The Quid Pro Quo: a Putin Meeting and Election Assistance, in Exchange for Sanctions Relief (Part Two in a Series)

As I explained in Part One of this series, I think the Mueller questions leaked by the Trump people actually give a far better understanding of a damning structure to the Mueller investigation — one mapping out cultivation, a quid pro quo, and a cover-up — than the coverage has laid out. This post will lay out how, over the course of the election, the Russians and Trump appear to have danced towards a quid pro quo, involving a Putin meeting and election assistance in exchange for sanctions relief if Trump won (as noted, the Russians dangled real estate deals to entice Trump based on the assumption he wouldn’t win).

April 27, 2016: During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media, or other acts aimed at the campaign?

Given the structure of George Papadopoulos’ plea, it’s highly likely Mueller knows that Papadopoulos passed on news that the Russians had thousands of Hillary emails they planned to release to help Trump to people in the campaign. Papadopoulos could have passed on that news to Stephen Miller and Corey Lewandowski as early as April 27. On the same day, Papadopoulos helped draft Trump’s first foreign policy speech, which Papadopoulos reportedly told Ivan Timofeev signaled a willingness to meet.

Between the time the GRU first exfiltrated DNC emails in April and the election, Trump invoked “emails” 21 times on Twitter (usually to refer to emails from Hillary’s server). The first of those times came on June 9, less than an hour after the Trump Tower meeting. The most famous of those came on July 27, when Trump addressed Russia directly.

Earlier in the day, Trump had called on Russia to release the emails not to the FBI, but to the press.

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

The timing may reflect awareness among some in the campaign that the call to Russia was a step too far legally. (h/t TC for the addition)

That Trump’s email comments pertain mostly to Hillary’s home-based server doesn’t actually exonerate him. Right after the DNC release (and therefore the July 27 Trump tweet), GOP rat-fucker Peter Smith started reaching out to Russian hackers in hopes of finding hacked versions of those emails. His support documents named Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, and Mike Flynn. If those people actually learned of the effort (there’s reason to believe Smith was just overselling the ties to the campaign), it’s possible that Trump learned about it as well.

As to social media, while it has gotten virtually no attention, the reference to three Florida-based Trump campaign officials in the Internet Research Agency indictment suggests further investigative interest in them.

[T]here are three (presumed) Americans who, both the indictment and subsequent reporting make clear, are treated differently in the indictment than all the other Americans cited as innocent people duped by Russians: Campaign Official 1, Campaign Official 2, and Campaign Official 3. We know, from CNN’s coverage of Harry Miller’s role in building a cage to be used in a fake “jailed Hillary” stunt, that at least some other people described in the indictment were interviewed — in his case, for six hours! — by the FBI. But no one else is named using the convention to indicate those not indicted but perhaps more involved in the operation. Furthermore, the indictment doesn’t actually describe what action (if any) these three Trump campaign officials took after being contacted by trolls emailing under false names.

So Mueller may be pursuing whether there was state-level coordination going on, and if so, how far up the campaign chain of command knowledge of that coordination extended.

May 31, 2016: What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding any meeting with Mr. Putin? Did you discuss it with others?

On June 16, 2015, the day Trump announced his campaign, the Agalarovs offered to serve as an intermediary between him and Putin.

Then, starting at least as early as March 31, 2016 (with Trump’s first foreign policy meeting), his aides started floating pitches for meetings with increasingly senior campaign officials that would hypothetically lead up to one between Trump and Putin.

Those include at least:

  • The George Papadopoulos thread, spanning from March 21 through August 15
  • The Carter Page thread, including his Moscow trip in July, and possibly continuing through his December Moscow trip
  • The NRA thread, focusing on the NRA meeting in Kentucky in May; NRA’s longer outreach includes Trump associates John Bolton and David Clarke

We know Trump was present and did not object when Papadopoulos pitched this in the May 31 meeting. Several of the other entrees went through Don Jr. Many of the offers got briefed at least as far as Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. We don’t know how many of the other offers he learned about. We just know that years earlier he had joked about becoming Putin’s best friend, and over the course of the campaign, Russian intermediaries made repeated, persistent efforts to work towards a meeting between Trump and Putin, with a meeting between Agalarov representatives (who, again, had offered to serve as intermediaries with Putin when Trump kicked off the campaign) and the most senior people on the campaign happening just as Trump sealed up the nomination.

May 31, 2016: What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding Russian sanctions?

