Mueller Just Guaranteed He Can Issue a Public Report

Back when Paul Manafort first entered a plea agreement, I argued the effects of it could not be pardoned away.

Here’s why this deal is pardon proof:

  1. Mueller spent the hour and a half delay in arraignment doing … something. It’s possible Manafort even presented the key parts of testimony Mueller needs from him to the grand jury this morning.
  2. The forfeiture in this plea is both criminal and civil, meaning DOJ will be able to get Manafort’s $46 million even with a pardon.
  3. Some of the dismissed charges are financial ones that can be charged in various states.

Since that time, Mueller has been busy finishing up the Roger Stone indictment, Trump has finally finished his open book test, and any owners of the property Manafort had to forfeit under the plea deal had their 30-day window to challenge the forfeiture (only the bank owning the loan on his Trump Tower condo is known to have contested the forfeiture, which means the government may already be irretrievably seizing $43 million of Manafort’s property).

Which brings us to the status report that Mueller’s team delayed long enough to get that open book test.

Paulie can’t help himself. According to Mueller’s team, he has kept lying and lying since entering the cooperation agreement.

After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement. The government will file a detailed sentencing submission to the Probation Department and the Court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein.

As the defendant has breached the plea agreement, there is no reason to delay his sentencing herein.

As I noted back in September, the standard the government has to prove to claim Manafort has breached his agreement is just “good faith,” as compared to preponderance of the evidence with Rick Gates.

With Gates, the standard the government has to prove to argue he has breached his agreement is preponderance of the evidence or, in case of committing a crime, probable cause. With Manafort, the government only has to prove “good faith.”

Now, it is true that Trump can pardon Manafort (though that probably won’t happen right away). That’s the only sane explanation for Manafort doing what he did, that he is still certain he’ll be pardoned. But many of these charges can still be charged in state court.

Just about the only explanation for Manafort’s actions are that — as I suggested — Trump was happy to have Manafort serve as a mole in Mueller’s investigation.

But Mueller’s team appears to have no doubt that Manafort was lying to them. That means they didn’t really need his testimony, at all. It also means they had no need to keep secrets — they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies.

And that “detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” that Mueller mentions in the report?

There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress. (Reminder: Mueller included 38 pages of evidence along with Manafort’s plea agreement, which I argued showed how what Manafort and Trump did to Hillary was the same thing that Manafort had done to Yulia Tymoshenko.)

Update: I’ve tweaked this post since first posting it.

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. 

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292 replies
  1. obsessed says:

    >There’s your Mueller report, which will provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress.

    Holy crap – that’s truly diabolical. How many of the 30 minutes since the news hit did it take you to come up with that? I just hope Mueller is as smart as you are … or reads this site.

    • mister bunny says:

      Marcy has been suggesting Mueller is using long-form indictments as a means of public reporting for a while.

        • Pupienus Maximus says:

          They’re known as “speaking indictments.”  Run of the mill indictments only list the crimes the defendants are charged with.  Speaking indictments include more facts and allegations.  Mueller has been putting (some of) the evidence where it _will_ get out to the public.

    • manymusings says:

      Long-form indictments is a pro maneuver. However, not following why it’s a practice Whitaker would lack the ability to suppress? Technically speaking, what prevents it? I get that the conspicuous, heavy-handed “supervision” may be highly unusual and would raise brows and hollers. But if Whitaker is unconcerned with orthodoxies or appearances, would anything prevent him requiring review of court filings? He’s in charge. Are there clear, specific guard rails on that? (If boundaries on oversight are only implicit or a matter of norms — would that be enough?)

      • Chris Howe says:

        Mueller is required to file the indictment with the court. He can insert his report in the indictment filing. Because the court is a part of the judicial branch and not a part of the executive branch, Whittaker can’t stop Mueller. Whittaker is executive branch and can’t override a judge.

          • Sherri says:

            From what I understand Mueller has all indictments already signed off on by Rod Rosenstein. I think Mueller prepared for this. I also think somehow thro all these Sessions will pop up on Mueller’s side. I say that because Sessions is a honorable man according to the Southern rules of a gentleman. He had to go away with his tail between is legs. Do you really think he would let that go. He’s a sneaky little elf. Also don’t forget that House Dems will now have the power to get that report or at least have Mueller’s team testify in public. Mueller is way too intelligent and a brilliant strategist to let anyone defeat him. Look at the previous people he took down. There’s more than one way to skin a cat as my grandma would say.

              • G says:

                Can’t speak directly to Sherri’s understanding. But there have been ~36 sealed indictments filed in D.C. district court this year. Fourteen of which were filed between August and the election. There was a good Politico article on it I can’t find right now, but below is an ABCnews article regarding the unusually high amount of sealed indictments in the D.C. court right now

                https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dozens-sealed-criminal-indictments-dc-docket-mueller/story?id=59249030

                • bmaz says:

                  There are always a fair number of sealed cases in DDC. If you are correct that there were 37 for the year up to November 6 (frankly I think that number may be low), then 14 during the 3 month period you describe is not all that high. I still maintain that trying to read too much into the promise of “sealed Mueller indictments” is absurd.

            • manymusings says:

              “House dems will now have the power  … at least to have Mueller’s team testify in public” — that seems to be the only thing written here that is knowable or demonstrably true.

  2. dw says:

    What would happen if Whitaker tried to prevent Mueller from filing his “detailed sentencing submission” with the court?

    • emptywheel says:

      He might have to fire Mueller before that happens (or Trump might have to pardon Manafort to prevent it). It’s not the kind of major decision that Whitaker would get to override.

      • jf-fl says:

        My only question upon reading your story if/whether Mueller could/would chose to talk about crimes and lies not related to PM original convictions and pleas.     If it makes sense that if DOJ guidelines allowed him to do so, and Mueller is ready to show his cards, your theory seems a pretty amazing opportunity.    Since his cooperation was not limited, and he clearly lied, at minimum it would seem all those areas are in scope.

        My remaining skepticism involves the reports that Mueller is still investigating leads.

        It is definitely odd that suddenly both Stone and Corsi are releasing increasingly large amounts of documents… after they had 2 years to clear all this stuff up, suddenly the conspiracy theorist and his misinformation-loving friend suddenly are finding value in [quasi]-transparency, so feels like something is going down.

