On Corey Lewandowski’s Big Legal Bills and Mueller’s Deadline from Rosenstein

Quarterly political spending reports are out and they provide some hints about which current or former Trump aides have been spending a lot of time with Mueller’s investigators. The NYT reported the other day that the Trump campaign has paid $173,000 in the past quarter to the law firm representing Corey Lewandowski.

The campaign also paid $173,000 to Mintz Levin, a law firm that has helped Mr. Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, handle inquiries related to the Russia investigations.

The suggestion that Lewandowski has spent quality time with Mueller’s team of late is particularly interesting, for several reasons. First, Lewandowski had a number of key interactions with George Papadopoulos regarding the outreach from Russia, including drafting Trump’s first foreign policy speech, which Papadopoulos reportedly told Ivan Timofeev was a sign that the campaign was interested in pursuing a Trump-Putin meeting.

April 27: Papadopoulos to Corey Lewandowski

“to discuss Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump. Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.”

April 27: Papadopoulos authored speech that he tells Timofeev is “the signal to meet”


May 4, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski (forwarding Timofeev email):

“What do you think? Is this something we want to move forward with?”

May 14, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski:

“Russian govemment[] ha[s] also relayed to me that they are interested in hostingMr. Trump.”


June 19: Papadopoulos to Lewandowski

“New message from Russia”: “The Russian ministry of foreign affairs messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if it’s in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”

Lewandowski was also the person that the House Intelligence Committee treated most curiously. HPSCI originally interviewed him in January, during the phase when HPSCI seemed to be interviewing key witnesses to be able to pass on to Trump how they would testify. At that point, Mueller had not yet contacted Lewandowski.

Even though Lewandowski never worked in the Administration, in that first appearance with HPSCI, he invoked privilege over parts of his testimony. On March 8, HPSCI brought him back, the very last witness in their so-called investigation. After his three hour appearance, Adam Schiff discussed subpoenaing Lewnadowski to compel him to answer questions he had still refused to answer (Schiff had also demanded HPSCI compel full testimony from Hope Hicks). In the same discussion of compelling Lewandowski to answer questions,  Schiff suggested the committee should subpoena Stephen Miller.

After Lewandowski’s testimony had wrapped, Schiff raised a new name he wanted to speak to: White House aide Stephen Miller.

Which is curious because WSJ reports that the legal defense fund supporting specific former campaign staffers paid Akin Gump $115,000.

The fund directed most of its third-quarter spending to legal consulting, paying nearly $115,000 to the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and another $8,500 to Schertler & Onorato LLP. The latter firm has represented Keith Schiller, Mr. Trump’s longtime bodyguard who was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia investigation.

It’s not publicly known which former campaign staffer Akin Gump represents, but two of the few key Trump people whose lawyers have not been publicly identified are Brad Parscale (though the campaign would probably pay for his legal defense at this point) and Miller.

Miller is the person whom Papadopoulos has said he would have told about the Russian offer of emails had he actually connected by phone the day he learned of it.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports (possibly based on Congressional sources) that Mueller is preparing to offer “reports” on his investigation.

Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation.


Rosenstein has made it clear that he wants Mueller to wrap up the investigation as expeditiously as possible, another U.S. official said.

This is actually not at all surprising. Trump is going to start firing people after the election, so Mueller’s ability to work unimpeded may be dramatically curtailed shortly after that. If he’s going to bring a big indictment, he has to do so in that time frame. Plus, after securing Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen’s cooperation, he has cooperating witnesses on all the elements of a conspiracy Mueller had identified by last March, not to mention slam dunk obstruction charges tied to floated pardons. Everyone is scheduled to start being sentenced after the election, too. With the hints he has gotten extensive Lewandowski testimony (and reports that he had obtained far more documentation pertaining to Don Jr’s actions), it would suggest that Mueller has at least tracked the game of telephone between Russians offering emails to the candidate anxious to accept that offer.

So this tells us what we might expect: the denouement of the Mueller investigation will happen, unless Trump works to undercut it, just after the election.

Update: In their plan for further investigation released in March, HPSCI Dems described that in his second committee appearance Lewandowski refused, “to answer questions regarding his communication with President Trump regarding former FBI Director Comey, Special Counsel Mueller, and Attorney General Sessions, as well as his communications with certain administration officials pertaining to the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.” So it sounds like he’s also got evidence pertaining to the June 9 meeting.

As I disclosed in July, 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. 

167 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The earliest date to file memoranda for Flynn’s sentencing is November 14. Oral arguments for Andrew Miller’s appeal are on November 8. If there are indictments that aren’t tied to those two threads of the investigation, I think they’ll be sealed before the election and unsealed in that window. And Bloomberg thankfully doesn’t fall into the “report” hole that Maggie and Bob Costa and others refuse to get out of.

    • bmaz says:

      The vaunted Bloomberg article is crap. Same old “Yep, Mueller is wrapping up!”. Based on two of the vaguest described “sources” imaginable “Two US officials”. The rest of the article is a rehash of background that is completely useless.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Yes, it’s a very thin rehash plus a tiny bit of reporting from vague sources. But at least it doesn’t take for granted the idea that Mueller will “file an obstruction report”, which is what Bob Costa in particular says all the time without ever explaining what sourcing he has to back that up. That was my only point about that article.

        • bmaz says:

          No, sorry, you made a fair point in that regard, meant to acknowledge that part and got wrapped up in my criticism of the piece. People have been all agog over it on Twitter, and not one of them will respond with why. It cracks me up, but it is also sad how easily, and successfully, this bunk has relentlessly been pitched by Team Trump.

          • emptywheel says:

            I think it quite possible that people speaking to the press (notably, members of Congress) know that Rosenstein has told Trump he’ll tell Mueller to wrap things up right after the election. I understand how Bloomberg would get “report” out of that.

            But as I noted, it’s also pretty clear that’s what Mueller has been prepping for. If he rolls out big indictments on November 7 (if he makes it that far) that may significantly change what Trump can do to thwart him.

            • pseudonymous in nc says:

              It may have been a mistake for the press speculation about the unwritten 60-day window to fixate on what might come beforehand versus what might get done during.

              The trickle of reporting suggests that Cohen in particular has been kept busy, while Manafort has been shuttled at least once from Alexandria jail to Mueller’s office. That makes sense: Gates’s cooperation presumably narrowed down what specifically was needed from Paulie, but an all-hands debrief of Cohen — even with the groundwork from the search warrant — is a good use of the electoral window. Especially for any times when Cohen and Manafort were in the room together with King Idiot.

              • Tracy says:

                I’d have thought Manafort would have needed to be there more than once if he was truly being helpful. What are the chances he’s been there more often? (This is a sincere question, not sarcastic.)

                I also have reservations about whether Manafort’s been able to lie to the OSC – the extent of that JDA worries me, as to whether things were all stitched up amongst the guilty parties who were sharing info, and that’s why Manafort could plead guilty – there may still be a pardon promised him if he continues to tow the line. Trump has still NEVER bashed Manafort the way he has Cohen, suggesting that he’s either not afraid of Manafort’s info like he is Cohen’s, or he’s secured a stitch-up w/ Manafort.

              • emptywheel says:

                I’ve heard Manafort’s been to Mueller’s office closer to four times and that was at least a week ago.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Heh! Probably, yes, it is. If client is not in custody, “meetings” can be of whatever length is convenient. Because, obviously client can come and go. BUT, when in custody, the dynamic is far different. Then the prosecutors, whoever they may be, are traveling to the facility where the defendant is, and that is a hassle, or the defendant is being transported to them, and that is an even bigger hassle, as Perez and CNN seem to report here.

                    Though, I would not be sure that the “nine” CNN seems to document are the only ones, because that only describes where they think they saw transport to the Mueller shop.

                    Bottom line is, any such “meeting” is hard logistic wise, and is not done for grins. They go on a while, each one of them.

