There Are Still Mueller Prosecutors Whose Work We’ve Barely Seen

Because Roger Stone complained that Jeannie Rhee was leading the grand jury questioning of witnesses implicating him, I wanted to return to a project I was doing last year: tracking what we know Mueller’s prosecutors have been up to. I’ve made a table, below, of what prosecutors show up on what dockets (I’ve taken the liberty of adding James Quarles in an “obstruction” docket), including those DOJ prosecutors brought into cases first charged by Mueller’s team.

Here’s an amended description of the expertise of the prosecutors listed, which I originally did in this post.

  1. Mob specialists: Andrew Weissman is a mob prosecutor.
  2. Fraud specialists: Weissman and Rush Atkinson are also fraud prosecutors. Kyle Freeny is a key money laundering prosecutor.
  3. Corporate crime specialists: Weissman also led the Enron Task force. One of Michael Dreeben’s key SCOTUS wins pertained to corporate crime. Jeannie Rhee has also worked on white collar defense.
  4. Public corruption specialists: Mueller hired someone with Watergate experience, James Quarles. And Andrew Goldstein got good press in SDNY for prosecuting corrupt politicians (even if Sheldon Silver’s prosecution has since been overturned).
  5. International experts: Zainab Ahmad, who worked terrorism cases in EDNY, which has some of the most expansive precedents for charging foreigners flown into JFK (including Russia’s darling Viktor Bout), knows how to bring foreigners to the US and successfully prosecute them in this country. Aaron Zelinsky has also worked in international law. Elizabeth Prelogar did a Fulbright in Russia and reportedly speaks it fluently. And, as noted, Andres has worked on foreign bribery.
  6. Cyber and spying lawyers: Brandon Van Grack is the guy who had been leading the investigation into Mike Flynn; he’s got a range of National Security experience. Aaron Zebley, Mueller’s former chief of staff at FBI, also has that kind of NSD experience. Ryan Dickey is one of DOJ’s best cybersecurity prosecutors.
  7. Appellate specialists: With Michael Dreeben, Mueller already has someone on the team who can win any appellate challenges; Adam Jed, Scott Meisler, and Elizabeth Prelogar are also appellate specialists (there actually seems to be a division of labor between these appellate specialists for which challenges they deal with). Mueller’s hires also include former clerks for a number of SCOTUS justices, which always helps out if things get that far

A quick review of these materials make me wonder what Prelogar and Goldstein are doing (and what Goldstein will be doing once Papadopoulos is sentenced in early September). That’s particularly interesting given reports of a focus on the Russians who gave big money to Trump’s inauguration, which would fall squarely under the expertise of both.

As I disclosed last month, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

153 replies
  1. arbusto says:

    Wow!. The updates on Case/Attorney and area of expertise adds valuable flesh and bones not only on your exemplary work but to other reporting as well.
    gods bless

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I should really do a more thorough piece on what they seem to be working on, which isn’t necessarily what their past expertise is. But it’s always useful to see the skill set that Mueller thought he needed.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Izzy II.  Thanks.

        Here’s hoping Mr. Trump eventually discovers that Karma is not a dog, it’s a bitch.

      • Tracy says:

        Marcy, that would be really interesting to hear about, if you have time! Craig Unger (House of Trump House of Putin), on Lawrence’s show last night, said that he had read Lisa Page’s removal differently, that she was the FBI lawyer in Budapest helping investigate Russian mafia, causing him to wonder whether the SC would be investigating Trump’s ties to Russian mafia at all (hope so!).

        This was an interesting discussion for any one intrigued: at 4:20 Unger says that [going back 30+ years], Russian mafia “made [Trump’s] career – they own him;” and at 4:46 he talks about Page:

        • bmaz says:

          How about asking and/or having Mr. Unger put up his evidence, not requesting people here to respond?

          • Tracy says:

            Bmaz – Marcy commented about writing “a more thorough piece on what they seem to be working on” – I was saying that that would be interesting to read (if she has time to write it) – not that I’d like her to comment on Unger’s ideas, if that’s what you mean – I may have been unclear.

            The Unger clip was interesting to me (being new to this area), and I posted it for others who are also interested.

