The White House Hid Paul Manafort’s Enthusiasm for the June 9 Meeting When Leaking Don Jr’s Email

Among the most intriguing questions Robert Mueller wants to ask the President — as interpreted by Jay Sekulow — is a subset of the one asking about Trump’s involvement in the statement about the June 9 meeting. In addition to asking about that, Mueller specifically wants to know whether Trump was involved in releasing Don Jr’s emails with Rob Goldstone setting up the meeting. Here’s how I wrote up that question in my series.

JULY 7, 2017: WHAT INVOLVEMENT DID YOU HAVE IN THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY, INCLUDING THE RELEASE OF DONALD TRUMP JR.’S EMAILS?

I’ve laid out that I believe the evolving June 9 story is a limited hangout orchestrated by Agalarov lawyer Scott Balber. The strategy would have begun when Jared Kushner wrestled with the need to disclose the meeting, both in response to congressional investigations and for his clearance. Manafort, too, turned over emails backing the event about a month before the story came out publicly. This post talks about the response the weekend of the G-20 in Hamburg, including Ivanka sitting in on a meeting so Trump could strategize, and Hope Hicks suggesting the emails would never come out.

As a reminder, on the same day Trump had a second hour long meeting with Putin, he dictated Putin’s propaganda line that the meeting pertained to adoptions. Importantly, he hid what I’ve suggested was the quo in the quid pro quo, sanctions relief. Mueller undoubtedly would like to know if Putin helped him come up with that message, which would be really damning.

Mueller also wants to know about the decision to leak Don Jr’s emails. Bannon suspects that a Jared aide leaked the emails (his then lawyer Jamie Gorelick would cut back her work with him shortly thereafter). But remember: in a DM, Assange proposed that he give Wikileaks the email.

There’s clearly far more back story to the leaked email we don’t know yet.

If Trump’s involvement here involves coordination with Russians (like the Agalrovs, to say nothing of Putin) or Assange, it would provide damning evidence not of obstruction, but of collusion, an effort to coordinate a story about a key meeting. Trump’s lawyers have always suggested questions about Trump’s role in this statement are improper, which is itself a telling indicator that they don’t understand (or want to spin) the risk of the original June 9 meeting.

I’ve now done a first pass at all the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony released a few weeks back relating to the June 9 meeting and will update my limited hangout post hopefully over the weekend. Even assuming all witnesses were fully forthcoming (they weren’t), the SJC materials provide abundant evidence that the White House worked with the other attendees of the June 9 meeting — including the Agalarov representatives, and through them, the Agalarov family itself — to minimize the damage of the meeting. And they did it over a longer period of time than previously known.

Of particular interest, however, is a detail revealed about the email that Don Jr released last summer. Effectively, the email thread setting up the meeting appears in two places in the exhibits introduced with Don Jr’s testimony. The thread appearing at PDF 26 to 29 is for all intents and purposes the set he released over two tweets last July 11. That bears Bates stamp DJTJR 485 to 487, which designates that it was the version that Don Jr himself turned over. There’s another version of that thread, though, bearing Bates stamp DJTFP 11895 to 11897, which appears at PDF 1 to 3 in Don Jr’s exhibits (and is used for all the other witnesses). The Bates stamp abbreviation DJTFP, Donald J Trump for President, indicates that that’s the version turned over by the campaign. The exhibit shows the same thread, only with this addition.

That is, after Don Jr informed Jared and Paul Manafort that the meeting would be at 4 instead of 3, Manafort responded, “See you then.”

That — and the fact that Don Jr chose to suppress it when publicly releasing his email — is not by itself damning. Nor is the fact that Don Jr tried to suggest that both Jared and Manafort had no idea what the meeting was about in his public statement.

I told Rob that Jared Kushner and our newly hired campaign manager Paul Manafort would likely also attend . I then asked Jared and Paul if they could attend, but told them none of the substance or who was going to be there since I did not know myself. Because we were in the same 10 building Paul, Jared, and I would routinely invite one another to attend meetings at a moment’s notice.

When Democratic Chief Oversight Counsel Heather Sawyer asked Don Jr about which version he released publicly, Don Jr’s (actually, the Trump Organization’s) lawyer Alan Futerfas immediately butted in to offer an excuse about multiple custodians.

MR. FUTERFAS: Just so the record’s clear, there were multiple custodians to this e-mail. So if the campaign  produced an e-mail the campaign may have because different custodians were being searched. We have found that there was — I think there was a few words that are additional to Exhibit 10, including the “See you then,” and I think we also found earlier one there was another again, another similar kind of brief exchange, but I think that was a function of the different custodians that were participating in this little dialogue .

After which Sawyer first noted that that other change might be discussed off the record, then questioned the President’s son about how he chose which email to release. Futerfas interrupted again to note that counsel had been involved.

BY MS . SAWYER: Q. We can talk off the record about the other change, but with regard to the document that was produced to the committee, Exhibit 10, to the best of your knowledge, is that the full exchange?

A . Well, whichever one is the longer I believe is the full exchange. I don’t know, but I’m not aware of anything else.

Q. Has it been altered in any way?

A. No.

Q. Have any of the communications been removed by anyone?

A. Not that I’m aware of, no.

Q. You released a version of the e-mail by Twitter. How did you decide what version of the e-mail chain to release?

A. I don ‘t know. It’s the version I pulled up.

Q. And did you consult with anyone in deciding to do that?

MR . FUTERFAS: Aside from counsel?

MS. SAWYER : Yes, aside from counsel.

BY THE WITNESS: A. All those conversations counsel was involved.

Interjection: note that Don Jr doesn’t claim that only counsel was involved? Continuing …

Q. Okay. And did you seek their advice?

A. Counsel?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes.

Q. And who was representing you?

A. The two gentlemen here, Alan Garten and Alan Futerfas.

Q. And they were representing you personally?

A. Yes, I believe so.

MR. FUTERFAS: Yes .

BY MS . SAWYER: Q. And they were involved in all the conversations you had about release of that e-mail?

