’s twisting your arm. I would expect any new person to use the same level of caution I exercise visiting new sites. I would go so far as to encourage greater caution because of the content this site produces on certain topics.

                And I would be doing a huge disservice to the community here letting the dispersion of that site go on without pointing out critical problems. I’m not using the site. If they have aggregated content available publicly, I’d prefer to get it from the point of origin. If they have new content, I’ll wait to hear about it and evaluate getting it through a sandbox.

                • SpaceLifeForm says:

                  Honeypot? Sure. It can be. But not yet. Site has never been DDoSed yet. Purpose of DDoS is to block site, It may be a Honeypot. And the purpose of a Honeypot is to *catch* attackers. 90% of the folks here are not going to be the attackers. Though recently, there are supect players that have appeared here in recent months. Let them attack if they want. Even if a Honeypot, they are not looking at you or me.

                  But at some point, if the site keeps documenting good ‘stuff’, those that are worried will attack the site.

                  Registering via Proxy. Millions of websites do.
                  The was registered via GoDaddy and all domains registered by GoDaddy are via proxy.

                  Even the Wannacry Killswitch that Marcus Hutchins setup went thru GoDaddy.

                  Do not buy into the ‘security theatre’ that is TLS (the padlock in your browser).

                  As to ‘point of origin’, you need to realize that *IS* the ‘point of origin’ for the content here.

                  Your choice to use this site.

                  BTW, does not use Cloudflare.

                  But it makes no difference.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Your understanding of a honeypot’s use is extremely limited. Think espionage; not everything is cyber defined.

                    I’m done with you on this topic.

  32. harpie says:

    This is about Trump’s business, not administration, but…hmmmm….
    AP: Trump officials fight eviction from Panama hotel they manage
    JEFF HORWITZ and JUAN ZAMORANO; 13 minutes ago
    [quote] PANAMA CITY (AP) — One of President Donald Trump’s family businesses is battling an effort to physically evict its team of executives from a luxury hotel in Panama where they manage operations, and police have been called to keep the peace, The Associated Press has learned. Witnesses told the AP they saw Trump’s executives carrying files to a room for shredding. […] [end quote]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Always good to shred the money laundering, bank fraud and tax dodging documents before being evicted from one of the world’s great locations for money laundering, defrauding banks and dodging taxes.  Not to mention lying about how and how well Trump Org. is marketing a chronically low occupancy building.  Then there’s what’s on all those servers.  E-mails, call records, documents, to be sure.  I wonder if Don likes to look and listen into what tenants do at all his properties.

      Gosh, it makes one think that apart from inheriting a bunch of money, Donald Trump doesn’t know how to do anything well.

  33. pdaly says:

    (earlofhuntingdon, above): All our constitutional rights are regulated.  Freedom of assembly requires a permit, free speech is restricted and often shunted into zones hidden away from press coverage and the politicians who refuse to hear it.

    I agree completely, except that “Money” is free speech. It, unlike actual audible speech from visible humans, does not seem to be regulated at all.
    Money can work silently, day and night, on the minds of our elected officials to achieve the will of its possessors.

    Money, as free speech, can easily bypass the requirement for obtaining a permit.
    It does not need to march in rain or cold if it disagrees with a social plan. Money (or the promise of money) is an often invisible force that successfully bends some elected officials to its will. Money often silently overcomes any noisy street demonstrations or moving Town Hall meeting attended by vocal citizens asking for laws that ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Says a former Marine, now a university teacher in West Virginia, with long hours of using the M-16, the military firearm from which the AR-15 was adapted, about arming teachers in schools and restricting civilian access to assault weapons like the AR-15:  “There is no reason that any civilian, of any age, should possess this rifle.”

    Trump’s claim that arming teachers would deter shooters or stop them early is “absurd”.  Trained police officers, he notes, sometimes miss up to half their targets.  Asking civilian teachers to use their weapons in a firefight, “would have only added to the carnage and confusion.”  Moreover, arming teachers does not reduce the number of troubled people with guns in their hands, or address the reasons they might be driven to use them.  Trump’s thinking in this regard, “has no grounding in reality.”

    I would never bring a weapon into a classroom. The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence. Weapons have no place in a learning environment.

    Troublingly, the West Virginia state legislature, following in lockstep with the NRA’s “fever dream” of heavily armed everyone, proposed new legislation that would make things worse (emphasis mine):

    Last month, the State Legislature in West Virginia, where my university is located, introduced the Campus Self-Defense Act. This would prohibit colleges and universities from designating their campuses as gun-free zones. If this act becomes law, I will resign my professorship. I will not work in an environment where professors and students pack heat.

    • matt says:

      The NRA and and the 40% of law abiding/non criminal American armed citizens who want to protect their 2nd amendment rights are so, so much more organized politically than the Lefts’s feeble attempt to legislate sensible gun control.

      My opinions and comments were never meant to support the radical agenda of the NRA or the real “gun-nuts” preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  My frustration lies in the fact that the Left cannot fight the NRA if they don’t organized under specific and attainable legislation. 