            I hope that the SC is looking at Russian organized crime ties. I would be interested to hear from the expert (Marcy) about where organized crime falls within the investigation, if she does go ahead with such a piece.

            Personally, I had always thought that Page was let go b/c of the perception of bias, like Strzok.

  2. Peterr says:

    Do we know anything about which lawyers seem to be involved in the Roger Stone part of the investigation? Who has been doing the questioning in the grand jury, for instance, or argued to hold folks in contempt when they did not show?

  3. Bob Conyers says:

    This helps me get my limited brain around things.

    The other thing that I’ve wondered about is if Mueller has referred potential non-election cases to other divisions – say tax fraud, or corruption in Panama – what are the odds we would know anything by now?

  4. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    When I saw Mueller add Zainab Ahmad to the roster, I almost fainted.
    She’s known for her successes in prosecuting terrorists but I can’t imagine she’s not contributing in her related expertise of transnational organized crime and international affairs.
    From Wikipedia: In the spring of 2016, Ahmad took a leave from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in E.D.N.Y to work at Justice Department headquarters (“Main Justice”), at the request of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, dealing with transnational organized crime and international affairs.[2] She returned to the E.D.N.Y. in April 2017, remaining there until July 2017, when she was selected by special counsel Robert Mueller to join the 2017 Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice team assembled to probe Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters.[1]

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes, I agree: she’s got remarkably apt expertise for this team, but that’s generally true of all of them. And … the President has Rudy G to go lie on TV.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah–this is mostly dated (I just added and removed the new players). Also since Goldstein wasn’t involved in this one I didn’t update. But I guess I should note that Silver is 0-2.

  5. Jose says:

    Aaron Zebley has not signed his name to any indictments either besides Prelogar.
    I think most of the work these people have been doing is still secret for now.

  6. Kevin says:

    Kyle Freeny came to the first few DC Manafort hearings, but she hasn’t been on a motion or in court for months. I’ve wondered what she has switched to work on. I guess it’s possible that people also leave the team without us knowing.

      • Kevin says:

        I must be missing something. Not seeing any prosecutors besides Mueller on the indictment, and we don’t have any other documents on GRU since that.

          • Kevin says:

            I think you misunderstood me. I haven’t seen Freeny’s name (or any other member of the team) connected to the indictment specifically since her name isn’t in the text of the document. I’m wondering how Marcy knows Freeny was involved in that. Obviously it was a large collaborative undertaking.

  7. Phil A. Buster says:

    Why only one member of Mueller’s team focusing on obstruction, given the seriousness and plethora of evidence?

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s partly artificial, since I wanted to add Quarles in a way that was meaningful. But it’s also an indication that, just maybe, the NYT is full of shit when they say obstruction is as important as you think it is. That’s why I do this: to show you how much isn’t the shiny object the NYT has parroted is shiny.

      • Phil A. Buster says:

        That’s what I was afraid of.

        But let’s be fair – NYT isn’t the only one blowing the obstruction horn. Nonetheless, point taken.

        • Trip says:

          Part of it is the path of least resistance. The cover-up is blatant and reinforced on the daily, via Trump’s tweets and brain-farts, Nunes’ absurdities, the silence of the GOP, the crazy hearings, and the beatings and firings in the DOJ. It’s an easier subject to cover.

          • Phil A. Buster says:

            And that was my other thought – only one specialist is needed because of the obviousness of it all. The indictment practically writes itself. Here’s hoping.

          • Bob Conyers says:

            I think they’re also hopelessly stuck on the Watergate parallel. They desperately want to opine “once again, it’s not the crime so much as the coverup.”

            I also think they will wet their pants with excitement if some Senator gravely intones “what did the President know, and when did he know it?”

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              As others have said, I think the MSM has latched onto the wrong precedent.  Walsh’s Iran-Contra investigation is a closer parallel.  It’s also uglier, because it involved successful administration obstruction of Walsh’s investigation – and because the culprits got off.

              It was also famous for then congresscritter Dick Cheney opining that Nixon was a fool for resigning and his GOP gutless for forcing him to resign.  Cheney, of course, became deputy and then chief of staff for Gerald Ford, when he replaced Nixon.