A. Yes, they were.

In other words, Don Jr and Futerfas suggested — Hope Hicks’ publicly reported central role as a go-between notwithstanding — that any conversations he had about which version of the email to release were protected by Attorney-Client privilege.

Don Jr’s decision, taken on the advice of his counsel, to withhold the Manafort email is why I find it very interesting that Don Jr twice testified that he only discussed the meeting with Jared and Manafort via email, and repeatedly denied talking to Manafort directly about it.

Q. You got an e-mail with a title “Russia- Clinton, private and confidential,” you didn’t mention that to Paul Manafort?

A . Other that I forwarded the e-mail to him to invite them to the meet ing, I didn’t discuss it with him to my recollection, no.

Q. And you said you forwarded it. That was the only time you recall discussing it with him?

A . That’s the only time I recall , yes.

Q. And Exhibit 1 which you reviewed with my colleagues indicates that you forwarded it on June 8, 201 6 . At that point there’s just a reference to “Meeting got moved to 4:00 tomorrow at my office,” Mr . Manafort responds ” See you then.” Had you not discussed the meeting with him before that time?

A. I don ‘t recall discussing it with him at that time, but I may have.

Q. How would he have known what this meeting was about i f you had not discussed it with him?

A. I don ‘t know.

Q. Did he ever ask you about it?

A. Not that I recall.

[snip]

Q. Did you tell Mr . Manafort [about the ultra-sensitive email]?

A. As I said, I don’t recall telling him anything about it other than the exchange as it relates to setting up the meeting.

After having denied talking to Kushner and Manafort about the meeting (and forgetting another call from Emin Agalarov), Don Jr tried to play dumb about a phone call he had with Manafort on June 7, between the time he had that forgotten call with Agalarov and the time Rob Goldstone wrote to schedule the meeting at 4:20PM.

Q. The next unblocked — unredacted call is a call at 4:07 p.m., it says “Arlington , VA” and has a 703 number. You indicated to my colleagues you didn’t recall who that was. Is that the case?

A. I don’t know who it is now, no, I don’t.

Q. Would you be surprised if I told you that a Google search shows that’s Paul Manafort’s number?

A. I don’t know. It may be.

Q. You don’t recall speaking with him on June 7th?

A. No, I don’t recall that.

Q. You don’t recall speaking to him that day about this meeting?

A. No, I don’t.

Q. Or the e-mail from Mr. Goldstone ?

A. No. I spoke to Paul quite often.

Nor did Don Jr remember calls he had with Jared and Manafort on June 5, the day before he spoke with Emin about the meeting by phone.

Q. Then just to take you back a page on this same exhibit to [Bates stamp] 854, just go back one page.

A. Okay.

Q. You’ll see “Sunday, 6/5” at the bottom of that page.

A. Yes.

Q. And as I indicated to you earlier, you got the e-mail from Mr. Goldstone on a Friday.

On Sunday there are two calls that have been unredacted. One’s at 4:28 to Arlington, Virginia, same number, Mr. Manafort’s number. Do you recall speaking to him on that Sunday?

A. I don’t, no.

Q. Do you know if you spoke to him possibly on that Sunday about Mr. Goldstone’s e-mail or that meeting?

A. No. I don’t recall having those conversations.

Q. About 15 minutes later there’s another call to New York, New York, 917. Do you know whose number that is?

A . I could probably find out, but I don’t know off the top of my head.

Q. If I told you that a search of — a Google search of that indicates that it’s Mr. Kushner’s number, would that surprise you?

A . No.

Q. And do you recall speaking with him on that Sunday?

A. No, I don’t.

As a reminder, Mueller’s team raided Paul Manafort’s house between the time he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the day he was supposed to testify before SJC; the warrant for that raid covered materials about the June 9 meeting. The raid gave Manafort an excuse not to answer questions about whether he remembers the substance of those calls. Remember, too, that Manafort is trying to suppress the seizure of devices — like iPods — that can be used to record meetings.

And Robert Mueller wants to know whether the President was involved in the decision to hide Paul Manafort’s enthusiasm for this meeting.

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119 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The other aspect of the Senate doc dump is how it hints at the narrow window when Garten and Futerfas got involved — essentially, when AF1 was midair — given that the limited hangout to Circa had been planned by Kasowitz and Corallo.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Oh, of course you’re right here. Non-searchable PDFs are a pain. Correcting myself: Garten called Goldstone on June 3, triggering Goldstone’s IMs to Kaveladze, and Goldstone then followed up with him and Futerfas on June 27. I was mistakenly hemmed in by the Wolff/Bannon account which emphasises the role of Kasowitz and Corallo in DC trying to arrange a soft rollout to Circa, and doesn’t mention Garten/Futerfas at all. Rereading that passage, it sounds as if the DC and NYC lawyers were operating in June-July on two completely separate tracks, and when the NYT story broke, Garten and Futerfas took charge and Kasowitz and Corallo were shut out.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I wouldn’t make too much of it. The earlier delay on any evidentiary hearing is more interesting. Maybe Ellis has figured out there’s a superseding coming and doesn’t want to waste time w/a trial that’s just pressure for flipping him.

      • Avattoir says:

        Last 3 times one of my trials was made subject of a rescheduling order due to an issue with the trial judge’s health or that of the trial judge’s family, in each case it turned out to have been caused by … an issue with the trial judge’s health or that of the trial judge’s family.

         

        Judges are mostly middle-aged to old. They and the spouses on whom they depend heavily to wrangle their out-of-court lives tend to have more health problems that, say, your under forty types.

  2. Trip says:

    Remember when JR went on the TV and said Democrats were behind the ‘fake news’ of him meeting with Russians, they’l do anything to win….yadda, yadda? Good times. Nice documentation of a well practiced liar.

  3. pseudonymous in nc says:

    OT docket update: ABJ denies without prejudice Manafort’s motion against multiplicitous counts, saying that the circuit precedent is for such questions to be dealt with after a trial. Meanwhile, Mueller’s team doesn’t object to the proposed sureties for Manafort’s bail, but requests leave to file a supplementary response by June 4th. Read into that what you may.

