Is Jerome Corsi Trying to Get Trump to Intervene (Again)?

When his former National Security Advisor was at risk for lying to the FBI and serving as an agent of a foreign government, Trump considered pardoning him to keep him from talking, but didn’t.

When his former Campaign Manager was at risk for serving as an agent of a foreign government (and, probably, a whole lot else), Trump considered pardoning him to keep him from talking, but didn’t.

I wonder if Jerome Corsi thinks his luck would be any better.

According to the conspiracy theorist’s own telling, he has been in discussions with Mueller’s investigators since late August. The following has happened recently:

November 8: On his podcast, Corsi suggests something big is going down with Mueller

November 9: Corsi appears before the grand jury and doesn’t give the answer — regarding how he learned that WikiLeaks would release John Podesta’s emails — that prosecutors expected; they told him they were going to charge him with perjury

November 12: On his podcast, Corsi says he expects to be indicted; a huge media frenzy follows

November 13: The media frenzy continues until (he claims), moments before starting an MSNBC interview, his lawyer tells him to call it off

November 23: Corsi goes to the WaPo (off the record), AP, and MSNBC (the latter two both on the record) to tell them he is in plea negotiations

The last time Corsi yanked the media chain, here’s what happened:

The reference to screaming and shouting appears to be based off Corsi’s claims of what went on in the grand jury.

So perhaps Corsi believes if he creates another media frenzy, Trump will take action.

Is it possible that whatever Corsi would tell investigators is more damning than what Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort have presumably already said? Recall that Roger Stone, in several of his many efforts to deflect any attention on his own actions, has suggested that Corsi had his own relationship with Trump (perhaps trying to suggest that if anything Corsi learned made its way to Trump, it would have been directly).

Stone suggested that the special counsel may actually be interested in Corsi’s relationship with Trump.

Corsi was a leading proponent of birtherism, the false conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In 2011, he wrote the book “Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama is Not Eligible to be President.”

Around that time, Trump took up the conspiracy theory, questioning Obama’s citizenship and demanding that he release his birth certificate.

Stone said that during a conversation with Trump in 2011, “he said to me, ‘Who is this guy, Jerome Corsi?’” Stone recalled.

Stone said he asked Trump why he was inquiring about Corsi.

“I’ve been talking to him,” Stone recalled Trump saying.

Stone said that Corsi also met with Trump during the 2016 campaign.

And Corsi’s own lawyer has suggested Corsi declined to take part in criminal activity that Stone may have invited him to be a part of.

Gray said he was confident that Corsi has done nothing wrong. “Jerry Corsi made decisions that he would not take actions that would give him criminal liability,” he added, declining to elaborate.

Asked if Corsi had opportunities to take such actions, Gray said, “I wouldn’t say he was offered those opportunities. I would say he had communications with Roger Stone. We’ll supply those communications and be cooperative. My client didn’t act further that would give rise to any criminal liability.”

Of course, Corsi may not need a pardon to get himself out of the legal pickle he’s in. He may be counting on Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to bail him out. Whitaker was appointed the day before Corsi’s attempts to work the media; when firing Jeff Sessions, John Kelly made it clear Whitaker needed to be in place that day. And the same day that Corsi started this blitz, November 8, Michael Dreeben suggested both that Mueller could do all the things that prosecutors do without pre-approval — seeking immunity, making plea agreements, and bringing indictments — but also noted that subpoenaing a journalist is one of the things that requires Attorney General approval.

Prosecutors do this all the time. They seek immunity. They make plea agreements,. They bring indictments.


If we want to subpoena a member of the media, or if we want to immunize a witness, we’re encouraged if we’re not sure what the policy or practice is, to consult with the relevant officials in the Department of Justice. If we wanted to appeal an adverse decision, we would have to get approval of the Solicitor General of the United States. So we’re operating within that sort of supervisory framework.

Given the other things Mueller’s team has said — notably, that any subpoenas they issued before Whitaker was appointed remain valid — it’s not clear Corsi even could roll back any cooperation he offered before Whitaker came in. But that doesn’t mean Corsi might not try, especially if past efforts proved to have some effect.