              Trump’s GOP has taken Dick Cheney’s advice to heart.

              • Bob Conyers says:

                To be fair to reporters, on fast breaking stories it’s understandable why they latch on to imperfect past stories to frame new stories. When a big hurricane emerges, comparisons to Katrina will happen because reporters are rushing to meet deadlines, conditions make it hard to find sources, and so on.

                But Trump-Russia has been developing for over 20 months now. Mueller has been on the case for 15. There is no excuse now for editors and producers to be framing stories this way, but they’re still stuck thinking it’s not a big deal and it will blow over. We’ll see upcoming coverage hamstrung because outlets have organized so poorly for so long.

                • marksb says:

                  Chris Hayes’ podcast Why Is This Happening has Andrew Revkin this week on the “wicked problem” of climate change, and in the early part, while my coffee was still brewing this morning, Hayes admits that any story about climate change is a ratings pit, and therefore most journalists don’t dig into the details and present a cohesive story. I think that’s maybe the most self-aware statement from any TeeVee host I’ve seen in a long time. (1) It needs to be quickly understandable, (2) it can’t be too complicated, and (3) it has be be able to be presented and wrapped up in a segment (or two, preferably with a panel to argue about it.) Thus we have reality shows as news. Omarosa is the headliner, while the earth burns; obstruction is the subject presented when money laundering and conspiracy with Putin is behind it all.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        As you know as well as anyone here, obstruction is a hard crime drawing hard time.  But the MSM seems to treat it as it does “perjury trap”.  It keeps the spotlight on the prosecution and off the accused and the crimes obstruction would be used to hide.

        It would be remarkably stupid to dance with a felony obstruction charge if you weren’t hiding something more nefarious.

        I would add, regarding the Manafort trial, that in many countries it would be illegal or extraordinarily controversial for the head of state (or any minister or lawyer) to comment about a case sub judice.  For the head of state, it would be a classic example of unlawful influence.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think EW also noted that many of these lawyers are doing double and triple duty, owing to their skills and experience.  A mob prosecutor, for example, would often have expertise in financial crimes, since the two are inseparable.

      Similar argument regarding obstruction.  As we saw in the Libby trial, as tough as are the penalties for obstruction, they are lower than the penalties for the crimes it hides.

      • Peterr says:

        It’s also an easy step for these lawyers to move from “Here’s the crime committed by the defendants . . . ” on to the next chapter of their story “. . . and here’s how the defendants tried to obstruct the investigation of it . . .”


        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Another way to think about the different subgroups is to consider which ones might be focused on specific targets at the top.

          (Though I don’t want to make Marvel Avengers comparisons here.)

  8. ernesto1581 says:

    “(even if Sheldon Silver’s prosecution has since been overturned).”

    Chin up: Shelly was convicted a second time in May, sentencing was July 27. He got 7 years. His lawyers suggested he should be ordered to perform “rigorous” community service, like running a special help desk…

  9. Trip says:

    Would someone please recommend a reporter’s twitter account (to follow) who will be in the court for closing arguments?

    • Peterr says:

      If they are in the courtroom, they won’t be tweeting until they leave. No electronic devices allowed.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Yeah, the best live-ish reporting has been from orgs that have two reporters in the courthouse so one can nip out and file while the other is still there. But the best reporting has come at the end of the day.

      • Trip says:

        Wow, life in prison if convicted in this case alone, according to your article, @space. I sort of half heard that before, but thought it applied to all charges including the next trial.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Defense has no sound arguments.

      Saying the charges were put together via ‘cobbling’ by OSC.

      I suspect the jury will not even order their free lunch tomorrow.

      • Trip says:

        Their argument is ‘Pay no attention to the hard evidence paper trail’. lol. Hopefully, there aren’t any cult-jurors. This is like Trump saying, “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening”.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          There may have been a juror that failed to follow the rules. I suspect that is what Ellis was referring to when he said something will be unsealed after trial is over.

          • bmaz says:

            That may or may not end up being correct; but you are a fucking idiot that does not know shit about law, and NEVER should act like you do to other commenters here.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          We’re not that far away from “Since when is lying on a tax return a crime? Doesn’t everybody hide a little bit from the IRS?” as an argument for acquittal.