  3. Jim Hart says:

    The key is to protect sources and methods. Mueller had all he needs all along; the game is to minimize intelligence disclosures.

    • emptywheel says:

      Mueller will likely submit two sentencing reports — one for public consumption and one that HJC can subpoena.

      • BobCon says:

        Is the endgame then that Trump goes the Supreme Court to block the release to the House on the grounds that the material is so incredibly important to national security that the House can’t see it, even in redacted form? And does the conservative majority decide that they couldn’t possibly challenge the judgment of the executive branch?

        • Et0hman says:

          There are many in the house that have full security clearances and can read the full report in in the House SCIF, if it is labeled as NS.

          • Dinky says:

            Agreed. To be on an Intelligence committee you pretty much have to have TS/SCI. At that point, there might be an argument about how much should be redacted, but there are no grounds to prevent the committees from seeing the tax returns. If they talk about it in more than general terms, they might lose their clearances (assuming DOJ or DOD does not allow them to release the tax returns) but since tax returns are official documents I doubt an argument can be made that anyone other than Kavanaugh and Thomas would accept.

  4. JB says:

    There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress.

    I guess it was Mueller sitting on the big dick toilet this whole time.

    • bmaz says:

      No, that is not correct. To any extent there is to be a “report”, this is but a hiccup in getting there. Not to mention, it may ultimately be another element as to obstruction.

      • AB says:

        Plus, manafort is one of the figures in this mess through whom many threads cross. Even if trump pardons him, manafort is connected to so many others that the truth about him will come out in other cases. Unless trump tries to pardon everybody involved with everything, the evidence will still become public. (And if he tries to pardon EVERYONE, that could be a problem for him and you know he cares only about himself.) Also, there are many states who coud take up the financial and fraud charges against Manafort. One way or another, that man will be sporting an orange jumpsuit for many decades to come.

        • tinao says:

          Damn, I thought he’s sporting the jump suit now. If he is where’s the pic on msm? If he isn’t yet, popcorn please.

  5. slightlycrooked says:

    This is all so stunning. But could this development represent a setback for Mueller? Could it be argued that Manafort’s lies it call into question his testimony on other matters as well? At any rate, won’t be seeing much of Paulie no more.

    When would one expect to see that “detailed sentencing submission”?

      • slightlycrooked says:

        Right. The Status report does indicate “in advance of sentencing”, and both parties have urged sentencing to be scheduled, so I would think this would not be a long period of time.

        • AB says:

          I have to imagine that based on the incredible amount of documentation Mueller confiscated, that the paper trail is overwhelming. Manafort’s plea agreement wouldn’t change the things they already knew about him and the evidence they had to prove it. Maybe manafort dropped a few nuggets that would be useful for Mueller. Maybe he just played mole. Or maybe Mueller did a double whammy ju-jitsu move on manafort. In the end, the paper will send manafort to jail for a very, very long time.

          • joshua tavlin says:

            the amount of documentation mueller has includes evidence that new york state has provided. let’s not forget, the state and the federal government were onto trump’s money laundering for several years. mueller knows everything. and what he knows keeps growing because trump can’t keep his mouth shut. he’s like the mobster who wants to be seen as a big shot, so he tells whoever who’ll listen,  about every job he’s ever pulled.

            • tinao says:

              He’s a putin wannbe, and he’s certifiable in several ways. The russians are not that dumb. I’m starting to think it is putin  showing us to ourselves.  Thank god for the founders. And I don’t mean that in the federalist society way either.

  6. Domye West says:

    If he is pardoned quickly, could whittaker shut down the submission, saying it’s not needed any longer?

    • KayInMD says:

      Mueller (the prosecution team) stated that they would submit sentencing recommendations to BOTH the probation office AND the court. There is an interesting Twitter thread That Marcy commented  on:  https://twitter.com/ThatShockratees/status/1067210584318492674 

      and: https://twitter.com/ThatShockratees/status/1067216471024115717

  7. Avattoir says:

    Someone who actually practiced law in the criminal courts, for a long time and well, would have foreseen there ways, many ways, to get a story out.

    Manafort – graduate of a pretty good law school – would know nothing of this. And Whitaker – graduate of a law school of which not quite that might be said,  even (but barely nominally) a U.S. attorney – is not truly more effectively trained or practiced in this and moreover lacks both Manafort’s intelligence and cunning.

    It’s a lovely day in my neighborhood. Won’t you join me in a story? You can listen, while I read. Shall we  start from the beginning? Because once upon a time, someone with a very good heart said, The beginning is a very good place to start. Are you ready? Alright. Here we go now: Indictment the First, title page …

      • Avattoir says:

        Nope. We in the writer’s house right now.

        12 years on, every so often I STILL read some of Anatomy of Deceit, to make me objectively smarter but feel relatively not that.

          • tinao says:

            i know the question mark is still there, but when I git rid of it…it don’t play. So to whom ever please help fix this. And yes, please further instructions to make this easier for us dinosaurs!  Tanks.

            Again, this needs question mark edited.

            [No worries — YouTube video URLs are different from other website URLs in that the ? divides a command function from a fetch request. The URL tells your browser, 1) Go to YouTube’s site; 2) Prepare to watch a video; 3) pull up and view a specific video [ID number]. /~Rayne]

    • Colleenadailylurker says:

      Are you suggesting the University of Iowa law school is 2nd rate. It is unfortunate a total tool graduated from there. But I think it has always been considered a good school.

    • emptywheel says:

      No. I suspect Mueller will submit a classified and unclassified report, so he has a way to submit stuff for which sources and methods needs to be protect and one for our consumption.

      • Michael Keenan says:

        So there will be no way to cross-check the meta-data. The Vault 7 release is a troubling spot but why release if not to show how Mable was used against us?

  8. Greg says:

    If they didn’t need Manafort’s testimony after all, why go through the motions of negotiating a plea? Why not just leave him in jail awaiting sentencing & move on to other parts of the investigation?

