It Is False to Claim There Was No Follow-Up to the June 9 Meeting

On July 15, 2017 — a week after the June 9 meeting was reported in a NYT story publishing the first of numerous White House statements attempting to explain the meeting — Rhona Graff sent Rob Goldstone an email (PDF 44). With only a garbled (perhaps autocorrected) explanation, she forwarded back to Goldstone an email Goldstone himself had sent her the previous November, attaching some talking points from Natalia Veselnitskaya about Bill Browder and the Magnitsky sanctions (for a copy of the talking points, see PDF 37 ff).

A week after the White House had first issued a statement saying, in part, “there was no follow up” on the June 9 meeting, Trump’s Executive Assistant was sharing with Goldstone a paper trail showing that there had been.

Rudy gets all the facts about the June 9 meeting wrong, again

That’s an important detail that gets missed every single time the punditocracy deals with attempts by Rudy Giuliani or his client to spin the June 9 meeting, as has happened in the wake of this TV appearance by Rudy on Meet the Press.


Well, because the meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about, about Clinton. The meeting turned into a meeting —


Which in itself it’s attempted collusion. I understand —


No it’s not.


You just said it. The meeting was intended to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a criminal lawyer.



No, it wasn’t. No, no.


That was the intention of the meeting, you just said it.


That was the original intention of the meeting. It turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all. And, of course, any meeting with regard to getting information on your opponent is something any candidate’s staff would take. If someone said, I have information about your opponent, you would take that meeting. If it happens to be a person with a Russian —


From the Russian government?


She didn’t represent the Russian government, she’s a private citizen. I don’t even know if they knew she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name.


They didn’t know she was Russian, I think they knew she was Russian, but ok.


Well, they knew it when they met with her, not when they set up the meeting. You, you told me, you, you asked me, you know, did they show an intention to do anything with Russians? Well, all they knew is that a woman with a Russian name wanted to meet with them. They didn’t know she was a representative of the Russian government and indeed, she’s not a representative of the Russian government. So, this is much ado about nothing. Plus, the President of the United States wasn’t at that meeting. He didn’t know about that meeting. He found out about it after and by the time he found out about it, it was nothing. So, I mean —

Don Jr. took a meeting expecting and accepting dirt from the Russian government

Numerous people have noted that Rudy was totally wrong about the terms on which Don Jr took the meeting in the first place. Rob Goldstone told Don Jr his boss, Aras Agalarov, would,

provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.

Whether or not that’s what Don Jr got at the meeting (or a week later, when Guccifer 2.0 started releasing stolen documents and information), it is nevertheless the case that Don Jr accepted a meeting at which he expected to be offered dirt on Hillary that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Indeed, Don Jr specifically said he’d be willing to wait to receive that dirt until later in the summer.

If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer

The email exchange, by itself, goes a long way towards meeting the terms of a conspiracy, willfully engaging in an agreement to break the law (which includes both accepting things of value from a foreign government and, given events later in the summer, possibly conspiracy to hack a computer).

Remember: to be charged with conspiracy, the conspiracy doesn’t have to be successful. So even ignoring the “documents and information” the Russians started releasing a week later, that “it turned out to be a meeting about another subject,” as Rudy excuses, doesn’t help Jr. He took a meeting to obtain dirt.

Rudy is wrong about follow-up to the meeting as well

So the rest of that that sentence — “and it was not pursued at all” — actually isn’t necessary to an analysis of a conspiracy, because overt acts had already taken place. Still, on that point, too, Rudy is wrong.

The record shows that those behind the meeting did pursue the “it” in question — sanctions relief — fairly aggressively after the election, with some inconclusive cooperation from the Trump Administration. And even after the record on that pursuit goes dark, Russia as a state continued to pursue sanctions relief — indeed, continues even today, most recently by buttering up a series of Republican Senators visiting Moscow to lobby for it.

As I lay out below, Aras Agalarov’s US Vice President, Ike Kaveladze, pushed Goldstone to set up a second meeting, even if with lower level people. As far as we know, that meeting never got scheduled.

But even as the Agalorov effort to obtain sanctions relief fizzled, a more formal Russian effort started, then moved to a back channel.

The most important moment in any follow-up on the June 9 meeting request for sanctions relief came in the December 29, 2016 phones calls between Mike Flynn and Sergei Kislyak about sanctions, a discussion in which Flynn took close directions from KT McFarland, who was with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Those are the phone calls Flynn lied to the FBI about, in spite of broad knowledge of the calls among transition aides. Those are the phone calls about which he got a plea deal to cooperate with the Mueller team.

Don Jr probably promised the Trumps would revisit sanctions after the election

According to most participants in the meeting who offered testimony to SJC, the Russians were right to expect a follow up discussion on Magnitsky sanctions. In fact, all the participants representing the Russian side save Goldstone (including Anatoli Samochornov, who is the only witness on either side not to have compared notes with at least some of the others before testifying) remembered Don Jr ending the June 9 meeting by saying they’d revisit the issue if or when his father won.

Natalia Veselnitskaya said Don Jr said they’d revisit the topic.

Mr. Trump, Jr. politely wound up the meeting with meaningless phrases about somewhat as follows: can do nothing about it, “if’ or “when” we come to power, we may return to this strange and confusing story.

Ike Kaveladze said that Don Jr said they might revisit the issue if his father won.

There was no request, but as I said, it was a suggestion that if Trump campaign wins, they might get back to the Magnitsky Act topic in the future.

Rinat Akhmetshin said that Don Jr said they would revisit Magnitsky when they won.

A. I don’t remember exact words which were said, but I remember at the end, Donald, Jr., said, you know, “Come back see us again when we win.” Not “if we win,” but “when we win.” And I kind of thought to myself like, “Yeah, right.” But it happened, so — but that’s something, see, he’s very kind of positive about, “When we win, come back and see us again.” Something to that effect, I guess.