      • RWood says:

        Love this gem:

        “A conspiracy count related to a loan from Citizens Bank that Manafort did not get, Westling argued, was simply irrelevant. “Why do you need that additional count?” he  asked, suggesting it was another example of the government overcharging Manafort.”

        They overcharged him, therefore you should acquit? Is that really what I’m reading?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Receiving the loan might complete the fraud, but it is not necessary for the attempt or the conspiracy. It is not overcharging in this case, although there is a long record of the government often doing that with less well-heeled targets.

          Ditto with The Federal Savings Bank Loans.  Setting aside that everyone at the bank wanted to deny the loans, and that only its CEO knew about the fraud and chose to make them for corrupt reasons, creating and filing the paperwork completes the attempt and the supports the conspiracy.

  10. Trip says:

    Speaking of Brennan’s security clearance: Omarosa HAS TAPES. Trump is a racist, and the jury will soon decide Manafort’s fate. Trump conspired with a foreign country to win the election. I think that about covers it. Did I mention that Omarosa has tapes?

      • bmaz says:

        This is yet another load of completely unsupported conspiracy theorist horseshit.

        You have become an immense disservice to the comment section of this blog. You are one step away from being removed for being a diversionary nuisance. You have been warned.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Yes, it does sound far-fetched, no doubt.

          But, if Trump made this decision, it almost certainly would have been via Article II, otherwise something would have leaked well before July 26, as others would have been aware of the process.

          And, if via Article II, there would not have to be any explanation.

          So, if no explanation needed, why even mention Congressional documents?

          To send a message to IC?

          (The EO12968 route is doubtful considering the players)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Trump just does things to lash out, especially when he’s frightened.  Like Nixon, he keeps a long enemies list and brings it out when necessary.  Or his staff does, to placate him by squeezing someone into the wicker man and lighting him up.

            Trump’s WH is a dysfunctional family with the Don at its head.  His staff will do anything to keep him blowing up at them.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Trump lashes out at his enemies when he is feeling in extremis, but I should have added that he does not do it blindly.  There is method in his madness.

            In this case, he needs to eviscerate the people and institutions of state that are independent of his gargantuan but dangerously fragile ego, whose job it is to enforce institutional and state norms rather than the will of the supreme leader.  Pete Strzok made the list.

            Trump is NOT kidding when he says he wants to be like Duterte or Putin.  And when the Don wants something, like every baby, he wants it now.

            No magic in the Constitution, no hidden spine in the GOP, no quiet but forceful resistance to his supreme will from the Pentagon (would we really want that?) will ride to the rescue.  Nor will there be active resistance from the now co-opted and demoralized DoJ and FBI.

            Trump’s Cabinet is hopeless, preoccupied as its members are stuffing everything not nailed down into the backs of their security escort dark navy SUVs and sending it to undisclosed locations.  A Supreme Court that includes Kavanaugh would rubber stamp his will.

            November’s election is the last, best hope.  Only a united Congress, with strong support from state governors, will rein in this wannabe despot.  That will be figuratively bloody, in a courtroomy sort of way, and take years.  If we miss that chance, any return to normalcy will take longer, cost infinitely more, and be a lot messier.

            Yascha Mounk spells it out in this fine piece in Slate (h/t digby).

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Laws only go as far as the institutions that enforce them are willing to go. Changing how far that is is one reason for his trashing of norms.

                Trump is trying to gut the institutions of state – the DoJ and FBI – or to make them blind followers of the executive – Kavanaugh on the Supremes – to protect himself. That will have vast implications beyond Trump avoiding the natural and logical consequences of his illegal or wrongful conduct.

                • Rusharuse says:

                  Yeah! The world isn’t gonna be the same whatever happens with/to Trump. Strange forces are at play. “UFO’s over New York” that kinda stuff. Human psyche is shifting, where be Jung, Cambell? New myth required- does Shiva come in Orange? “Strange days indeed”.🌅

                  • Tracy says:

                    The worst failing of our system right now is the lack of check from the legislative to the executive, and downright facilitation of its ends. November is IT – now or never!