This is an open-ended question that might pose particular problems for Trump given the misleading statement claiming the June 9 meeting was about adoptions and not the Magnitsky sanctions. More interesting still are hints that Mueller sees a signaling going back and forth involving Papadopoulos; some of this may have involved signaling a willingness to provide sanctions relief.

Both Aras Agalarov and Natalia Veselnitskaya followed up after the election pushing for sanctions relief.

June 9, 2016: When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?

Sam Nunberg has suggested Trump probably learned of the Trump Tower meeting before it happened. While he is unreliable on that point, the original June 3, 2016 email Rob Goldstone sent to Don Jr suggests reaching out to Trump’s assistant Rhona Graff.

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

Democrats suspect that between two calls Don Jr had with Emin Agalarov about the meeting on June 6, 2016, he called his dad.

Trump Jr.’s phone records show two calls to and from the same Russian number on June 6, 2016.62 The first call occurred at 4:04 pm on June 6, 2916 – just 21 minutes after Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. to say that Emin Agalarov was “on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 minutes so I am sure can call. [emphasis added]” 63 At 4:38 pm, Trump Jr emailed Goldstone, “Rob, thanks for the help.”64

This documentary evidence indicates that a call likely took place between Trump Jr. and Emin Agalarov. During his interview, Trump Jr. confirmed that the Russian phone number belonged to Agalarov, though he claimed to not recall whether he actually spoke with him. Rather, despite one of the two calls reflecting a two-minute connection, Trump Jr. suggested that Agalarov may have left voice messages.65

The phone records also show a “blocked” number at 4:27 pm, between the two calls to and from Emin Agalarov. Trump Jr. claimed he did not know who was associated with the blocked number.66 While the Committee has not pursued leads to determine who called Trump Jr. at this crucial time from a blocked number, Corey Lewandowski told the Committee that Mr. Trump’s “primary residence has a blocked [phone] line.” 67

Mueller, of course, almost certainly has the phone records the Democrats weren’t able to obtain.

Finally, Steve Bannon has stated that he’s certain Don Jr “walk[ed] these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor” on the day of the meeting. There’s reason to believe Ike Kaveladze and Goldstone could have done so, including the new piece of evidence that “Kaveladze left [a meeting with Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya] after a few minutes to take a call from Agalarov to discuss the meeting.”

The day after the meeting — and four days before Trump’s birthday — Agalarov sent Trump an expensive painting as a present.

The June 9 meeting is, as far as is public, the most important cornerstone in a presumed quid pro quo. Russians offered unnamed dirt that Don Jr seemed to know what it entailed even before speaking to Emin Agalarov personally. Having offered dirt, four Russians — including two representatives of Trump’s long-time handler Aras Agalarov — laid out a pitch to end the Magnitsky sanctions. And less than a week later, a presumed Russian agent released the first dirt stolen from Hillary Clinton.

July 7, 2016: What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?

We don’t have many details on what Mueller knows about Manafort’s requests for help on the campaign. We do know he remained in close touch with Russians via someone the FBI believed was a Russian intelligence agent, Konstantin Kilimnik, through whom he remained in communications with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is named in some court documents in a way that suggests his relationship with Manafort may be the still hidden third prong of investigation into Manafort approved by August 2, 2017.

Starting in April, Manafort and Kilimnik (whom Rick Gates and therefore presumably Manafort knew was a former GRU officer), exchanged a series of cryptic emails, suggesting that Manafort might be able to pay off the $20 million he owed Deripaska with certain actions on the campaign. In an email sent on July 7, Manafort offered to provide briefings on the campaign to Deripaska. On or around August 2, Manafort and Kilimnik met in person at the Grand Havana Club, in Kushner’s building at 666 5th Avenue. Both deny that anything about the campaign came up. Shortly after this meeting, one of Deripaska’s jets came to Newark, and Russian opposition figure Viktor Navalny has claimed to have proof the jet went from there to a meeting between Deripaska and Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko.

An August 2017 report describes intercepts picking up “Russian operatives discussing their efforts to work with Manafort, … relay[ing] what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.”

There’s one more area of potential assistance I find of interest. Since January, we’ve been getting hints that Oleg Deripaska has some tie to the Steele dossier, possibly through a lawyer he and Steele share. I’ve raised repeated concerns that the Russians learned about the dossier and found ways to feed Steele disinformation. If they did, the disinformation would have led Democrats to be complacent about the hacks that targeted them. And whether or not the dossier is disinformation (and whether or not Deripaska had a role in that, if true), Paul Manafort coached Reince Priebus on how to attack the dossier as a way to discredit the investigation into the campaign’s ties with Russia.