            • orionATL says:

              because trump was so amiable (actually, positively chummy) with rosenstein after the taping/25th story came out (they flew down to florida together, don’tcha know), i assumed he got something from the deputy atty general that he wanted. apparently rosenstein’s “act of loyalty” was a promise to assign a finite end the mueller investigation. now the mueller monkey would be off trump’s back.

              a question of great interest to me is what happens to all the g.j. testimony, depositions, tapes, phone call records, cia, nsa, fbi intell, etc.

              secondarily, does a democratic controlled house investigative committee have means to access any of this mueller info thru law or custom?

              • Tracy says:

                I agree exactly w/ everything you said about the plane meeting b/t RR and DJT – some pledge of loyalty must have been given in exchange for RR to last a couple more months (or maybe indefinitely, since it’s clear that Sessions will be gone).

                Let me also say that according to the rules written by Neal Katyal for the OSC, there IS a final report that is mandated by those rules – and if RR (or anyone in the AG’s role) wants to curtail the investigation along the way, we will not know UNTIL THE END all of the times he said “no” to Mueller’s team about making this indictment, or investigating this other area. In fact, RR may already be putting up additional roadblocks to Mueller, in advance of that AF1 meeting or after it.

            • bmaz says:

              The members of Congress know only what has been blown up their backside.

              Is it possible Rosenstein has, yet again, said what Trump wants to hear? Sure.

              And, yet here we are. I would never talk, nor even deign to mention, “big indictments” until we see them. I just can’t. Sorry.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yep, more wishing from lawyers for Trump, hoping that a troubling prosecution will go away.  The meme also serves to distract the Don about how this will all go away by the end of the week/month/Friedman unit.  Giuliani has been peddling that shit for months.

        Nothing’s “going away” if Mueller announces a series of indictments. That just turns the heat on the Trump frying pan.

        This relates to the question the MSM seems to be breathlessly asking itself:  Why is Trump making this mid-term election about him?

        Does the MSM have the same vacant memory as Donald Trump?  Everything is about Trump, just as the Kavanaugh “win” was all about his intervention.  Donald Trump could not permit an election to be about anything but him.  It occupies the press for months.

        He needs to frame the issues, too.  Just as he needs to distract from the fact that he cannot do the job he endlessly campaigns for, but makes money from.  That would include the opportunity to raise mountains of “campaign” cash.

        The press just noting the dollar amounts raised adds no value.  What would add value would be investigative reporting on whose coffers it ends up in and what it’s spent on.  Such as painfully expensive criminal defense lawyers for close associates of Donald J. Trump.

        • Lee says:

          “Everything is about Trump, just as the Kavanaugh “win” was all about his intervention.  Donald Trump could not permit an election to be about anything but him.”

          It has always interested me how so many people who think of themselves as Christian could miss the overwhelming resemblance of DJT to every biblical and theological description of the Devil, as someone who wants to dominate the whole universe, to be the center of everything.  It brings to mind the words of C.S. Lewis’s character Screwtape, a demon writing to his nephew Wormwood about their war against God:  “We want cattle who can finally become food; He (God) wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.”

          I can’t think of a more apt personification of “our Father Below” than Donald Trump.  Just FWIW.

  2. cw says:

    What would happen if Trump pardoned Trump jr? It seems like things are going to get really crazy in the next few months.

    • Trip says:

      Unless laws are changed, Deputy Dawg Derp Trump has exposure in NY state with the cover-up pay-offs from Trump Inc. This is at least partially why Trump is edgy and blustering again, since the Michael Cohen saga is leaking, why suddenly Cohen was only a PR guy, not a fixer and the Stormy Daniels dis takes center stage on twitter. (alongside whatever deadly bargains Kushner and Trump made with MBS)

      • Pete says:

        I read where the Feds May have been and might still be looking into Cyrus Vance Jr, New York County (Manhattan) DA for – ahem- campaign finance donations for his handling of Weinstein and separately Ivanka and Don Jr

        Curious haw the local and state political landscape come Nov 7 might affect Trump Org, Trump Charity, evil Trump spawn investigations.


      • Desack says:

        Yes. But Gamble V. United States is before the Supreme Court and could essentially allow presidential pardons to apply at the state level due to a new definition of double jeopardy , as I understand the case. This would overturn precedent but that’s why Kavanaugh is there.

        • Drew says:

          The applying federal pardons to state level prosecutions only applies in the case of prosecutions for essentially the same offense.  If a Trump associate is charged for something that they are not charged for by the Feds, the pardon wouldn’t apply (unless the argument is that the fraud in NY is CONNECTED to Federal Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S., etc–this strikes me as an approach that might have unexpected consequences for Trump & co, like tying money laundering through NYC apartments to conspiring with Russian oligarchs  to disrupt American elections–hmmm?)

          • Rayne says:

            Just dawned on me this is the best case for District of Columbia statehood, and perhaps a reason why it’s been resisted by federal elected officials. Imagine the State of DC prosecuting Trump for money laundering through Trump International Hotel-DC — charges which may not be brought by DOJ.

            • Mark says:

              Statehood for both DC and Puerto Rico are the legislative branch equivalent of packing the court.  So would be the breaking up of larger states like California into 5 or 6 states.  It would trigger a competitive red/blue state breakup festival that as long as there are any states large enough to be broken into smaller ones and still be constitutionally viable to meet statehood requirements they would keep getting smaller.  In this the blue would win because they are the states that are the urban centers with 85% of the population.  Inevitably pretty much all urban centers would become the capitals of their respective “states.”  We would end up with a city state structure to our republic with the low population red states nearly empty and unable to break up because they do not have the population to do so.  Another way to think about it is that it is the ultimate gerrymander.  The right would be outnumbered in all the new blue states, and the red would see their power dwarfed by it all.

              I doubt they can sell DC as a state, Puerto Rico would be a far better shot, but the right will fight it tooth and nail.  I am not so sure PR would even be a blue state, Catholic Spanish speaking populations tend to be very conservative and patriarchal.  Just look at the Cuban influence in south Florida.  They have the power to put Rubio in the Senate.

              And, as with the judicial version, packing the courts, there is a conundrum, if you have the power to pack anything then you do not need to pack anything.  If democrats have both the house and senate so they can pack anything then they are not likely to need to.

              • Rayne says:

                I dislike the idea that statehood is an automatic agenda item and that statehood needs to be “sold” as a concept. PR has voted against becoming a state in the past; it should have the right of self-determination which is a core value of liberal democracy (and I don’t mean liberal as leftism but as classic liberalism).

                If DC (or PR) wants to become a state it should be permitted to hold a referendum; all pros and cons should be presented, including the ability to prosecute crimes within its jurisdiction.

                Ditto other territories currently without adequate representation, like Guam and the Northern Marianas. I frankly don’t give a shit about the political bent of each of these territories; I care more that a democracy acts like one, which appears to be a major problem for the existing states and its umbrella federated identity.

          • Mark says:

            People are not understanding the critical importance of Gamble.  The reason we see legal vulnerability of defendants to double jeopardy in states when the Feds have passed on prosecutions, or failed at their prosecutions, is the dual sovereignty doctrine.  Gable eliminates that, meaning states cannot prosecute for the same offenses, and taken with another upcoming SCOTUS case (not on the docket yet but out there ready to be fast tracked in the event of a Gamble win, and which I frustratingly cannot remember the name of) which will redefine both the number of charges that can be applied to any single criminal act as well as the nature of the charges, as it is a prosecutor can apply about 20 different charges to any given single criminal act making it far more likely they will win on at least one of them, but also bringing a lot of heat to the defendant to plead.  Because of rules related to double jeopardy this can become a nightmare for courts and defendants.

