In Addition to Mueller, Six People Are Prosecuting Paul Manafort … and Trump Has No Appropriate Defense Attorney

Because I’ve been obsessing about how Robert Mueller is using his 17 prosecutors, I wanted to note that three different collections of people have signed the responses to Paul Manafort’s challenges to his indictment. On Monday’s response to the challenge to Mueller’s authority generally, Michael Dreeben and Adam Jed appeared, but Kyle Freeny, who has been a member of this team, did not.

On the response to Manafort’s challenge of a money laundering charge and its forfeiture allegation, Freeny is included, as well as Scott Meisler, but not the other two appellate specialists.

On the response to Manafort’s bid to dismiss one of his two false statements charges, just Weissmann, Andres, and Meisler appear.

So even the prosecution of just one defendant, Mueller has now deployed three primary prosecutors and three different appellate specialists.

Meanwhile, the President can’t even find one competent defense attorney to represent him.

Update: Not fucking around.

90 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Oh come on, he has that dude from Georgia who “specializes” in craven civil forfeitures on a contract from the state and medieval history.

  2. john andres says:

    I believe that history will show that the collusion that Trump and his Russian cronies have perpetrated,will be the closest America has come to being taken over by a foreign adversary in its history.The men in this article realize their place in our history. Everything being at stake.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      I would not assume that the ‘foreign adversary’ is who you think it is.

      Ones definition of ‘foreign’ is all relative to ones perspective.

      • Robin Bell says:

        You think it’s the American oligarchs?  The Koches, Adelson, Mercer, Rupert Murdoch?  The guys who spend their billions on propaganda and dark-money politics?


        If so I’d agree with you.   The American oligarchs – nearly all GOP billionaires — are more dangerous to America than the Russian oligarchs.  But the Russian oligarchs are a threat just the same.

  3. Bob Conyers says:

    Is there any sense of if Trump is getting any substantial unofficial legal advice from people who actually know what they’re doing? I know there’s been direct communication off and on with Cohen and Kasowitz, but they’re obviously not much good. Dershowitz likewise talks to Trump through the TV, but he’s not offering any help of substance.

    I assume Giuliani and Christie could provide some help, since they were big stakes federal prosecutors. They obviously aren’t impeachment or executive power specialists, but they could give some good insights into strategy against a major investigation. But I have no sense if they are talking much to Trump these days, and there are of course major limits to what anyone with half a brain would want to discuss with Trump outside of a formal lawyer-client relationship.

    Does he have any other legal advisors he can draw on, either directly or via someone like Sekulow? To my knowledge, even Sekulow is poorly connected to the kind of DC lawyers Trump needs. Is there anyone in McGahn’s shop who is able to help?

    • bmaz says:

      As to McGahn, his old firm, Patton Boggs (now Squire, Patton Boggs after merger with Squire Sanders), would not touch this with a ten foot pole.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not the sort of problems a top lawyer would want to be associated with without a formal engagement and a Big retainer.  Trump is dirty and a shit of the first water. He never shows loyalty (Putin excepted, which is why Trump’s behavior is so remarkable), he never returns favors and he never pays his bills.

      Nothing good is likely to come from helping the Don. Free, off-the-cuff advice on things so complex is worth what you paid for it.

      • bmaz says:

        There is no retainer high enough for the client pain and fact you will have other clients fleeing in droves.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          And then the firm dies because of lack of billable hours, and the reputation hit to the principals would be devastating.

          • bmaz says:

            They maybe don’t die, but get seriously butthurt. Those giant partner bonuses take a big hit, associates get let go. Can’t have that!

            You know, that said, many extremely high quality criminal defense lawyers are at very small boutique firms though, for the very reason that they don’t like that kind of constraint. There are likely some extremely competent people that would do it with the right retainer, they just are trial level warriors, and not big household names. But there would still be the client control problem. Trial level criminal defense specialists want to control the show top to bottom. Trump can’t and won’t succumb to that.

            • Avattoir says:

              Yup: criminal trial lawyers are show runners.

              Having looked at Ekonomu’s c.v., I’m not sure he isn’t as good a choice for Trump as anyone, assuming that one’s chosen area of medieval scholarship being germane constitutes an asset.