    • bmaz says:

      Why not? If you can spook him into that kind of plea, with the harsh conditions it was made with, and get the forfeiture stipulation it included, why not?? There were seriously great benefits to doing so. If Manafort complied perfectly, he was still going to spend many years in prison under the guidelines. If he did not, he still made all the agreements within the plea, and he is open to being totally screwed. Tactically why in the world would you not make that deal?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Each lie by Manafort to a federal agent becomes an independent felony, on top of the felonies he’s already admitted to.  The alleged pattern of behavior, even in the absence of new prosecutions, is not likely to result in a shorter sentence.  Paulie is likely to spend considerable time in prison.  And there’s a long statute of limitations to contend with.  Plus, the threat of being charged with obstruction regarding his apparent communications with the Don, through his lawyers.

        If the Don pardons Paulie’s federal crimes, one or more state attorneys general will charge him with state crimes, tying him up and probably keeping him in prison – a less salubrious state one – pending the outcome of what might be a series of trials and convictions, with the states sorting out the order he serves his sentences.

        With all or most of Paulie’s acknowledged money gone, he will have only wingnut welfare to live on and to defend these prosecutions.  Whether he gets it will depend on how well his patrons think he has served them.

        He may get it, but I suspect it will be less and come slower than he imagines.  He spent decades working for some of the dirtiest people on the planet, and they might be loathe to create a new paper trail with someone so much in the public eye.  So, Paulie’s screwed.  But he’ll have fallen on his sword, which is what his patron expect.  I suppose Paulie might think that’s a better deal than being found one day hanging under Blackfriars Bridge, wearing a Sicilian necktie.

      • Chetan Murthy says:

        Is it accurate to say that the next step for Mueller & team does NOT go thru a trial?  I’d think that that’s the case, b/c Manafort admitted so much as part of the plea.  If there isn’t going to be a trial, then wasn’t that also a great benefit of doing this deal?  Locks in the result, no need to worry about nullification?

        • Peterr says:

          The guilty plea still stands, and what is under discussion now is the sentence. Mueller is saying that Manafort did not live up to his plea agreement’s provisions regarding cooperation, and therefore Manafort not only should not receive a lenient sentence as befits someone who cooperates, but should receive a substantial penalty for his lies.

    • emptywheel says:

      Lots of reasons:

      1. It saved you a trial
      2. It got full forfeiture, including on the stuff he had saved in EDVA
      3. It provided you a way to lull Trump into doing his open book test and swearing to a bunch of lies
      4. It bought time to finish up the rest of things, when you weren’t allowed to indict anyway
      • bmaz says:

        And you get admission to a stunning series of crimes, including fraud against the US. A plea structure that, just ask Papadpolous, really cannot be gotten out of. Manafort’s plea was ridiculous if you ask me. It was so slanted against him, it was silly. But he entered it. And that is ballgame.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The more punitive structure of that plea agreement, compared to Gates’s, suggests that Mueller anticipated the defiant Paulie would take himself here in the end, which I suppose is Marcy’s point.

          Trump and his unqualified lawyers must be a tad more nervous, now that Mr. Mueller has the work product of their collective take home test.  But I’m not convinced Trump will pardon Mueller.

          It’s more direct than he seems comfortable with, it would suggest a surer grip on reality than the Don is known to possess, and it does not solve all his Paulie Problems.  He would love to stick it to Mueller somehow, but he would much prefer to do it indirectly.  With the Dems controlling the House, either course keeps him in the barrel.

          • Valley girl says:

            Had to grin at a rare @earl typo.  Set my mind going deep into the weeds.

            ~But I’m not convinced Trump will pardon Mueller.~

            Or maybe I shouldn’t be grinning.  It would take a lot to get to the state where Trump would be in a position to officially pardon Mueller, but conjuring that up is a a very scary scenario.  Whatever, I don’t see Trump going down without causing whatever damage he can.  Cornered, rabid dog.

          • William Bennett says:

            > But I’m not convinced Trump will pardon [Manafort].

            Always critical to remember that Trump does favors for nobody, and loyalty for him is a one-way street. If Paulie thinks he’ll be rewarded with a pardon, he’s a fool. The only way he actually gets a pardon is if it serves Trump’s interest. If he can get out of paying you for services already rendered, that’s what he’ll do, as dozens of his contractors can testify. If the prospect of a pardon gets you to do what he wants, what it’s for, but you’d have to be an idiot to assume there’s actually going to be one at the other end if giving it to you costs him anything and conveys no further advantage to him.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Even bmaz missed that LOL typo, Mueller for Manafort.  I deny that it was a Freudian slurp; sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      • Pete says:

        Based on timing, do you suppose that Manafort communicated lies he told Mueller and/or disinformation fed him by Mueller to Trump via the JDA?  The lies then “showed up” on Trump’s take home  test answers which triggered Mueller’s filing.

        I realize that Mueller asked for a 10 day extension on Manafort and his filing was on the 10th day, but that also Trump handed in his test during that time as well.

        Maybe Mueller hoped Trump would not delay beyond day 10 and Mueller chose wisely.

        Pete

    • Kick the darkness says:

      I guess I wondered something similar as I read the post.  Mueller’s team appeared to put much effort into procuring Manafort’s cooperation.  And its been suggested that he may have been immediately taken before the grand jury after his “flip”.  That would sound like it was hoped he might provide a missing piece of the puzzle.

      • Kick the darkness says:

        Thinking more on why OSC might not have needed Manafort’s testimony per se, yet worked so hard to get him to flip.  Read somewhere, maybe comments here, or perhaps that horrible Twitter place, that Mueller would want two witnesses to the same thing.  So, in a scenario where Gate’s testimony effectively =’s Manafort’s testimony, that might fit.  And then when it became clear that Manafort still wanted to play a little game, they decided to mix some borax in the mint jelly.  If there is anything to that conjecture, then my impression is that Marcy must be suggesting that Mueller knows things beyond what Gates or Manafort could know that are germane to the case in chief and relevant to Trump’s open book exam.  What that information might be, and where it would have come from, are interesting.

  9. Trip says:

    At one point I had wondered if there was disinformation going to Trump, but I thought it was false that Manafort wasn’t cooperating.

    If what you say is true, Marcy, how soon does the shit hit the fan? And do you think Corsi was privy to this development before it was announced, therefore he went on his gibberish campaign in the last day?