  4. orionATL says:

    man, you talk about close reading, this is some close reading.

    and the lawyers and “defendants” appear acutely aware of the significance of these questions about a few short phone calls.

    • orionATL says:

      and yet the story “defendants”, excepting goldstone, told about the meeting is so benign – some lady from russia took up our valuable time with a boring dicussion of sanctions and russian orphans; nothing else transpired – one wonders why the exceeding care in responding to dem oversight lawyer heather sawyer’s questions.

      it must have been all the pre-meeting discussions and any post-meeting actions (still unknown) that are being covered up.

      • orionATL says:

        not that goldstone was ever a fountain of conversation about the meeting, but he made a few comments that, while they may have been merely unguarded, lead me to believe he was in fact very concerned about being caught up in some scheming not to his benefit.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Every good conspiracy needs a good cover story. The good news for prosecutors is that these keystone cops are unlikely to have been better at maintaining their cover story than they are at anything else.

  5. Maestro says:

    Marcy, you’ve written before about how you believe Goldstone’s travels in Asia were his attempt to hide from anyone who might want to silence him after the meeting’s public exposure. You’ve also written about how he seemed to be negotiating with Mueller regarding his return to the US and seemed to be cooperating with them.

    When you read Goldstone’s testimony though, he sticks to the company line and denies any knowledge of potential wrongdoing. If he were cooperating, would we expect the SCO to tolerate his lying to Congress like this? And if they did, wouldn’t that tend to undermine any credibility he has as a witness?

    • emptywheel says:

      1) He may have been represented by Crocus appointed lawyers, which changes that calculus.

      2) There was some weirdness about whether he had spoken with Mueller. That might be consistent with cooperation agreement, tho that’s just one possibility.

      • Maestro says:

        Thank you for the response!

        Do you think overall Goldstone’s testimony undermines the theory that he was/is actively cooperating with the SCO?

  6. maestro says:

    Does anyone know why Marcy and “dave” (@empiricalerror) don’t get along? I don’t follow the guy but saw the two of them getting into it on Twitter this afternoon. He calls himself a “renowned buzzkill” in his bio—is he just an all-around general skeptic, or cynic when it comes to this whole topic? Just curious about the whole thing.

    • Avattoir says:

      I hated high school. Still do. Couldn’t wait to get out of there and into real libraries and talking with folks who actually cared about what they were studying.

  7. Bob Conyers says:

    Can someone more informed fill me in?

    In a trial or before a grand jury, if Don Jr. tried the “I don’t recall” song and dance, how far could he push it? At what point does he face legal trouble, and what kind of evidence would need to be presented to show he’s full of it?

    Also, would it involve a ruling on the spot by a judge, or would separate charges need to be filed?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The classic refrain from the McCarthy period, “I have no recollection of that, Senator,” is the safest way to avoid perjury.  Saying anything factual reveals either a truth a defendant wanted to hide, or a lie or material omission.  The trick for the witness is to say it plausibly and consistently.  Hard to do over a long period or through multiple sessions.

      There are limits to how a prosecutor can challenge that lack of recall.  A prosecutor can try to expose a witness’s self-serving lack of recall through questioning, getting the witness himself to reveal a better recall or a lie.  Or a prosecutor impeach a witness by showing through documents, the testimony of others or prior testimony of the witness that he is feigning a lack of recall.  If the witness is also a defendant, then a jury, or in some cases the judge, would get to use its judgment about whether it heard lies or not.

      Bmaz, no doubt, has war stories aplenty.

      • Avattoir says:

        Most criminal trial defense attorneys don’t call their clients to the stand.

        During a period of about 7 years when I was particularly active in jury trials while teaching trial procedure and advocacy, I tried to kept track, so I could make the point to students: turned out I’d called 3 clients to the stand over that period, over the course of 31 jury trials. One turned disastrous, but I’m still not sure what I could have done about it. In another, where the government’s case forced my client to stand, the client’s performance as a witness was … spotty, but at least  contributed (the bare minimum necessary, I think) to acquittal. In the only one in which I felt the client had borne up well under cross, somehow the jury managed to agree to convict on only one of several counts, the only one which didn’t demand imprisonment.

        You’ve seen Junior on TV, we all have. He’d be a terrible witness in his own cause: smarmy, dismissive, reeks of privilege, far too convenient a memory, easy (even fun) to box in …

        • bmaz says:

          I’ve put them on the stand before, but only when absolutely necessary to make the defense, such as in self defense and vehicular cases.

            • bmaz says:

              As to putting the defendant on? No, not unless you can get a limiting instruction from the court and, you basically will never get that. Only to establish defense in chief.

          • Bob Conyers says:

            Thanks all. I can see the scenario arising where The Family needs him to provide a lot of  testimony to back up their cover stories, but doing so puts him at jeopardy. It will be interesting to see how he manages to balance his need for self preservation against the demands of the others, and how Mueller’s team tries to drive that wedge. You have to wonder if Don Jr. can trust Kushner after all those hours of questioning.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nancy Pelosi knows better than anyone how to sit comfortably for hours on a picket fence. To wit, her comment on the NFL’s new “anthem” rule:

    I love the National Anthem and I love the First Amendment, leave it at that.

    Presumably, Pelosi thought that was Solomonic and avoiding an answer that would distract from her agenda, the standard excuse Mr. Obama used for not doing, well many things. Good reason for progressive Dems to rally around a progressive instead of Wall Street money. If the Dems were suddenly thrust into control of the House or Senate, would they do an Obama – and look forward, not back, giving everyone practical immunity – or try to ring the accountability bell. I think the answers for Pelosi, Schumer and Hoyer are clear.

    • Avattoir says:

      Frank Luntz is urging GOP candidates for Congress to go all in after Pelosi. IMO that’s just the obvious approach since Atwater: go after the Dems’ strength – in this case their best organizer and – bonus – a woman.

      She’s the best Speaker & House leader since I first paid attention to national government in the mid 1960s.