            The quick example I read was of a woman that tried to buy drugs from her dealer by calling him to place her order.  Among the three charges the DA made was buying drugs, using a telephone to buy drugs, and conspiracy to buy drugs.  Something along those lines.  She was acquitted of two but convicted of using a telephone to buy drugs.  The case to be heard by SCOTUS eventually seeks to end all these multiple charges for the same crime which on it’s face would seem to be a great thing for justice in America.  But, one of the outcomes of all this prosecutorial heaping on is that a defendant has to be acquitted of all charges in a prosecution or the prosecutor gets another shot at the defendant later in the case of hung juries in some of the charges, or a guilty finding in others.  Meaning for example the Manafort case, his jury convicted on 8 counts but hung on 10.  That leaves him open to retrial on the hung counts.  Had they acquitted on 8 and hung on 10 he still would be open to further prosecution and thus what some characterize as double jeopardy.  This case would end that.

            Then some say yeah, but that just cleans up double jeopardy from a single jurisdiction and does not address state level charges after the feds refuse to prosecute, maybe the state has a stronger case.  They are failing to see that in the case of a major conspiracy at the federal level like the whole corrupt russiagate scandal that all the feds have to do is prosecute and lose in order to bar the states from getting their shot.  There has already been “federalization” of state laws to the extent that pretty much any crime or criminal elements of any case can now be prosecuted at either state or federal level.  And since Joe Arapio was preemptively pardoned on federal charges and that stood, the state would have no recourse.  Gamble would codify that.  It means a preemptive pardon of a criminal act from federal prosecution would bar the states from ever taking their shot.

            The final outcome of this would be that not only will the president be above the law but any of his co-conspirators would be as well, or for that matter anyone he wants to operate freely in criminal activity, sort of the way it works for Putin now.  It is not beyond the realm of speculation that the president could leave a stack of signed pardons at the DoJ with name and dates to be filled in later.  A simple phone call would see anyone pardoned for any crime on the federal level and bar states from their shot.

            Gamble is only one part of a larger set of legal doctrines and rulings that will have an insidious effect on our entire judicial system.  That is why the right fought so hard to get Kavanaugh on the bench rather than just any old right wing judge, a right winger would of course uphold their views on Roe and other conservative value cases, but only Kavanaugh was already promised to vote yes on Gamble.

            On a personal level the reason this scares me to death is that it would leave political operators like the current GOP leadership able to operate in the open on voter fraud, vote suppression, the ending of the 22nd amendment, and many more high crimes that would effectively finish free and fair election in the US, already in a battered state, it would be the coup de grace – they could do their crimes and just have their lawyer pick up a presidential pardon over at the DoJ building for them, not even interrupt their dinner plans.  Of course it would be less overt than that in real life, but not for political reasons because they will no longer have to fear losses at the polls.

            • bmaz says:

              This is absolute trash. No, Gamble is NOT that kind of seminal case, either in the Trump context you try so hard to falsely paint, nor generally. In fact, what Gamble stands for, and all it appears to stand for, is that identical crimes should not be prosecuted by both the federal sovereign and a state sovereign. That is neither new, nor controversial in the least.

              I have argued this issue several times over the years. And, again, it is not only not controversial, it should be axiomatic. Identical crimes with identical elements is what Gamble considers. In some states, this is already law, in others it is established by precedent. But it “should” be universal, which is all that Gamble seeks to make.

              On the very first blush I saw of Gamble (from a commenter on this blog), I immediately went and reviewed the case and submissions, because of the obvious potential implications. Turned out it was, and is, as pedestrian as hell and the people bloviating about it appear to not understand criminal law and double jeopardy protections for shit.

              It turned out to be so stupid I did not even need to address it. But my friend Ken at Popehat did.

              Please do not spread this hysteria in this blog’s comments.

  3. Trip says:

    Trump’s lawyers have attempted to publicly pressure Mueller into wrapping up his investigation, setting artificial deadlines since the early days of the probe when they predicted it would wrap by the end of 2017. In August 2017, then-White House lawyer Ty Cobb said he would be “embarrassed”if the investigation dragged on past Thanksgiving.
    Even if Mueller’s probe stretched through 2019, the timeline wouldn’t be unprecedented. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr spent four years investigating President Bill Clinton before releasing his report on the Monica Lewinsky affair, which spun out of a probe into an Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater.

    They (bloomberg) added a caveat, so I’m guessing that their sourcing is from the Trump camp.
    Since the Flynn sentencing date has not changed, is it safe to assume that Mueller was already aware of the Smith connection/operation? Or would further charges be sealed now and/or dealt with at that time?

    This cliffhanger (of reports or indictments) is reaching a level of absurdity. That a representative democracy’s future is imperiled and delayed because of a DOJ tradition of nicety (essentially), and not law, and where the elections involve no direct candidates under investigation (minus Rohrabacher, maybe), further, where the president of the US has no respect for law or precedent (and may hold the very position as the benefit of conspiracy) is stupid beyond comprehension.

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, I think Marcy’s conjecture that it came out of Congress is likely. Remember, they had a meeting scheduled for October 11, but cancelled it. I think these are the same old Trump forces in Congress just issuing pablum. Sure, the pressure is on Mueller and Rosenstein, but it has been for a long time. And the two month artificial delay is one the Trump forces artificially imposed. Squawking it is taking to long now is absurd, and they are just laying groundwork to force Mueller’s hand or shut him down.

      • Trip says:

        Thanks. I guess at this point I’ll consider the entire GOP as Trump camp, anyway. Clones of Nunes and Rudy abound. They are invested in their own power under the banner of Trump.

  4. Trip says:

    Pompeo said he wasn’t interested in facts and neither was MBS. This sums up the entire Trump administration.

  5. John Forde says:

    How is the denouement not a speed contest? DJT may be planning on firing Mueller at 11 PM Tuesday November 6.
    Is election night is Trump’s best time to fire Mueller under the cover of media election night media noise?
    Why does Mueller need to wait until midnight? What could RM do at 9 PM?
    Can anyone recommend a previous post on Mueller’s potential mechanisms for a ‘dead man switch’?
    Sorry, I am all questions today.

    • Drew says:

      Indictments for November 7-9 are likely already in the can. Firing Mueller has to be done by Rosenstein (or his successor as acting AG) it seems unlikely that firing Mueller could stop the indictments from being filed, since a deputy ordinarily takes over as acting when the boss leaves.

      • corporate says:

        How do we know they’re in the can? It’s starting to sound unnervingly like a Q forum, complete with “sealed indictments”…

        • Drew says:

          When I say “in the can” I mean that the work has been done, the investigating, the documenting, the writing. Perhaps there is editing & loose ends going on, but Mueller’s office is very methodical and has been bringing things together over a long time.  They aren’t waiting for Paulie Rugs to walk in and give them a smoking gun wrapped in oilcloth. They know what they know and they are finishing up their case, it is probably, for all intents and purposes fully prepared, at least insofar as the next round of indictments goes.

          • NorskieFlamethrower says:

            I certainly hope not!! The corruption of federal security and law enforcement is exposed if you look at BFFs Comey and Fitzgerald. No, Mueller’s end game better be a whole lot better’n Fitzfuckinmas.

            • Troutwaxer says:

              I’m saying “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” We don’t know what went wrong with the Fitz investigation or how it might have been derailed. I’m very, very hopeful that a gigantic list of high-level indictments will drop on November 7th, and I’m also very hopeful that if Mueller’s report is suppressed he’ll find a way to make it public… but I’m also aware that sometimes politically charged investigations go awry.

              • Mark says:

                The Doctor Ford “investigation” by the FBI left me with a cold feeling for what may come.  Clearly the instruments of law enforcement are no longer independent enough to ensure justice in any investigation at any point of their development.

                If Mr. Mueller is fired prior to the release of indictments or the release of the final report it will fall to a DoJ that is clearly compliant with the wishes of the White House to act on them.  The GOP in congress is certainly not going to do anything with the report, though no doubt a democratic legislative branch would instantly seize upon it’s findings to impeach.  But, the right is not afraid of that even should we take the house because it will still require 67 senators to find guilt, and that just is not going to happen before or after the election.