    Also, Dershowitz stating that the Mueller report will be (politically) devastating to Trump, before this came out, while everyone else said Mueller would only speak through indictments. Hmm, he and Trump knew this was coming in the last day?

    • Theresa N says:

      Kevin Downing is a former DOJ lawyer, worked in DOJ Tax Division. What a disappointment he is. I keep wondering if somehow, in the end, Manafort will end up blaming Downing and file a Rule 35 Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, which would be pretty entertaining. Basically, that would be Manafort saying that Downing was such a shitty attorney, if it wasn’t for Downing’s unprofessional errors, the proceedings would have been different. I’m not a lawyer, but used to be in the business as a Special Agent.

  10. mister bunny says:

    all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test.

    Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please!

    That is literally ALL I want for Christmas.

  11. Ollie says:

    dear santa

    All I want for Christmas is for that ass wipe to have answered his open book test questions w/false information from Manafort.  I mean, please, bring that polyp to an eruption state for us all.

    Thank you Marcy!  I found this story and I couldn’t get here fast enough.  You and your reporting give me cOnfiDenCe in what I’m reading about all of this.  Crime never pays.  Sick em Mueller.

    • bmaz says:

      No clue in this instance, but generally, reading too much from the outside into JDA’s is fool’s gold. People on the inside of them are criminal defense attorneys; do you think they trust them?

      • BobCon says:

        Any sense whether it’s possible they let Manafort stay in the JDA to try to screw with the rest of the Trump camp? For example, ask Manafort all kinds of diversionary questions on the assumption that he’d squeal to the other Trumpist lawyers, and then throw them off the trail of what Mueller was really after?

        Or is that too clever? Or maybe a case of reading too much from the outside into JDAs?

        • BobCon says:

          Just read the post more carefully, and that kind of misdirection is something she speculates on…. Next time I’ll read more carefully.

        • Andy says:

          Trump finally answers questions and Mueller springs claim Manafort lied. I want to believe a trap was set and now they have Trump committed in writing to perjury!!!!!!!!!!! Please let it be true.

          • GliderGuider says:

            Manafort probably committed the perjury. what Trump may have committed is conspiracy to obstruct justice. Documented in his own handwriting. How sweet it is!

  12. Trip says:

    Two of the attorney/prosecution guests on Maddow (but with Velshi) are thinking it’s an ordinary scam-artist situation, where a person who pulled off the lies so many times, they can’t stop doing it, or won’t admit to other crimes they committed. Barb Somethingorother (a frequent MSNBC legal analyst) mentioned this as a lose/lose proposition.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That suggests the usual MSM lack of context.  The analysis seems to assume the normal criminal as defendant.  Paulie’s a lifer, a career high-stakes criminal who has never been caught before.  Plus, the stakes are very high over this.  Normal rules do not apply.

      • Trip says:

        They did mention the element that he was in it for so long, that it may have been part of pulling off another, last ‘heist’.

        But I tend to think that more lies beneath. But what the hell do I know? The Corsi jump on the bandwagon, along with Pap, signals some kind of coordination, if not an official one.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          If Mueller’s team have determined that Paulie is an amoral shit who ought to die in prison, it wouldn’t be anything more than his own daughters worked out a long time ago.

          • Trip says:

            Speaking of which, I just went back and read their text messages. I wonder if the investigation ever spoke with Collin Bond?

  13. orionATL says:

    mueller has had rick gates, manafort’s partner and executor of plans,  available for months. why would manafort assume he could get away with lying? answer: he would not make that assumption. he would simply have lied because it might do him some good (indication of loyalty; possible pardon) and it could not do him much more harm considering the deep doodo he was in with respect to lost fortune and expansible jail time. then too there is the possibility of a derisive “fck you and the horse you rode in on” decision by manafort with regard to mueller and the osc investigation.

    • Trip says:

      The attorneys on TV made some fair points. When you sign a deal, you have to admit to all crimes, not just the ones under investigation. Your entire life is an open book. I think it might be a way of finding things that could impeach credibility as a witness, and they wouldn’t want surprises. Like common criminals and I guess human nature (self preservation) to a certain extent, he may have minimized or not admitted to some criminal acts. At least they seemed to think that although it didn’t happen often, it also wasn’t terribly uncommon with some white collar criminals, either.

    • orionATL says:

      rick gates’ testimony is one source of info.

      i assume, in addition, that manafort’s russian military intelligence (gru) sidekick, konstantin kalimnik, was monitored by nsa , five-eyes, or western european intelligence, providing another source of info for osc to crosscheck manafort’s answers.

      i’d bet some of these might have caught trump or his team talking with ambassador kisylyak.

      the key thing i think manafort had to hide was his involvement in and initiation of (with roger stone) the russian connection with the trump campaign. this, after all, is what trump knows happened and what he has deeply feared will be revealed from the day he first tried to suborn fbi director james comey.

    • emptywheel says:

      Manafort would have had visibility on what Gates said via discovery in the EDVA trial.

      Mueller likely has another high level cooperator.

      • Trip says:

        Imagine if it was Assange or Junior?  That would be a good twist in this stupid reality show.

        Could even be a Russian. Or Sessions.

        • BobCon says:

          Sessions is the only one I could see out of that list. Who else? McGahn? Kushner? Bannon?

          I’m thinking Cohen is too much on a separate track. Trump shouldn’t trust Stone for a second, but I somehow see Stone as having a hard time pulling off a betrayal that doesn’t blow up in his face.

          • citizenNOLA says:

            But didn’t the Steele dossier indicate that Cohen took over once the Manafort/Ukraine connections were exposed ?

          • Rick Ryan says:

            I suppose WAGs aren’t terribly useful, but since I am currently in the throes of insomnia…

            Kushner is an interesting thought. I could have sworn I saw somewhere relatively recently some report that someone thought he was now “safe” from Mueller, and while I can’t find it now, I did notice in my news searches a whole lot of Mueller Looking Into Kushner’s Dealings With ____ headlines appearing regularly essentially from Mueller’s appointment in 2017 through about mid-March 2018, and then suddenly nothing… except for a report that someone “close to” Kushner was now being investigated in June. Hmmm… probably doesn’t mean much, but….. maybe it means everything……..! (dun dun dunnn)

            In fact, we know Kushner met with Mueller a number of times, as recently as April, Abbe Lowell himself said so (and I’d forgotten, it was Kushner who ratted out Flynn). And it’s not actually clear that Kushner is a part of the JDA, as far as I can tell: EW’s most recent reckoning only concluded that “the JDA is so big likely means some or most of the following people are part of the omertà . . . Jared Kushner”, i.e., his inclusion is uncertain.