      • orionATL says:

        pelosi is indeed the most competent speaker since…

        i saw what is i believe the first attack on pelosi as a substitute for an attack on dem female leadership after clinton was taken down by similar attacks. that occurred in the election in the georgia 6th to replace tom price in april-may, 2017.

        suddenly – in georgia, who cares? – there was a blizzard of attacks on pelosi featuring the same subliminal themes as used against clinton. curious, i looked into who was running these attacks. it was the republican congressional campaign committee. i guess they saw a two-for-one – begin attacking an extremely competent opposition leader and demonizing a female politician for their red meat voters. when i say “began attacking” i have since noticed this attack theme moved nationwide in other republican races. it is purely sexism and misogyny (mysogyny being defined as the policing of sexism).

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        She may be the best speaker (I tend to agree).  But she is 77.

        The problem is that we have an entire generation or two of people who now have no memory of functional government that actually got shit done. Pelosi, rightly or wrongly, is associated with this failure.

        Sometimes, it makes sense to get out of the limelight and let new leaders step up.  There appear to be some very talented younger Dems running for office (including vets), and at some point, ALL the electeds who are associated with gridlock, endless tax cuts, and ongoing  failure to address climate change, need to admit they failed — and bow off the stage gracefully. They can still advise from the sidelines, but if the Dems want younger voters, they need to have younger, smarter, tougher representatives for the public to see.

        My kids, their friends, and the younger voters that I met caucusing for Bernie, are completely fed up with the status quo.  Pelosi represents the status quo.  So does Schumer.  Luntz, who I think is despicable but sometimes astute, understands this.  If the Dems fail to see what Luntz is pointing out, then it’s more evidence that they care more about personal perks and maintaining the status quo than they do about creating a better future.

         

        • orionATL says:

          that thinking is how we ended up with our 72 year old savior, donald trump.

          i suggest the children get some political education, and acquire a little sophistication in their thinking. change for change’s sake is often misguided.

          and get out and vote. young people as a group are known for talking but not voting.

          it’s the number of troops you have to work with that determines what policies you have reason to expect you can enact.

          • Kokuanani says:

            The Dems ought to take a look at what happened in Ireland on the abortion vote: heavily, heavily pro-repeal of the 8th Amendment; Irish citizens racing home from abroad to vote; incredible on-the-ground get-out-the-vote work.

            This is work done by PEOPLE, not by consultants and money.  Young folks — my daughter’s one — are fired up and energized, both there & here.  Just lock Hillary in a cellar and don’t let her out until after election day in November.  Don’t remind people who was the “standard bearer” in 2016.

            • bmaz says:

              From what I see, this actually IS happening at the local, precinct and district level to a pretty good extent. But that all seems to be in tension with the national DNC and “party” effort. Almost at war. Which is distressing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          We ended up with Donald Trump for lots of reasons, Russian involvement and Trumpian dirty tricks being two.

          Ms. Clinton also ran a poor, top-down campaign.  She represented the Wall Street wing of the Party, which many voters rejected because it would grossly fail to pursue their economic and social interests. That’s the biggest issue standing between the establishment and progressive wings.  Other voters rejected her because she was a woman or because she was Bill’s wife or because they would never vote for a Dem.  That voting block is static or shrinking.

          I’m not concerned about the false, misogynistic portrayal of Pelosi long put out by the GOP.  She is highly competent and enormously well-connected.  But to what ends?  And like Joe Biden, she does not seem to know when to open the door to other voices or to pass the baton.  I’m concerned that the Dem’s Wall Street wing will dampen voter turnout in 2020 for the same reason it did in 2016.  We cannot afford a repeat.

          • orionATL says:

            “wall street wing” is just a worn, inarticlute, and damaging political attack ad. all politicians respond to existing power structures; the caring and competent work with and co-opt that power to higher social ends. that’s been one of the beautiful successes (and secrets) of successful environmental politics for years.

              • pseudonymous in nc says:

                The basic point is “no more Boomers.” This isn’t about hating Boomers en masse, because in spite of being a generation that collectively got most of what it wanted at every point along the way, the benefits were unevenly distributed. It’s that 2016 was the last Boomer argument and the selfish-bastard Boomers won. It’s done, move on, we’re not going to do this any more.

                • orionATL says:

                  pinc –

                  as is so often the case with internet commentary, i’m not sure how to take this comment – tongue-in-cheek or literal. i’ll assume the former, but still add my two cents plain.

                  i think it is as useless to try to think analytically in terms like “boomers”, “millenials”, and “gen x’ers”, as it is using the overused and vague term “elites” (“coastal elites”, what the hell does that mean?). age brackets, e. g., 18-30, 31-45, 46-60, are available for use in analyzing age. the verbal names are clever-sounding but inexact media inventions (not to mention sounding inane inane, “gen x”?)

                  but if one insists on using the media terms, here’s the breakdown for 2016:

                  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/31/millennials-and-gen-xers-outvoted-boomers-and-older-generations-in-2016-election/

                  “… The Baby Boomer vote peaked at 50.1 million votes in the 2004 election. With turnout stuck at 69% among this generation in presidential elections since 2004, the declining Boomer vote reflects the declining number of Boomers eligible to vote (due to death and emigration).”

                    • Peterr says:

                      I disagree.

                      A generational cohort is defined in large part by their shared life experiences, especially those during their coming-of-age years. People who grew up during the Great Depression have a very different approach to wealth and savings and debt than people who grew up during the 50s. People who came of age during the Vietnam War have a different view of what war means than people who came of age during the Iraq War.

                      Living through something shapes you in ways that reading about it does not.

                    • orionATL says:

                      peterr –

                      in my family, the members who lived thru the great depression, let’s say until 1940, included all 4 grandparents (b. 1875-1899), both parents and all aunts and uncles (1903-1930) by birth or marriage. i’m pretty sure it included one of my greatgrandfathers (1855).

          • aubrey mcfate says:

            As a long-time critic of Hillary Clinton in a previous (pre-Trump) life, I propose a moratorium on any criticism of her, forever. Caviling about her would be like reviling Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons…in 1942.