Anatoli Samochornov, Veselnitskaya’s translator, who is the most independent witness and the only one who didn’t compare his story with others, said that Don Jr said they would revisit the issue if Trump won.

A. Like I described, I remember, not verbatim, the closing that Mr. Donald Trump, Jr., provided, but that’s all that I recall being said from the other side.

MR. PRIVOR: That closing being that Donald Trump, Jr., suggested —

MR. SAMOCHORNOV: If or when yes, and I do not remember if or when, but if or when my father becomes President, we will revisit this issue.

Just two people remember it differently. In an answer that, in some respects, exactly tracks statements that were massaged elsewhere by Trump’s lawyers, Rob Goldstone said Don Jr told Veselnitskaya to raise it with Obama.

And he stopped this in its tracks and said, with respect, I suggest that you address your — what seemed very valid concerns but to the Obama administration because they actually are in power. My father is a private citizen and, as such, it has no validity, of what you’re saying. Thank you very much for coming. I appreciate all your time. You know, we have a very busy schedule, and thank you.

And Don Jr himself remembers he ended the meeting by saying his father, a private citizen, couldn’t do anything about this.

I proceeded to quickly and politely end the meeting by telling Ms. Veselnitskaya that because my father was a private citizen there did not seem to be any point for having this discussion.

Paul Manafort would have provided testimony on this point to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but stood up SJC after the raid on his condo the morning after he testified. And Jared left the room before any of this transpired.

In any case, given their impression that Don Jr, in a meeting offering dirt on Hillary, had committed to revisiting Magnitsky sanctions if his pop won the election, the Russian side of the meeting did follow-up after Trump won. And so they did.

Agalarov’s team spent ten days in November trying to get Veselnitskaya a follow-up meeting

Ten days after the election, November 18, Ike Kaveladze reported to his boss, Aras, that Rob Goldstone had already reached out to the Trump people (Kaveladze doesn’t say to whom) to follow up.

Q. Could you please take a look at the entry for November 18, 2016, at 17:45. This appears to  be a message from you to Aras Agalarov. Mr. Kaveladze, could you please translate the content of that message?

A. “Hello. Rob spoke with Trump people. They asked a short synopsis of what is she going to be discussing. Last time she produced a lot of emotions and less facts. Most of the people who took part in that meeting are moving to Washington, D. C. Some of them already fired. When they receive synopsis, they will decide who to send to that meeting.”

Goldstone apparently asked for a short synopsis of the topic presented at the meeting — what would turn out to be the Magnitsky Act — so the Trump team could figure out who should attend a follow-up meeting.

On November 23, Kaveladze sent Goldstone that synopsis.

Less than an hour later, Goldstone wrote back and noted that the synopsis was largely what Veselnitskaya had presented in June.

When Kaveladze pressed for a meeting, Goldstone got squirrelly, even while saying he’d speak to both Don [Jr] and Rhona after sending a synopsis.

When Kaveladze followed up on November 27, Goldstone claimed he had sent materials the week before. Kaveladze suggested that this meeting could happen on the assistant or lawyer level — something both Kaveladze and Goldstone had expressed regret hadn’t happened during the summer.

The next time Kaveladze followed up, Goldstone said that Emin might have to call directly (which Kaveladze took to mean making a call to Don Jr).

It appears only after that did Goldstone forward the synopsis to Rhona Graff, above. After which he told Kaveladze that he had “again” asked about a low level meeting.

After that follow-up call, Graff forwarded Goldstone’s email to Steve Bannon (who early this year argued the June 9 meeting should have been held with lawyers, not the top campaign officials, thought without objecting to the exchange in principle), explaining that Trump knew Aras well, but that she wasn’t “sure how to proceed, if at all.”

During this whole exchange, Kaveladze was juggling messages with Veselnitskaya who was in New York on Prevezon business and beginning to panic based on news reports that Trump would keep Preet Bharara on (Kaveladze would continue handling her throughout December, until handing her off to Agalarov attorney Scott Balber in January).

On November 29, he explained to Vesenitskaya that,

Robert says that logistics of organizations [sic] of meetings with Team Trump now would be difficult and lengthy. I’ve landed in Moscow. I will discuss this situation … with my boss.

Kaveladze did not explain from whom Goldstone learned that, or if it included another phone call. He had also told Goldstone he was in Moscow if he wanted to speak directly. As Kaveladze told SJC, he discusses important things with his boss face-to-face because,

Agalarov is based in Russia, and I’m pretty sure, you know, his phone is being, you know, monitored.

And that’s where, as far as we know, the Agalarov effort to follow up on the June 9 meeting, ended, with Kaveladze explaining things face-to-face to his boss. Which would make it follow-up, just unsuccessful follow-up.

At least two communications are unaccounted for

One key question about this follow-up is the role that Don Jr had in it.

None of these texts suggesting Goldstone had phone conversations with someone, probably Don Jr, as early as November 18 were turned over to SJC before Don Jr testified. Probably as a result, he was asked only about the November 28 email from Goldstone to Graff. He claims he was not aware of any part of the follow-up.

Q. It appears Mr. Goldstone continued his anti-Magnitsky effort beyond your June 9, 2016 meeting. Other than this e-mail, were you aware of any other effort he made on this issue after your meeting?

A. Not that I recall, no.

For his part, Goldstone claims he didn’t send anything before that November 28 email, in spite of telling Kaveladze, back in November 2016, that he had.