                And, they will still hold all the levers of power at least till late January next year, IF and that is a big if, we even gain any further political power in the legislative branch.  More imaginative minds can even conjure a scenario where the mid-term election is cancelled due to lack of security/faith in the vote, ironic eh?  The party that has refused for years to guarantee the vote’s integrity cancelling the election over lack of faith in it’s integrity.  Just “temporary” mind you, a temporary that for reason after reason seems to drag on.  Unprecedented but hardly something I would put past them.

                As to actual indictments, the administration and congressional rat breeders may simply opt to allow those to go forward with the intention of presenting an unsuccessful prosecution.  And if by some sheer accident a prosecution does get through to a conviction there is always the pardon, now certain to be upheld by the new and improved partisan SCOTUS.  But, only AFTER Gamble has voided dual sovereignty.

                I am sorry if it all sounds pessimistic, but this has gone on too long, the momentum has been lost.  Rule of law is so damaged that I am not feeling good about any of it.  America has been forced to shrug it’s shoulders over so many scandals and outright horrors now that what is a couple more?  Especially when we have all been hearing one corrupt conspiratorial fact after another come dripping out for years, each would have been impeachable under any other president?  And with a Dem caucus in congress that says as long as we do not have 67 senators to convict we should not even try to impeach.  Thank you Nancy and Chuck for your dedication to justice.  Politically you might have nailed your case for not impeaching, but, there is more to maintaining a republic than party politics.  Faith in the law and consent of the governed are just two that come to mind, and I do not consent to rule by the current crop of garbage in the Oval Office.  If there is a deadline then there is more than one, there is also a deadline to the resistance where patience in our justice system is getting very thin.  Failure to have justice now that Mueller is going to be forced to release a final report will mean the nation will devolve into a form of partisanship that might well not remain peaceful.  I can see circumstances where the break up of the USA is imminent.  Pretending otherwise is foolish.

                • bmaz says:

                  You understand that the BI that was reopened under a limited edict is not indicative of a real FBI investigation, right? I  mean, sure, there are concerns about politicization of the Bureau, but “that” case is not any kind of general criminal investigation guidepost.

    • Cicero101 says:

      Re this “rule” against prosecutorial action prior to an election which might affect the result, wouldn’t that rule justify indictments sealed until after the poll?

      Wouldn’t such sealed indictments forestall action such as as firing Rosenstein/Mueller the night of the poll? Especially if Trump were told of the sealed indictments the day of the poll.

  6. chuck says:

    My take on the Bloomberg article is that it’s more external show to sedate Trump in between sips of soda: a NY-based rag doing some consequence free ego fanning, “Remember how you gave Rosenstein a stern talking-to Overlord President?? Well, LOOK he’s totally brought Mueller to heel.”

    Fluff in that the landscape of all of this changes with a flip of the house.

    • chuck says:

      Annnnnnd shocking counter-point: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/18/politics/mueller-end-of-the-year/index.html  “Mueller’s not being pressured to wind down his probe immediately after midterms, source says”

      Those emoluments emails tho… Juicy!

  7. Kevin Finnerty says:

    The Bloomberg article is taking up a lot of oxygen today, but I was more interested in a NY Daily News report that the FBI is looking into whether Cy Vance declined to prosecute certain cases in exchange for campaign donations.

    Harvey Weinstein is of course one potential impetus for such an investigation. But so would be Don Jr. and Ivanka.

  8. Trip says:

    Senior Fincen Employee Arrested And Charged With Unlawfully Disclosing Sars

    U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior-level FinCEN employee, betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information contained in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an individual not authorized to receive them.  SARs, which are filed confidentially by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions, are not public documents, and it is an independent federal crime to disclose them outside of one’s official duties.  We hope today’s charges remind those in positions of trust within government agencies that the unlawful sharing of sensitive documents will not be tolerated and will be met with swift justice by this Office.”


    Was this the situation that, at least in part, involved Avenatti?

  9. Rapier says:

    Well Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards life is now over. I mean you have to love the “swift justice” part.

  10. Avattoir says:

    FWIW, a caution: I went from a boutique law firm (with a lot of personal control & almost no billing pressure, where I could ‘front’ new clients lots of room before billing if at all, including being encouraged to do pro bono work), into gummint (with no billings, just bosses plus requirements to justify decisions and time spent on projects), to a ginormous white shoe law firm (where billing rates & timing were governed by a management committee), again into gummint (no billings etc except this time I didn’t just have bosses, I was one), to an even gleamier whiter shoe firm (tripled or higher billing rates, crazy times, stupid money, political at almost every turn), to a boutique (where I was almost entirely answerable to my own conscience, so lots of fronted time & pro bono).

    So: when I see law firm billing reports, I don’t see much if any in the way of reliable correlations to effort or time actually spent or complexity or value of work done; instead, I see almost entirely how dramatically different billing practices can be from attorney to attorney, from client to client, and from context to context,

    • Stormcrow says:

      I do real estate work, and in one instance we worked with Skadden Arps on a big project in Manhattan. The billing was nuts. So I remember the first story about Manafort using Skadden, and a mention of a $12,000 bill, and thinking, “OK, that would pay for lunch. Maybe.”

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, And to Stormcrow too. The discussion of billing practices is too long and different for this thread probably. I am thankful I never had to really worry about that, whether because of flat fees or we submit whatever we can in civil rights cases, where it did not matter because you would be lucky to get anything. Bad billing practices have been more of a problem later in life.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Skadden was once famous, along with a host of other white shoe firms, for single-line billing.  The work was described as “Legal Services” and the amount was in dollars.  That’s it.

      Arguing for more information was an uphill battle.  In any case, the bill was usually taken from a pre-paid retainer, which had to be topped up now and again so that it exceeded the amount of the next probable bill.

      For a while during the M&A craze, Skadden racked up retainers from corporate clients for the purpose of precluding Skadden from representing a would be predator-buyer.  Naturally, it was paid on a “use it or lose it” basis.

      Since the firm’s rates were so high, it made no sense to use Skadden for normal corporate work.  The retainer was considered an insurance policy.  Skadden kept the fees while performing little work, usually personal advice from a partner to the corporate client’s GC, which was great marketing for Skadden.

      Only later did these firms condescend to produce line item bills for large corporate clients, with dates, times, work performed, total hours billed with an hourly rate attached to each lawyer doing work.  Same with out-of-pocket expenses, which firms always mined for profit potential: charging additional “overhead” for staff that was already included in the standard hourly rate, to T&E, photocopies, and document delivery (sometimes by FedEx, sometimes by private limo or helicopter).

      Keeping tabs on the billing was a constant battle.  The only leverage a client had was its status and the amount of work the client paid for.

      • Peterr says:

        The client also had the leverage gained by using their feet and walking elsewhere. If you are a sizable enough client — either in the amount of business you bring to the firm, or because of your reputation in the wider world — Skadden doesn’t want to lose you for fear of (a) losing the immediate billable hours from your work, (b) losing other clients or missing out on potential clients if word gets around because you left out of dissatisfaction with their work, or (c) both.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          For a long time, if your name wasn’t Goldman Sachs, Skadden didn’t give a shit whether you liked the work or walked.  Those heady days are probably behind it.  International competition can have that effect.

  11. bevster says:

    Am I the only person old enough to remember when Rosenstein announced the indictments of the 12 Russian officials THE DAY OF Trump’s trip to the infamous Helsinki meeting?  Obviously timed for maximum disruption and exposure. These folks all know what they’re doing…

    • Trip says:

      Supposedly he asked Trump when he should announce it; Before, during or after. The timing was coordinated with Trump.

  12. Peterr says:

    Missing from all this breathless speculation on imminent reports from Mueller is any mention of Trump’s take-home exam.

    There is no way in hell Mueller is issuing a report while Team Trump is still trying to figure out how to get the boss not to lie in writing when they submit those answers to Mueller.