              Ekonomu’s focus has been on the period starting with the rise of Byzantine influences over the late Roman Empire, ending with Pope Boniface VIII – the so-called “Property Pope”.

              Boniface spent a huge chunk of his life in property acquisition, development and political meddling, starting from when his dad, the Podesta of Todi and the biggest landlord in that town and region, gifted him a small tenement village.

              He was among the popes most inclined to meddle in, including assuming final summary jurisdiction over, property disputes throughout Italy, on the basis of his claim of papal supremacy over all matters Christendom, including secular. He was also exceedingly open to bribes, typically making it clear he encouraged their being offered.

              One of the disputes he so ‘resolved’ was one of most notorious long-ongoing turf wars in high medieval Italian history, the one in north central Italy between the banking, mercantile, landlord-heavy Guelphs and the agrarian-artisan-guild-trad. nobility-favoring Ghibellines. That eventually morphed into the War of the Black and White Guelphs, for control of a number northern central Italian city-states, including Florence in particular.

              Boniface, seeing opportunity, first placed Florence under Papal Interdict. Then, having gathered sufficient bribes (“ALLEGEDLY”), Boniface placed Florence under military occupation by Charles of Valois (France), notorious ally of both the Pope and the Black Guelphs.

              That move caused the Florentine White Guelphs appoint a delegation of clerics and lawyers to travel to Rome to plead against this. The delegation was led by the city’s most prominent citizen, politician & lawyer, Dante Aligheiri.

              Boniface ordered the entire Florentine White Guelphs delegation home, except Dante, whom he kept on as his ‘guest’, pending papal audience. Then Boniface directed Charles to pacify Florence by slaughtering all White Guelphs and destroying all parts of Florence associated with them. Charles, being a man of faith, proceeded to do just that.

              The next several years, Boniface kept Dante in Rome, AOT constantly dangling the prospect of an audience. When that audience finally arrived, it turned into a kangeroo court process, resulting in Dante being ordered exiled from Italy & to pay a massive fine (and court costs).

              Meanwhile, the Florentine Black Guelphs held their own court, finding Dante guilty in absentia of an undefended charge of having embezzled vast sums from Florence’s coffers while in office. On conviction (in absentia) Dante was assessed an even more massive fine (and court costs), whereupon all Dante’s Florentine properties & accounts were ordered seized and sold to work down that fine (and costs).

              So Dante now didn’t have the means to pay either fine (plus either court’s costs), even if he wanted to – which he definitely did not (and said so).

              In the upshot, Dante was directly exiled from Rome by the Pope, and effectively exiled from Florence for life, since whether he were found in Rome, or returned to Florence without paying the fines (and court costs), he’d be put to the stake

              The Florentine fine (& costs) were commuted in 2008; AFAIK the Papal fine (& costs) remains outstanding.

              In his Inferno, Dante positioned Boniface VIII in the 8th Circle of Hell, reserved for grifters. That’s showing surprising restraint, Dante having chosen against putting Boniface in the really hot spot reserved for, AOs, major fraudsters, the inner 9th.

              See, Ekonomu knows all about that. He’s eminently qualified to advise someone on staying within the ditches of the 8th Circle of Hell to avoid the 9th.

    • BroD says:

      I know nothing about such things but my impression is there are certain protections afforded to retained lawyers which would not extend to informal legal advisors. Amitite?

  4. Damiana Swan says:

    I have an hypothesis that the FBI and career DOJ folks deliberately made the decision to get Trump into office specifically so they could address the problem of Russian interference and the collusion that went along with it (with the corollary that they honestly believed NOT doing so would cause the nation even more harm). Mueller’s good, no doubt about it, but it does seem like this prosecutorial zeal goes even beyond that.

    Which makes me wonder what they thought was going to happen that was even worse than what we’re dealing with now.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hypotheses are good.  But they need testing against the facts.  The idea that the FBI and DoJ “deliberately” put Trump in office doesn’t pass my smell test.

        • TheraP says:

          I was pretty sure of that, bmaz. The earl and I posted at the same moment, so of course all I saw was “no response.” It was honestly a shock to see the comment, followed nothing, so I figured I had to go out a limb and confront it.