Q. So in your November 27th message to Mr. Kaveladze, you said you forwarded the information last week. The last email was an email sent on November 28th, the day after this message with Kaveladze, forwarding the document to Ms. Graff. Had you, in fact, forwarded the document the week before your November 27th message with Kaveladze?

A. I don’t recall, but because I know myself, and I know how I write , I would imagine that the minute he reminded me of it in here, I forwarded it to Rhona, probably the next day. So I don’t recall one before then, no.

Q. All right. Prior to sending that email to Ms. Graff on November 28th, 2016, did you speak with Ms. Graff or any other Trump associates about a second meeting with Veselnitskaya?

A. I don’t believe so.

Nevertheless, there are several known or reported communications unaccounted for: the one Goldstone had before November 18, any email he had the week before November 28 with the synopsis, and any follow-up call via which Goldstone would conclude that the logistics of organizing a meeting with Trump people would be difficult during the transition.

Mueller, of course, will know whether Goldstone and Don Jr communicated directly, and if so when. So he will have a sense of whether Don Jr and Goldstone’s claims, which seem to contradict contemporaneous records, are true or not.

The Russian side concludes there is no communication channel

The problem, at least as the Russian side saw it (possibly based off what Goldstone had reported back), was those logistics: a channel of communications. The next day, December 1 at 11:49AM, Kaveladze texted again (Veselnitskaya was by this point frantic because Trump had met with Preet Bharara, with her even discussing who Trump might, “Wet and not to wet” with respect to the US Attorney, which Kaveladze translated as “crush”), explaining that Aras planned on meeting with Trump to restore communications.

Unfortunately, we don’t have communication. My boss planned to meet with him. We will send a formal request. Hopefully after the meeting we will keep communication.

As far as we know, that meeting never happened. Though the Agalarov camp and the Trump camp would resume intense conversations in June 2017, as the Trump Organization began to try to understand the legal liability posed by the meeting. Trump’s lawyers would speak directly with both Kaveladze and Goldstone before Agalarov’s lawyer, Scott Balber, took over the discussions (indeed, he remained the key architect of the narrative from that point forward, probably for all sides). Those are the conversations that would lead, on July 15, Graff to remind Goldstone that he had emailed her to follow up on the June 9 meeting.

So while there was clearly follow-up, there was not a clear resolution to the June 9 meeting in which Veselnitskaya got Trump to adopt her preferred policy.

Other Russians pursue a communication channel

Unless the resolution moved to a different path.

As it happens (this may be a coincidence, or may be a sign of greater coordination that the Trump people claim they’re capable of), later on the same day after Kaveladze said his boss would seek to restore a channel of communication with Trump, Jared hosted a meeting in Don Jr’s office with Sergei Kislyak, attended by Mike Flynn. Even according to Jared’s prepared statement, that meeting was about establishing communication channels to Russia.

The meeting occurred in Trump Tower where we had our transition office, and lasted twenty-thirty minutes. Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.), who became the President’s National Security Advisor, also attended. During the meeting, after pleasantries were exchanged, as I had done in many of the meetings I had and would have with foreign officials, I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations. Also, as I had done in other meetings with foreign officials, I asked Ambassador Kislyak if he would identify the best person (whether the Ambassador or someone else) with whom to have direct discussions and who had contact with his President. The fact that I was asking about ways to start a dialogue after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not aware of one that existed before Election Day.

The Ambassador expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address US. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn. The Ambassador said that would not be possible and so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the Inauguration. [emphasis original]

Don Jr, in his SJC testimony, is the one who revealed that this meeting took place in his own office (and therefore outside of transition space that might be more closely monitored). But he claims he didn’t attend because he was sweaty from a workout; he also claims he didn’t know about it beforehand.

Q. You mentioned during the conversation with my colleagues that you had become aware of a meeting or meetings with Ambassador Kislyak. Can you just explain like what meetings did you become aware of? When did they take place?

A. I don’t remember the exact timing of when they took place. I believe it was after we had already secured — meaning after the election, but I could be mistaken. The only reason I’m aware of it is because it occurred in my office. I came back from the gym and they were in there.

Q. So when you say after the election, you mean after November 8, 2016?

A. I believe so.

Q. Was it a meeting in December of 2016?

A. That would fit the description, yes, I believe so.

Q. So it was a meeting in Trump Tower?

A. Yes.

Q. In your office but you hadn’t known about it beforehand?

A. Correct.

Q. Do you know why they used your office?

A. It was open, I was at the gym.

Q. And who was in that meeting?

A. I believe it was Jared Kushner, the Ambassador, maybe Flynn, but I don’t remember.

Q. Anyone else, to the best of your recollection?

A. No, not that I recall.

Q. Was the meeting still ongoing when you returned?

A. I believe it was, yes.

Q. Did you go in and join the meeting?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Why not?

A. Because I didn’t know what it was about and I was sweaty from the gym.

Q. Did you ask Mr. Kushner or Lieutenant General Flynn about the meeting after?

A. No, I don’t think I did.

So Don Jr doesn’t remember any calls with Goldstone about following up on the June 9 meeting (though they likely occurred), and he says a meeting with the Russian Ambassador just happened to get scheduled into his workout window on the same day his liaison was seeking a new channel of communications.

Mind you, the subject of this attempt to set up a back channel, per Jared, would be cooperating on Syria, something I learned — from someone who played a significant role in the Russian election attack — that Trump was working on within 15 hours of the close of polls in Hawaii the day after the election.

But within short order, these very same players would shift focus of back channel communications to sanctions relief. Within weeks, Kislyak had set up a meeting with the head of a sanctioned bank, Sergey Gorkov, to meet with Jared. And shortly after that, Flynn would make a series of calls to Kislyak about delaying any response to Obama’s December 28 sanctions. This, in turn, would lead to a meeting involving Erik Prince and another sanctioned bank in Seychelles leading up to the inauguration.