            And it’s been said that Trump took to Kushner because he reminded him so much of himself… well if Jared is indeed just like the Donald, he’d sell out anyone and everyone to save his own hide (with the possible – possible – exception of Ivanka).

            I mean, to be clear, if I were a betting man I’d wager Kushner is more likely a target than a witness… but I don’t think it’s completely certain.

            Sessions I’m almost certain would like nothing more than to stick the proverbial dagger in Trump’s back, so he’d be a good possibility as well. And McGahn we know met with Mueller for quite awhile before leaving the White House, to their apparent consternation – I’d also forgotten he was with the campaign almost from the get-go, so he could potentially have been in a very good position to confirm/refute a whole lot of this Manafort-Stone-Corsi muck.

            One wild possibility that also crosses my mind is Pence. I’ve long been sort of puzzled that he never seems to turn up anywhere in relation to the Special Counsel probe at all, other than a few months ago… when he said he would be “willing” to meet with Mueller et al. The main issue I see is that it would be reeeaaaallllly awkward to have his name on sworn testimony that puts Trump away and thereby puts himself in the White House. But he like all politicians is an amoral cockweasel so I’m sure he (and the rest of the GOP) could find a way to power through it.

        • orionATL says:

          the name that comes to mind is sam clovis, but he is SO uncinematic. nonetheless, he was in the middle of trump campaign affairs as campaign co-chair. plus i think i remember reading here that he had had a large number of interviews with the mueller team.

    • peabody3000 says:

      i tend to think manafort is intimately acquainted with the russian goons who will have his entire family viciously executed if he sings

  14. Peterr says:

    From Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at The Root:

    Over the course of one of the worst administrations in the history of the United States, we’ve all learned one thing: Whenever President Trump starts rage tweeting something is going right for the world and drastically wrong for him.

    He notes a pair of tweets from this morning raging at Mueller, then follows it with this:

    This means that Trump must’ve heard that the Mueller investigation is coming to a close and it’s not favorable. Trump is nothing if not inconsistent, but he continuously tries to get ahead of bad news by tweeting his version of the truth to his minion.

    Like all good cult leaders, Trump knows that being first and loud with news is effective, so Trump uses Twitter like his bullhorn during a tiki torch rally. He is aware that his followers would have no problem drinking the Kool-aid even if he told them it was laced with arsenic because they love him that much.

    This filing was jointly prepared by both the prosecution and defense, and I have no doubts that the defense shared the bad news with Trump and his team before this was filed. I’d hate to be the lawyer who had to explain to Trump how this was bad news not just for Manafort but also for Trump.

  15. BADROBOT says:

    It would make perfect sense if Manafort’s family was being threatened by a foreign power….Paul you gonna take a fall…

  16. alaura says:

    Wow, Rump roasted for Christmas would be so excellent!
    Thank you Marcy, and everyone here who explains the details.

  17. John Forde says:

    So Trumps legal team has visibility into Manafort’s legal filings and OSC feigned ignorance to facilitate and expose coordination in perjury turning the JDA’s trailing edge into a prosecution tool?

    BMAZ?

  18. Popcorn eater says:

    Assume Trump did corroborate stories with Manafort and Muller submits evidence that Manafort lied in his corroborated story AND Trump still pardons Manafort.. then wouldn’t Trump be implicating himself?

  19. stryx says:

    ‘Mueller likely has another high level cooperator.’

    Please dear sweet God of Justice let it be former federal prosecutor Christopher J. Chtistie.

  20. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Those November 15 “Angry People” tweets now look very interesting.

    The lawful-evil genius approach to Paulie the Rug would be to force him to put up a defence against false statements that directly implicates King Idiot. Though he’s not going to take that gambit and continue to gamble on a pardon.

  21. John Boyer says:

    My thought, and it’s only conjecture, is that Manafort was trying to trip up Mueller for his potential get out of jail card. I hope to see the look on Manny’s face when he gets a max sentence.

    • Ryan says:

      The most wonderful thing here is that trump will now blame Manafort, call him an idiot for getting fooled by Mueller. The pardon is likely dead now.

  22. ML says:

    ” . . . meaning DOJ will be able to get Manafort’s $46 million even with a pardon.”

    Yes, but the DOJ is now Whitaker. Can he be informing Manafort and Trump about what to do? What to expect?

    • BroD says:

      I can’t imagine anyone is looking to Whitaker for strategic advice–he’s basically a goon.  Maybe he’s in a position with access to  information but I’d be skeptical about his capacity to assess foreground\background or suss out feints.

      • Trip says:

        He might be dumb mole, but Trump has Dershowitz unofficially counseling. I think he is a duplicitous ass, but he’s not stupid. I wonder how involved he’d get, realizing his own personal risk. Also, if he is not an official hire, as he states, does he get to claim attorney/client privilege with Trump, as an advisor?

        • BobCon says:

          Dershowitz doesn’t have the experience in this area though. Trump may well be getting outside help, but if he’s relying on AD in anyserious way except as a media talking head, he is as nuts as we think.

  23. Spocko says:

    When they make the movie about this part I hope they have a scene where Mueller explains that if Manafort ISN’T lying what will happen and some junior member will ask, but if you KNOW he is going lie, why let him think he is getting away with it?
    Then Mueller can say, “If he ISN’T passing on info to Trump.” this will happen.
    But if he is both lying AND passing on info to Trump’s lawyers then we have him and Trump in a deeper hole. ”

    Then cut to a lawyer for Trump who thought he was so clever suddenly looking ashen.” TRUMP IS SO SCREWED.”

    • AB says:

      I like that scene in future movie. I find myself more and more trying to cast all the players in this movie/HBO series. It’s going to be good.

  24. SomeCallMeTim says:

    “But Mueller’s team appears to have no doubt that Manafort was lying to them. That means they didn’t really need his testimony, at all. It also means they had no need to keep secrets — they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies.”