      • Trip says:

        Yeah @space, I agree with bmaz. Why would you take the word of the lying-ist lying liars in history?
        It’s wacked.

        Sanders declined to provide any evidence that Brennan had used his security clearance to improperly access or transfer classified information or to make money.
        Brennan had criticized Trump as recently as Tuesday night on MSNBC, calling him “dangerous to our nation.”

        Your answer is right here^. I’m no fan of Brennan, but he is completely on point with that comment.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          If the revoke happened on 2018-07-26, why the reveal now? Why wait?

          Maybe an attempt to bury some worse news (Manafort) with old news (Brennan)?

            • pseudonymous in nc says:

              And Omarosa. Lord alone knows what else they have in reserve as a smokescreen when the news cycle is against them.

              • Trip says:

                Yes, mentioned in first comment.

                Also an addendum for @space:

                The statement was dated July 26, three days after the White House first said the president was considering the move. The White House told reporters the date on the release was the result of an internal copy and paste error.

                They can’t even get their vindictiveness out without a fuck up, lol!

            • Trip says:

              IMHO, he probably contemplated it on that day, and may have been convinced not to do it. May have been a hold for when he needed diversionary news, like now. Unless Brennan simply really pissed him off last night, or a combination of the other bad news hammering him, Sanders’ non-guarantee on N-word being taped, incorrect African American employment numbers, and so on.

          • Trip says:

            Reread @earl’s comment about Trump lashing out and also changing the subject. You are overthinking Trump’s motives. He uses excuses and BS to do things. It’s hasn’t been legit since he has been in office.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Even though that was 2014 when CIA was hacking Senate, some other events must have happened after that if dossier mentioned.

          From link above:

          “Specifically, Trump also cited Brennan’s denials that the CIA would access congressional computer files and statements that a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele about Trump during the 2016 campaign did not inform the agency’s findings on Russian interference in the election.”

          • Trip says:

            That statement makes no sense to me. It sounds like a redux of Trump saying the tower was tapped and Nunes’ ongoing fact-free buffoonery.

            Why do you believe ANYTHING Trump says?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Per the Guardian, the president revoked Mr. Brennan’s clearance owing to his “erratic conduct and behavior” (irony alert):

          Sanders also said Trump’s Brennan’s “lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets”.

          Mr. Trump’s lack of self-knowledge is routinely startling, but rarely this well illustrated. He must imagine that’s he’s Emperor of Hungary, in 1956.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Revoking Brennan’s clearance doesn’t really work as a news distractor.  Most people don’t know who he is, and revoking someone’s security clearance isn’t really big news.  It’s just petty vindictiveness.

      Omarosa, on the other hand, has been my favorite thing to watch all week.  She won’t be enough to distract from the Manafort verdict, which is going to be big news no matter how it pans out.  But Omarosa clearly knows how to get under Trump’s skin, and she’s pretty much owning his whole PR team.  Kellyanne Conway couldn’t name a single African-American aide to the President in the West Wing, and rather than just admitting it, she just flailed around looking less and less credible with every word that came out of her mouth.  Katrina Pierson got busted in a lie when Omarosa released a tape of a call that supposedly never happened.  The last time I saw her, she was screaming at a Fox News host to read the transcript, when he had just playing the audio of her lying.  Even Fox & Friends is saying Omarosa is “beating” Trump, and that’s going to drive him nuts.  He’s not going to be able to stop Tweeting about her, and he’s just going to look worse and worse as he does.

  11. Trip says:

    Hahaha, from WaPo on Ellis:
    …Ellis did later take on a harsh tone with Andres again, telling him curtly that, “I’m responsible for making sure this is a fair trial.” But he appeared to take a jab at the defense’s closing arguments, which Andres described as “cogent.”

    “Their arguments were cogent?” Ellis responded quizzically.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The Ellis sarcasm meter was on the fritz.

      Andres is correct. It was cogent. For the prosecution.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I thought the defense’s argument against the conspiracy charges made sense.  If Gates testified that he didn’t think he was defrauding the bank, then how can he be a co-conspirator?  If I were a juror, I would be paying very close attention to the judge’s instructions on the conspiracy charges.