Natalia Veselnitskaya never got her second meeting to pitch the end to Magnitsky sanctions, but Sergey Gorkov got a meeting.

The stakes of dissociating the June 9 meeting from any sanctions relief

By this point, Rudy’s credibility is so shot that when he makes a claim, we should assume that it (like any claim his client makes) is suspect, if not an outright lie.

As I noted above, whether or not there was follow-up on the June 9 meeting doesn’t really change whether Don Jr gleefully accepted a meeting expecting dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton. He did. But in Rudy’s dodgy explanations for why the June 9 meeting isn’t criminal, he relies heavily on his claim — a claim that the Trump side has maintained since a week before Rhona Graff found the email that proved it wasn’t true — that there was no follow-up on the meeting.

But there was.

At a minimum, there were several weeks of follow-up on the Russian side, understandably trying to hold Don Jr to (what they remember as) his offer to revisit the issue of sanctions after the election. As part of that follow-up, there are hints that Don Jr was in the loop, even if both he and Goldstone can’t remember that happening.

The follow-up led by the Agalarovs was, as far as the public record indicates, inconclusive. The Agalarovs lost their communication channel (perhaps as Don Jr got sidelined), and so never did get their follow-up meeting.

But on the same day Trump’s long-time handler, Aras Agalarov, said he’d seek out a new channel of communications, Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn were sitting in Don Jr’s office, attempting to establish a back channel of communication, and solidifying a relationship that would, less than a month later, involve yet another overt act regarding sanctions relief. And that overt act — persuading Sergey Kislyak to defer any response to Obama’s new sanctions — was closely directed from Mar-a-Lago.

Update: Looks like Rudy keeps issuing bogus exonerations for Jr because Mueller is closing in on him.

Mueller may be closing in on his son Don Jr. “A lot of what Trump is doing is based on the fact [that] Mueller is going after Don Jr.,” a person close to the Trump family told me. “They’re squeezing Don Jr. right now.”

Don Jr.’s lawyer said, “I’m not going to comment.” Another person briefed on the investigation disputed the term “squeeze,” but said the Mueller team continues to ask for documents.

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. 

113 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Simply Mahveluss.  Thank you, again.

    This bit that Rudy always misses has become almost comic:

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.

    Comic only if you can ignore the criminal implications.

    Rudy’s outright lies and feigned ignorance in the face of the public record is beyond zealous representation.  His lies really should be getting him into serious trouble with the New York bar.  I realize it is loathe to impose sanctions on the high and mighty, NYC is full of them – and they are the NY bar.  But Rudy is making things harder for them and all their clients.

    • Scott Rose says:

      Is New York the right jurisdiction?

      Giuliani is representing Trump as president, in a federal matter, so perhaps the D.C. Bar would be the proper one to address.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for the lack of follow-up or completion, which you point out are not requirements for conspiracy charges, there’s an issue of what form that would take.

    If the material the Trump’s expected was a trove of Hillary’s e-mails, it would have been useless to receive them at the Trump Tower meeting, printed out and filling banker’s boxes in neat chronological order. They would have been useful only if released on the net at a useful moment. They were.

    I don’t think Rudy does much for his client by claiming there was some Strangers on a Train moment: acknowledging that Bruno and Ivan accidentally met Guy and Jared, but they shared nothing more than lunch in Bruno’s compartment. Not with the documentary evidence and Guy’s lighter littering the fairgrounds around the demolished merry-go-round.

  3. Avattoir says:

    If this piece of near-Mozartian perfection were set to music, it’d be named, like ‘the No-Follow-Up Bullshit Mic Drop Rebuttal Concerto, for solo pottymouth with emails orchestra, Opus E-#’.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    My dad can’t do anything about that, he’s a private citizen.

    Nice script, doesn’t pass the smell test. The meeting was premised around making Trump president, at which time he could do something about it. It was attended by his closest relatives and top campaign staffers, at a time when they would have only taken meetings essential to the campaign.

    Trump did try, starting before he took the oath of office and has kept at it. That sure sounds a lot like payback to me.

  5. orionATL says:

    this is it. this is the verbal agreement the president’s son and the trump campaign made with agents operating for the russian government (veselnitskaya, et al.) :

    “… According to most participants in the meeting who offered testimony to SJC, the Russians were right to expect a follow up discussion on Magnitsky sanctions. In fact, all the participants representing the Russian side save Goldstone (including Anatoli Samochornov, who is the only witness on either side not to have compared notes with at least some of the others before testifying) remembered Don Jr ending the June 9 meeting by saying they’d revisit the issue if or when his father won… ”

    where was scott balmer when they needed him? did he not know of the conspiracy?

    • orionATL says:

      to summarize:

      there was the june verbal agreement between the trump campaign and the russian agents, and there was the trump campaign action part of the agreement (you give us info damaging to clinton for our campaign, then we will give you discussions on sanctions relief if we win) stated in don, jr’s, promise which the russian agents acted on with some urgency (many messages and efforts) in mid-november 2016, immediately after the election.

      these two actions (in july and in november) consumated the conspiracy agreement. in other words, there was both a conspiracy activated in june, 2016 and then actually consummated in november/december 2016 with veselnitskaya/agalarov messages and flynn communications.

      double jeopardy :))

      • orionATL says:

        regarding 11:44am comment, it feels like i am falling all over myself verbally, so…

        as has been mentioned here before, a conspiracy does not have to be successful to be considered a conspiracy legally. but do the parties at least have to have tried to do something they planned to do? i don’t know, but even if not, i would think a jury would be more easily easier convinced of their conspiratorial intent if they had.

