On the Tactics of the Latest Manafort Indictment

When I went out to run errands yesterday, Paul Manafort was likely facing having his bail revoked next Friday and going to jail, from where he would fight charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. When I returned after an hour and a half, Paul Manafort — faced with a new superseding indictment — was probably facing having his bail revoked next Friday and going to jail, from where he will fight charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. That is, nothing much has changed, especially if you’ve been following along closely enough to know that Konstantin Kilimnik, who finally got added to Manafort’s indictments, has always been a key part of the election year conspiracy and the damage control since.

The key development, in my mind, is tactical. As Popehat explained in one of two great lawsplainers yesterday, the standard on revoking bail in any case is just probable cause that you’ve committed new crimes while being out on bail. By getting the grand jury to indict the underlying behavior behind the witness tampering claim, you’ve established probable cause.

And by the way, those accusations that Manafort committed a crime on bail? Mueller got a grand jury indictment, establishing probable cause. That may be all the judge requires. Manafort’s in trouble. I mean, even in the context of someone facing multiple indictments trouble.

This makes easier for Amy Berman Jackson to send Manafort to jail next Friday, effectively outsourcing the decision to a bunch of anonymous grand jurors. That is, it takes a likely action and makes it even more likely.

I’m interested in what it does to preserve evidence, though.

Manafort submitted his opposition to having his bail revoked last night, effectively claiming that Mueller has shown almost no evidence of witness tampering.

The Special Counsel creates an argument based on the thinnest of evidence; to wit, Mr. Manafort violated the Release Order’s standard admonition that a defendant not commit an offense while on release by allegedly attempting to tamper with trial witnesses. However, the scant proof of this claim is an 84-second telephone call and a few text messages between Mr. Manafort (or an associate referred to as “Person A”) and two former business associates(Doc. 315-2, Ex. N). These brief text messages followed the filing of the Superseding Indictment on February 23, which was the first time the Special Counsel raised any allegations about the mission and work of the Hapsburg Group. (Doc. 202, ¶¶30, 31.) Closer scrutiny of this “evidence” reveals that the Special Counsel’s allegations are without merit because Mr. Manafort’s limited communications cannot be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness.

The merits aside (remember, Jeffrey Sterling spent years in prison based in significant part on metadata showing 4:11 in phone calls, without content, between him and James Risen), I find this footnote most interesting.

2 This is no small matter. It is clear from the Special Agent’s declaration that the agent spoke with the person on the other end of the call (i.e., D1). (See Doc. 315-2, ¶¶ 19, 20). Instead of identifying what was said exactly for purposes of this motion, however, the Special Counsel instead states what D1 “understood” from Mr. Manafort’s brief text messages—not the telephone call that occurred. Id. at ¶19. The Special Agent also states what D1 opines, i.e., what D1 believes Mr. Manafort knew. Id. Person D2, with whom Mr. Manafort had no telephone conversations or text messages, states that D1 told him (D2) that he “abruptly ended the call.” Id. at ¶ 20.

Manafort is complaining that Mueller didn’t reveal precisely what FBC Group’s Alan Friedman (see this post to explain who he is) told the government about the call. Had Mueller not indicted, then he would have had a real incentive to call Friedman as a witness next week to explain precisely why Manafort’s comments reeked of obstruction. Mueller has likely presented the substance of the call to the grand jury, however, and may now have less need to put Friedman on the stand next week.

But there is probably far more interesting evidence that Mueller presented to the grand jury to substantiate these two charges:

Obstruction of Justice

From in or about and between February 23, 2018, and April 2018, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., and KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly persuade another person, to wit: Persons D1 and D2, with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding

Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

From in or about and between February 23, 2018, and April 2018, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., and KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK knowingly and intentionally conspired to corruptly persuade another person, to wit: Persons D1 and D2, with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1).

Charging both the obstruction charge and the conspiracy charge is, in some ways, insurance. It implicates Manafort in what are mostly Kilimnik’s efforts to get Friedman on the phone to coordinate stories.