          I’m glad to know I’m still of sound mind. ;-)

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          However bmaz, I believe that there was an element in the NY field office that was motivated to hurt Mrs. Clinton. Whatever the reasoning behind their motivation it’s clear that someone in the Bureau wanted the investigation reopened and to put Comey in a box. It is not necessarily lunacy to believe that there were and maybe are elements in the “deep state” particularly the FBI that wanted a very damaged and vulnurable Clinton in the White House with Republican congressional majorities in both houses. And for the record, I am most certainly not neo-liberal or a Clinton bot.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Re-think what you are thinking.

            Do not assume FBI *is* deep state.

            Think about deep state elements *inside* FBI.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Your overall point is still valid, BTW.

            Just, don’t paint with a broad brush when there are no facts in evidence to portray FBI as being ‘deep state’, when in fact, the Mueller investigations are showing the opposite, at least as much as they can without inadvertent reveal issues.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah. Frankly, I find the whole “Deep State” thing to be a lazy and somewhat laughable cut out for “stuff we hate”. There is no question but that the IC, and its various arms, have more power and authority than they should, and sometimes use that in quite pernicious ways (many covered here).

              But the thought that, overall, they are some kind of unified secret cabal determining life in the US itself is absurd. Sure there are pockets of actors within them, the SDNY Field Office/Kahlstrom cronies as to 2016 election is a fair example, that affect things. There are many others too. But that is the case in any big bureaucracy. But it is no big unified theory, and it is not helpful to shout “DEEP STATE!!”.

  5. RonD says:

    Thank you for your continuing analyses and comments and wading through all of that legalese and lawyer-speak. I don’t think I would have even attempted reading those documents without substantial “fortification” and a large amount of open time.

  6. Mr Hyde says:

    Using six prosecutors not including Mueller on Manafort alone could indicate that there is not much else pulling resources. Nothing else worth the effort i.e all the other avenues have been exhausted and all Bobby will end up getting is Manafort. Or they are hedging everything, or at least six seventeenths, on Manafort who they believe has the goodies.

    • bmaz says:

      Seriously?? You have to be kidding. First off, that leaves eleven, nearly two thirds, for other duties and ignores the fact that some of these people, especially the appellate specialists, cross over all the sections of the Special Counsel operation. Let’s not be silly.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In complex litigation, here involving political considerations of the first order, prosecutors would assume that their work would be poured over by the best legal minds in the business, up to and including the Supreme Court.  Indeed, they expect to be there repeatedly.  Faults will be pursued mercilessly and problems with one case could affect all other cases.

      These lawyers are not working on these cases because they have nothing else to do.  They are trying to make each case as air-tight as possible.  Everybody will be working flat out toward that end, and toward their larger strategy.

      This is three-dimensional chess. It is not the tick-tack-toe Trump usually plays.  That Trump exhausts himself playing that would be one reason Dowd left.  His client didn’t have the ability to shut up, stick to a game plan, and let his best lawyers do their work.  Don understands that about as well as he understands everything else about how to run the American government.

  7. Pete says:

    These games of multi dimensional chess make my head hurt especially given I have zero lawyering background.

    So I reference this link so that ya’ll can veto it if it is so worthy – like I said my head hurts and I dunno what to think half the time:

    So, if this link spews garbage then bmaz can feel free to ensure it never sees the light of day here and/or comment to that effect as a response.


        • bmaz says:

          Pretty much yes, it is agitprop. A hilarious exercise is to try to figure out exactly who and where ZH really is. It ain’t easy.

          • Rapier says:

            I saw ZH from the beginning.  It’s editorial policy seems to be no editorial policy except a cast of bearish  investment advisers touting their book and an unwavering love of Friedrich Hayek the Godfather of neoliberalism, and Ron Paul the neo confederate. Otherwise they mostly just throw mostly rightest crap against the wall Drudge style to see what sticks.

            There was a period where they had good stuff on high frequency trading and the can’t lose dynamics of the giant banks trading for their own accounts.  I haven’t looked there in literally years as the nascent what we now call  alt right was obviously the target and essentially the source of the whole thing. I had no stomach for it.