        in the matter of the june 9 meeting, it seems clear that the trump campaign did conspire with agents of the russian government to do a quid pro quo – put in campaign finance terms, the campaign carried out a barter agreement with the russian government.

        but would a jury be convinced? was what don, jr. said to viselnetskaya and kaveladze (acting for aras agalarov) really evidence of a conspiracy?

        it may not be necessary to the legal definition of a conspiracy for the conspirators to do more than talk and then agree together on a course of action, but it sure must be more convincing when the parties agree together and then make efforts to carry out that agreement over several months. that is the importance to me of the don, jr. and russian government agents’ communications discussed here from june to dec, 2016.

        on june 9 the trump campaign promises to consider the matter of sanctions if elected. mere days later, the russian government begins its public attack on the clinton campaign days by means of the internet robot, gucifer 2. 0 (i suspect ew was the first to make the connection between june 16 and gucifer 2.0’s appearance), an attack that continues thru the dcleaks website, thru wikileaks, and thru the internet robot factory in russia right up to election day.

        in return don, jr. is said to remark several times thruout the fall about sanctions. in mid-november vaselnitskaya is back trying to arrange another meeting thru goldstone with trump people. trump people, importantly flynn and kushner, are working with the russians.

        those were the days. exciting times. but now? uh oh.

  6. Scott Rose says:

    We don’t really know whether Kushner left the meeting before it concluded.

    We know he created a digital trail of messages with his assistant to make it appear as though he did.

    The notion that Kushner just strolled in, not knowing what was involved, and then strolled out because “nothing was happening” is not persuasive, given the direct evidence we have about the meeting.

    • Tracy says:

      At the very least we don’t know this to be true, for sure… there are a lot of puzzle pieces still missing.

      Marcy, that’s amazing work, you are doing your best to put an incomplete picture together.

  7. Avattoir says:

    It’s Balber, with a ‘b’, not “Balmer”. Dude was infamous as a Trump stooge mouthpiece years back: he’s the nitwit who back in 2013 signed the letter threatening to sue Bill Maher on behalf of Trump after Maher challenged Trump to prove his birth mother wasn’t an orangutan.

    (I’m not a Maher fan anyway, but he’d definitely lose me taking cheap shots at orangutans. Even assuming a human-orangutan union could produce offspring, there’s no basis for suggesting that whatever Trump is would be owing to orangutan DNA. I accuse Maher of carrying a specious kneejerk bias against Ponginae.)

    • Palli says:

      Thanks for that correction. I often have to spot research while reading Marcy’s posts & while it always enriches comprehension,  this time I was way off in the visual playground of the Brit artist Scott Balmer trying to find the connection.

      The criminal audacity of this crowd!

  8. Trip says:

    Remarkable round-up, Marcy. Thank you once again.

    I missed the beginning of an NPR program yesterday, it was probably Craig Unger speaking, not entirely sure, but I caught a part where he mentioned Trump’s Russian friends, who owned huge yachts, where Trump would party, and he said that on one boat each barstool was wrapped in a different endangered species pelt. Sick mofos, not happy unless they kill something unique. It made me think of pathetic Jr. in that photo you have above the article. I hate these people. There was also mention of these people being involved in trafficking, but I don’t know if it was in endangered species or people.

  9. Trip says:

    Rudy is such a gem, with his crazy quotes, isn’t he? Too bad he’s insane and not endearing like Yogi Berra.

    “The meeting turned into a meeting”
    “Truth isn’t truth”
    “I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them.” –on being exposed to the same health risks as workers at ground zero after the 9/11 attacks
    “Oh, you dirty boy! Donald, I thought you were a gentleman.” –while dressed in drag, after having his “breasts” fondled by Donald Trump.
    “We’ve had no domestic terrorist acts under Bush” (says Mr. 09/11/01, during Bush administration)
    “I think I would get on my charger and go right into their offices with a lance if they go after Ivanka. … Now, I think if they do do Ivanka, which I doubt they will, the whole country will turn on them. They’re going after his daughter? … Jared is a fine man, you know that. But men are, you know, disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on.”
    “I’m a knight of the empire so I should be there.” (HAHAHA!)
    “I just learned that the word ‘lead’ is spelled L-E-D-E?”
    “I’m a lawyer. This is what I do best.” ( I’d hate to see what you’re bad at, oof)

    “The FBI came to the conclusion there was no evidence of collusion with Russia. End of case.” (ah, nope)


    1. beat or hammer heavily or loudly and repeatedly.

  10. Barry Wasserman says:

    If it’s true that Mueller will be accepting DOJ guidance re: not indicting a sitting president, then I’m wondering if anything can come of Mueller’s meticulous work other than a destined -for-the-dustbin 500 page report that will be egregiously misconstrued and cherry-picked by Team Trump/Fox News and most elected Republicans who dare not see that the Emperor Has No Clothes.

    I would love to live in a world where facts matter, and my greatest despair is that I don’t.

    Remember: “Truth isn’t truth”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The truth is out there, but it will be hard to find.  This administration thinks of it only as a vulnerability, not an end in itself.

      • Mulder says:

        Exactly, Earl! The Truth is Out There and I Want to Believe…

        that Manafort had an iPod recording the whole thing in the pocket of his $12,000 suit!

  11. Bob Conyers says:

    I have to assume Mueller has a lot more than what we know, and I can see why the Trump side is trying so hard to figure out what it is.

    I’m really curious what the Trump side has been doing behind the scenes to find out what Mueller has knows from requests to the intelligence community for data. I’m very clueless about this and don’t have a good sense whether it’s just general areas of interest or if it goes all the way into knowing every single person Mueller’s team has checked into and the dates and contents of intercepted messages.