            She was the last candidate to stand against an authoritarian regime. The election was stolen from her. Persisting those debates with such aplomb must have been like standing neck deep in sewage, or in the stocks. It’s what I’ll choose to remember about her.

          • orionATL says:

            eoh –

            all losers run “poor campaigns” by definition – of their critics – be they coaches, ceo’s, politicians.

            no one looks at nixon’s or reagan’s (racist to and at the core), or bill clinton’s campaign until the historians get to them.

            clinton’s campaign was a model of organization compared to trump’s – not to mention propriety. clinton’s child care proposal would have made as much difference to the citizens of this nation as obamacare did.

            chattering about trivial email matters did all that in. russians (and semitics of all kinds :) ) aside, one cannot observe the media undertow that did in gore or kerry before h. clinton and still believe “he/she just ran a bad campaign” explains much.

        • bmaz says:

          There is certainly fair criticism to be made of Pelosi. But she is, by about a light year, the best vote counter and whipper in the Dem caucus. Stoney Hoyer? Eh, no. That centrist mush backbencher from Ohio Tim Ryan that keeps yapping? Please. Say what you will, Pelosi is probably still it. Really should groom another progressive to take over though.

      • Interstitial Matter says:

        In my life the Best Speaker(s) of the House were:

        Sam Rayburn
        Jim Wright
        Tom Foley
        Some might argue for O’Neil, but his treatment of Carter was egregious.

        I’ve always been Independent leaning towards Democrat. I believe any gender is capable of performing well in any elected position. However, Pelosi is far from the best Speaker, better than GetRich, HasTurds, or BooHooer – absolutely. But from the 60’s to present – nah.

      • Interstitial Matter says:

        In my life the Best Speaker of the House was Sam Rayburn. From Rayburn speech:

        “When I became a member of the law firm of Steger, Thurmond and Rayburn. Thurmond and Steger were representing the Santa Fe Railroad Company, receiving pay monthly. When the first check came after I entered the firm, Mr. Thurmond brought to my desk one-third of the amount of the check, explaining what it was for. I said to him that I was a member of the Legislature, representing the people of Fannin County, and that my experience had taught me that men who represent the people should be as far removed as possible from concerns whose interests he was liable to be called on to legislate concerning, and that on that ground I would not accept a dollar of the railroad’s money, though I was legally entitled to it. I never did take a dollar of it. I have been guided by the principle in all my dealings.”

        We could use people like him today in Congress.

        Some might argue for O’Neil, but his treatment of Carter was egregious.

        I’ve always been Independent leaning towards Democrat. I believe any gender is capable of performing well in any elected position. However, Pelosi is far from the best Speaker, better than Newt GetRich, D’Ass HasTurds, or BooHooer – absolutely. But from the 60’s to present – nah.

        • orionATL says:

          yes, sam rayburn comes to mind for sure. the guy is said to have known every person and every edge the House rules and customs could give him. you need all of that to control 400+ fractious american politicians :)

    • Kathleen says:

      ” If the Dems were suddenly thrust into control of the House or Senate, would they do an Obama – and look forward, not back”

      For those of us who worked our ever loving asses off in the 2006 midterm and then again for Obama in 2008 many of us thought we would witness some kind of accountability for the massive amounts of  lies told by the Bush administration to take the nation into Iraq. Although millions of us did not believe.  No accountability ever happened  Fucking never happened..nothing.  Pelosi “impeachment is off the table”  Ok it did not have to be impeachment but they could have put hearings forward as the U.K. did https://www.wsj.com/articles/chilcot-aims-to-inject-caution-into-u-k-military-actions-1467794130.

       

      I was sickened by how often we heard Obama, Pelosi etc say things like ” we need to turn the page”…”next chapter”  ..”move on”  while hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi’s were rolled over as if their lives were completely meaningless and U.S. soldiers had been used as canon fodder once again.  Seemed to be of no importance at all to Obama, Pelosi, Schumer.

      Again for those of us who put thousands of hours in for those elections we thought we would witness some kind of accountability for those war crimes.  Nothing..

       

      • Micheal says:

        Re: Kathleen May 26, 2018 at 10:00 am

        Lest we forget (or the reader is too young to remember), the “move on” thing was put forward so many times during Dubya’s reign that I lost count. It was one of my pet peeves, hearing “Let’s move forward, not backward” from Condo Leezzzzzaaaaa Rice over and over. Her “request” sounded no different than – and was as transparent as – that of the teenager being called to account for some transgression and wanting the critic to STFU. The fact that it came from the mouth of National Security Advisor, not a wet-behind-the-ears bopper, was totally irrelevant to me.

        And since I’ve inflated the Rice doll, let me punch it again by pointing out a similar habit of hers: “clearly”. Rice didn’t just propose whatever she wanted to propose, or claim whatever she wanted to claim, and let careful wording carry her point; she endeavored to endow it with unassailableness at the outset, by labeling it “clearly”. Clearly … the Earth is flat and glaciers abound. So let’s move forward, not backward.

      • aubrey mcfate says:

        Kathleen,

        Be consoled by this: MAGA. Many Are Getting Arrested. There’s a difference here in that Trump’s circle face indictments. That was not the case in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. Democrats won’t even have to take a stand on looking forward or backward. The wheels of justice will already be in motion, pulverizing these criminals.

  9. Rusharuse says:

    Isikoff is reporting that Spanish police have given Fed’s tapes of Torshin/Romanov that are “very bad for Mr Trump jnr.” Could this be the NRA smoking gun er rifle that shoots Trump in the foot wounding his chances of beating the Russia rap, perhaps the “kill shot” . . I could go on

    • aubrey mcfate says:

      My first thought was: what muscle will Trump now try to pull on the Spanish government? I don’t think he has as much leverage as on Ukraine, though.

      • aubrey mcfate says:

        …the only reason I say this is that the article has this detail:

        But Grinda added that if Mueller or any other U.S. prosecutor seeks to use the material as part of a court case, they would have to make a second, more formal request to do so to the Spanish government.