With regards to this Manafort question: remember that Rick Gates flipped on February 23, and the questions date to early March. So Gates may have proffered confirmation about these details. In any case, Mueller likely has learned far more about them two months after Gates flipped.

July 10-12, 2016: What involvement did you have concerning platform changes regarding arming Ukraine?

The Majority HPSCI Russia Report explains that the RNC platform was changed by staffers at the convention based off Trump’s public statements on sanctions.

[Rick] Dearborn generated a memorandum, dated August 1, 2016, outlining a detailed sequence of events that occurred between July 10 and 12, 2016. As part of that memo, J.D. Gordon created a timeline that noted candidate Trump’s policy statements–including at a March 31, 2016, national security meeting–served as the basis for the modification of [Diana] Denman’s amendments. Gordon’s timeline made it clear that the change was initiated by campaign staffers at the convention–not by Manafort or senior officials.

J.D. Gordon has not confirmed that he was asked about this, but he surely was. I would expect Mueller to have tested the timeline Gordon laid out in summer 2016 (when the platform change was a big political issue) against the testimony and communications records of everyone else involved.

Of course, by asking the question in this fashion, Mueller doesn’t reveal what he has already confirmed about the platform changes.

August 5, 2016: What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?

After multiple public statements that the Russians were behind the hack-and-leak, on August 5, 2016 (after traveling from NY to LA to his home in FL), Roger Stone wrote a column claiming to believe that Guccifer 2.0 was a hacktivist with no ties to Russia. Stone’s purportedly changed beliefs about Guccifer 2.0 coincide with an August 4 claim he made in an email to Sam Nunberg that he had met with Julian Assange the night before. Stone’s claimed belief that Guccifer 2.0 is not Russian is key to his denials of any involvement or pre-knowledge of hack-and-leak events. It also kicked off an alternative story that others, up to and including Trump, have adopted to excuse their own embrace of the stolen emails. In other words, a key prong in the plausible deniability the Russians built into the hack-and-leak campaign came from long-time Trump associate Roger Stone, after a dramatic and unexplained change in beliefs (Lee Stranahan, who used to work for Breitbart and now works for Sputnik, has claimed some credit for the change, and given how lucid the August 5 column is, someone had to have helped Stone write it).

Ten days later, after Stone had called on Twitter to let him out of Twitter jail, Guccifer 2.0 and Stone started exchanging (fairly innocuous) DMs.

There are events both before and after that which suggest Stone — probably through more interesting go-betweens than Randy Credico — sought information on what dirt Assange and Wikileaks had, and what and when planned to do with it.

Much has been made, especially in the DNC lawsuit, about Stone’s seeming prediction that “it would soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Perhaps that’s true (and Stone’s explanation for the tweet is garbage), but any explanation of Stone’s supposed prediction needs to acknowledge that he more often predicted Wikileaks would release Clinton Foundation emails, not Podesta ones, that he got the timing somewhat wrong, and that he didn’t dwell on the Podesta emails at all once Wikileaks started releasing them (preferring, instead, to talk about Bill Clinton’s lady problems). Still, that may reflect Stone involvement in the Peter Smith operation, and efforts to get WikiLeaks to release purported Clinton Foundation emails passed on via hackers.

That Mueller is even asking this suggests (if the several grand jury witnesses in recent months dedicated to it don’t already) that Mueller has a pretty good idea that Stone’s communications were more extensive than his denials let on. That he thinks Stone may have shared that information with Trump is all the more interesting.

All of which is to say that the known answers to Mueller’s questions map out a quid pro quo set up during the election, in which Russians offered a Putin meeting and dirt on Hillary, with the expectation that Trump would lift the Magnitsky sanctions if he won (and would get a Trump Tower in Moscow if he lost). I suspect there are other pieces to the quid pro quo, dealing with Ukraine and Syria. But certainly the June 9 meeting set up an understanding: dirt in exchange for Magnitsky relief. The release of the Guccifer 2.0 emails may indicate the Trump camp provided some signal they had formally accepted the offer.

Update: Fixed syntax in last paragraph, h/t LT.


These are some of the most useful resources in mapping these events.