    • Tracy says:

      I’m sure they’re working hard to uncover every scrap that they can, and using any means necessary to do so…

      I think of Michael Cohen’s previous intimidation and thuggery, and that guy who intimidated Stormy Daniels: “That’s a beautiful girl – it’d be a shame if anything happened to her mom.”

      This crew is not above anything – I picture Trump has up to the thuggery of Putin but a lot less smart at it.

      I’m glad Manafort’s jurors are anonymous, anyway!

  12. smurphy999999999 says:

    The exchanges with Goldstone make me think of a stereotypical scenario where someone is trying to ask someone else out on a date and instead of saying no they just continually make excuses that they’re doing something that day. It’s almost like Jr was interested in taking their help, ended the meeting with a wink and a nod of “dad needs to win the election to help you”, but actually had no intention of following through. This is perfectly in line with their business practices, get the contractor to do the work and then don’t pay them. The big difference this time though is, instead of stiffing a small business that can’t afford to sue you, you’ve stiffed a nation state which is unafraid of underhanded tactics and holds the receipts of your criminal liability.

    • Trip says:

      Trump has been pushing back against sanctions since he has been in office. He even signaled that he’d be willing to hand over a US diplomat to Russian intelligence.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL thanks I needed that laugh! This is just a tepid response, I guess, from a really busy guy up to his ears in work for his dad’s POTUS campaign and holding company structure:

      “Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?


  13. SirLurksAlot says:

    OMG – this investigation is lousy with Russians, and we ain’t even halfway to indictment day. thanks {EW}.  you rock.

    • SirLurksAlot says:

      big bucks big bucks no whammy – Paulie’s in the van…. ’cause rooster boy judge got a clucking jury that’s about to lay an egg.

    • Frank Probst says:

      ABC is reporting a “tentative” plea deal with Cohen.  Everyone else is saying the SDNY is “close” to a plea deal with Cohen.  Some of the reporting is weird and is saying that the deal is just for him to plead guilty to a bunch of crimes but NOT to cooperate with prosecutors.  Stranger things have happened, I suppose, but I don’t think he’d be getting much of a deal there.

      • Trip says:

        Yeah, I just read that. He may just plead guilty instead of going to trial. But if he does cooperate, McGahn better have told prosecutors the truth. Cohen and McGahn were both involved in

  14. Tom says:

    Re: the June 9th meeting, Donald Jr. is asking us to believe that the Russians would have come to this meeting to ask for relief from the Magnitsky sanctions without having done their homework beforehand in order to determine they were speaking with the people in the best position to respond to their request. The idea that Donald Jr. had to redirect them to the appropriate customer assistance window hardly seems likely. The Russians came to see the Trump gang because they knew they could make a deal with them.

  15. Trip says:

    This made me laugh:

    Stanley Cohen @StanleyCohenLaw
    Jury hung up on whether the father of ted cruz murdered JFK.

  16. Trip says:

    Josh Margolin@JoshMargolin

    Just in: @ABC has learned that @MichaelCohen212 has entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

    Not a good day for the Donald. Expect apeshit twitter meltdown.

  17. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thanks again Marcy! Why did Rudy resist bilingual education? Perhaps he thinks doublespeak makes him bilingual.

    • viget says:

      Sounds like he is pleading guilty to taxi medallion, et alia type charges.  Probably had him dead to rights on other charges too, but they’re dropping them to avoid the spectacle of a trial.

      Doesn’t mean that other evidence that came to light during the raid isn’t necessarily incriminating of Trump/Cohen wrt Mueller’s investigation.  Perhaps he is still criminally liable for that, and may still face charges in DC in the Mueller investigation.  Which may still beget another plea deal with Mueller.

      • Frank Probst says:

        The taxi medallion charges would be state crimes, wouldn’t they?  Something here isn’t making sense.  And prosecutors aren’t going to “avoid a trial” unless they get something in return, which in this case is going to mean either cooperation or an agreement to a fairly long prison term.

        • Viget says:

          Ok, CNN piece says he’s pleading to avoid asset forfeiture.  I guess that’s the concession the government is making to allow for a quick guilty verdict.  Didn’t know you could do that, but IANAL, so what do I know.

          Still wouldn’t rule out further cooperation with Mueller.  I am sure there is more on those tapes than just Stormy Daniels and other payouts.  This just closes the loop on SDNY’s involvement.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Feds to state: back off to avoid ‘stuff’ coming out that could screw up a bigger investigation.

  18. Rusharuse says:

    Preet tweet

    Mikey to meet Judge Pauley at 4pm

    Trump tweet

    I have just authorized a limited missile strike on the Sydney Opera House

  19. Rapier says:

    It’s always good to remember that the basic defense of all this stuff, even this June 16 stuff, is that it was just that they were doing policy, or preparing to make a policy change, vis a vis Russia if they won. Change the policies of the government of the United States because that would serve the citizens.

    The only problem is that everyone involved was making bank. Every single one of them was doing deals meant to immediately generate cash flow to themselves, and policy take the hindmost. All discussions of these people has to start from the narrative position that they were doing what they did, for money. A bunch of goddamn snakes in suits.

    • Frank Probst says:

      EW and bmaz will know for sure, but I’m pretty sure Cohen is fucked at the state level as well as at the federal level.  Of all the remaining peripheral players (i.e., outside Trump’s family), I think Cohen is the one who has the most exposure at the state level.  (Manafort is pretty fucked at the state level, too, I think.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If Mickey or Paulie had a really good story to tell, the Feds might offer to put in a good word with the state prosecutor.  No promises, mind, but the Feds have a lot of practical leverage.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      I’m thinking another angle.

      The timing wrt to Manafort trial is interesting.

      (a second note today from jury to Ellis in recent minutes)

      Apparently, there is a plea deal (Cohen).