    So all that yowling about a perjury trap was well founded, and now we get to see what it looks like.  Continuing with the chess analogies, will Mueller get his own ‘Perjury Trap  –  Mueller Variation’?

    • Rugger9 says:

      There’s no “perjury trap” without perjury.  If Manafort told the truth he wouldn’t be in this particular dilemma.

      The question is why Manafort chose to lie to the Feebs and Mueller knowing that his best opportunity for a deal was there and that the forfeiture process had started.  Why do this after the assets are gone, unless the point was to stay as far away from the FSB as possible?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We take it for granted that Donald Trump lies as easily as he eats McDonald’s sandwiches.  It is how he interacts with the world.  He lies to make it easier to adore himself, to make the world appear to conform to his inner fantasies, and to make money.

        Why would it be so hard to think Manafort capable of similar behavior?  Sure, Manafort is much smarter, more well-informed, more willing to take risks.  But he is as much a sociopath as Trump.  His lies might be more well thought out and planned than Trump’s and still be lies.  It would not make Manafort less addicted to telling them.

        Having worked with the exceptionally dirty clients Paulie has for decades, he would not still be alive were he not an exceptional liar.

  25. Ecmic says:

    Here’s what bugs me: Manafort must have entered the plea agreement knowing there would be multiple instances in which he’d have to lie to Mueller in order to play the game that it’s now obvious he hoped to play. I also find it extremely hard to believe, given past Mueller strategy and indictments, that he thought he’d get away with all the lies he would tell. Manafort also has to know that pardons aren’t going to save him from the state, so currying favor with Trump doesn’t seem to be the strategy.

    its almost as if Manafort entered into an agreement he knew he’d violate, and that he knew he’d get caught violating.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d think that, prior to the plea, Manafort had nothing uniquely valuable to offer Mueller, but saw an opportunity to utilize his “cooperation” with Mueller to draw in Trump and procure the ultimate get out of jail free card – direct evidence of Trump using him to obstruct Justice.

    • Trip says:

      Manafort had nothing uniquely valuable to offer Mueller

      If this were true, how could the following also be true?

      to draw in Trump and procure the ultimate get out of jail free card – direct evidence of Trump using him to obstruct Justice.

      There had to have been some ties that bind, to begin with, even if there was corroborating evidence elsewhere.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is not correct. There was something of value that Manafort proffered to get any plea at all. Also keep in mind that it is of substantial value just to have a witness with which to authenticate and admit exhibits.

      • chromiumbook0000 says:

        I had been thinking the same as Ecmic on this one.  If I am playing this game of chess/poker/whatever-you-want-to-call-it from Manafort’s position, I seemingly have 3 options:

        Option 1: Cooperate Truthfully

        Pros – Minimize my sentence.
        Cons – Still likely serve some time; Put myself/family at risk; Likely screwed financially.

        Option 2: Serve As Mole for Trump

        Pros – Protect myself/family; Possibility of pardon; The people I’m protecting may find a way to reward me/family for what i’ve done.
        Cons – No reduction (or possibly increase) in sentence if no pardon; Still exposure at the state level even if i am pardoned.

        Option 3: Fake Serving As Mole for Trump (ie used as asset by SCO)

        Pros – Protect my family provided the secret of my cooperation is ever leaked (presumably you’d keep that intel to as few people as possible – maybe only Mueller/Weissman); Possibility of pardon; Likely a more lenient sentence from SCO and slightly less aggressive approach from State AG (although you wouldnt want it to be too light); Financial reward from those i protected, again, provided it never leaked.
        Cons – Still serving time; If it ever did leak, you/family are screwed.

        Presumably, Manafort came to the conclusion that #1 was not palatable due to the risk involved.  So that narrowed the options down to two.  If he were able to get comfortable with the “leak” risk (granted a big “if”), then #3 seems to be an obvious choice for him over #2.  And, presumably #3 (especially in a scenario where they also got Manafort intel) would also be ideal for Mueller since it would give him both i) Trump perjury; and ii) Vehicle to release key findings via the long-form sentencing submission. No?  Or would that be viewed as a clear case of entrapment(?) if Trump were attempting to use Manafort as a mole and then Manafort/SCO knowingly fed Trump answers that would perjure himself??

  26. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    What would be interesting to see is how Trumpco money in various parts of the world has been moving around in response to developments during the last 12 months. That information might be very telling.

    At some point does Vlad the Paler pull strings to yank the Russian financial rug out from underneath Trump? After all, there is no honor among thieves.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I think that outcome will happen when Kaiser Quisling is no longer useful to Vlad, good catch.  I also think the Ukrainian seizures were a trial balloon to see how much KQ could still do for the KGB  colonel.

  27. gedouttahear says:

    Maybe rather than Manafort’s hoping that if he lied (tantamount to keeping his mouth shut) he would get pardoned by t, he was told by t (through intermediaries) that if he lied he would be pardoned. (Of course that would be more obstruction by t but in for a penny, in for a pound.) But what is a promise from t worth? Hah! Exactly! To the extent that Mueller didn’t really need what Manafort could tell them, it’s nice that Manafort hasn’t cooperated, thereby getting his own self more jail time. No need to be disappointed here about the scumbucket getting any leniency. It sounds like M’s phones, ipods, etc are probably the treasure trove that Marcy has always opined they were. Wouldn’t it be sweet if there was a full recording of the June 9th meeting?

  28. HalfNelson says:

    The groundwork for a “perjury trap” being a prosecutorial dirty trick and basically unfair tactic that minimizes the severity of the perjury it captures is already in place w/r/t public opinion.

    • bmaz says:

      The thought that anything concerning the Mueller interviews and grand jury sessions is a “perjury trap” is ludicrous and perpetuated by Trump spokes lawyers and others that are either dishonest or don’t know squat about criminal law.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      While bmaz observes that Mueller’s actions do not remotely qualify as the abuse known as a “perjury trap,” I take your point that for the Base, Trump has long laid the PR groundwork for wrongfully claiming it is a perjury trap.

      Trust the MSM to corrupt themselves by quoting Trump so often that intelligent people begin to believe that Trump might be on to something.  Similarly, Trump has admitted that he mistreats the press not to accurately describe its behavior, but to undercut its credibility.  A feral survival instinct as this destructive moron.