But to charge conspiracy to obstruct, as opposed to just obstruction, Mueller also needs to show an agreement between Manafort and Kilimnik. Such an agreement would likely get to the core of Manafort’s intent more quickly than the calls as received by D1. That is, such an agreement would be the evidence that Manafort claims is lacking.

Which brings me to this exhibit, submitted Monday as part of the government’s motion to revoke bail, which is an XLS spreadsheet bearing the title “Open Source Timeline – March 2016 to March 2017 – Edited_lm.xlsx” uploaded to the docket.

It tracks the phone, WhatsApp, and Telegram communications between Manafort and Person D1 and D2, and the WhatsApp and Telegram chats between Kilimnik and D1 and D2 (Manafort uses WhatsApp once to place a phone call, but otherwise the WhatsApp and Telegram communications are all chats). It shows that the government has third-party sources for all of this — either D1 and D2 turning things over on their own, Manafort’s phone company (he was using AT&T quite recently) turning over his toll records, or Apple turning over the contents of Manafort’s iCloud account.

The table also shows time tracked in two scales: All of Manafort’s communications and the single chat between Kilimnik and D1 are in Coordinated Universal Time, while all of Kilimnik’s chats with D2 are in Central European Summer Time. You might get the latter via screen shots from a phone taken while in Central Europe.

Note, even though Kilimnik tells D2 that he had tried D1 “on all numbers,” the log doesn’t show any calls between Kilimnik and D1, it shows only the one WhatsApp chat between Kilimnik and D1. So the log doesn’t even show all the communications to D1 that exist. Just those that the government can provide a source that it’s willing to share publicly. I assure you, however, that the government knows when those calls were placed.

The log, as presented, also doesn’t show any communications between Manafort and Kilimnik.

Now go back to the fact that, yesterday, the government showed the grand jury not just evidence that Manafort and Kilimnik individually tried to suborn perjury from D1 and D2, but that they agreed to do so. At the very least, that would involve communications between the two of them. They’re only going to have the substance of that communication in one of two ways, though: if they did this via WhatsApp chats, those chats would be available on Manafort’s iCloud account, because he’s got really bad OpSec.

But if those communications were via a phone or WhatsApp call, then the government would have gotten that communication via some other means, means it hasn’t shown in that contact log. Keep in mind: as a foreigner with key connections, Kilimnik is a legitimate spying target under any definition of the term, even aside from the allegation he’s got active ties to Russian intelligence. And since January 2017, the NSA has been able to share raw EO 12333 intelligence with intelligence agencies, including the FBI. If that sharing works the same way Section 702 sharing works (and Kilimnik’s WhatsApp activity may or may not be collectable under 702, even before you get to EO 12333 collection), then so long as the FBI has a full investigation, it can obtain raw feeds of the targets covered by that full investigation.

No FISA notice has been filed in this case; it’s not clear whether the government would give notice of EO 12333 data (they should but they likely don’t). In either case they’d only have to if they intended to use that information in trial. The rest, they’d parallel construct by obtaining from the other parties to a communication or Manafort’s iCloud account.

Now, I suspect Mueller did not intend to file a document indicating that this communication log was originally started with a March 2016 to March 2017 scope, making it clear they’ve got a collection of parallel constructed sources for Kilimnik and Manafort communications that go back that far, right back to when Manafort joined the Trump campaign (which is slightly different than saying they got all of Manafort’s communications during the campaign).

That they’re still using the log to track the duo’s really idiotic ongoing communications is testament to the fact that since Manafort was indicted in October, the government has just been sitting back, watching everything Manafort and Kilimnik do and say to each other while getting Rick Gates to flip, collecting more information, and forcing Manafort to pledge all remaining liquidity to get bail. They’ve been watching Manafort and Kilimnik continue their efforts to try to get out of the deep shit Manafort is in, biding their time.