Mueller questions as imagined by Jay Sekulow

CNN’s timeline of investigative events

Majority HPSCI Report

Minority HPSCI Report

Trump Twitter Archive

Jim Comey March 20, 2017 HPSCI testimony

Comey May 3, 2017 SJC testimony

Jim Comey June 8, 2017 SSCI testimony

Jim Comey written statement, June 8, 2017

Jim Comey memos

Sally Yates and James Clapper Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, May 8, 2017

NPR Timeline on Trump’s ties to Aras Agalarov

George Papadopoulos complaint

George Papadopoulos statement of the offense

Mike Flynn statement of the offense

Internet Research Agency indictment

Text of the Don Jr Trump Tower Meeting emails

Jared Kushner’s statement to Congress

Erik Prince HPSCI transcript


Part One: The Mueller Questions Map Out Cultivation, a Quid Pro Quo, and a Cover-Up

Part Two: The Quid Pro Quo: a Putin Meeting and Election Assistance, in Exchange for Sanctions Relief

Part Three: The Quo: Policy and Real Estate Payoffs to Russia

Part Four: The Quest: Trump Learns of the Investigation

Part Five: Attempting a Cover-Up by Firing Comey

Part Six: Trump Exacerbates His Woes

30 replies
  1. John says:

    Wow!  Great Work MW!  I made a comment to part 1, which I attach below.  The summary is that I think Trump’s testimony will not answer any questions except with the answer that he is Trump, winner of a great election, manager of a campaign in which he is wholly responsible for the holy victory, but not responsible for the holey actions of his subordinates.  As with all authoritarians, “because he is Trump” should suffice as defense against facts.  Although many believe he will wither on the stand before the likes of Mueller, he has as much experience on the stand as Muller has on the floor.  I have doubts whether the Trump election will ever be resolved in the minds of some after the events of the coming year.



    It strikes me that these are a set of possible subject matter questions, not a set of all possible subject matter questions, or the set of all possible questions based upon all possible subject matter questions.  And yet, it seems as if the media is portraying that Muller is giving Trump an open book test; that is, that Trump has to sit down and answer these questions, and it will be done with.  If the Trump legal team released these questions, and the media has endorsed these questions as the subject matter of the “testimony” (read: interview), Trump will be able to object to follow up questions as impertinent and “Witch hunt” questions, without citing the fifth amendment.  Imagine Trump confronted with an email, and just denying that he reads emails.  He will then be able to continue to portray the investigation as a “witch hunt” and portray his ignorance as a virtue of standing up to a run-away investigation.  This is not a long-term strategy, but it will continue to politicize the investigation.  I’m sure the Mueller’s team has millions of ways to divert Trump back to the subject matter and to answer factual questions based upon their evidence, but I’m sure that Trump’s team has advised him not to invoke the fifth, but rather to ramble incoherently about how he manages people and is unaware of details.  Nonetheless, I look forward to the interview, but don’t eat all your popcorn before or during it.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.  So Donald did know about Stormy, did pay her off, did use Cohen to front the money, then paid him back over several months. When and over what period was that repayment made, Rudy? (Was that to avoid a SAR?) And why didn’t he sign the NDA if he, in fact, paid the money and expected to have the benefit of the deal – and be able to enforce it? Or is the Don gonna throw Rudy under the bus at dawn?

    [Has Rudy seen the pre-nup with Melania and does paying off his mistress make any pay-off to Melania go up or down?]

    A self-proclaimed billionaire didn’t have the pocket change to repay the $130K at one time.  To a self-proclaimed multi-millionaire lawyer taxi-man, Michael Cohen, who supposedly had so little loose change himself that he took out a mortgage on his personal residence to front the money for a billionaire.

    I sure hope Rudy’s malpractice insurance is up to date.  There’s a reason he hasn’t been in a trial court for three decades.  He just made clear that he plays chess about as well as the Don.  There’s madness in his method.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Is Flood going to withdraw or double his retainer if he has to work with the brilliant Mr. Giuliani?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I do agree with Rudy about one thing.  Jared Kushner is eminently “disposable.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Rudy’s argument that there’s no campaign finance violation, at a minimum, hinges on Trump personally having repaid Cohen.  If it was campaign money or anyone else’s money, it doesn’t wash.  And we all know how much the Don likes to use his own money for anything.  Then there’s that structuring thing.

      Rudy seems to have been talking off the cuff, without adequate preparation, about a host of issues carrying legal liability for his client, Donald Trump.  Flood should already be considering an inadequate representation argument.  But is he coming on board as the Don’s personal lawyer or to the White House Counsel’s Office?  The latter represents the presidency, not the president personally.  If so, the holes in the Don’s legal team just got bigger.

      • Trip says:

        Does Rudy publicly stating this about Trump’s admission of the payoff to Daniels cancel out Cohen/Trump attorney/client privilege (if any even existed, with fraud in the mix, to begin with)?