    Then there’s the post-exam back and forth, a la Karl Rove in the Plame investigations. How many tries did it take Ol’ Karl to get his story right, and avoid indictment?

    • emptywheel says:

      I did not ignore that. But I do think that Mueller will have stuff ready to drop even if Trump delays.

      • Peterr says:

        Maybe I’m going blind, but I re-read the post three times and I can’t see anything about the answers Mueller is waiting for from Trump.

        But let’s go back to Bloomberg. Buried in the middle of the Bloomberg piece is this:

        Mueller only recently submitted written questions to Trump’s lawyers regarding potential collusion with Russia, and his team hasn’t yet ruled out seeking an interview with the president, according to one of the U.S. officials. If Trump refused an interview request, Mueller could face the complicated question of whether to seek a grand jury subpoena of the president. The Justice Department has a standing policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

        Curiously (or not, depending on your views of the quality of Bloomberg’s three reporters here), there is no attempt to explain how this paragraph blends with the opening words of the whole piece saying “Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections . . .”

        That said, I agree that Mueller has stuff ready to drop (Jared and Don Jr. may want to make sure their lawyers have the post-election day Wednesday-Friday clear.) I just don’t think it is some grand final report in the way Bloomberg is playing it.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Depending upon the results of the midterm elections, if Trump fires Mueller, then Congress could reauthorize The Independent Counsel Act and, depending upon who replaces Sessions as AG, Mueller could be reappointed as Independent Counsel. Or not. Stranger longshots have happened.

  13. jayedcoins says:

    “Trump is going to start firing people after the election”

    Excuse the possibly dense question. But it has been repeated a few times by Marcy here and on Twitter, along with all other class of pundits of varying credentials, like it is obvious that Trump will start shit-canning people on the 7th with an aim toward shutting down the SCO.

    I am not sure I understand why this is taken as a given… I’d appreciate if someone wouldn’t mind giving me a junior high explanation. :)

    • Troutwaxer says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see indictments drop at 12:01 am on the 7th, or even on the 6th after the last poll closes in Hawaii. (I’m not sure that makes sense by time zone, but you can bet that someone has it figured out.)

    • Yvonne says:

      Well Marcy did say in a now-deleted comment “if he lasts that long” (as in if Mueller isn’t fired before the midterm elections). Starting to think he will be fired before then, and that’s what will trigger “the report”.

  14. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Can someone please explain how the sealed indictment works? For instance could Mueller get a whole batch of indictments down under seal between now and November 6th and have them opened on the 7th? If the Dumpster finds out about sealed indictments, could firing Mueller before they are opened keep them sealed or could a new AG just withdraw ’em?

  15. Bill Durbin says:

    Is there anything new regarding the Mueller probe in the indictment of the Treasury Department woman, who ostensibly fed information to Buzzfeed?

  16. ggons says:

    This smells exactly like the “Rosenstein will be fired on Monday” thing. Someone in the Trump circle wants something to happen and thinks they can make that happen by dropping lines to gullible news reporters.

    Why don’t I take this seriously? Rosenstein is still employed, right-wing sources (bloomberg being vaguely to the right on the spectrum) have been running this line for months and it still hasn’t wrapped up, and there hasn’t been a lot of focus on the story so everyone who wanted a development was listening and just didn’t pay attention.

  17. skua says:

    I read people are putting some faith in Rosenstein having told Trump something specific how he’ll tell Mueller to wrap it up after the mid-terms.

    Wan’t there, don’t know.

    But given the WH’s on-going lies and mis-leading statements I doubt the wisdom of trusting anonymously credited claims in this area.

  18. Trip says:

    Whatever happened with this?

    Mueller probing Kushner’s 2016 attempts to block UNSC settlement resolution

    Special counsel for the US Department of Justice Robert Mueller is investigating an attempt by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to block the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334  condemning Israeli settlement activity, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    The probe is part of a larger investigation by Mueller into Kushner and his conversations with foreign leaders, including Israelis, during the two-month transition period between the November election and the time that Trump took office.

    • Trip says:

      ICC Prosecutor: Demolishing Khan al-Ahmar a War Crime

      MP Alistair Carmichael, in which he implored the prime minister to make it clear to Benjamin Netanyahu that “this is occupied territory, that these are refugees, protected people whose forcible removal…would constitute a war crime.”
      Both Bensouda and May’s remarks come as Israeli authorities make preparations to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, following a High Court ruling last month that sealed the village’s fate. Earlier this week, Israeli security forces accompanied by bulldozers entered the outskirts of the village to begin leveling the ground in the run-up to the demolition. At least seven people were injured and four others detained on Monday, after trying to block the bulldozers from carrying out their work.

    • Trip says:

      Also related:

      Kushner did not disclose heading of foundation that funded settlement projects

      …Kushner has amended his financial records several times since his first filing with the government ethics office in March, and also has made three revisions to his security clearance application.
      Newsweek reported that Kushner’s omission was first discovered by a team of researchers at American Bridge, a progressive research and communications organization. The group shared the discovery with Newsweek on Friday afternoon and its researchers suggested Kushner’s failure to disclose his position may have been an attempt to avoid “potential conflicts with his job negotiating Middle East peace.”Had Kushner disclosed his position in the family foundation in his financial records, his involvement in the settlement donations and potential conflicts of interest with his government position may have been considered by the Office of Government Ethics, according to Newsweek.

      I bring all of this to attention again, since the Kushner ME “Peace Plan” involved a seemingly trilateral agreement between the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cartoonist Steve Bell’s take on Trump, MbS, and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is not to be missed.  The inseparable Jared and Ivanka play a sort of deus ex machina role.  Bell’s orange toilet head caricature perfectly captures the essence de Trump.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Bathing in the orange blood was a nice touch, as was MbS being toweled dry and clothed in the American flag, carried by the American president.

        As Winston Wolfe would know, the blood on the hands is figurative.  Butchering someone – starting when they are alive and writhing on the conference table – and cramming their bits into the luggage is messier.  Ask Lars Thorwald. 

        The blood would get everywhere and remain discoverable, but for the most thorough and professional clean-up. Even then, as Lady Macbeth discovered, the spots can be damnedly hard to remove.

        • Trip says:

          Yes, I was being too literal. :)

          Sometimes I wish for a (Poe’s) Tell-Tale Heart comeuppance, beating maddeningly loud in perpetuity for those reliving the crimes. But I suppose guilt, humanity or a conscience would need to be had first.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    According to an article in the Guardian today, Aras Agalarov set up a shell company to move nearly $20 million into the US before the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting, attended by his representatives Ike Kaveladze and Rob Goldstone.  This is not news, so why does the Guardian frame it as if it were?

    Agalarov’s attorney, Scott Balber, gives what could be a coy reference to real estate mogul Donald Trump, when he says that the money was intended for “real estate transactions.”  Agalarov’s accountant, Ilya Bykov – some of whose clients have been accused of “money laundering and embezzlement” – set up the Delaware shell company, but claims that the investments “never materialized.”  (Mr. Agalarov and his representatives deny any wrongdoing.)

    What’s odd is that this article by Jon Swaine and Scott Steadman is derivative of the reporting done last month by Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed.  Other than offering a summary for European readers, why publish this now, as if it were new information?

    • Trip says:

      They give credit, and I think perhaps the story is reiterated because of the reporting on the recent intense cooperation sessions with Manafort?

      BuzzFeed News reported last month that Agalarov moved $19.5m from an offshore investment vehicle to a US bank account 11 days after the meeting. The transfer was reportedly flagged to US Treasury officials as suspicious. The Delaware company used the same name, Silver Valley Consulting, as the offshore vehicle.