    • aubrey mcfate says:

      As giddy as I was to read Sr. Grinda’s words, why is he letting the cat out of the bag?

      • SteveB says:

        The body of the article by Isikoff does not specifically support the claim in the headline.

        Indeed there is nothing in the article which suggests Don Jr was mentioned in Torshin tapped calls made between 2012 -13.

        The recordings would give FBI greater insight into Torshin’s criminality in Spain, and thus what a deeply sketchy contact he would be for Don Jr to be involved with, but if there is a hint at DonJr greater contact with Torshin it is so oblique as to be practically invisible.

        Isikoff has been following this angle for a long time. The only new fact is that the feds have the Torshin tap material.

        • Trip says:

          Agreed. Different time period.

          However, I think he joined the NRA in 2012 as a way to cultivate political relationships with conservative politicians (via $$). He has said he talked to Trump SR at the 2015 NRA convention. Donald denies this. But Torshin also mentions chatting it up with Jr. at 2016 convention. The intercepts might reveal conversations about Jr, or discussions about cooperation, but that is, of yet, a stretch to assume.

           

          • Trip says:

            The question and answer session with Maria Butina, at the 2015 convention, sounded like a set-up, and signal of agreement, IMO. That would mean, if I am correct, that conversations preceded this dog and pony show.

          • SteveB says:

            However 2013 was interesting period for Trump Org. Chasing Russian money in Moscow (Ms World pageant etc.) But also negotiating purchases of Irish and Scottish Golf courses (Doonbeg and Turnberry respectively) The purchases were cash (!!!!) and finalised in early 2014.

            Torshins Spanish property money parking/laundering venture ground to a halt by virtue of Grinda in 2013, when Torshin narrowly escaped arrest.

            I have no reason to suppose Torshin and the Trumps found they had mutual interests at that time, but….

            • Trip says:

              Yep. Hopefully, there is some ‘there’ there. Don’t forget how Cohen has been tied into the local Russian Mob in NYC.

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              “I have no reason to suppose Torshin and the Trumps found they had mutual interests at that time, but….”

              And there would be no reason for either party to suspect a connection if both were just into the money.

              Follow the money laundering, from US to Russia players (and other countries players), then laundered back to US players (Trump Org).

              The love of money is the root of all evil.

        • harpie says:

          Wendy Siegelman has a thread [with links to other information] about this article.

          […] Alexander Torshin was included in an October 2017 letter Senator Feinstein sent to Cambridge Analytica requesting information on CA’s communications with various people [end] 

          • Trip says:

            She’s pretty much just rehashing the article, except for the Feinstein piece, but interesting.

        • aubrey mcfate says:

          Strictly speaking, the headline is backed up by the article. The headline is the Spanish prosecutor’s quote. The question is, then, why did he say it? It also says they were conversations that “led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention.” It states that these conversations bore directly on the meeting in Louisville.

          • SteveB says:

            No the headline is not backed up:

            Headline states:

            “…Wire taps show Trumps son met with Torshin”

            Nothing in the article bears that out.

            The meeting mentioned is not linked by the reporting to the content of the wiretap

            There is only the vague insinuation that Trump jr should be worried about the contents of the wire tap material.

            No smoking gun here. Nor gun, nor smoke -just the vague aroma of singed carbon.

            • aubrey mcfate says:

              We were actually looking at different headlines. Mine was from Huffington Post: “‘Trump’s Son Should Be Concerned’: FBI Obtained Wiretaps Of Putin Ally Who Met With Trump Jr.”

              Reread the (short) article, because this is both confusing and wrong:

              “…Wire taps show Trumps son met with Torshin”: Nothing in the article bears that out. The meeting mentioned is not linked by the reporting to the content of the wiretap

              1. The headline’s confusing because Trump Jr. did, in fact, meet Torshin, which we already knew a long time ago. I’m further confused because you presumably know that, too, so why dispute it?

              2. The article plainly states that the conversation Grinda claims “led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016”. Admittedly, there’s no further detail (unsurprisingly), but the article plainly states: the conversations were about the meeting.

              • SteveB says:

                The lede is slightly ambiguous because in one sentence it deals with both the conversations on the wire taps, and that Torshin had forged close ties with the NRA, and it is the latter which led to the meeting with Don Jr.

  10. SteveB says:

    @ Avattoir 1041 (sorry nesting not working)

    Thanks for link to Isikoff piece.

    A footnote re Torshin Romanov relationship : “El Padrino” the honorific meaning Godfather with all its mafiya connotations is re-inforced by the fact that Torshin is indeed a godparent to a Romanov child.

    This El Pais piece from elpais.com/elpais/2017/03/31/inenglish/
    31 March 2017 makes clear that the 33 transcripts of calls were recorded between 2012 and 2013.

    The piece also notes that Torshin was due to have a 1 on 1 with the President ahead of breakfast meeting at the WH on 2 Feb 2017 for a Russian Trade delegation which Torshin did attend though the 1to1 was cancelled on the evening of 1 Feb 2017

  11. Mitch Neher says:

    The second-draft cover-story for the Trump Tower meeting has never made any sense to me. The Russians had to have known that Trump could not single-handedly repeal the Magnitsky Act. But Trump could have rescinded Obama’s EO imposing sanctions on Russia for its annexation of The Crimea. I strongly suspect that Veselnitskaya was sent to the Trump Tower meeting to give superficial plausibility to the second-draft cover-story about the Magnitsky Act. (Am I belaboring the obvious?)

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The confluence of friendship, sage advice, bullshit and threats, from former colleague and Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg, on what Michael Cohen, a big “teddy bear,”, should do now:

    “If Michael did something outside the scope of any of his duties for Donald Trump, then that’s Michael’s problem,” Nunberg said. “But he should not go to jail for anything that he did for Trump. And if he does, then he deserves all the terrible things that will happen to him in jail.”