        Is Giuliani Trump’s immolation, ‘death by cop’ tool? I’m having a difficult time envisioning how his blabbering is actually helping Trump. I guess, outside of the fact that none of this concerns the cult politically. No crime is above Trump, he should be kept in office, no matter what.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          I fear it’s a sign Trump is going full burnt earth. He wants everyone to know he got away with cheating on Melania and firing Comey, and next up will be defiant talk about deals with Russia.

          It’s a large scale version of how he dealt with Doc Bornstein – he’s at the stage where he’s tired of following the law and he’s ready to send in the loyalists for cleanup duty.

        • Trip says:

          That’s scary, @Bob Conyers, and I think you may be right. The GOP are co-conspirators in keeping him afloat and above the law, creating sideshows and buffers. They don’t care a whit about the country or any principles, thereof: it’s all about staying in power at any cost.

          We are so very screwed, unless maybe Mueller moves the clock forward.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump never follows the law or due process.  Doing so is a weakness a real man uses against one’s opponents, not necessary or desirable behavior.

    • Joe Student says:

      “A self-proclaimed billionaire didn’t have the pocket change to repay the $130K at one time.” 

      Putting it out over a few months can better disguise the effort, and cover any taxes that Cohen would have to pay. See Josh Marshall’s (guest) post on TPM.



  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Indeed.  Great work.

    Re the Steele dossier, if the players are working feverishly to help each other, and it’s illegal, then the Russians at least would want a plan to deny it.  Feeding disinformation to Steele, then attacking the thrust of the investigation as deeply flawed, would be a nice parlor trick.  If not a winner, it nicely muddies the water.

    But, hey, let’s forget all this and nominate the Don for a Nobel Peace Prize.  He needs another reason to try to extort cooperation from more furriners.  Besides, he might need the prize money for his legal defense fund.

  4. harpie says:

    Sorry for the O/T…thought you all might be interested, and didn’t know where else it might be best seen.
    Three black teens are finalists in a NASA competition. Hackers spewing racism tried to ruin their odds.; WaPo; 5/2/18 

    […] NASA said in a statement that voting was compromised, prompting it to shut down public voting earlier than expected. The federal space agency said it encourages the use of social media to build support for projects but wrote in a statement Tuesday that public voting was ended because people “attempted to change the vote totals.” […] The NASA competition called on students to find creative ways to use space technology in their everyday lives. The teens said they considered dozens of ideas but settled on a water purification system because they noticed some water fountains in their school could not be used because of potential lead contamination. […] 


    • Pete says:

      I see what you did there.
      I dunno why my reply is way up here must be my strategery.

      Fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.


  5. Trip says:

    So, um, Rudy, are you saying that unflattering releases might actually influence voters’ behavior? Like when a trove of emails trickle out? I thought that kind of stuff had no impact on election results, or so I heard from Trumputin Inc. as a defense against election interference and his win.

    Chris Megerian‏Verified account @ChrisMegerian 1h1 hour ago
    Rudy Giuliani, who is supposed to be representing the president’s legal interests, bolstered that case this morning on Fox & Friends. “Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton,” he said of the affair allegation.

    Is Rudy in the resistance, or what? He completely obliterated the narrative that the payoff was a shield for Melania’s feelings.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Rudy’s “strategy” is fouling the water.  He knows Mueller and his team are abundantly disciplined and focused.  They will filter out the crap and synthesize the data expeditiously.  Rudy’s strategery would seem to be a long-delay tactic, distracting with new leads, apparent admissions, drawing out the process until we’re through 2020.

      The Don’s definition of a “win” is a rubber band.  It bends to whatever best outcome is available a the time.  He’ll take what he gets and call it a massive victory.  Giuliani’s rant suggests that whatever crimes are out there – ConFraud US, financial crimes that could topple his empire, exposure of mob figures with long memories, who might react violently, and more – are far worse than the crap Rudy vomited up last night.  I’d call it a burnt offering, a kind of Sherman’s retreat to the sea.

      • Frank Probst says:

        I agree that that’s the strategy, but they’re trying to conflate the Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels investigation with the Russia investigation.  That may work on Fox News viewers, but I don’t think most other people are going to buy it.

        • Trip says:

          It’s all cut from the same cloth, though. The willingness to do anything, no matter the level of criminality, corruption, etc. to make a buck and win. I’m having a difficult time thinking of any Trump enterprise that doesn’t wade deeply into the swamp. There isn’t one element that is above board.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I didn’t believe this quote when I read it, but the video just popped up at RawStory.