      On the day of the money transfer, Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, leaving his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in charge. Manafort, who has extensive business links to the former Soviet Union, is now cooperating with Mueller after having been convicted of financial crimes.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes, they give credit.  And they tie it in to Mueller’s current investigation, which the BuzzFeed reporting also did:

        Agalarov’s previously unreported shell company is another example of intriguing financial activity around the time of the Trump Tower meeting.  Mueller is looking into such activity and whether any of the money involved could have been used to fund Russian meddling in the US election, which Agalarov denies.

        What the Guardian claims is new is that Bykov set up a Delaware shell to receive the nearly $20 million, and that he has other clients who have been accused of “money laundering and embezzlement”.

        It seems to be thin gruel to explain repeating Cormier and Leopold’s reporting, which was earlier, and provided more detail and better context.

    • harpie says:

      Not saying this is necessarily meaningful movement in the story line…IDK, but:

      From the 9/12/18 article:

      […] Now, four federal law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed News, investigators are focused on two bursts of transactions that bank examiners deemed suspicious: one a short time after the [6/9/16] meeting and another immediately after the November 2016 presidential election. // The first set came just 11 days after the June 9 meeting [June 20], when an offshore company controlled by Agalarov wired more than $19.5 million to his account at a bank in New York.

      From the current article:

      BuzzFeed News reported last month that Agalarov moved $19.5m from an offshore investment vehicle to a US bank account 11 days after the meeting. The transfer was reportedly flagged to US Treasury officials as suspicious. The Delaware company used the same name, Silver Valley Consulting, as the offshore vehicle. 

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The first thing to do to complete a medieval coup was to “kill all the lawyers.”

        They were an institution’s memory.  They would know the lawful monarch.  Their rules would determine his lawful successor and make other claims illegitimate, undermining that claimant’s hold on power.  Best to remove them to consolidate power.

        By extension, the first thing to do in an assassination is to kill the assassins, or at least those over whom your power is not complete.

        That’s how conspiracy works. Them boys on the grassy knoll, they were dead within three hours. Buried in the damn desert. Unmarked graves out past Terlingua.

        And you know this for a fact?

        Still got the shovel.

        Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Shooter (2007).  Levon was great.  He was also in 1983’s, The Right Stuff, as Capt. Ridley, the guy Yeager kept borrowing a stick of Beeman’s chewing gum from.  He was better known as a singer/musician.

          • Fran of the North says:

            Yes, he was in the Band. I didn’t know he made the silver screen tho. Thanks for the pointer. I’ll put it on the list.

            Early in my youth, I was a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist. But “I got better…” (She turned me into a newt)

    • Frank Probst says:

      What I find so fascinating about this is that the press isn’t even bothering to pretend that this isn’t all political Kabuki.  The gist of the reporting is that the Saudis (with or without US help, probably with) are trying to come up with some sort of reasonable story to explain how Khashoggi ended up dead and dismembered.  Trial balloons keep getting floated and shot down.

      On the other side of the story, somebody (presumably the Turkish government) is dribbling out information that appears to be highly credible that just makes the story worse and worse for the Saudis.

      The whole thing has been very “meta” to watch.

      • Trip says:

        Or…we are moving into the blatant phase of “It’s okay to kill dissidents” as long as there is a payoff.
        Human rights are no longer a concern. He knows that we know he’s lying. But he doesn’t care. This is the hallmark of Trump’s GOP and its strong fascist leanings.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          I have often felt that the rising (fully risen?) authoritarians actually want their crimes to be public in order to instill fear. I felt this way about the suspiciously episodic spate of videos of cops killing unarmed black children–that someone wanted these videos in the public eye for some reason. I think one of those reasons is fear. Similarly with the horrendous Ohio football team all-night rape story. Similar suspicions concerning the separating immigrant parents from their children story.  I think someone chose to create that story and to get some deeply upsetting recordings before the public for some horrendously perverse reason. At this point I am always suspicious of highly salacious, emotional stories receiving national attention. Why did the cops-shooting-kids craze go away as quickly as it came? Surely not much has changed in cop behavior on that front.

          Anyway, sorry for being too wordy. I agree. As Pinter said about US behavior on the world stage, we no longer bother with low intensity conflict. We put our cards on the table without fear or prejudice. It is useful for people to know what can happen to a person who reports “fake news”.

          • Doctor My Eyes says:

            Iow, psyops and demoralization. Could they have not made it seem he had a heart attack? Or died in an auto crash? Suffered the unfortunate helicopter crash into his bedroom?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Khashoggi’s is, in effect, a public execution.  It was meant to be as horrible as possible.  Dismembering the guy while he was still alive is about as medieval as it gets.  I wonder if they also hanged him, then drew out his entrails.  They did the quartering bit.

      • harpie says:

        Adam Klasfeld has a take here, I think, as he retweets Khashoggi’s last column:

        7:53 AM – 18 Oct 2018 A must-read column, made all the more poignant considering that the story of his final days is being carefully managed by three antagonists of the press, each spinning, massaging and censoring the narrative to suit their geopolitical aims.

    • harpie says:

      Marcy suggested a thread by Helena Cobban, yesterday: 1:40 PM – 17 Oct 2018 Really interesting thread abt why MBS would take such extreme measures w/Khashoggi. :

      12:42 PM – 17 Oct 2018[Thread] 1. I’ve been trying to figure out the source of MBS’s extreme hatred/fear of #JamalKhashoggi. For starters, it’s key to note that though JK had a long track record in journalism, he was also a political actor. > 2. He’s had close ties to Prince Turki al-Faisal (fmr longtime head of Saudi intelligence, more recently ambo in London & DC) & to other non-MBS royals. It’s also no secret he recently had good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, > [more]

      She’s right, really interesting.

      • Trip says:

        Why Pompeo and the crew are all in (read the entire piece, mad money):

        The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut

        According to a forthcoming report by the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative program, which I direct, at the Center for International Policy, registered foreign agents working on behalf of interests in Saudi Arabia contacted Congressional representatives, the White House, the media, and figures at influential think tanks more than 2,500 times in 2017 alone. In the process, they also managed to contribute nearly $400,000 to the political coffers of senators and House members as they urged them to support the Saudis. Some of those contributions, like Lampkin’s, were given on the same day the requests were made to support those arms sales…
        In 2016, according to FARA records, they reported spending just under $10 million on lobbying firms; in 2017, that number had nearly tripled to $27.3 million. And that’s just a baseline figure for a far larger operation to buy influence in Washington, since it doesn’t include considerable sums given to elite universities or think tanks like the Arab Gulf States Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (to mention just a few of them)…
        Before President Trump even took office, the Saudi government signed a deal with the McKeon Group, a lobbying firm headed by Howard “Buck” McKeon, the recently retired Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. His firm also represents Lockheed Martin, one of the top providers of military equipment to the Kingdom. On the Democratic side, the Saudis inked a $140,000-per-month deal with the Podesta Group, headed by Tony Podesta, whose brother John, a long-time Democratic Party operative, was the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.


        • Rayne says:

          I know I’ve said this before: Keep an eye on the word count of copyrighted material excerpts. 100 words is best, more than 300 is past Fair Use for blog post and short news articles. This excerpt’s at 268 — probably could have summarized in much less.

  21. Frank Probst says:

    Agree with @bmaz above (“Reply” is working.  I just didn’t want this buried up top.”) that Rosenstein is probably telling Trump what he (Rosenstein) thinks Trump wants to hear.  I remember when he was first appointed that Rosenstein was described as a “survivor”.  Appointing Mueller was not really a move that a “survivor” would make, but on the plus side, it means that Rosenstein will probably leave the DOJ with his reputation more or less intact, whereas everyone else will carry the “Trump stench” with them for the rest of their careers.

    I don’t believe for a second that Rosenstein needs or wants Mueller to “hurry up”.  Cohen (who was technically tagged by the SDNY after being referred by Mueller) and Manafort have both taken plea deals that appear to involve hefty prison sentences, so it’s not like Mueller is dithering around without getting anything done.  But if everyone thinks that Mueller’s going to issue a final report right after the election, it’s much more likely to help Rosenstein (and therefore Mueller) keep his job for a little bit longer.