      • Trip says:

        Yeah, Bernie Kerick (as retweeted by southpaw) was trying to make the narrative about Mueller tricking people into signing perjury deals. Instead of the more obvious conclusion which would be that the Trump camp lies. It’s clearly not a secret that Trump lies on the daily, and multiple times within the same day.

      • BobCon says:

        They are still presenting climate change as a debatable issue, so cynicism is warranted.

        I will say that there is probably a lot of other legal trouble looming for Trump, and screwing up here may make it harder in the PR and legal fights to dodge accountablity for lies on things like taxes, financial fraud and sexual assault claims.

        I’m not saying the media will get it right even then, but the tone may at least shift to “how much trouble is he in?” rather than the current “did he even do anything wrong?” reporting they are doing.

      • allison says:

        to the earl of h,

        while deferring to your intelligence over mine i have to say (without capitals) that i watch msnbc and i have never ever thought trump was on to anything. for people like me, msnbc is necessary. i am not a lawyer or cunningly perceptive as most of you are. so i read this to help me understand the mueller complications. for me you compliment each other.

    • SteveB says:

      Where there is evidence, as here of a conspiracy to deceive investigating authorities by promoting false narratives around the subject matter of the investigation, it is perfectly legitimate for investigators to play out informational rope to an active conspirator in order to lassoo his willingly and wittinly complicit confreres.

      It is not a perjury trap, but a sort of surveillance operation on the conspiracy to conceal the evidence of criminality.

    • Hurltim says:

      Soo… how stupid do you have to be to fall into a “perjury trap” with a take home exam???

      Don’t hate the playa, hate the Game. :)

      • Taxidermist says:

        Re: Hurltim says:
        November 27, 2018 at 11:19 am
        Soo… how stupid do you have to be to fall into a “perjury trap” with a take home exam???

        Don’t hate the playa, hate the Game. :)

        Agreed! Why did djt even bother turning in his homework? I’m having a hard time seeing what base he was willing to go to this risk for to placate.

  29. Pseudonymous says:

    Marcy’s theory is tempting but makes little sense because Whitaker could easily order Mueller to file his explanation of Manafort’s lying under seal.

    The simplest explanation tends to be the correct one. And in this case, the simplest explanation is that Mueller’s team mistakenly thought they had broken Manafort, when they hadn’t.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A line from Emerson comes to mind.  Recasting Occam’s observation does not work if the logic is wrong, as in Trump’s: I’m cold right now so climate change must be a hoax.

      Marcy’s analysis makes eminent sense.  The facts are that Mueller and his team are the most talented professional prosecutors the DoJ has in its arsenal.  With that comes experience and judgment beyond Manafort’s and light years removed from that possessed by Trump and this White House.

      Manafort survived and prospered for decades while working for some of the dirtiest people on the planet, making millions, but spending or laundering more than he had.  He’s inured to back stabbing and broken promises, he’s addicted to high-stakes gambles.  More than Trump, he thinks the law is a roadblock only for the timid or the naive.  Those who enforce it are fools or corrupt; he need only find the right bluster or price to deal with them.

      A global dirty trickster like Paulie would never fully cooperate.  Having more skeletons in his closets than those in the Winter Palace, he could not safely do that without ending up like a Vatican banker under Blackfriars bridge.  Consequently, any cooperation he might eventually give would be incomplete and easily corrupted.  Those probabilities that would not have escaped Mueller’s team.  Being Mueller’s team, they would have planned for them.

      For comparison, a “closed in Hartford on opening night” example of the foregoing is George Papadopoulos’s attempt to declare himself uncooperative, a wronged simpleton who does not deserve to spend his two weeks in prison.  Compared to Papa’s naivety, incompetence and misplaced effort, Manafort is giving us Olivier-as-Hamlet at the Old Vic.

  30. Krista Britner says:

    I always thought that the stipulation in the plea deal that stated Manafort’s lawyer would not be present during cooperation meetings was odd. Why would Manafort or his attorney even allow that? What did Mueller gain by including that? What would Manafort and his attorney gain by rolling with that? Now I know, false sense of security for Mueller all dirty players involved. They all knew that Mueller had no reason to trust them. They would have possibly been suspicious that Mueller was on to them if the lawyer was present. So Mueller added that to mislead them into thinking the lawyer’s absence would ease his worries about information being shared to help 45 and Manafort and his lawyer accepted the terms to mislead Mueller into thinking there was no sharing. Interesting.

    • bmaz says:

      It was not that one of his lawyers could not be present, simply that they did not have to be present if they chose not to. That is not all that uncommon and is included for convenience.

      • Trip says:

        @bmaz, do the conditions of Kathleen Manafort retaining some property and assets change since the agreement was breached?

  31. Doug hood says:

    Greetings from New Zealand, Relax Yanks, Meullers got your backs, We’re looking forward to the movie, All the Presidents Capos.

  32. Pat Walker says:

    I try to follow day to day reporting on this whole thing but I’m not smart enough to catch everything that you all just spelled out and I am so happy that their are still people interested in the truth these days. And this would be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER if Muller would get this all done like you have stated.

  33. Willis Warren says:

    This is a fantastic analysis. Having slept on it, I’m convinced it’s mostly right. We did get the leak from ABC that Paul wasn’t cooperating right before the take home exam wasn’t turned in. It’s no longer interesting who leaked it.

    My big question is why enter into the plea deal? It’s pretty pardon proof, and Paul can be charged in other states beyond New York. I’m not sure a SCotUS double jeopardy ruling is going to save him from that. And, should that somehow happen, we’re not going to sit and take it.

    Republicans are going to have to realize that the midterms were just the tip of the iceberg. The real blue wave is coming in 2020, and if trump is on the ticket after illegally pardoning his way out of all this, they are going to drown.

    • SteveB says:

      My big question is why enter into the plea deal? It’s pretty pardon proof, and Paul can be charged in other states beyond New York. I’m not sure a SCotUS double jeopardy ruling is going to save him from that. 

      Maybe because Manafort blinked, because TeamTrump hadn’t shown enough love at the time.