            They had and maybe still do have a habit, or should I say policy, of stealing content. Nice.

            • bmaz says:

              Yes to all, but that last paragraph is exactly why I know about the near impossibility of trying to locate and identify them.

    • greengiant says:

      Everything from that site is Kremlin/Oligarch/IRA propaganda.  Possibly a step below reddit/r/the_donald.  First order it is good to know what disinformation and disruption the Kremlin wants pushed and spun. Same for the lame trolls and rarely not so lame trolls who comment here. The usual reminder that the easiest con is to have some investigative journalist depend on a single sourced informant. See Dan Rather,  O’Keefe etc. The better con is to have multiple owned sources making the same spin.


  8. pseudonymous in nc says:

    There’s half an argument that if you sincerely believe yourself immune from prosecution you can get away with Hackulow and other people playing lawyer on TV. This doesn’t exclude the notion that white-shoes firm don’t want to touch the Idiot with a shitty stick, but there hasn’t yet been any kind of legal confrontation between the White House and investigators that would require some kind of sophistication — witnesses to Congress get away with simultaneously asserting and not asserting Schroedinger’s Executive Privilege, etc.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I dunno, a specially assigned and dedicated heavy hitter prosecutorial team has the task of investigating you and yours, and has already indicted multiple key players in your campaign and administration, and obtained guilty pleas from at least two (three if you include Papadopolous). That is code blinking red in my book.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        In most people’s books. But a lifetime of impunity can change that. He’s more likely to bring back Kasowitz or some other trusted and compliant capo than to follow the instructions of a white-shoe team. He has the pardon power; he’s not likely to be impeached.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I don’t think there is a white-shoe team.  Trump has the guys he has, which means he will continue to make big mistakes, as he did on Air Force One today.  I wouldn’t expect Trump to manage his pardon power with any more foresight or skill than he manages anything else.

          To the wealthy and powerful, Trump is a marked man who keeps no promises or secrets (except possibly Vlad’s).  They will defend their own interests, but not Trump’s. What Trump has going for him is that if he falls, he takes the GOP – now fully behind him, the two are interchangeable – with him.  Many would work to avoid that and to further the neoliberal agenda this administration and a GOP Congress are promoting under cover of Trump’s distracting behavior.

          You’re right about impeachment.  Only a significant change in Congress’s make-up after 2018 would make that possible.  Then there are whatever rabbits Bob Mueller has under his hat, and the damage a series of Stormy Daniels might do.

  9. cfost says:

    Given the caliber of the Mueller team, and given what has been written here recently, I have to assume that Bobby Three Sticks and his pals are well beyond planning for the inevitable appeals in the legal matters. I assume that they are strategizing about how to deal with Congress. Plan A for this summer, Plan B for a Democratic Congress after the elections, Plan C for a Republican Congress.

    Even if I were a lifelong Republican who was working on this team, I don’t think I would take kindly to some political hack like [pick a name] burying my work for political reasons. If one or more of said hacks were compromised, or the president, then the need to make my findings public would become an urgent matter. ConFraudUS is itself an urgent matter. How, then, to either work around these hacks, or to force their hand?

    On the money side, I bet Mueller can take his time because he knows, and Trump and Kushner know, that they cannot simply abandon a business model based on financial crimes. How do they do that without their whole world falling apart? Tax evasion and money laundering charges may not be sexy, but they have teeth. I think Mueller has enough for indictments, whether Manafort sings or not. The problem is Congress.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think that’s right.  The usual tens of millions recent presidents have made post-presidency Trump would consider chump change.  Trump doesn’t change or learn new things or ways.  Enough is never enough.  He will continue past bad habits with the same questionable actors.

      Mueller will have well-documented how and with whom Trump made money.  The heightened visibility of the Trump Org will make shady deals harder without a much greater risk of having them audited and investigated.  That will drive many opportunities away.  Given how easily Trump makes enemies, talented prosecutors will line up for the chance.

      • cfost says:

        Well documented, yes. I was struck by the fact that Manafort was busy running his laundromat all over the country with any warm body he could find, right up to just before he was indicted. To me, that looks more like compulsion than greed.