    And then there’s Jeff Sessions.  He was originally willing to resign after all of the nasty comments Trump made about him.  For the last several months, it hasn’t seemed like he’s willing to leave his post voluntarily anymore.  He’s having too much fun gleefully hurting brown people, and he doesn’t really have anywhere to go once he’s leaves the AG position.  Part of the reason he got the job was because his Senate seat was sure to go to a Republican.  Then Roy Moore came along, and the Dems picked up the seat.  Rightly or wrongly, Sessions is going to carry some of the blame for that.

    So what’s he going to do once he leaves?  Trump would move hell and earth to keep him from winning his Senate seat back in 2020.  He could get a lucrative lobbying gig or some other form of wingnut welfare (which might also be complicated by Trump, since Sessions will be radioactive), but he’s 71.  If I were him, I’d make Trump fire me, get a huge book deal, and then go back to Alabama to play with my grandkids.

    I agree that there will be a lot of people getting fired after the midterms, but I don’t think it’s going to go quickly or smoothly.  Mattis doesn’t look like he’s going to leave willingly, and he’s not going to be easy to fire.  And the more cabinet members you’re trying to fire, the harder it’s going to be, assuming the Dems pick up the House, because every firing is going to lead to a congressional investigation.  It’s going to be chaotic.  And as @bmaz noted, if Mueller throws out any fresh indictments before being fired, Congress is going to want him to see those indictments through.

    (As always, JMHO, YMMV.)

    • Willis Warren says:

      I think Rosenstein is a putz.  But, at least he’s got some respect for the law.  I think that we’re in terra incognito and the whole “can’t arrest the president” nonsense needs to be tossed.  Rod won’t do that.

  22. Frank Probst says:

    I’m following a Commandment here (Thou shalt not link to Fox News.  But the clip is at Rawstory.), but the clip from this morning with Judge Napolitano was fascinating.  First of all, Fox News is the only outlet that I’ve seen that’s reporting that three of Khashoggi’s four children were either born in the US or are US citizens (or both).  I’m a bit surprised that no one else has brought that up.  Second, they made zero effort to obfuscate what happened and how spectacularly horrifying it all is.  And third, The Judge said (@bmaz and others need to confirm this–I have no idea if it’s true) that murdering a US citizen or permanent resident on foreign soil is a federal crime, and during the Reagan Administration, we exfiltrated and prosecuted someone for it.  This last part seems sketchy to me, because there are jurisdictional issues there, but I’m curious as to what the legal folks think about it.

  23. viget says:

    OK… so Mnuchin finally relents to international pressure not to attend the Davos in the Desert gig, and the Dow goes down 400 points.  I mean, what is this, mob extortion?  If the US actually tries to do the right thing, the corporate powers that be will bankrupt us?

    Makes me wonder, is it too late to save our skins?  Or are we already owned lock, stock and barrel?

    • Fran of the North says:

      Or perhaps the market is reacting to the sinking realization that KSA is being forced into a corner, and their reaction will cause  oil prices to spike, with the attendant chaos in the marketplace. Higher oil prices beget negative impacts to most companies earnings.

      • Rayne says:

        Cui bono? So frustrating — this question should be asked unceasingly while Trump is in the White House and yet too often it isn’t. Everything Trump does is transactional and foreign powers know this. Who benefits from higher oil prices? Does this same party or parties have vested interest in corporations’ earnings affected by higher oil prices? Do they benefit more from the effects higher oil prices over lower corporate profits?

        And what entity or entities are indifferent to either higher/lower oil prices or corporate profits but are nonetheless engaged deeply in this situation?

        Think carefully. This situation isn’t just about KSA or the impact on US’ economy.

  24. pseudonymous in nc says:

    to bmaz, to defeat threading: yeah, every Manafort trip means at least two Alexandria PD officers are sitting around drinking coffee for the day, and somebody needs to fill their spots. I hope that the transfer of Paulie’s ill-gotten gains pays the invoice.

  25. Trip says:

    This is news from a couple of days ago (which seems like an eternity) and I think you covered it, but not the donor’s history?

    Mar-a-Lago member gives $150,000 to help Trump aides mired in Mueller probe

    Lomangino, the founder of a South Florida waste hauling company acquired by Waste Management in 2015, has also been a big recent donor to other GOP causes, including $17,300 in August to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $25,000 to Great America PAC, which backed Trump’s 2016 campaign and is now supporting the president’s agenda.

    Garbage company owner’s past in NYC questioned

    …The reports in the packet were about a major criminal investigation of a Mob-controlled cartel that controlled the NYC trash hauling business. Lomangino, along with several brothers, had been in the NYC carting business for decades and at that time was running one of the largest waste companies in the city, Allied Sanitation.
    Lomangino was not indicted in the landmark case, which ended with the conviction of numerous garbage executives and 23 companies, but his name came up in news reports. From a 1996 article in Fortune magazine: [L]aw enforcement sources say they don’t believe Allied could have grown so large without playing by the cartel’s rules of price-fixing and property rights. Until last year Allied was a member of the now-indicted Queens County Trade Waste Association, where bids were rigged and payments allegedly extorted. Since then Allied’s parent has tried to cash out by going public, but no major Wall Street house would do the deal.

    • Trent says:

      but no major Wall Street house would do the deal

      I’m sure they tried but couldn’t get KYC guidelines by their lawyers.  GE Capital ran into the same issue trying to do a lease deal with them on a fleet of garbage trucks.

      • Trip says:

        As soon as I saw hauling and garbage, NYC in the 70s and 80s, I thought mob. They pretty much had a monopoly on the business back then. They might still be largely involved.

    • bmaz says:

      We have been saying that here all along. The best chance of the public getting information will be in the context of indictments and/or pleas.

        • gedouttahear says:

          Sure, it’s depressing IF the reporting in that article is accurate. But yes, the indictments will tell much of the story — already have —  and one can bet that much of the sourcing for that story  — written when there is a lull in public activity of the sc’s office — are t’s henchmen and various others  who even though they have been involved with other special investigations have no current information and are just guessing because a reporter asked their opinion. And elections do make a difference. So all I’m saying is keep hope alive. And get out the vote!

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Trip noted upthread, Trump is praising a member of Congress’s violent assault on a reporter.  Since the Don is so much greater than any lowly member of Congress, what is he proposing to allow himself to do?

    • Trip says:

      And the cult cheered, not recognizing they are the dupes he’d sacrifice first. I’m sure Lindsey and Mitch will recognize the real mob any day now…

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Unsurprisingly, Vladimir Putin is praising the loss of dominance by the US – owing to its “mistakes”.  Thanks to Vlad, the biggest one is in the Oval Office.

    “A country can get the sense from impunity that you can do anything. This is the result of the monopoly from a unipolar world … . Luckily this monopoly is disappearing. It’s almost done.”

    I always appreciate it when someone admires his own handiwork.

    A real president would not take that lying down.  He’d be afraid of looking weak in front of his global peers, the power brokers in Congress, and the American electorate.  Mr. Trump?  He will touch his very long forelock and say, “Thank you sir!  May I have another?”

  28. Trip says:

    Vacating the devil’s address:

    William Blair leaving 666 Fifth for Edward Minskoff tower on Sixth Ave

    Financial services firm inks 40K sf lease at 1166 Sixth

    Israel Englander’s hedge fund heading for the exits at 666 Fifth: report

    Millennium Management not likely to renew its lease at Kushner tower

    Meanwhile, (Inditex) Zara (dogwhistle and racist clothes co), the FLOTUS ugly jacket maker, is still there, since they bought the gig.