      So you can be King on EW and make your proclamations to a sympathetic audience, but it ain’t gonna do you any good in the real world- your rhetoric is being used against you very effectively, as Trump perfectly showed in his CPAC address.

      While the Right deflects regulation and spotlights, mental health- somehow the Left fails to see the opportunity here.  We can take the Right to task on the issue and push hard for improving safety net programs, counseling, early intervention, and affordable health care  etc.  Does that mean you stop pushing for other regulations? No.  It just means you start where you have some common ground with your opponent.

      I want to thank EOH and others for doing some research and making an effort to understand the physics of firearm cartridges- that’s helpful and keeps a conversation going where we can all learn something.

      • Rayne says:

        Speaking of the left needing to organize effectively: when this thread closes, the gun conversation will end, too. In case you’re not paying attention we are covering topics corporate-owned media isn’t covering; hogging comment threads for your personal obsession isn’t going to help generate the attention and community research we need to effectively organize against an out-of-control White House and a complicit Congress on issues like government surveillance and political corruption. There are myriad sites dedicated to the topic of gun control — seek them.

        • matt says:

          Rayne, there is a national debate going on now.  I think EW can handle an informed discussion.  I only responded to other comments on this thread and on previous threads, I did not hijack the thread- I tried to respect thoughtful dialog and have never used foul language or personally attacked another contributor.

          I’ve said over and over again that I appreciate the investigative journalism, posts, and dialog on this site, which everybody agrees is top notch.  My perspective is not radical nor unusual when it comes to the topic of guns in America, and is not altogether incompatible with a Liberal point of view.

          I would add that I never put words in “an editors” mouth.  The BMAZ posts I referenced were his own words in quotes-

          Take away the guns. Nearly all of them. Fuck the NRA, fuck the gun nuts, take the guns.

          I’ve said repeatedly that I am against the NRA and that I support common sense gun regulation as posted in this CNN article.

          For the life of me, I can’t see how this comment from BMAZ is either productive in the dialog or even accurate of my posts here- unless they just weren’t read.

          Matt, you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground.
          And you would be well advised  to never again think you do. Take your NRA shit and shove it. Stop this,  and do so immediately.

          Can I say again that I am appalled by Dana Loesch and Wayne LaPierre.  I am appalled by them and the legislative trickery performed by the NRA. 

          Making a case for responsible gun ownership is not an endorsement of the NRA and their extreme policies.

          As you have to power to block me, I would ask before you do so to point out where and how I’ve violated your website policies- I’ve tried very hard to be concise, respectful, and fact based.

          I have no animosity toward anyone, like others here I enjoy dialog with informed, well educated people.  I wish you, your families, and the EW community peace and prosperity.

          • Rayne says:

            We try to operate as openly and loosely as possible here at emptywheel; banning has been very rare and isn’t immediate or obvious in most cases. This site is known for its commentariat, which has over its history operated at a higher level of discourse than most other sites focusing on similar topics.

            Because this site does have a much higher quality community, there’s a fundamental implicit but not quantitative rule: No trolling and spamming. Truly obvious trolling and spamming never makes it into comments. But subtle trolling and spamming sometimes slides by; we exercise a discretionary limit. Comments which are excessively long, repetitive, poorly reasoned or formatted can act as a form of DDoS especially with the ziggurat nesting of comments and small displays on readers’ mobile devices. Repeated off-topic comments can also DDoS comments by disrupting ongoing on-topic conversations. Concern trolling is a nuisance as it also derails conversation.

            Which brings me to the topic of guns. I am replying to your 200th comment made since you first commented here in October. Roughly 40% of your comments have been made since February 14th, and that 40% has been focused almost to exclusion on guns. This site does not focus on guns. Out of 12K posts in more than 10 years, there have been a couple dozen posts referring to guns. In most cases, it was not about civilians with guns or domestic policy but military and law enforcement guns, with a focus on government oversight or terrorism.

            In a move unusual for this site, I posted an open thread about guns this past week, intending to get the topic out of commenters’ systems as it was flooding other threads. It’s still flooding as this open thread demonstrates. It’s time to move on to focus on the topics we do better — and the topics we’ve focused on the most are evident in the word cloud in the right hand column of this site. Topics which should emerge next in that cloud are those related to the ‘Mueller Probe’ as the last couple of weeks prove.

  35. david sanger says:

    “You came through for me, and I am going to come through for you,” Trump promised the NRA at its 2017 convention. “I will never, ever let you down.”

    Any connection to this January McClatchy report?
    FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump

    FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said. ..It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing,

    • Rayne says:

      Not enough public information to know. Somebody could comb through the NRA’s published donation records to see if anything stands out. I know I don’t have time. Another issue is whether NRA’s activities have been appropriately attributed and funded by the correct NRA entity — NRA (501c4), NRA-ILA (PAC), NRA Civil Defense Fund (501c3) or one of the several other entities. The 501c3s can only do educational activities, no political or lobbying activities. Financial reporting for the PAC is different from the 501c nonprofits. It’d be interesting to know into which bucket any offshore money flowed, if it can be identified readily as offshore.

      Wayne LaPierre sure seems twitchy; you’d think a guy pulling down $5 million a year would be a little more relaxed.

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