At the very least, Corsi may be trying to give Trump more basis to bitch about witch hunts.

64 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    I’m guessing that Trump’s legal advice and state of mind is worse than what it was back when he was toying with giving Flynn and Manafort pardons. That may be what Corsi is counting on.

    • Bob Williams says:

      Also guessing DJT states of mind as Elijah Cmmings gets closer to Chairing House Oversight Commitee,

      As Adam Schiff advances to Chair House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee.

      As Jerry Nadler assumes Chair of House Judiciary Committee.

  2. Eureka says:

    I fixate on this quote from Corsi’s attorney every time I see it:

    “..Gray said, “I wouldn’t say he was offered those opportunities. I would say he had communications with Roger Stone. ”

    (though the larger context ew quoted is important to interpretation).

    What does this mean?

  3. Zinsky says:

    Lord, please allow the narcissistic pig Donald Trump to suffer a massive stroke.  Soon.  Mike Pence too, please. Amen.

      • arbusto says:

        Inside The Beltway seems to me pretty free of justice.  Bush the jester and Darth Vadar,  Rummy et al. untouched for the fire storm they let in the Middle East.  Dem leaders and Obama say the past is past and all is forgiven.  Many, myself included, hope the wrath of justice from Mueller, not just a strongly worded missive, while the OLC and more than a few legal scholars say the Pres is above the law of man.  What justice.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Maybe not justice but lots of karma, and, trust me (and Eureka), you don’t want to be anywhere nearby when it boomerangs back.

          • Eureka says:


            And one can only imagine the existential miseries involved in, say,  rocking yourself to sleep every night to the voice of Sean Hannity.

      • codewalker says:

        That’s a good point. Realize that the Republicans aren’t just ‘wishing’ ill health on people, they are implementing it by destroying environmental protections.

        It’s just and righteous to respond in kind.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Corsi’s praying to get a pardon but as noted elsewhere there are questions about why now and why would Mueller bother advertising anything? Has anyone checked for a GoFundMe grift fund for Corsi? It’s not clear he’s been anything other than a witness for Mueller.

    • bmaz says:

      Mueller has not “advertised” anything. This is ALL coming from Corsi. Yes, he has been a witness for Mueller. Not clear he was completely honest (dude is nuts, so that is a fair bet). This may be no more than Mueller doing another Van der Zwann/Papadopolous deal. Or it may really be. Thing is, Mueller knows what you, me and Corsi do not. We shall see.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Exactly, Mueller’s shop has been remarkably quiet outside of formal filings, so I agree Corsi’s blowing smoke.  “Advertising” was meant to be snarky.

        On a related note, any opinion on the Avenatti case that seems to be falling apart as we speak?  It seems to have eerie similarities to the hatchet job Wohl tried on Mueller.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Corsi’s value in ongoing cooperation is probably limited because he’s a whackadoodle, but that’s known to everybody. The narrative from Corsi’s side is that Mueller’s team presented him with evidence he knew things after testifying that he didn’t. The primary value of a plea may be that it locks down that evidence and tidies up that part of the investigation, not that Corsi has anything to add afterwards.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, yeah. It could be more, but we shall see. Appearances are that it is at least false statements. Even if that is all it is, couldn’t happen to a more deserving jerk.

    • William Bennett says:

      All these “so-and-so is playing for a pardon” ploys–the thing is, do any of them actually know this Trump guy? Because the way it works–the way everything works with Trump–is, if it helps him, fine; if it doesn’t, or god forbid inconveniences him even slightly, fuggedaboudit. At this stage, it serves him to be a pardon-teaser to his co-conspirators, but actually doing anything about it, now or later, is entirely a question of whether it advantages him in any way shape or form. I mean, don’t these guys know how many contractors he’s stiffed? How many commitments he’s reneged on? How many people have been cast down the “I never even met the guy” oubliette?  WTF makes a single one of them think they can expect reciprocal treatment like this? On Trump Street, loyalty is strictly a one-way.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        And yet the Arpaio and D’Souza pardons didn’t really help him other than to own the libs and give the whackjob base a moment of pleasure from owning the libs.