At the very least, revealing the communication log on Monday would have led Manafort to finally change the privacy settings on his phone, though it may well have led to a noticeable security change from Kilimnik as well, perhaps even a new phone without an FBI or NSA sensor collecting everything.

In the interim, too, other corners of the government revealed, in fairly spectacular fashion, that they can and will obtain the Signal and WhatsApp chats involving journalists of even congressional staffers like James Wolfe, meaning not just that they would do the same for alleged criminals out on bail and their co-conspirators, but that the means to do so has become readily available to the FBI for national security investigations. In short, this week the government tipped their hand about a whole slew of communications involving Manafort and Kilimnik that haven’t been disclosed in discovery yet as well as a capability that even lots of national security journalists (present company excepted) didn’t know they had.

Thus the grand jury and the new charges. It strikes me that, after disclosing the additional collection the FBI has on these two (though both have been fairly stupid in response to such disclosures in the past), the government has less incentive to let Manafort remain out on bail, because it will have a diminishing yield of information about the conspiracy. But the government also has a need to move things along without presenting everything they’ve got (including what they’ve asked Friedman about the developments post April 2 that led Kilimnik to try reaching out a second time). The new indictment provides a way to get to probable case without showing everything they’ve got, which in turns makes the chances that Manafort will finally be going to jail that much higher.

Update: On June 12, the government elaborated on the evidence showing that Manafort intended to suborn perjury, noting that the indictment should be enough by itself to revoke bail.

On June 8, 2018, a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia returned a Superseding Indictment charging Manafort and his longtime associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, with attempted witness tampering and conspiracy to commit witness tampering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(b)(1) and (k). See Doc. 318 ¶¶ 48-51. Counts Six and Seven of that Superseding Indictment “‘conclusively determine[] the existence of probable cause’ to believe the defendant” committed a federal crime while on pretrial release. Kaley v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1090, 1097 (2014) (quoting Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 117 n.19 (1975)); see also United States v. Smith, 79 F.3d 1208, 1210 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (“[T]he indictment alone would have been enough to raise the rebuttable presumption that no condition would reasonably assure the safety of the community.”). Probable cause to believe that Manafort committed a crime, in turn, triggers a rebuttable presumption “that no condition or combination of conditions will assure that [Manafort] will not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3148(b). Manafort’s challenge to the strength of the government’s evidence of witness tampering is thus both misplaced and unavailing. See Kaley, 134 S. Ct. at 1098 & n.6 (explaining that “[t]he grand jury gets to say—without any review, oversight, or second-guessing—whether probable cause exists to think that a person committed a crime,” and recognizing that this “unreviewed finding . . . may play a significant role in determining a defendant’s eligibility for release before trial under the Bail Reform Act”). 1

The go on to suggest that given the indictment, they don’t even need to bring the FBI agent to testify, but will.

Although the government submits that the grand jury’s probable-cause determination obviates the need for testimony by the agent who signed the declaration in support of the government’s motion to revoke or revise, the agent will be available to testify if needed per the Court’s Order. The government submits, however, that any remaining factual matters can be addressed by proffer, as is common practice at bail hearings. See Smith, 79 F.3d at 1210; see also United States v. LaFontaine, 210 F.3d 125, 131 (2d Cir. 2000) (calling it “well established . . . that proffers are permissible both in the bail determination and bail revocation contexts”).

Again, all this seems designed to make it easy for Amy Berman Jackson to revoke his bail.

55 replies
  1. posaune says:

    Marcy,  I noticed it looked like Mueller himself signed the filing.   Any significance to that?   Also, do you think he wrote it up himself?

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        He’s signed all the grand jury indictments so far, but not the plea agreements.

            • bmaz says:

              What in the fuck is it with you and “metadata”? Is it just a tic you have to spew every now and then, or what? Because indictments don’t have anything to do with “metadata”. This is just inane.

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                BMAZ, news *creates* Metadata. People talk about the news. But, more importantly, players involved in a conspiracy may talk about the news (fake or not), to their co-conspirators. Witnesses may become Subjects due to the Metadata they create. Subjects may become Targets due to the Metadata they create.