        Trump and Kushner play in the same playground as Manafort.

          • Cfost says:

            Yes. That’s why I’ll be surprised if Manafort flips. Btw, I was impressed with the way Avattoir wove Dante into the conversation above. If I were to meet T or K or M, I’d recommend they read the Divine Comedy. A guy could learn a lot from it if he could tear himself away from his grifting.

          • Desider says:

            Careful – I think you just infringed on a Taylor Swift song plus some guy who sued her (playerz gonna play pay play… ) -could be some heavy copyright litigation to come…

      • Bobby Gladd says:

        Trump doesn’t change or learn new things or ways.  Enough is never enough.  He will continue past bad habits with the same questionable actors.

        Well, just look at the 50 years of his “adult” life from age 21. He’s managed to bluster and bullshit his way into and out of everything he’s ever done. Never truly been significantly held to account. He probably thinks he can now finesse his way past Mueller as well — with the ultimate hole card of self-pardon should he need to go there. Since he has no shame, he’ll just continue to blow off the Stormy Daniels thing, which I’m sure he regards as an ankle-biting annoyance (he just threw the hapless Michael Cohen under the Air Force One landing gear tires).

        I would not be surprised if he managed to pull it all off. The spineless GOP will continue to roll over and play dead for him.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’m not convinced Trump will pull this off.  And the Clifford lawsuit might blow a hole in Trump’s defenses.

          Trump claimed today to have no knowledge of the Clifford affair and its settlement.  He’s leaving Michael Cohen to swing in the wind.  Cohen’s choices are fast becoming rat on Trump or agree that he negotiated and entered into a contract directly affecting his client’s interests while failing to keep his client actively and fully informed. And there’s the thorny issue of the money.  Nasty responses from the NY bar are likely to ensue, if he chooses the latter path, especially if this Clifford NDA is one of many.

          Trump’s claims today undercut the validity of an already shaky NDA.  The federal court is even more likely to keep the case rather than transfer it to arbitration.  If a federal court finds the NDA is invalid, it imperils similar deals Cohen and others may have made on Trump’s behalf before the election.  Lots of Stormies might appear, each of which could be equally ugly, and involve an illegal campaign contribution.  Together, they would paint a pattern of illegal and deceptive behavior.  That would not aid Trump’s case in any later prosecution by Mueller or his successor, or in a Senate trial following impeachment.

          In the Clifford case, Trump is likely to be deposed in a matter that he has made an appearance in (through Harder’s joinder in Blakely’s motion to remove), that predated his presidency, and which would not require significant presidential time.  In a deposition, Trump would be obligated to answer questions under oath, always a peril for an overconfident braggart and liar, who can’t control his temper.  Under questioning from Avenatti, Trump is not likely to stick to easily concealable lies or to defense counsel’s standard, “I have no recollection” response.  The worse he does, the more jeopardy he’s in, the more other women with similar NDAs are likely to come out and say, me too.

          This shit is why John Dowd ran for the exit.  Smart guy.

          • bmaz says:

            It was one of the dumbest, and one of the most publicly narcissistic compulsive shitshows in recent history. Even in Trumpian history.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Leaving Cohen, a longtime employee and lawyer for Trump, to hang in the wind on something as notionally peripheral as the Clifford NDA is not a smart move, is it?  It’s like pissing on Clemenza and Tessio just when a US Attorney plus 16 come calling on the estate after Sonny’s wedding.

              Presumably, Cohen knows a lot about dirty linen Mueller would like to help him wash in public.  No Trump-Cohen NDA would validly shut him up.  Witness tampering would be hard, what with the visibility.  An outright disappearance might lead even this Congress to impeach.  Without a bar license and employment by Trump, Cohen would be just another former lawyer in mid-town looking for paid work.  Most people would consider that to be the sky falling in.  Michael Cohen might wash a lot of linen to avoid that fate.

              Then there’s what happens if Trump recognizes his mistake and lavishly rewards Cohen, but puts him out to pasture in an attempt to separate man and master.  Bob Mueller might think that would look a lot like obstruction or witness tampering.  It makes me wonder if there’s a grade schooler who could not beat the Don at chess.