        I’d argue that he likes the pardon power because it’s the closest thing to being an arbitrary monarch and it feeds his narcissism to use it. It’s a power high like a like of cocaine, not a power tool.

  5. barry says:

    EW – Given the importance and uncertainty as to what Whitaker is doing or trying to do as Acting AG, ( and assuming for the moment that he is fully authroized to act as the AG), I’m thinking many readers including me would benefit from a review of what the Special Counsel law says about this. To what extent can the AG override decisions by the Special Counsel, and how is this the same or different from the relationship between the AG and each US Attorney?

    • emptywheel says:

      The short version is Mueller has to tell Whitaker before he takes a major action (like an indictment), and Whitaker can override it if he’s willing to claim it breaks DOJ policy. If he does, though, eventually he’ll have to tell Congress (though not right away).

      • Eureka says:

        So this comment made me think:  do Corsi and Whitaker share paymasters?  i.e. is Corsi (or the money behind them) calling out to Whitaker (too), with Trump as the public face/responder?

  6. Willis Warren says:

    What’s alarming is that Mueller is spending any time on these low level douchebags and not focusing on bigger fish.  I don’t give a shit if corsi lives or dies.  I think there are far more important people that could be going down.

    I hope that Corsi is just a drama queen and Mueller is laughing his ass off at the idea that anyone cares about his dumb ass.

    • Drew says:

      Corsi is among the swarm around Roger Stone. It would appear that Mueller is expending a lot of energy in surrounding & building a water tight case against Stone.  That makes me wonder how big the stakes are with Stone. Is his collusion role even bigger & more direct in linking Trump to conspiracy with Russia than we can surmise from what’s known on the surface?

      The Special Counsel’s Office seems to be highly professional, and remember that Mueller is the prosecutor who got John Gotti convicted (the main difference between Gotti & Trump is that Gotti was much better dressed).  The little guys and the lowest of the low are often essential in making the big case work. Also people like Corsi & Nunberg seek attention & magnify their roles by going very public with their drama when all they are asked to do is confirm an email or something to the grand jury.

      • Frank Probst says:

        I don’t think Mueller is going to voluntarily leave his investigation with any loose ends.  Corsi could simply be a loose end, or he could be the person needed to introduce key evidence for the case-in-chief.  If there are texts, e-mails, or anything like that, he’d be the one to say, “Yes, that’s my e-mail.”  If he’s really been threatened with a perjury charge, then there’s probably solid documentary evidence that he’s lying, not “mistaken” or “misremembering”.  I don’t think Mueller bluffs.

        • Avattoir says:

          I’m with bmaz on this.

          Corsi is saying “perjury” – but that assumes Mueller both can nail him for lying to the Grand Jury (AND is prepared to commit resources to such a sub-project).

          Seems far more likely what happened is Corsi said one thing to the OSC investigators

          (and said it to them repeatedly, given the way we knew that top initial interviewers work, repeatedly turning back to a key assertion, working the interviewee for howsoever long it takes to exhaust all possibly corroborating documents &/or witnesses)

          then later, in response to the same area or even possibly the same line of questioning, testified under oath to the Grand Jury to a definitively distinct story

          (again: repeatedly & in response to deliberately precise questioning – cuz that’s how an experienced pro examiner works this play).

          If that guess turns out true, then it’s mostly a Lose Lose all round.

          For whatever reason, Corsi either thought he could b.s. his way thru the interview process & will now have to pay the price; or, more likely, once he got away from that demanding & intense experience, he did a full ‘my god what have I done to my career, social standing & earning power as a professional conspiracy theoist [sic]‘. THEN determined to take his chances with the deep fryer.

          My thinking is that sort of own goal is pretty much automatically a capital offense in the mobbed-up world in which Corsi operates, & he’ll not be getting any of the Precious Pardons that Toad fondles in his amygdala like ball bearings in Queeg’s hand.

          OTOH, the OSC team members would never have put him up before the G.J. unless doing that was anchored in a plan to get after someone else closer to the Tower power, and regardless whether Corsi screwing around balled up that pathway Corsi’s now forever burned as a witness in any legit environment for any purpose.

  7. Avattoir says:

    Oh, YTF not, right? I mean, you’ve previously posted on hundreds of things here of which no reasonable human would ever claim to be sure. Seems kinda your thing.