                Crooks are not really *that* smart.

                The Metadata they create helps the investigators to connect dots between co-conspirators.

                • bmaz says:

                  You have to be kidding me. You constantly blather, sometimes in hacker boy bullshit that resembles sanskrit, and that I am pretty sure coding experts would say is indeed unintelligible sanskrit, about “metadata”, and THIS is what you have to offer?

                  Seriously, THIS is what you have? Baloney. Total baloney.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks for the excellent context. The MSM was all agog at the new and improved indictment and that a Russian had been added to it, as if Kilimnik was a new character in the story.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I think it’s a symptom of an extreme editorial bias against reporting anything that can be read as suggesting criminal activity by Trump and company. It’s a parallel situation to the extreme editorial bias against calling a lie a lie.

      Once an indictment is handed down, the media feels free to trumpet that fact because it’s a matter of record. But until that point, regardless of the facts, they won’t suggest anything untoward might be hapening.

      Nevermind that they’ll happily make headlines of the most baseless lies by Trump and company. They’ll also use the excuse that it’s fine to parrot what someone else says, because their editorial policy is that they’re not supposed to actually say what the truth is, beyond very narrow limits.n Round and round it goes.

  3. Bob Conyers says:

    What are the odds then that Mueller’s team has captured evidence of other crimes by Manafort and/or Kilimnik?

    I’m not up on the ins and outs of what investigators are allowed to do as far as searching the devices and accounts for evidence. I have to assume Manafort was doing more shady outreach on other aspects of his case.

  4. Mary Beth says:

    Is there any strategic reason to put both names on the indictment? Would that make it harder for trump to pardon Manafort? Asking for a friend.

    • Ed Walker says:

      The double indictment doesn’t make it harder to pardon Manafort. That issue is more complicated for Trump, because then Manafort could be forced to testify without threat of incriminating himself on federal charges, in legislative proceedings like impeachment or oversight, as well as in criminal and civil cases. He would only face the possibility of perjury if he were proven to be lying. I don’t think he faces state criminal liability, because everything I’ve seen is federal, but I could well be wrong; for example there might be criminal state tax evasion. If so, he might try pleading the Fifth Amendment. But in that case, it should be possible to get the required information about federal crimes without implicating his Fifth Amendment rights in state criminal proceedings. I’d guess that’s too much of a risk for Trump, but who knows with that guy.

        • Avattoir says:

          But for the site having attracted over the last 18 mos. or so a lot of commenters I at least don’t recognize,  I’d just let be your rhetorical comment. But these are strange times …

          On the former – TAX- a lot depends on the state. Both NY & Va have state laws that seem like they could or should apply here; but otherwise, state tax laws show a crazy wide variation, so beyond that, I’d have to say a big ol’ DNK with a sub-guess of likely not all.

          (I say this from the perspective of having some experience in both prosecuting and in defending certain types of tax related crimes – tho as to evasion, only federal. I’m certainly – too weak: UNQUESTIONABLY I’m no specialist in this area; most of what I’ve been involved in came in already pre-vetted as tax related before I took the first call; & on the rest, my own kneejerk first call after client contact anywhere remotely near this has been to call a specialist.)

          On the latter – MONEY LAUNDERING – there’s a whole different history to this type of crime & its relations: it’s relatively “new” in the sense I’m actually older than the earliest of them.

          For starters, there was nothing direct on this until Congress acted first on it in the 1950s, and since then a couple of periods of major revision by Congress since, in the mid-1980s sparked by savings & loans and other ‘creative’ including state-based grifts; then following 9-11 during the Bush admin’s massive force feeding of Congress on a wide array of privacy and finance related crime.

          As to the question, certainly all the larger / more populated states – including any that seem at all likely to be implicated here – have passed laws at various times thru the period between the first federal acts and well before the close of the last decade. Indeed, a number of the large state anti-money-laundering laws are actually MORE aggressive than the existing federal law (Texas laughably so.).