  29. Trip says:

    US Israel lobbyists weigh in:

    Ryan Grim‏Verified account @ryangrim
    Here’s how the head of the Israel Project here in DC views the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

    Josh Block‏ @JoshBlockDC
    That’s mostly because Khashoggi was a radical Islamist terrorist ally who was close to Osama Bin Ladin, ISIS, Hamas & wanted to overthrow the Saudi ruling royals, who oppose both the Sunni terrorists, sponsored by Turkey & Qatar, as well as Irans’s Shia terrorist armies & allies

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Garden variety AIPAC-style propaganda.  Some of it might even be true, but the manner of its use is unlikely to be.  It elides the timing of Khashoggi’s alleged support for OBL.  If I remember correctly, the USG was one of his biggest supporters back then.

      Block’s argument readily extrapolates to justifiable homicide.  Odd for such an unquestioning supporter of Israeli state policy, it is an aggressive argument in support of the kind of state homicide that Palestinians would find familiar.

      Block and Trump seem to think the ends always justify the means.  I favor the argument that they never justify the means.  The means have to stand on their own merit – and be consistent with the ends sought.  Otherwise, they corrupt them.

      • Trip says:

        I agree @earl. I wasn’t even comfortable with the assassination of bin Laden, it seemed to go against US “values”. I’m probably alone in that thought. And I’m not entirely certain what the real story is behind it anyway.

        I think the Israeli propaganda is squarely behind the GOP talking points because there was a realignment and deal on ME profit, I mean “peace process”, between Kushner /Trump, Netanyahu and MbS. Russia figured into the scheme too (with Flynn and the nuke plants), but they could easily realign with Turkey and Iran again.

        Netanyahu’s Israel is no liberal democracy, at least not for all the people.

        The tyrants are uniting.

  30. Michael G. says:

    Say the Dems win the House, Trump fires Sessions & Rosenstein & has one of his stooges bury Mueller’s report. Can the Dems in January then subpoena Mueller’s original report, or can Trump restrict their access to it somehow ?

  31. harpie says:

    On a personal note, this is me, perpetually:

    Adam Serwer:

    7:42 AM – 19 Oct 2018 having a lot of tabs open is anxiety inducing but it’s worse when you start looking through the tabs and all of them are important and you can’t close them and will soon be crushed by the sheer weight of tabs

    Probably nycsouthpaw feels the same, since he retweeted Serwer.

    Anyway, it’s nice to have company.

    One response:

    My solution is an ever expanding collection of “saved tabs folders” which has moved my anxiety to another location

    LOL…I guess.

    • Rayne says:

      Bookmarks – new folder by topic and date. I’ve burnt myself too many times with incognito windows and tabs gone missing when the machine burps. Used to rely on Del.icio.us but alas, another service bit the dust.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks for the suggestion. Personally I try to avoid browser extensions and add-ons with a very few exceptions. They often pose problems with browser updates, and in some cases are not secure.

        • Eureka says:

          Yeah, I hear you- I almost didn’t suggest same for those reasons.  But side benefit of revisiting extensions topic is that I am now rabbit-holing the popular blocker exts. (am shocked by scope of permissions on them)…

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Will someone park Hillary in a corner for a time-out, and tell this Yale Law School graduate that age and “consent” are not valid defenses to employer sex abuse.

    I know that she is driven to reflexively defend Bill in order to defend her own choices. But does she have to make it so clear that she and other establishment Dems are woefully out of touch with their own party – and the rest of the country?

    Please, Hill, attack Trump, attack his closest supporters and their billionaire backers. They repeatedly act in ways that merit scorn. Attack Nikki Haley, the politician who knows as much about international affairs as Donnie Trump knows about ethical behavior. But sidestep going back in time to Bill and your own past. Those are distractions from today’s issues and needs.

    • Trip says:

      It’s insanely tone-deaf and counterproductive; for the Dems in general, and to her own narrative of misogyny defeating her (while simultaneously employing it).

    • Rayne says:

      Let it go. Think less like a lawyer and more like a cheated spouse who has struggled to make peace with his marital infidelity which has been crammed in her face as HER failing for +20 years and then let it go.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Her political priorities have driven her personal choices.  The keys to her emotional kingdom are in her own pocket. 

        But the point was not her angst, only that she not sort it out in public during an election campaign.  It gives her friends the angst and her opponents ammunition.

        • Rayne says:

          You’re saying a woman should shut up in public about an emotional personal subject. Fuck all the way off with that unless you’re going to tell men to shut the fuck up in public consistently, too, especially in this case.

          Jump on Bill’s ass, not Hillary’s, for abuse of power over a subordinate. Jump on Monica’s ass for indulging in non-work during work hours. Get off Hillary’s back about her miserable spouse’s behavior and for honoring her marriage vows (or did you miss the part about a lawyer honoring a civil contract?).

          And quit policing women’s language and behavior.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Mrs. Clinton is a public figure subject to comment about her public speech and behavior.

            She was not speaking about her personal angst.  She was defending her husband’s actions, despite abundant evidence of his Kennedy-like sexual adventurism, as a way to defend his record and her current politics.  That’s politics, not private emotion, and it’s coming from her, not me.

            Your comment that criticizing her public behavior is attempting to police the language and behavior of all women is overblown and a declaration that Mrs. Clinton is off limits.  An unlikely outcome while she remains a public figure engaged in daily politics.

            • bmaz says:

              Sure. Hillary is a “public figure” within both the common and legal definition.

              She also won the popular vote in this country by a significant amount. She owes no apologies, and she does not need to “go away”.

              George Bush went out and publicly and privately lobbied for Kavanaugh. But, hey, Hillary Clinton should stop saying anything? Seriously?  I think that is far beyond wrong.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                It’s generally a good idea to read the thread and compare the words written with claims made about them.  They don’t always match.

                I did not say Hillary should go away, stop speaking, or stop politicking.  I’d rather she do those things.

                But it is press management 101 to sidestep an interviewer’s awkward questions and stick to your talking points.  A few weeks before an election those presumably relate to the current political debate.  Mrs. Clinton has decades of experience doing that.

                • bmaz says:

                  Fair enough. And, honestly, I try to keep up on the fly, and not always successfully, but I think mostly so.

                  But you are right here.

            • Rayne says:

              If you think a woman speaking about her husband’s cheating — and being badgered about it for two decades — is a purely political issue you’re full of crap.

              Newt Fucking Gingrich cheated on a swath of women while creating public policy that set this Trumpian disaster in motion and he doesn’t get a fraction of the bullshit Hillary gets for her husband’s cheating while he was elected and she merely the affected spouse.

              And yeah, you still expect her to shut up. Fuck that.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                I think that after four decades experience being interviewed, whatever the talented Mrs. Clinton says to a reporter is her message point.

                I think she’s still married to Bill because she chooses to be, not because her choices are constrained.

                And I think that regardless of her feelings or politics, the Republican witch hunt – once led with inverted Oedipal glee by Brett Kavanaugh – is real, not a Trumpian made up one, and it will never let up.

  33. Trip says:

    Julian Assange sues Ecuador for ‘violating his rights’

    The memo, which was written in Spanish and published by Ecuadorean website Codigo Vidrio, specifies that Assange must pay for his own expenses like food, medical and laundry from December, that visitors must have prior authorization, and that he must not only keep the spaces inside the embassy clean, but also take care of his cat. It says if the 47-year-old doesn’t comply, he could not only risk losing his pet — but asylum, too.

    OMG,  LMAO on this one tweeted by Marcy. I must ask, why isn’t Julian taking care of his cat and cleaning his room?

    • Rayne says:

      Why does he have a cat in an embassy facility? So he can pass messages in its collar? Because I seriously doubt he has one as a anti-anxiety comfort animal.

      • Trip says:

        I dunno. But this entire story reads like a kid who won’t clean his room or take care of the pet he begged his parents for, so he’s grounded.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Like Kasich and Cruz, book smarts, intelligence, and social priorities do not always go together.

      Suing Ecuador?  Grabbing at these peripheral privileges is “like a drowning man clutching at a razor blade.”  Strong evidence that Mr. Assange’s mental state would seem to be deteriorating.

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