      Wondering if Cohen knows that Manafort will flip.

  20. Charlie says:

    Picked this up from Page 56 of PDF 44 quoted at beginning of blog.  It appears that Trump Senior was aware of the June meeting according to what Emin Agalarov says here. Correct me if wrong.
      “dumb meeting which your father insisted on”

  21. Trip says:

    Jury can’t reach a consensus on 10 counts, JFC. Thanks Ellis, you prick.

    If the prosecutor wants to retry those charges, does the case go back to Ellis automatically?

    • Frank Probst says:

      Okay, I’ll eat crow here.  The jury obviously was NOT taking its responsibility seriously.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ellis’s questionable insistence that the prosecution not use its exhibits during testimony will be discussed for a bit.  But the tax and bank fraud charges carry a lot of time in prison.  And this is just for starters.

      I think Manafort decided long ago that he’d have to fall on his proverbial sword lest a former client use a real one on him.  His only out is that a desperate Trump pardons him or commutes his sentence.  That leaves him vulnerable to state charges.  And it won’t save Trump.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Compare to Cohen. Also 8 counts. But he pled guilty to them. No circus court.

      Prosecution in Manafort case has until Aug 29 to deal with mistrial.

      Cohen, no sentencing until December 12th.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I have a bridge to sell Sen. Collins. She said today – after a two-hour chat with Brett Kavanaugh – that he considers Roe v. Wade “settled law”.

    For starters, we didn’t hear that from Kavanaugh, so it’s hearsay. We don’t know what context or qualifications might surround that statement. And we don’t know what constraints Kavanaugh would feel bound by after having said that.

    Beyond that, Kavanaugh risks no consequences for deceiving Collins – a Senator who desperately wants to be deceived so that she can vote yes on his nomination.

    Having attained a seat on the Court, the only consequence for lying to Collins would be impeachment, an unlikely outcome. Even if successfully impeached, tried, and ejected from the Court, he would have changed the law for years and caused untold damage until a Court with a progressive majority undid his work.

    Kavanaugh has demonstrated that he is a zealot. He will do and say much to save all those babes from the abortion pill. He will be as Jesuitical in responding to questions from other Senators. At stake is acquiring the authority to pursue his goals: regulating women’s bodies, deregulating business and the environment, and freeing the executive from constraint – and the Constitution.

    For Kavanaugh, the ends justify the means, no matter how often he has to paraphrase the Psalms and ask a sitting president whether and how often he achieved orgasm out of the mouth of babes and sucklings.

      • Tracy says:

        Kavanaugh is also so political, it’s hard to imagine how they could have picked a more political judge.

        Collins is in love with her self-fashioned image as a bridge maker, which doesn’t hold up, excuse the pun.

        I wouldn’t believe anything from K unless under oath, and even then, from this guy, even that can’t be trusted…!!!

        This is all converging in such an incredible way – the probe, Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the midterms – they all impact and relate to each other.

  23. Frank Probst says:

    No electronic devices in the EDVA courthouse, so we’ll be waiting a bit for the press to chase down at least one juror (I’m assuming they’ll get at least one.) to talk to and find out what the split was on the 10 deadlocked charges. Waiting to hear what the sentencing guidelines are for the 8 charges he was convicted on.

  24. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Looks like there was a deadlock on the TFSB loans, where one of the arguments was that Calk was going to grant the loan anyway so it didn’t matter that the application was fishy. Ellis helped out Paulie the Rug on a fair few of those counts, but the eight guilty verdicts are sufficient to keep him pondering his fate in jail before the fun starts in DC.

  25. Frank Probst says:

    Waiting for @bmaz’s analysis, but my take on the Cohen plea is that the text of the plea deal IS the cooperation.  He’s saying that he acted at Trump’s direction, which is important, because…okay, I don’t know why it’s important, but I remember that it’s important.

  26. Trip says:

    So guilty on 8, and another guilty on 8. I looked up the number 8, and even though I don’t subscribe to a belief in this numerology stuff, this is kinda on point for the day: The 8 is the great Karmic equalizer, a force that just as easily creates as it destroys. When the 8 comes knocking, you can be assured that you will reap what you’ve sown.

    • Anura says:

      I’m a programmer, not a lawyer, but my understanding is that 8 is 2^3, which if you take the 2 and multiply by the 3, you get 6. Take that 6 and repeat it 3 times and you get 666. Now, Kushner purchased 666 fifth avenue, 5 being 2+3, indicating that Meuller is preparing to file charges against Kushner.

    • Tracy says:

      That’s awesome!!

      It’s also the infinity sign. Which feels like the length of this presidency right now…

  27. Valley girl says:

    I need  help.  What got to me in reading the post was the reference to Jared’s comments;

    The Ambassador expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address US. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn. The Ambassador said that would not be possible and so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the Inauguration. [emphasis original]

    I went back and reread Marcy’s post about going to the FBI, here.

    The substance of the text — that the Trump team started focusing on Syria right after the election — has been corroborated and tied to their discussions with Russia at least twice since then. Most importantly, in his statement to Congress, Jared Kushner explained his request for a back channel with the Russians by describing an effort to cooperate on Syria.

    In light of this, why did Trump launch the missile  attack on Syria April 13, 2018?

    I just don’t get it. Maybe the more informed commentators here can help me out.

    • Rayne says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if tonight’s rally had been arranged to keep him from going off on a narcissistic rage and burning down every meager defense he has left. It’s still going to be ugly; he’s on the verge of incitement to much wider violence.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Thanks a ton Trip. You just revealed what Fox will talk about tonight. No reason to watch now.

      • bmaz says:

        Listen nimrod, I am about done with you. You are the closest thing to a truther type of nutbag that inhabits our threads relentlessly.