          • ANZAC friend says:

            This is my first post to your site. Prompted by Avattoir’s comment But for the site having attracted over the last 18 mos. or so a lot of commenters I at least don’t recognize”

            I found Marcy about 6 months ago via a NYT article and have followed you since. Our former Ambassador to USA, Kim Beazley, said after your 2016 election that our country (Australia) is probably 2 election cycles from the same disaster for democracy. The media must be Independent. Always. (SMH newspaper motto). It heartens me to see MW joining the dots and your incisive analysis. Thank you.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I don’t think it matters from a legal standpoint.  But isn’t this the first indictment that has included both an American like Manafort and a Russian asset (at a minimum) like Kilimnik?  And the indictment is for crimes that arguably have nothing to do with Manafort’s relationship with Trump.  I think this changes the optics a little.  Maybe not much, and maybe not enough to mean anything, but Manafort is now tied directly to a named Russian in a federal indictment, and the indictment is–among other things–for the two men “colluding” with one another.  And the indictment is relatively straightforward.  It will be slightly more difficult to pardon Manafort for something like this.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Putting Kilimnik’s name on the indictment, even if he is unlikely ever to come within US jurisdiction, makes the Russian connection clearer for a wider audience. It keeps the wider crimes involved here in play. It makes obstruction and conspiracy to obstruct charges against both men, and establishes them to a probable cause standard.

    It’s probably a slam dunk conviction, given evidence that Mueller probably has. That rolls the prosecutorial snowball down hill a little farther and faster. Mueller will need that as he goes after bigger fish.

    • emptywheel says:

      Though the more conspiracies Mueller gets involving both Trumpsters and Russians will make the larger plot more visible.

    • Avattoir says:

      I’ve also been musing on how this sort kind of indictment can be used to make early ‘findings’ on the issue of conspiracy qua fact, that might carry over to other and future indictments. It’s something I know that government prosecuting attorneys like to kick around, a LOT, because there were times when I was one. There are enormously fun theoretical problems involved in the idea of ‘experimenting’ with indictments, but it does happen (I’ve done it myself.), and the whole area of what can be done with the fact of an (call it) super-ceding conspiracy having been found AS A FACT in one case – particularly with promoting the admissibility of what would certainly otherwise be objectionable evidence – can be a lot of fun not just for academics but for government prosecution teams attempting to scale the previously unimaginable.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, and Minafort has kind of been the roll out sled for exactly that since his and Gates’ first indictment where the lead count was ConFraudUS. Now Gates has pled to that the background is being further demonstrated. Pretty clear Mueller DOES have a plan.

  6. Madchen Vapid says:

    Re: Bob Conyers says (June 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm). Your post inspired me. I am not a lawyer (IANAL), so please forgive my naïveté.

    (1) The MSM is not reporting this (parallel construction). (2) It’s (parallel construction) probably been Mueller’s strategy all along. In other words, he needs to prove things twice, thrice and maybe more times, in separate and discrete ways in order to (a) avoid being spied upon by the politically motivated (GOPers and their lap dog MSM) and (b) to ensure that they can convict upon any or all of the elements (crimes) of the case(s). (3) This really does start to resemble a “deep state” conspiracy (which further convolutes these issues and problems) because the law enforcement and intelligence services (FBI, NSA, et al.) have to attempt to avoid democratically-elected (yet partisan) political actors by using undemocratic means. (4) Then, those same democratically-elected (yet partisan) political actors can show (credibly – though sanctimoniously hypocritically – perhaps) that the Deep State is conspiring to convict “so-called” innocent actors for nefarious, even tyrannical, reasons. (5) That begs this question. Is there any parallel construction that can convince the judiciary (irrespective of jurisdiction) that avoids the political/ideological (left verses right) and/or conspiratorial (authoritarian verses democratic) criticism and thereby withstands judicial, including Constitutional (legal verses illegal), muster?

    • SteveB says:

      I am not sure I follow what you are trying to say.