    I would like to think that Nunberg means that Mickey should rat on Trump rather than go to jail for having committed illegal acts to benefit the Don.  But it sounds like a threat to me.  There was no “outside the scope of any of his duties.”  Nunberg knows that.  Mickey did everything for the Don.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Guardian piece is a useful mini-biography of Mickey.  Snippets reveal the Mickey to come.  He drove a Porsche while in college at American University.  While in college, he “ran a business” importing sports cars.  He ran a series of failed businesses.  The “through line” is his Russian and Ukrainian connections in family and business (often the same thing).

      The Guardian is generous in describing Mickey as “seemingly far from such intrigues,” even while being a part owner of his uncle’s El Caribe, the favorite NYC area social club for the Italian and Russian mobs.

      His slavish work for the Don is what Mueller wants to know about.  Liability from his “other businesses” might be what forces him to flip on the Don, whom Roger Stone says, “goes out of his way to treat him like garbage.”  Maybe just once, what goes around will come around.

  13. Mitch Neher says:

    Sorry to bother you again, but I just found out that Judge T. S. Ellis is the one who upheld the invocation of the state secret privilege to dismiss El Masri v. Tenet in 2006. It figures that you probably already knew that. And it was a civil suit–not an indictment. But it’s giving me the jitters. What if Trump pulls something like that with the human intelligence that Halper gathered from Papadopoulos? Would that even be possible? I hope not.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Unlikely.  It’s the state here that is pushing the case, not the plaintiff in a civil suit challenging the state.  But trust Donald l’etat, c’est moi Trump to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

  14. jill says:

    How much down the rabbit hole do you have to go to get phrases like:
    “suspected informant”
    or
    using informants to “investigate…not spy”
    May 21 Wall Street Journal”

    “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016”

     New York Times story May 18:

    “FBI used informant to investigate Russia ties to campaign, not to spy”

    • bmaz says:

      Still not one useful word to say I see. You are nothing if not a consistently worthless troll.

      • orionATL says:

        where’s your damn “kill switch”, bmaz? the governor’s got one; the mayor’s got one. don’t tell me the bouncer for emptywheel doesn’t have one. shut this sassy ddy fkr down! :)

    • Trip says:

      So they shouldn’t have investigated potential Russian spies? They should have left Trump vulnerable? Trump should be grateful these coffee boys, that he didn’t know (ahem), were being vetted, when he didn’t bother to.

       

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      shill thinks it’s fine for a campaign to be up to its nostrils in foreign influence and terrible for the US to investigate it. shill is also a bank robber who considers security cameras a massive intrusion of privacy.

  15. Mitch Neher says:

    Thanks EoH. It’s reassuring. Also, I got the year wrong. El Masri v. Tenet was 2011.

  16. Trip says:

    Avanetti is back to ballbusting:

    Michael Avenatti‏Verified account @MichaelAvenatti
    There’s a reason why Columbus Nova’s story keeps changing by the day and there’s a reason why they are covering-up. The truth is not pretty…but it is necessary. Mr. Trump will not serve out his term. #Basta
    Michael Avenatti Retweeted
        #Avenatti will Finish Them @Jax_from_HawaiiReplying to @MichaelAvenatti
    Curious if anyone’s been demanding the personal financial, business and family details of @RudyGiuliani as well?

    ————-

    Michael Avenatti‏Verified account @MichaelAvenatti
    Now this is an excellent question. Hopefully some members of the media will chime in this weekend and tell us what current steps are being taken to investigate and publish on the other 13+ lawyers in the cases – Giuliani, Ryan, Harder, Blakely, etc. Why just me? #Waiting.

    • Rusharuse says:

      Avenatti is about to rewrite Rudy’s part in this potboiler. No longer the “chalice from the palace” Court Jester the 9/11 hero transmogs into Dorian Giuliani, a most foul and disgusting portrait of his public self.

       

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Danny Kaye would appreciate the borrowing.

        Trump and Kirstjen Nielsen seem to have misplaced 1500 odd children, some just over a year old.  They don’t seem to care, pooh poohing the idea that they should find them, care for them, and unite them with their parents.  Instead, they intentionally separate them and, in a Trumpian flight of fantasy, blame the party not in power.  Trump treats them like someone who found his sexual advances as attractive as Harvey Weinstein’s.

        The Court Jester  was a long time supporter, advocate and fund raiser for UNICEF.  He would be apoplectic.  He would make the whole world feel the same, until the President of the United States picked his arse up off the golf course and started acted like one.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There’s some discussion about whether the children were accompanied or not.  As a moral and legal matter, it’s not relevant.  What’s different is only the reach of the cruelty. Apart from children and parents, and like torture, the cruelty reaches beyond its targets to damage the perpetrators and society as a whole.

          The USG seems to be following Theresa May’s Britain in intentionally creating a “hostile environment” for immigrants, documented or not.  May launched her program as Home Secretary and is promoting it while PM, the forced resignation of her own Home Secretary because of it notwithstanding.

          That the end result is both illegal and immoral – if politically popular with the National Front – that it also yields illegal and cruel results for thousands who have full rights to remain in the UK, matters not to Ms. May.  Like corporate America, she can, so she does.  Mr. Trump is doing the same.

  17. Soldalinsky says:

    RE: Trip 11:24PM

    Please explain how I’m carrying Trump’s water daily. I told bmaz a few weeks ago, when he questioned my character, that I’m here to discuss important topics and to promote the rule of law. I still stand by this statement. If it makes you feel any better, I’m confident Trump will screw up bigly rather soon. Why not wait to rally around something we all agree with instead of lapping up garbage promoted by dishonest media and nefarious interests? Just because we don’t like him doesn’t mean that we should treat him unfairly or convict him in the court of public opinion; upholding the rule of law is paramount. I plan on commenting more about the rule of law in the future.

    Most of my posts are focused on alleged Russian collusion. I don’t see it. Sometimes it’s healthy do disagree – even more so with people that have developed and sophisticated opinions on the matter. Without disagreement and debate, the truth may never emerge. The logic supporting my position is rooted in a simple and elegant legal maxim: Bad facts yield bad results. Without conclusive proof of collusion, everything is just reckless speculation and conjecture.