  8. gedouttahear says:

    I’m not worried about who Mueller will indict when.

    t is demonstrably losing and oozing what remains of his reptilian brain (sorry reptiles) and I suspect that though he is a no-nothing he knows what is coming down the pike.

    The 216th Congress convenes in 6 weeks.  Perhaps (I really have no idea — just guessing) that the really big indictments will come after that. Even though whit the shit — if he stays — will be a creature of the Senate, the change in control of the House will give the admin much less sway than they now have. This is not to say that Mueller’s timing is “political,” but to say that it’s clear that he will do what he can, while adhering to his charge, to not let serious criminals slip away. Patience is a virtue, but anticipation is much more fun.

    • JD12 says:

      I think you’re right about waiting until the next session. If Mueller produces a bombshell then there’s a good chance it will require immediate action by Congress, but the country can’t depend on the current one.

      I actually wouldn’t say that’s political. Maybe Mueller decided the Democratic-majority House is the best way to guarantee justice.

      It’ll be interesting to see what Republicans do. Right now if Pence became POTUS he’d only get one chance at reelection; once the next session starts he can run twice. I think they have a succession plan and Ryan is part of it.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      As EW has noted, there are dates before then that may advance the public sense of the investigation: the delayed Manafort status report on Monday, then the Flynn pre-sentencing memo due by December 4. Perhaps both will tell us less than we’d like, but Papadopoulos had a similarly narrow plea to Flynn, and regardless of the ongoing George and Simona Show, the Papadopoulos pre-sentencing memo spelled out how much of the book remained unthrown at him.

  9. BroD says:

    I hope Corsi and Stone aren’t really essential to Mueller’s case.  They’re just so freakin slimy.  I know Mueller likes to tie up as many loose ends as he can but he may also be using them as a diversion while he waits for the new congress to be seated.

  10. Mitch Neher says:

    emptywheel asked, “Is it possible that whatever Corsi would tell investigators is more damning than what Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort have presumably already said?”

    Is it possible that the original GAI report about John Podesta’s connections to Joule was a prefabricated cover story for Stone’s advance knowledge of Wikileaks’ release of John Podesta’s hacked emails?

    IOW, if Mercer, Bannon and Schweitzer et al. knew as early as March of 2016 that they would need a cover story for Stone’s buzz-building activities surrounding the Wikileaks releases later in 2016, then would that imply substantially broader advance knowledge of the GRU hacking operation on the part of the Trump campaign?

  11. Trip says:

    Tangentially related to the entire plot:

    Theresa May accused of “major cover-up” over Brexit donor Arron Banks

    Theresa May is under increasing pressure to clarify reports that she blocked an investigation into Brexit bankroller Arron Banks in the run-up to the 2016 referendum after the Home Office refused to reveal information about the controversial Leave.EU and UKIP donor.
    In an “extraordinary” response to a freedom of information request from openDemocracy, the Home Office refused to confirm or deny whether it holds any material from 2016 about Leave.EU and Banks. The department said that doing so “would impede the future formulation of government policy”…Banks, whose £8.4m gift to Leave campaigns was the single biggest donation in British political history, is facing a criminal investigation over concerns that he was not the “true source” of the money. Questions have also been raised about Banks’s links to Russia. Banks denies any wrongdoing…In the Commons last week, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw MP asked May whether she had told security services not to investigate Banks when she was home secretary. She replied: “We do not comment, in this House, on individual criminal investigations.”..“the government is trying to hide behind the form of language usually used to avoid commenting on intelligence matters. This is not an intelligence matter. It is a question about whether the government blocked an earlier investigation into someone who, two years later, is finally under criminal investigation.”

      • Charlie says:

        It will crash in Parliament as May does not have sufficient votes in her own party to carry it. What happens next is not knowable. One hopes that the revelations by Carole Cadwalladr may lead to the referendum being declared invalid because of foreign interference.