  6. Mitch Neher says:

    I’m worried about The Ukraine’s decision to stop cooperating with Mueller and allowing Kilimnik to return to Russia. Did Mueller get everything that he needed before that turn of events? How much of Mueller’s case hinges upon the Manafort/Kilimnik connection?

  7. Frank Probst says:

    Apologies for drawing attention away from all of your hard work, EW, but Rudy’s on Fox & Friends this morning. The videos are slowly coming up on RawStory. It’s as much of a train wreck as you’d expect. Trump was also tweeting again this AM, but it sounds like a lawyer wrote it, except for the typo. They seem a lot more worried about this than they do about Russia.

    (There also appears to be some really important news coming out about what happened with our relationship with the Ukraine due to the Trump team’s influence (now with missiles!), but that’s taking a back seat to the payment to the porn star.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Rudy’s playing the useful fool – and proving he is as good a liar as Donald Trump.

      I would guess that Rudy’s extended schtick is PR for the Base and the jury pool, designed as a hope-filled work round of the legal process.  It won’t go anywhere with Mueller.  But it might influence the Base and that could influence the congresscritters who would be involved in impeachment and trial.  It also keeps the Don on the front page.  He’s the only guy who really belongs there.

      As for crimes relating to paid sex with the most alluring women in the world, they are not crimes.  They’re what every red-blooded American male would do if only they were as wealthy and smart as the Don.  Pay-offs?  They’re personal, not political, just protecting the wifey and allowing Don to be Don with less cost.  The Trump Mythology.

      Rudy also makes clear that to save Trump from himself, everybody is fair game for being thrown under the bus, even that nice lady Ivanka.  Apart from being such a nice lady, she was a long-time executive for the Trump Organization and is a public employee working in this White House.

      Continuing security clearance problems aside, she’s an involved executive with a wide remit in both government and the Trump Org.  She and others know where a lot of the bodies are buried.  In fact, Rudy’s carving her out for special, “lady-like” treatment, is a nice arrow for Mueller to follow.

  8. Willis Warren says:

    So, tRUmp made deals with Russia for real estate in Moscow if he’d run for President and hurt Hillary. I surmise the plan was run as an independent if he didn’t win the Republican nomination. No one though he would win, but he could claim it was “rigged” and the Russians would hack voter roles to underscore that claim.

    After winning the nomination, the Russians approached him with a quid pro quo, sanctions for hacked emails. Again, no one really thought he would win.

    Then, boom, the FBI reopens Hillary’s emails investigation (thanks to Rudy) and the rest is history.

    I wonder how much of this the Mueller investigation will make public

    • matt says:

      “I wonder how much of this the Mueller investigation will make public”

      The truth will come in a tell-all book from Marcy in 2020.  Mueller will craft a simplified narrative with a couple of scapegoats- but there is no, way in hell he is going to open up all the cans of worms caught up in his dragnet.  That’s not now, or ever how politics in Washington works.  I’m sorry to say that my bet is on the big fish getting away.  Especially, in light of the fact that the tea party, religious Right, NRA, Israel Lobby, Kochs, and neocons are getting what they want from the presidency.

  9. Trip says:

    Here’s how Flood entered the picture, via McGahn:
    Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn Have Been ‘Barely on Speaking Terms’

    White House Counsel Don McGahn was chiefly responsible for orchestrating Flood’s hiring and was thrilled when it was formally completed, according to four sources inside and outside the West Wing. That’s in large part because Flood provides McGahn with two things he’s long coveted: an ally on the legal team handling the Russia probe and a potential successor for his own post, which Flood, as part of this arrangement, will be granted in due time.
    There is no set date for McGahn’s exit from the White House. But for months now, his position in the administration has been shaky as his relationship with Trump has deteriorated.
    Though McGahn is in the room for meetings involving high-profile legal matters (EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s ethics foibles, the Iran nuclear deal, and so on) the two hardly talk directly to each other anymore. One White House official conceded that they are “barely on speaking terms” unless they absolutely have to be.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good laugh over Condi Rice telling Andrea Mitchell that North Korea is not a reliable partner. Her example was that it recently killed an American; she might have added that it keeps a few political prisoners incommunicado for indefinite periods of time, including Americans. I assume that means that she never got around to visiting Gitmo.

    She also suggested that China doesn’t play by the rules.  She speaks as if she does not know who the current president of the United States is.  “Defense,” CIA and State “are or will be well run.”  Isn’t Dr. Rice special?

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