      I was pretty much mystified by the rest of the defense’s closing.  Focusing on Gates’ lifestyle was a huge mistake, imho, because it immediately invites comparison to Manafort’s lifestyle.

      Claiming the prosecution cherry-picked documents implies that there were other documents that would’ve painted a clearer picture that was more favorable to Manafort.  Okay, then why didn’t the defense present an example?  Telling the jury to ignore e-mails and rely on testimony doesn’t work as an argument if Manafort didn’t testify.  The defense kept implying that there was more to the story than they were shown, but the defense didn’t think that it needed to supply any evidence to demonstrate this.

      I’d have trouble with a lot of the defense’s closing as a juror.  How can your closing argument be that there was exculpatory evidence when you didn’t present a single piece of evidence in your defense?  How do you rectify a jury instruction not to consider the fact that Manafort didn’t testify when the defense specifically tells you to look at the testimony, not the e-mail?

      • Trip says:

        Good points.

        Is the jury deliberating tonight, or did they go home and will get back to it tomorrow?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think each juror will know that if they did what Gates did, or Manafort, they would be done for bank fraud.

        I don’t know that the Basil Fawlty defense goes too far with the average juror: “I didn’t believe I was committing a crime, constable.  Yes, that’s the bloody bludgeon in my hand, I was only testing it.”

        The problem for the prosecution is that it works against Gates’s credibility for other purposes.  They’ll have to work on that when they use Gates in the DC trial.

        • Frank Probst says:

          Yeah, I don’t think the defense helped themselves much there.  The questions they were raising in the closing arguments sort of imply that he’s totally guilty, but just not beyond a reasonable doubt.  (They even had a visual aid to hammer this point home.)  Why did it take so long for him to get caught?  Implies that he got caught doing something illegal.  If he were going to commit fraud, would he have been this blatant?  Implies that the evidence clearly makes it look like he committed fraud. Given how much money he supposedly had, why would he submit a fraudulent loan application?  Implies that the loan application is, in fact, inaccurate, and raises the question of why he’s trying to get the loan in the first place if he was already rolling in cash.  And on and on.

          And the WaPo’s description of Manafort during the closing was kind of bizarre.  They say he didn’t look at the jury the whole time.  I’ll let the trial lawyers weigh in on that.  There’s a psychology that goes along with trials, and I’ve only been in the positions of jury member and witness for the prosecution.  When I was a witness, I was advised to try to make eye contact with each juror at some point during my testimony, and to address my answers to the jury, NOT the prosecutor or the defense lawyer asking the questions.  If I were a defendant, I think I’d be trying to make eye contact with the jurors during closing arguments just to establish a minimal rapport with them.  This is his last chance to make a good impression before the jury starts deliberating.  Maybe he was advised not to make eye contact, be the way he was described made it sound like it was beneath him to look at the jury.  His defense should have been, “Look, we all make mistakes sometimes, and the prosecution is just showing you every stupid mistake I’ve made over the last however many years.”  Instead, it sounded–and looked like–they were saying, “I’m so fucking rich that these are just rounding errors to me.”

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            When your pupils have corners at the top and bottom and dilate from the middle, rather than in that nice round way human pupils do, it’s best not to look directly at the prey – unless you’re ready for dinner.

        • bmaz says:

          “I’m rich, juror bitch, how  was I supposed to adhere to silly things like laws??”

          Yeah, that’s a winning play…..

  12. RWood says:

    Well, Drumps go-to distraction plan worked…again.

    Top story on the MSM tonight.

    Not the Manafort trial

    Not the Omarosa tapes.

    “Trump revokes Bennan’s security clearance.”

    On NBC the Manafort trial literally got about 20 seconds of time.


    • Frank Probst says:

      Closing arguments in the Manafort trial aren’t really big news.  The verdicts will be big news.  Guilty on all or most of the charges will mean Trump’s campaign manager is now a convicted felon.  There will be a lot of explaining about how these charges don’t relate directly to the campaign or the Russia investigation, but it will still be seen as a validation of what Mueller’s team is doing.  Not guilty on all counts will mean that Mueller’s team couldn’t make ANYTHING stick to Manafort, who was supposedly one of the sleaziest members of the Trump campaign.  That’s going to make it look like Mueller’s investigation really is a hoax.  If he can’t get one guy for cheating on his taxes, how is is supposed to prove any links between the campaign and Russia?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        EDVA is a warm-up.  It’s one of the things that pissed off Ellis.  The bigger trial is in DC in a few weeks.