      EofH makes several good overarching points below, @ 6:15 pm .

      As I understand parallell construction, as it applies to the latest Manafort indicment, Mueller obtained the evidence/intelligence of Manafort &Kiliminks outreach by methods A, he has then obtained from the persons contacted the records and details of those contacts: method B. What is offered in evidence is the reconstructions of the contacts as demonstrated by method B, which is a thus a parallel construction of what was known in consequence of method A.

      Parallel construction is thus a gathering together of evidence, which from the investigators point of view, is a secondary confirmation of information they already have. Thus evidence is then presentable testimonially without compromising the confidential methods of inquiry.

      This is a sane rational reasonable process by which intelligence information is acted on to acquire useful evidence to present in court.

      If I have misunderstood your post as suggesting that such a process is inherently and necessarily nefarious, then please forgive me.

      But you will perhaps understand that, in an age of claims of fake news and wild conspiracy, analyses which seem to confuse/conflate ‘parallel construction’ and ‘deep state’  give rise to qualms amongst those of us who want to try and reach a rigorous view what is actually taking place.

      I do hope you aren’t attempting to troll.

      • Madchen Vapid says:

        Re: SteveB says: June 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm

        Not a troll. Is there a way to use the (smart and valid) legal strategy of parallel construction (PC) to avoid conflation (with politics, power relationships, etc.), or does PC practice (in an era of fake news) create unavoidable opportunities for ideological (parties and politics) and/or conspiratorial chicanery (bureaucrats and the deep state), thereby undermining or even crippling legal remedies? See also: Catch-22.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I would call this ‘parallel investigative techniques’ so as not to confuse with ‘parallel construction’. The latter having been used to arrest someone on false pretenses without revealing their sources and methods. That is, the arrest occurs usually after they say they got a ‘tip’.

          Here, there really is no reason to invent a ‘tip’.

          This is a legit CI investigation, you follow all paths possible (in parallel) without inadvertently revealing too much.

  7. arbusto says:

    Marcy’s good works on 3rd superseding gave me pause to consider El Douche continued use of unsecured cell phone.  I’d think the Brits GCHQ and German BND would gleefully forward any intercepts from said douche, all legalities observed of course.

    • Palli says:

      My naive impression is that trump uses an unsecured phone quite purposefully for deniability, a personal survivial technique. When things go sour, it will not be his fault, he didn’t know or say anything about anything important.

      OTOH, it’s also hard to believe trump is actually participating in the real discussions & decisions of a president. His phone is his edict & PR machine. A monarch’s tool to misdirect, camouflage, command revenge & entertain the faithful. These are really the only responsibilities he has accepted in this entire American travesty. Only an oversized ego could think he is pulling his weight.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Parallel construction” is developing a case – in effect, re-developing or reconstituting it – based on sources and methods a prosecutor is willing to disclose in open court.

    It is used where a case was first developed using sources and methods a prosecutor would not want to disclose in court, because their use in a case was illegal or were legal but the disclosure would compromise sources and methods.

    Separately, the deep state properly refers to a persistent wealth elite that changes largely at its margins.  It remains in power notwithstanding underlying changes in government.  Its members are not a conspiracy and they often disagree.  But their interests more often align than do theirs with the non-wealth elite.  Its members comprise shifting coalitions that coalesce to advance topics of interest to them.  Deregulation and lower taxes being two common ones.

    That deep state includes various players in the military-defense-intelligence complex, but its core is an elite that controls large corporations and family businesses and foundations.  It influences government and policy through filtering personnel, financing campaigns, lobbying, and backing think tanks, foundations and elite academic departments.  It works to restrict access to elite cultural platforms and to keep commentary and choices and media coverage of them within a narrow range that advances elite interests.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Ed Walker suggests on twitter, this NYT piece is nuts.  Mark Landler gives Trump the journalistic equivalent of an act Dr. Wheeler is not allowed to say on air.