              • Trip says:

                @earl, Cohen has investments outside of Trump lawyer-ing.

                Taxi business:

                Stonehenge 65:
                360 East 65th Street
                New York, NY 10065
                Trump consigliere Michael Cohen buys UES rental for $58M

                He was previously involved with CAESARS ACQUISITION CO (2015), not sure if he still is, if the company still exists, or if it was gobbled up by Caesars Entertainment and he’s out.
                As of October 6, 2017, Caesars Acquisition Company was acquired by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Caesars Acquisition Company, through its interests in Caesars Growth Partners, LLC, operates as a casino asset and entertainment company. It acquires and develops online and mobile game portfolio.

                Both of the headlines are from Bloomberg, but if you remove the “?” and beyond, which tracks, then you lose the specific page, so I’ll leave it un-linked and you can look it up.

                • pseudonymous in nc says:

                  Yeah, Cohen’s not really a lawyer by profession: he’s taxi medallions and property and whatever interests his Ukrainian in-laws have, and probably a little bit of experience in setting up shell companies. If Mueller wanted to look at those income flows he’d probably find places to squeeze.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    That’s clear from his lawyering.

                    Money laundering then would be a good place to start.  He’s moving a lot of it around.  Prison rather than pauperism would be the goad. And I hope for his sake that none of those assets are subject to forfeiture, or he might have a hard time making bail.

              • aubrey mcfate says:

                There was much similar analysis on the MSNBC panels last night. One thing, however, made me queasy — it was their willingness to use “Stormy” and “Mueller” in the same sentence. I can’t be the only one to suspect that Stormy Daniels is just the life raft Republicans are looking for. Up till now I’ve never seen Republicans at such a loss for messaging. They’ve always hummed in insectlike unison, but now they’re acting like the inhabitants of a colony whose queen has died. If Mueller ever got involved they would all immediately have a message to obscure the nature of the conspiracy against the country: they’d make it all out to be a rerun of a 90’s drama.

                Tell me there’s no need for any OSC involvement in this. It seems to me there are a already a hundred Stormys, and a hundred Avenattis, who can bring Trump’s slush funds to light.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Question for bmaz.  Harder filed a one-sentence joinder to the Blakely motion to remove the Clifford case to arbitration.  He made a similar brief response regarding removal from state court.  He does not appear to have filed an answer to Clifford’s complaint.  I assume that means Harder can still raise affirmative defenses, such as objections to personal or subject matter jurisdiction.

              • bmaz says:

                I guess. Truth is, if you are an attorney of record, you can file whatever you want. Depending, of course, how willing to look like an ass to the court and public you are. I’m not sure where exactly Chuck Harder stands in this regard.

  10. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    I’m not convinced that if the Dems take both the House and Senate (now in play according to “conservative” pundits) there will not be impeachment with following indictments when Trumpty is on the street. Let’s remember that 47 government officials and members of the administration were indicted and went to jail as a result of Watergate and that one was truncated and didn’t involve conspiracy with a foriegn government. This case involves conspiracy against the governments of almost all of the EU, NATO and much of eastern Europe. When it all hits the light of day, Brexit and the British government may well be overturned and NATO will come out stronger than it was before Trump. Of course if the Dems screw the pooch and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory it will go the opposite direction. No, I’m thinkin’ that Mueller may be around for a few years yet.

  11. Bay State Librul says:

    Is this old news? Five telephone numbers controlled by AT&T, 4/5/18 filing

    “The special counsel’s office disclosed a partial list of its warrants against Manafort thus far in Thursday’s court filing. In addition to searching Manafort’s home, bank accounts, email, and hard drive, prosecutors also secured permission to search “information associated with five telephone numbers controlled by AT&T.”   Business Insider (Bmaz’s archenemy)

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    I’m ready to call this Mueller Probe not collusion, but treason

    From the Beasty Boys

    “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence which raises doubts over Erik Prince’s testimony about his meeting with a Vladimir Putin confidante, sources have told ABC News. Prince, a prominent Trump supporter and founder of Blackwater, described his meeting with a Russian financier in the Seychelles last year as a chance meeting “over a beer.” However, a key witness in the Mueller investigation, businessman George Nader, has reportedly told investigators that he set up the meeting between Prince and Russian sovereign wealth fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev days before Trump was inaugurated. Documents obtained by Mueller suggest that before and after Prince met Nader in New York, a week before the trip to the Seychelles, Nader shared information with Prince about Dmitriev, contradicting Prince’s version of events. “I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy,” Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November, claiming the United Arab Emirates officials he met there unexpectedly introduced him to Dmitriev.”