    Every bit of research I’ve done on the topic of alleged Russian collusion runs into a dead end. Literally, in the last video I watched yesterday, Clapper candidly admits that the intelligence community did not make any assessment or any call about what impact the “meddling” had on the election. Yet, in his book “Facts and Fears,” he writes: “.. of course the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win..” Am I wrong to question the integrity of our intelligence community when this garbage is being propagated as credible evidence?

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/23/politics/clapper-trump-response-tapper-the-lead-cnntv/index.html

    Trump is demented, sadistic and has surpassed any previous measure of corruption.

    Sorry, I disagree with you here. G. W. Bush and Obama were more corrupt. Trump will most likely surpass them though, if not challenged justly. One should also keep in mind that Trump is just a front for corporate interests. If he’s thrown out on questionable and manufactured evidence, it only benefits plutocrats and emboldens them to encroach even further into personal liberties.

  18. SpaceLifeForm says:

    https://www.haaretz.com/amp/israel-news/.premium-who-is-joel-zamel-australian-israeli-linked-to-mueller-s-trump-probe-1.6104963

    In the political blog, Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall pointed out the interconnectedness when it came to legal representation in the Trump probe.  “Zamel is represented by a man named Marc L. Mukasey,” Marshall wrote. “You may recognize the name because he’s the son of the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. For our present purposes what is important is that Mukasey has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years.”

  19. SteveB says:

    @ Soldalinsky

    Re your defence to the form and substance of your posts here
    VIZ :

    ” The logic of my position is rooted in the simple, elegant legal maxim: bad facts yield bad results”

    The aphorism you quote is NOT
    1 simple
    2 elegant
    3 a legal maxim

    it appears to be a mangled version of the canard “hard cases make bad law”

    But in any event, neither version supports either your position or what you claim is the “logic” you employ to promote it

    Here is a legal maxim entirely apt to your presentations, and defences of them

    Ex turpi causa non oritur actio

    • Soldalinsky says:

      SteveB, I apologize if my semantic transgressions rang a discordant tone.  Where I grew up, the difference between a maxim and aphorism is a few Miller High Life Tall Boys!

       

  20. orionATL says:

    i finally ran into the isikoff article in the huffington post:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fbi-wiretaps-putin-ally-trump-jr_us_5b08bf56e4b0568a880b7859

    the article was humdrum except for this section suggesting torshin might have paid the nra $30 mill for pro-trump campaign ads. say what?

    that possibility was raised by the people’s reliable watchdog, oregon’s senator ron wyden:

    “… More recently, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden sent multiple letters to the NRA asking about its ties to Torshin and other Russian figures, questioning whether Russian money was funneled to the NRA to help pay for the more than $30 million the group spent on political ads and get out the vote efforts during the 2016 election.

    An NRA lawyer, in responses to Wyden, said that Torshin has only paid his membership dues to the group and that, based on an internal review, the NRA received a total of only $2,500 from about 23 Russia-linked contributors since 2015. However, the NRA is now reviewing its relationship with Torshin in light of the Treasury Department blacklisting him last month. “Based on Mr. Torshin’s listing as a specially designated national as of April 6, we are currently reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him,” NRA general counsel John Frazer wrote to Wyden… ”

    if wyden is asking these questions, there’s a fire somewhere. anybody know anymore about this?

    • harpie says:

      2/2/18 Wyden Requests Financial Information Related to Alexander Torshin, Other Russian Officials  “Wyden Sends Requests to Treasury Department and NRA”
       3/5/18 Wyden Sends Additional Questions to NRA Regarding Alexander Torshin and Foreign Funding    
      [quote] Follow-Up Questions Come After the NRA Failed To Answer Whether it Receives Foreign Donations The letter follows on questions Sen. Wyden sent on Feb. 2, regarding reported financial ties between the NRA and Russia, which the NRA did not address in a response sent last month. Meanwhile, media reports have indicated close ties between the NRA and Russian oligarch Alexander Torshin. [end quote] 

      *
      -“media reports” links to McClatchy 1/18/18 “FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump
      -“close media ties…” links to NPR 3/1/18 “Depth Of Russian Politician’s Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed

      Both letters [and links] can be accessed from the above link.

  21. orionATL says:

    i am not sure how many programs the u. s. gov has to help children coming over the border, but the one i have heard about actually seems to work in those cases.

    children are apprehended, maybe a teenager seeking a parent(s) living here, often when the coyote drops them somewhere unexpected.

    ice finds and interviews the parent(s) to determine fitness (job, apartment, no drug or alcohol problem).

    child or children are given over to parent. ice (or other gov program?) insists children attend school and pays some expenses. there’s a kicker here though – parents (almost always undocumented) must register, have photo and fingerprints taken, and thereafter are always in gov’s control, unless they choose to dissappear into the american masses.

    i believe the program i am describing was set up during the obama admin to deal with children fleeing violence. for those who aren’t familiar with the situation, guatemala, honduras, and el salvador have descended into a hell of extraordinary violence in the last few years. petty quarrels may now be settled by paying a gang to shoot someone. this violence has apparently moved into remote regions of these countries where previously a machete was the most lethal weapon.

    too little attention in terms of reporting has been paid to this situation. combined with the pervasive lawlessness in mexico it will eventuallly have consequences here.

    • greengiant says:

      More of how US laws and policies violate Human Rights. No wonder the US is not a signatory. When “follow the law” means walk up and sign yourself into jail or sign up for on a one million person wait list that admits 57,000 people a year from your country then “follow the law” is nothing but a racist dog whistle.

  22. SteveB says:

    @Aubrey mcfate 27 may 0909
    Ah : different articles explains the confusion, thanks for clarifying.

    Situation not helped by fact that nesting not always work for me so my first post on issue, acknowledging Avattoir link to the yahoo piece by Isikoff, is orphaned down page whereas subsequent posts continuing line of thought/argument got nested properly.

    Alls well

    • Trip says:

      SteveB, It doesn’t always work but: right click, or control then, “open link in new tab” will usually (not always) work for proper linking/sequencing of replies.

Comments are closed.