  13. Rusharuse says:

    Butina’s dodgy Rusky dude does dossier thing with our kids. (You don’t think they have a fat one on Trump?)

    “FBI counterintelligence agents urgently located dozens of trip participants and told them the program was an elaborate cover for a Washington-based Russian spy recruiting effort. The agents said the Russians had prepared dossiers on some of the most promising participants, two of the former students told POLITICO.”

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rudy 9-11 has found a way to bring a smidgen of reality into Trump’s White House.

    Paraphrasing, Rudy says that if Bob Mueller does not finish his work in “the next two or three weeks” – that is, by Rudy’s famously self-imposed deadline – Trump will unleash hell, or, in Rudy’s less cinematic, less novel language, unleash “a ton of bricks.”  That will extend Mueller’s work a year or two.

    Voila!  Rudy has introduced into TrumpWorld a now realistic time line for Mueller’s investigation, and positioned it as a direct consequence of the Don being tough as nails.

    Rumors of Rudy’s demise into dementia are only partly true.  This magic trick will keep him on the payroll another month – even if he’s not paid in cash.

    • bmaz says:


      But, Earl, don’t bug Rudy right now, he is busy writing the rebuttal to a report that hasn’t even been drafted by Mueller yet.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A word to the MSM.  Donald Trump – to borrow Sir Wilfred Robarts’s description of Christine Vole – is a chronic and habitual liar.

    When Donald Trump’s White House issues a statement purportedly dated “July 26, 2018,” that does not mean it was prepared and signed on that date.  It means it was dated that date, regardless of when prepared.

    The document strips John Brennan of his security clearance – unbeknownst to the US intelligence community and its DNI.  It was an act so fraught with urgency that we are to believe team Trump left the document on the shelf for three weeks.

    The date seems most useful in suggesting that this is just routine.  By no means is Donald Trump petty and vindictive.  He did not fire revoke Brennan’s clearance because he criticized the president.  He is not playing tin despot when he threatens to revoke the clearances of more than a dozen of his most senior and vocal critics.

    Good luck with that.

    • Trip says:

      I do think that this was part of his wheelhouse of revenge back on that date. It was a day or so after Brennan publicly lambasted Trump, round 1-2, I think. Like his enduring wrathful ideation of firing Sessions, I think Trump is a grudge monger who would rather act impulsively (immediately) on perceived slights to his ego, but is held back by others (for a time). This could have been advice from Kelly back then (or the Ryan comment that it was merely trolling), but now  the Omarosa tape showed Kelly saying he was the capo. Even though I truly believe Trump used Kelly as a henchman to fire her, because in reality he is a coward on confrontation,  Trump doesn’t want anyone to believe he doesn’t have absolute control, like a dictator.

      Their consistent incompetence and lack of precision is well documented and Trump, in a fit of fury, releasing this edict without review (leaving an erroneous date) or consult of officials is par for the course.

    • orionATL says:

      i’ve read that cnn is reporting that the brennan matter was decided some weeks ago but is being released now to upstage omarosa coverage.

      don’t know, but this is exactly how this p. r. savvey oaf works – an 18-months long chain of one confrontation following another as a distraction from the last. the guy comes back from helsinki like an egg-suckin dog with his tail between his legs and goes after the nfl players again, et al.

  16. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Amidst the Manafort stuff, the protective order for Papadopoulos apparently managed to slip under the radar, though it’s unslipped with the enigmatic Mrs P chatting to Chuck Ross and twittering about a desire for new pro bono lawyers. (Sorry, Simona, Vicky and Joe don’t really do pro bono.)

    I doubt that Jeannie Rhee wants to juggle that with the rest of her caseload. But if George and Simona want to gamble…

  17. Trip says:

    When I asked @space why s/he would believe anything Trump says, I got to thinking…
    The press keeps track of Trump’s and his administration’s lies. However, the real story is when has he spoken the unvarnished truth? Telling Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation is one example. I’m at a loss for recalling another.