  12. Trip says:

    What is fascinating, in a terrifying way, although now a cooperating witness, is how Flynn’s plans are still in action. The Islamophobia, the constant propaganda and further insertion of (state endorsed) religion in schools and legislation, the contemplation of handing over of Gulen to Turkey, and the plan for nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. (Along with the aversion to sanctions against Russian oligarchs). It would seem that this overall agenda was not his brainchild, so then who is/was driving it? Why does it continue in spite of Flynn being fired and under indictment?

  13. Trip says:

    So much news, every day, but this seems kind of important. Too many in government are jockeying for appointments, in self-motivated rewards, instead of paying attention to their current jobs.

    A death penalty case:

    War court judge pursued immigration job for years while presiding over USS Cole case

    A federal court put the Nashiri case on hold Nov. 7 to consider an appeal by Nashiri’s lawyers that argues Spath’s pursuit of an immigration judge position — while presiding in a case that has Department of Justice prosecutors — constituted “judicial misconduct.” They accuse Spath of trying to rush the case to trial so he “could retire from the military at full pension and assume additional employment in the Justice Department.” They want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to revoke all of Spath’s rulings in the case from the moment he began his behind-the-scenes pursuit of the civilian judge’s job.

    • bmaz says:

      Yep. This has actually been around for a bit. If you want to keep track of this kind of stuff from Guantanamo, Carol Rosenberg is a must read and follow.

  14. Rugger9 says:

    Corsi is a distraction looking for a payout, and I’m surprised the wingnut welfare machine hasn’t at least launched a GoFundMe for him.

    Stone, on the other hand is someone who has displayed a remarkable familiarity with stuff barfed out by the troll farms before they were public in addition to being a well-known rat fornicator. The question for Stone is whether he left enough “reasonable doubt” behind in the evidence pointing to him. There no value in assuming he’s changed one iota. That indeed makes him interesting to the OSC, since I would suspect Stone (like Michael Cohen) would flip for the right price.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        As with Manafort, I suspect that that Mueller’s team — while remaining professional — would not be disappointed if Stone were to face a long-delayed reckoning. And as with Manafort, any cooperation would still entail a lot more than a fortnight in Club Fed.

        (Jeannie Rhee is leading the Stone branch of the investigation, along with Aaron Zelinsky and Andrew Goldstein. It’s the same team that managed the Papadopoulos plea, and Rhee also had a role in the GRU indictment. So it’s cybercrime plus Russian outreach plus public corruption.)

  15. alaura says:

    John Kelly makes me sick. He fancies himself as some kind of hero for “running” the white house as he lets this freak-show president piss on the Constitution and lie at least once hour on average, every damn fucking day.
    …such rotten souls.

  16. Trip says:

    Lewandowski and his new book of enemies seems just a little too on the nose. Know what I mean? Instead of strengthening Trump’s internal operation, it appears to be just the kind of ingredient that would make Trump go mad, act out recklessly, to sabotage himself. It’s difficult to discern his helper/supporters from his saboteurs, sometimes. Pushing Trump’s buttons is child’s play.

    • Tom says:

      Wasn’t John Kelly supposed to play the role of Torquemada in rooting out the heretics in the West Wing after that anonymous article from one of the White House Resistance appeared in the NYT back in September?    The President doesn’t seem able to concentrate on one topic for very long, or perhaps he was just afraid of what Kelly might find out.

  17. Trip says:

    Marcy, can you explain what is going on here?

    Highly unethical defamation of this alleged “Snowden of the CIA” who is detained & unable to defend his reputation. His recent charges appear to simply relate to him allegedly talking about his case with his family and giving a copy of his search warrant to US media.~WL

    I’m not sure that the public was given details, or if it was revealed precisely what Schulte was transmitting from smuggled phones, if this is what Wikileaks is alleging in re “passing on warrant/case info”. How do they know he was only giving a copy of the warrant to family, (if in fact the warrant is even considered classified?), if they aren’t still (or never were) in contact with him? I’m so confused. Were there articles that followed-up on what Schulte was caught sending?

    • Trip says:


      In a letter to Judge Paul A. Crotty, prosecutors said they learned in May that Schulte had distributed search warrant materials that were supposed to remain secret to family members so that they could be distributed to others, including members of the media.They said they also learned that Schulte provided materials containing classified information to his family members as well.~AP


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