    • bmaz says:

      Please. Stop.

      Abuse of the “treason” baloney is nuts. This has been covered here many times. Many VERY pertinent criticisms, but “treason” is not one of them.

      • Trip says:

        bmaz, I’m not arguing about treason. But it’s interesting that Russians who allegedly aided the US were charged with treason. Putin previously set up a catch-all for treason, although (disclosure) I could not find an update on whether this was signed:
        Russia’s parliament on October 23, 2012, adopted a new law on treason that directly threatens the exercise of protected fundamental rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The Council of Europe should call on its Venice Commission to examine the law’s compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a party. Human Rights Watch called on President Vladimir Putin not to sign the law.

        The law, amending the criminal code, was introduced by the Federal Security Bureau (FSB, the KGB’s successor). Under the new law, the definition of treason includes “providing financial, technical, advisory or other assistance to a foreign state or international organization . . . directed at harming Russia’s security.”

        Persons of interest in case of treason from FSB’s Information Security Center plead partially guilty
        (from en.crimerussia dot com)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          “Treason”, like other laws, is defined by statute and custom.  Its definition is different in each country.  In the US, it is defined first in the Constitution, in a manner meant to distinguish it from the conveniently loose practice elsewhere.

          Monarchs sometimes used it liberally to defile their enemies and their progeny – and as an excuse to take their wealth.  They might have violently opposed the king, the king might have been afraid they would oppose him in future, they might simply have disagreed with him, had sex with the king’s wife, or had wealth the king coveted.  The US defined it more narrowly to avoid such misuse.

          • Trip says:

            I understand that, @earl. I was simply making a comparison about how we aren’t applying it, due to our rules, where clearly, on some level, Russia does see the US as an enemy, where sharing info “Threatens Russia’s security”. Meanwhile, we should all just get along and work on cyber security together, yadda yadda.  I was pointing to the irony, here.

            • bmaz says:

              Okay back awake again now (long night with two apparently ill canines) and it is still not yet 7:00 am here. Earl is right, other places have their own laws and references, but in the US, “treason” is a defined thing, and almost never what is shouted out to be. There is plenty of crime afoot currently, but let’s pull back on “treason”.

              • Trip says:

                bmaz, I understand US law and was not arguing for treason charges, here. In fact, that was my first sentence.

  13. Bay State Librul says:


    Open your fucking eyes and don’t be so lawyerish……… (is that a word)

    • Trip says:

      Dowd made it a verb at one point: “You don’t know me,” Dowd added. “You don’t how I lawyer”. So anything is possible.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Words matter.  One can collude in their demise through casual misuse as much as by using Doublespeak.  Politicians murder them constantly, especially when their handlers try to convert fact into opinion so that they can never be “wrong” – or accountable for what they do.

  14. Bay State Librul says:

    Speaking of Orwell.

    If he was alive today, he would add a fourth:

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength and Loyalty is Betrayal.




    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In honor of the Don, no doubt.  His concept of loyalty matches John Bolton’s management style: kiss up, shit down.

  15. Frank Probst says:

    I’m with Bay State Librul on the search warrants for the five AT&T phone numbers. What’s the deal here? It sounds like they were just looking for phone records here. It seems unlikely that these were Title III wiretap applications, but Marcy LOVES this kind of thing. What’s your take?