  18. Rusharuse says:


    Brennan tees off on Trump . .

    “The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”

    • Trip says:

      Brennan gave Trump ammunition that he is a purely political beast by coming out with this now. He gave the GOP a gift. He should have just said that Trump is a small petty man,  who does not believe in the first amendment, and who abuses his power. And then added something about Trump behaving like an authoritarian trying to kill dissent in all forms.

      If Brennan had actual evidence to release to the public demonstrating Trump’s part in the conspiracy (as a whistleblower) that might have been a questionable (due to the ongoing investigation), but admirable patriotic act of defiance.

      From the excerpt you posted (I didn’t feel like reading his full blather), it would appear that Trump personally burned his butt.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      He did rather leave out serial financial crimes, investigating the possibility of which must be occupying Mueller’s team.  But I don’t think it’s porcine cleaner, although the NYT article might well be.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I see said the blind man.  It was Brennan who described Trump’s claims of no collusion as “hogwash.”

        • Fran of the North says:

          It wasn’t ’til I read Brennan’s Op-Ed for the second time (yes, the cold in the north country numbs the brain) that I picked up on his not-so obvious message. Here are his comments regarding Alexander Bortnikov’s denials of Russian meddling in the US elections”

          Russian denials are, in a word, hogwash.

          And here is how he rolls into his conclusion:

          Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.

          Symmetry, Mais Non?

          (But at least our kids are above average.)

  19. Trip says:

    It sounds like Unger had some of the same sources as Steele?  Or…there are some elements of truth that were passed on, mixed in with disinformation.


    Russia started compromising Trump in the 1980s

    “It started off as a money-laundering operation where a man in the Russian mafia met with Donald Trump in Trump Tower — this new, glitzy building then — and he just came in with $10 million and he said, ‘I’ll buy five condos,’” Unger explained. “That event was typical of at least 1,300 such purchases of Trump properties.”Unger went on to discuss the next major contact between Trump and Russians, which came in 1987 when he made his first trip to the then-Soviet Union. In particular, Unger said one of his sources told him that Trump “had lots of fun with women” during his 1987 trip to Russia and that “the Soviets had kompromat” — i.e., compromising information — on him dating back to that trip.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      She and her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, are major characters in Once a Great City by David Maraniss, about Detroit in the early 1960s.

      Rev. Franklin was a major ally of MLK and the book describes how he organized a huge rally in Detroit that was a leadup to the March on Washington, and Aretha Franklin was plugged in to the whole effort.

      It’s filled with a great cast of characters – Henry Ford II, George Romney, the mayor of Detroit, Stevie Wonder and more. The book also gives a great sense of the emerging fault lines in the country that would grow by the late 60s, and it works really well as both a work of nostalgia and a corrective for nostalgia.

      • Trip says:

        Thanks for the tip @Bob. I’m not one who gets overly emotional over celebrity deaths because, in reality, they are not people that I knew. But Aretha was special, her music is still relevant and has stood the test of time.

        • Trip says:

          I just read that Trump said Aretha Franklin worked for him for a few times or some other horseshit.
          JFC, a legend’s death still has to be about HIM. And in typical form, he had to try to diminish her by claiming her as a subordinate. Fuck you, you racist monster.

  20. peacerme says:

    Trump showed up at the trial. Wow!! He is an authoritarian in every way. To intimidate the jury? Manafort? Both.

    What a dick!!

    • bmaz says:

      Um, no.

      The next case on the docket after sending the jury out was one that involved James Trump, a completely unrelated, but longtime, EDVA AUSA, that is all. Don’t get excited!

      • Peacerme says:

        Yah, clearly did not read through the article. Weird thing is I did google it and found no other reference and made the emotion mind decision to post it anyway. I guess I wanted to believe he showed up!!  My apologies. But he’s still a dick!

  21. Trip says:

    It really is like a mob family. Lara Trump seemingly offering to pay off Omarosa to keep it positive.
    How much is Sean Sphincter getting?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The pay-off would have been the carrot to sign a new NDA.  Any job would have been at will, so that they could terminate her at any time, but keep her hooked on the NDA.

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