    Trump will soon meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore.  The Don is remarkably lazy and undisciplined, more street smart than intelligent, and can’t or won’t read more than a single page at a time.  He won’t prepare so he claims he does not have to.  His excuse is that he has been preparing to meet Kim and end the Korean War his whole life.

    That does not pass the smell test.  A physician resident would not accept it from a medical intern.  The Hawaii U. swim coach would double the 10,000 meter morning swim if you tried it on him.  It would make a bar examiner laugh out loud.

    Mark Landler finds it credible.  Don Trump, you see, went to a military boarding school during the Cuban missile crisis.  The discipline didn’t take, but while there, Trump became “obsessed” with the unfinished Korean War and Gen. MacArthur’s leadership of it.  Trump wants to finish the job MacArthur started, and thereby take the place in world history MacArthur lost and that Trump deserves.

    Llander is oblivious, his newspaper is worse.  He is describing megalomaniacs, both Trump and MacArthur.  Gen. MacArthur wanted to bomb the Korean peninsula back to the Stone Age and largely did.  His vision of peace was to wipe North Korea from the map.  Truman fired him for insubordination and before his efforts could draw the US into a nuclear war.

    This time, however, Trump is not just MacArthur, he’s also Truman.  Whether he is restrained will depend on the Pompeo-Bolton feud, and how much he thinks he can snow the Swedes into giving him that Nobel.  What could go wrong for an unprepared man on a mission, facing another unrestrained narcissist who has prepared as if his life and his country depend on it.

  10. Rusharuse says:

    Nobel hah! . . Trumps g7 performance guarantees him the Russian order of friendship medal (up u Rex!), also unbackable to win a Lasker major medical feat award for the cross pollination of Broidy’s girlfriend, also in the bag a Booker best fiction for ‘A Letter from Don jnr”. Big year, winning year, great year and its only June!

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The odious Peter Navarro, who simply beat Larry Kudlow to the punch:

    “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door and that’s what Bad Faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference,” Navarro said, adding that his comments had come “right from Air Force One”.

    Apparently, M. Trudeau’s crime was not to kowtow as low to Mr. Trump as Mr. Trump had kowtowed to Vladimir Putin.

    • Trip says:

      We are in such a perilous time. We have a madman with loyalties that don’t favor our country or citizenry. Mueller needs to hurry the hell up and we must vote the GOP out, even if the Dems are only the lesser evil. Because the evil differential is immense.

      • Palli says:

        Will we understand the real lesson of trump’s degradation of America? His first loyalty is the appearance & privilege of personal wealth.  All other loyalties derive from the maintanence of that self-concept. Both are natural & dangerous ancillaries to Capitalism. Elon Musk & Jeff Bezos are, at present, are simply more socially acceptable Capitalists to the general public.

        Maybe the evil differential is immense at the ballot box now but without real work changing our economic structure, culture, democratic safeguards and serious penalties to protect the common gound, the lesser evils will fully succomb to undeserved rewards to become the lazy new trumps in the making.

        • Palli says:

          1 “are” & common “good” (spell check can’t even spell what it incorrectly corrects)

        • Trip says:

          No doubt.  But we have the seriousness of a heart attack now. That requires a trip to the ER. Then you work on the chronic underlying condition that brought it all on, or what can bring it on all over again.

    • Nanute says:

      Yeah. And now Kudlow is arguing that if the summit fails, it’s all Trudeau’s fault.
      Back to the discussion at hand: Maybe some what off topic, but I’ll ask anyway.  There’s been a lot of lawyer argument over whether a sitting president can stand trial while still in office.  Now that may or may not be the case. What I’d like to know is if Mueller has enough evidence, as he has about Manafort’s assets, couldn’t Mueller confiscate Trump’s assets under the same rules?

  12. Nate says:

    So wait, are you saying that the govt can crack Signal’s encryption? As opposed to being on one of the devices at either end?  MASSIVELY important if so.

    • bmaz says:

      No, nobody is saying that.It is a possibility, but not one of the more likely ones. If the government had that capability, they wouldn’t expose it for this junk.