  16. harpie says:

    @webradius retweets Christo Grozev who links to an article in Russian [“How @realDonaldTrump & Org networked with Mogilevich & Org to try and get ahead in business in Russia & Kazakhstan”], and tweets:
    [quote] Trump & Mogilevich. Assuming this is true, a number of things follow – e.g. would be still more evidence of person(s) in the FBI covering for Trump / How interesting is this? So interesting that I’ll spend all day going back and forth between the Russian and a machine translation carefully extracting names, events, and relationships, checking sources and archiving everything along the way. / […] / And no matter what direction you turn, you find Paul Manafort. […] [end quote]

  17. cfost says:

    The more I think about it, the more amazed I am that Mueller has ONLY six attorneys working on the Manafort arm of L’Affair Russe. Because the trail doesn’t end with PM, it begins with him, if indeed that is where one begins. Just one example: Manafort-Gates-van der Zwaan-Khan(Alfa Bank and Alfa Group). Isn’t it interesting that Alfa Group wants to take its nice clean money and enter the US healthcare market. Who better to facilitate that than a nice clean Republican boy or girl in Congress?  One suggested talking point for our boy/girl: “REPEAL OBAMACARE!” Does that sound like something you’ve heard the GOP cicadas chirp?

    If I’m Mueller, I’m interested in following this trail to see where the evidence leads me. And there are many more such trails. The only question now is where to stop. Ken Starr, are you watching? You could’ve had all this, but instead you settled for a blow job.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, come on. Please understand how offices, whether prosecutorial or defense in nature, staff and work on things. They are a little more spread out than you may myopically think. I’ll reiterate this from earlier:

      Seriously?? You have to be kidding. First off, that leaves eleven, nearly two thirds, for other duties and ignores the fact that some of these people, especially the appellate specialists, cross over all the sections of the Special Counsel operation. Let’s not be silly.

      • cfost says:

        The first thing to do would have been to test your assumptions that I don’t understand how offices work, and that my thinking may have been myopic. I have been in charge of offices working on projects with budgets larger than Mueller’s is likely to be, and certainly larger than Starr’s. So what if they weren’t law offices? All offices operate similarly. In Mueller’s operation, that means a small army of agents and investigators and researchers. Of course sixteen lawyers aren’t doing all the work in the office! In fact, recent court filings detail that fact. Recent filings also note the fact that the Mueller office has already been down the Manafort-Khan trail I mentioned. Cranky is one thing, but acerbic is not persuasive.

        • bmaz says:

          “So what if they were not law offices”?

          No, not all things are equal, and general business has nothing to do with the manner law offices, especially government prosecutorial offices, staff things on cases. And, based on this, here, if you think it does, you are basically proving the opposite. Tell me about widget manufacturing though, Mr. Acerbic.

          • cfost says:

            I don’t prove my my point, the court filings by Mueller’s team prove my point. An FBI agent, not a lawyer, searched Manafort’s storage unit. Another court filing by Mueller’s team mentions Khan by name. Did I need to know exactly all the details of the division of labor that led to those court filings? No. I simply needed to read the court filings. So, who cares how the prosecutorial office is set up? I’m not the one who violated the policy of his own website by going ad hominem. Really, your original response was a non-sequitur.

            • bmaz says:

              Please, try to not use all your energy in one place there, big guy. And, also too, thanks for the determination on our own policies. That is swell of you. and, by the way, your “reading” does not establish squat, but your lack of knowledge about criminal law teams, which was already evident.

  18. Rugger9 says:

    Would our legal beagles care to weigh in on the latest hail Mary from Manafort’s lawyers?  Does he have a chance to spike the fruits of his storage locker search?

    FWIW, I don’t think it will make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but Manafort’s team is still trying to favorably define the scope of prosecution as a decent defense team would do.   I don’t think it will help either with the potential state charges or the bulk of what Gates is giving the OSC.  It does make me wonder when Manafort will throw in the towel as well as what fear is keeping him from doing so as a guy with no previously exhibited principles (I still vote for Vlad and the FSB).  Once the team here sleuths that out I think we will be able to connect many dots.

    Last but not least, a comment: “good luck with that” (h/t SpongeBob Squarepants).

    • bmaz says:

      Gotta make that argument, but, no, if the third party was validly on the lease, that is a loser.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. Many. Up and through trial. It will be telling if Manafort does NOT flip. There are unseen forces at play going on. Can PM withstand them and just sit tight? I am not convinced, but time will tell.

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