        You need to cut that out, or be gone.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Nailed it. Completely nailed it.

        There was no way Fox would address Manafort or Cohen. No way.

        • bmaz says:

          I am not kidding. You keep up with this crap and you will be gone. This blog does not need the kind of weird crap you promulgate.

    • RWood says:

      Good. He tends to dig a deeper hole every time he’s in front of a mic. I’m amazed there hasn’t been a tweet storm already. He’s the definition of self-incrimination.

      Switched to Faux just to see what they were running; A story about an illegal accused of murder.

  28. SteveB says:

    On oath the Prez is identified as the instigator of hush payments in violation of campaign finance laws  whilst a candidate and by necessary implication having repeatedly lied and otherwise concealed the matters subsequently, including causing reimbursement to Cohen of the payments made by Cohen  via the Trump Organisation concealed by sham invoices “for  services rendered” .

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      What I read (may have misread), is that Cohen was finally reimbursed for the $130K.

      Just in time for the $50K bail money?

      • SteveB says:

        Not seen the Cohen counts, only saw the US Attny press confrence, but the final count he talked about was the reimbursement of Cohen via sham invoices to the Trump Org, which I take as implicitly implicating Trump in further acts of concealment : thus Trump implicated in conspiracy to conceal campaign finance violations which continued beyond the election and into the presidency, and continuing whilst there are efforts to conceal.

        • bmaz says:

          Don’t bother, SLF does not know dick about things legal. And yet he acts like he does, it is becoming problematic.

          The bail was $500,000. To any extent there was $50,000 in play, that would have been the vig to a bondsman. Other collateral, such as lien on property would have to be given to the bond agent to cover the full amount. $50,000 was just the fee for making it happen.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Just to be clear for those that do not get it, standard bail requires 10% cash, and the bail bondsmen signs up for the rest. It is rare for a court to require 100% cash only bail. Very rare.

        Apparently, some think I have no fucking clue.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          To repeat bmaz’s comment, ten percent is the fee to the bail bondsman, who puts up the whole amount and is liable for it if you skip.

          Bondsman requires collateral valued at more than the bond to cover his risk.  You skip, you lose the collateral.  The goons come after you.  No collateral, no bond.  You stay in jail.

          Yes, it would be unusual but not unheard of to demand cash bond.  Depends on how much the bail is, what sort of collateral you have, what your flight risk is.  I imaginer bmaz can suggest other reasons.

        • Rusharuse says:

          Something fishy here between @slf and @bmaz. I suspect they are in fact one person. United states of Tara comes to mind. Dr Strangelove and the disagreeable gloved hand perhaps. Remnant of the bi-cameral brain? Has anyone here ever seen them both in the same room? I thought not!

    • orionATL says:

      richard wolfe, writing at the guardian, is right up there with paul krugman when it comes to thoughtful opion writing:

      this is the climax of a great editorial piece:

      “… There was a time when we all covered political sex scandals because, as Matt Bai explained so well about Gary Hart, they told us something about character. Those were the old days…

      If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes, and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.

      Instead, he attracted the attention of every self-respecting law enforcement and intelligence officer in the nation’s capital and beyond. The downfall of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel began when he ran for office in Colombia, and the same might just prove to be true about the far smaller Trump enterprise… ”

      grasping, far to egotistical and grasping, greedy for power as for money, oblivious to his own criminal weakness, believing he was the savior the nation needed. jesus in a trump tower condo.

      savor this sentence once again:

      ” If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes, and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.”

    • Tracy says:

      But this article is from Sept 2017; surely there is resolution and Mueller has received it?

      Interesting that it was the case, though, I was unaware of this.

  29. orionATL says:

    it’s time for the house republicans, most particularly the hard-line crackpots who are the freedom caucus and are trump’s most foregiving supporters, to shit or get off the pot when it comes to presidential criminality.

    from the richard wolfe editorial referenced above at 8/22 10:26am

    “… Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women who were allegedly the mistresses of one Donald Trump. All this in the middle of the 2016 election, “at the direction of the candidate,” as Cohen told the court.

    Never mind the facepalming deceit and hypocrisy of the candidate who claimed he was running against Crooked Hillary.

    For now we need to stay focused on the very real legal jeopardy facing Crooked Donald. Campaign finance crimes of this kind are not trivial matters: under federal guidelines updated at the end of last year by Trump’s own justice department, a campaign finance crime committed knowingly and willfully amounting to more than $25,000 is what they call a five-year felony.

    Just one of Cohen’s payments, made at Trump’s direction, amounted to $130,000… ”

    got that. the president appears to have committed a serious FELONY campaign finance offense.

    so where do you stand now on “the rule of law” and the presidency you hypocritical sons of bitches? 20 years and a republican president changed your sense of rectitude and the unquestionable need for impeachment for presidential criminality, did it.

    god would i love to run some 2018 political ads all september and october with that theme.

  30. Kick the darkness says:

    Late to the party…the impression I got from this post was that efforts to follow up the June 9 meeting were met on the Trump side with a certain “we’ll be in touch” nonchalance.  How does that square with the limited hangout idea advanced earlier, which would make the June 9 meeting seem a likely trigger for the email releases that began shortly thereafter?  I guess I’m trying to fit whether the June 9 meeting was truly part of the main thrust of the conspiracy.  Or whether it was amateur hour-something that happened tangentially.

  31. Kick the darkness says:

    I mean it would be sort of ironic if there was an effort to maybe keep the Trump kids out of the loop (although presumably Jared was in on it) about what was really going on, but Jr. managed to find a way to have a side show conspiracy all his own.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly which Trump family member and co-conspirator was not at such a meeting. Next time you want to wander in here, do a much better job of framing your impertinent question.

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