      • Nate says:

        Yes that’s what I thought as well.  I was reacting to this bit, which admittedly is ambiguous but could be interpreted as pretty alarming:

        they can and will obtain the Signal and WhatsApp chats involving journalists of even congressional staffers like James Wolfe, meaning not just that they would do the same for alleged criminals out on bail and their co-conspirators, but that the means to do so has become readily available to the FBI for national security investigations. In short, this week the government tipped their hand about a whole slew of communications involving Manafort and Kilimnik that haven’t been disclosed in discovery yet as well as a capability that even lots of national security journalists (present company excepted) didn’t know they had.

        What’s the “capability” that the govt has that informed people think they don’t have?

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          So far, they have revealed Metadata connections.
          Any content they have obtained, has not been revealed and what content they have will not be revealed for some time, if ever. Only your hairdresser will know for sure.

          At this point in time, they definitely do not want to reveal any more sources and methods.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Noooooo, not the “M” word!!!!   Run for your lives!!!!

            Anyhow, it does point out how remarkably tight the OSC has been on information.

            However, given that Putin and his FSB / SVR buddies are unreconstructed Soviets totalitarians and their tradecraft is usually much better that this, why would they let Kilimnik be exposed like this to surveillance, especially after they knew the Trump Campaign was run by loose-lipped idiots?  Is Kilimnik in possession of something Vlad (or a lackey) wants?


        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          What’s the “capability” that the govt has that informed people think they don’t have?

          [Informed people would never ask that question. Never. Non Sequitur]

        • Michael says:

          “The Cloud”. It is a warm, fuzzy term for the reality: “hard drives not owned by users”. The drives and servers are owned by for-profits and rented out. If you back-up your data to “the cloud” – Oh! where did it go?! I don’t know.. somewhere, up there perhaps … it just…went – you are trusting it to someone you don’t know, whose handling of it is, at best, only “policy”, definitely *not* law, If the big. mean G-man comes a-knockin’ and says “I need the data belonging to [your-name-here]”, the for-profit will probably comply. But you asked about the possibility that LE has cracked encryption, so why did I drone on about the cloud? Right?

          Because when phones back-up to the cloud, they do not necessarily send ENCRYPTED.data to the cloud (depends on the particular app, the type of phone, and maybe even the phase of the Moon), which means the data that was as secure as your phone (while stored on your phone) now sits “in the clear” (unencrypted) on somebody else’s hard drives. That it is the definition of “insecure”. The person who really-really needs the security promised by e.g. Signal shoots herself in the head (well, sets herself up for a bullet) when she stores sensitive data on Somebody.Else’s.Hard.Drives.
          This is what EW was referring to when she said Manafort has really bad OpSec.

          Back-up drives abound, and they are relatively inexpensive. They are known as USB hard drives and NAS “Network Attached Storage”. If you can afford a $500-$1000 for a silly phone …

          • Dev Null says:

            A minor point that (almost) everyone, even informed natsec journalists [1], is aware of, is that secure private storage in The Cloud is trivially possible [2] … just encrypt before pushing information to The Cloud.

            Some cloud providers even offer automatic encryption at the end user’s PC; at least one service claims to have no access to the user’s key. [2]

            Or (less automagically but without requiring confidence in one’s cloud provider) an end-user can mount a cleartext filesystem atop the encrypted/exported-to-cloud filesystem. [2]

            (Again, not suggesting that this is news, just annotating an overly broad statement.)

            [1] Riffing on EW’s next-to-last para, if that’s not clear.

            [2] It goes without saying that one should be cautious about crypto algorithm robustness, key management, and perhaps most critically about the implementation of the crypto system. (e.g. what the heck was the TrueCrypt kerfluffle about?)

        • emptywheel says:

          With Wolfe it may have been him turning the phone over voluntarily. With Kilimnik, I assume they’ve compromised his phone. Neither would involve compromising encryption.

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