      It seems likely that the messing about by several of the “cooperators” after their plea deals are a result of hopes or expectations raised that Trump might come thru for them in some way.

      • Trip says:

        Don’t forget the brazen act of Trump installing Whitaker. This might have been taken as a huge signal of what Trump would be willing to do, as a tide turning.

      • Willis Warren says:

        I think I may have answered my own question while thinking about this last night (elsewhere, reproduced here).

        I think Paul Manafort was worn down by Mueller and agreed to talk, and may have given substantive answers about some things.  Over time, he refused to implicate the president, for fear of his life.  I don’t think he was playing for a pardon, but now he is *sort of*

        In real time, I don’t believe the chess match theory of this holds water, too much.  I mean, Mueller certainly held his cards, and didn’t care about the JDA, but he wasn’t really counting on this.  He probably had a safeguard, though.

        I”m not sure what to make of the Guardian story.  I’m always skeptical about these things, but it seems to be embassy sourced.  I would imagine Mueller knows this already, if he’s any good.

  34. Mitch Neher says:

    I have just one tiny question about timing. If Trump submitted his answers to Mueller before the status report on Manafort’s cooperation under the plea-deal, then is it possible that one of the lies that Manafort told the OSC stems from an interrogatory that Trump answered differently than Manafort answered? Personally, I doubt it. But what if?

  35. Trip says:

    Amazing that this is coming out of the UK, and that the US can’t really be bothered to get to the bottom of it, allowing Zuckerberg to go on the apology tour in the past, with very little pushback.

    Carole Cadwalladr‏Verified account @carolecadwalla
    (Carole Cadwalladr Retweeted 𝙋𝙖𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙆𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙣)

    Explosive news from parliament today. Colins reveals Facebook knew in 2014 that Russia hacked users’ data. Mueller’s indictments show this was exactly when the Kremlin set up troll factory to target US voters. Why wasn’t this disclosed to congress?? What else isn’t it telling us?

    𝙋𝙖𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙆𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙣 ⚡️‏ @Patrickesque

    “An engineer at Facebook notified the company in October 2014 that entities with a Russian IP address were pulling 3 billion data points a day [from your website]. “

    https://twitter.com/Patrickesque/status/1067389633338597376

  36. orionATL says:

    if manafort is charged by osc with perjury or some similar crime of omission of relevant information, and

    if that crime relates to the trump campaign or to trump–russia scheming during the campaign and just after (efforts at sanctions reduction), and

    if trump offers or gives a pardon to manafort,

    then trump has committed obstruction of justice.

    right? right, orion.

  37. orionATL says:

    manafort visted assange in march 2016:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/27/manafort-held-secret-talks-with-assange-in-ecuadorian-embassy

    “… According to the dossier written by the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, Manafort was at the centre of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia’s leadership. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating Clinton, Steele wrote, whom Putin “hated and feared”.
    In a memo written soon after the DNC emails were published, Steele said: “The [hacking] operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.” …”

    in all the hoohaa about steele’s dossier i have never seen this quote. it seems extremely important. why would it not have been highlighted by journalists? or was it and i just missed it?  or is the quote misleading? was manafort mentioned by name?

    that manafort, working for ukrainian and russian masters, visited assange in 2013, 2015, and 2016 suggests more strongly than before that assange was allied with the russians.

    • skua says:

      I am thinking that not all of the Steele dossier has been made public.

      Hence why we haven’t seen this Assange-Manafort material before

    • Trip says:

      I excerpted from the text version so some of it might be slightly off:

      Summary

      – Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between campaign
      team and Kremlin, sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian
      diplomatic staff based in the US

      – TRUMP associate admits Kremlin behind recent appearance of DNC e-
      mails on WikiLeaks, as means of maintaining plausible deniability

      – Agreed exchange of information established in both directions.
      team using moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in
      Russia. PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON. Russians
      receiving intel from team on Russian oligarchs and their families

      – Suggestion from source close to TRUMP and MANAFORT that Republican
      campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more
      extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries
      ————————————————————————–

      1. Speaking in confidence to a compatriot in late July 2016, Source B, an
      ethnic Russian close associate of Republican US presidential candidate
      Donald TRUMP, admitted that there was a well-developed conspiracy of
      co-operation between them and the Russian leadership. This was
      managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate’s campaign
      manager, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter
      PAGE, and others as intermediaries. The two sides had a mutual interest
      in defeating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, whom
      President PUTIN apparently both hated and feared.
      —————————————————————————

      SENSITIVE SOURCE

      SOURCE

      The reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability and the
      operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of
      TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.
      In return the TRUMP
      team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a
      campaign issue and to raise defence commitments in the
      Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, 3
      priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.
      ——————————————————————————————————

      I have to wonder if the author of the piece is just doubling down on the Steele sources, or Steele himself. Also didn’t Steele have more than one dossier? (Maybe not, I might be losing it). In that, maybe the assertions of visits to Assange were made. On the other hand, is it possible is Assange is actually a witness?

    • P J Evans says:

      Mark Sumner, at Kos, points out that Manafort visiting Assange in March 2016 means that he was probably in on the planning of the hack job on the DNC server, and may even have been one of the people suggesting it (along with Stone)  – Manafort had been working with/for the Russian for years before that.

    • orionATL says:

      in the event you are sitting and worrying about trump giving a pardon to paul manafort, sarah sanders offers comfort:

      http://www.startribune.com/the-latest-sanders-says-she-s-unaware-of-any-pardon-talks/501372371/

      as for luke harding and his assange story, it is amazing how one story from one reporter in one paper (the guardian) gets picked up by dozens of on-line magazines and newspapers and repeated ad nauseum without an iota of additional information from any other source.

  38. Jen says:

    Would you mind explaining how Manafort could report back to Trump while he was incarcerated? I don’t understand. Who would be reporting the misleading info back to Trump?

    “they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test.”

    Am I misreading this?

  39. Trip says:

    And so it begins:
    Akiva Cohen‏ @AkivaMCohen 2h2 hours ago
    (Akiva Cohen Retweeted Oz Katerji)

    This is a direct and unequivocal violation of the Geneva Conventions, & therefore constitutes a dire threat to AMERICAN troops if it goes unpunished It will go unpunished

    Oz Katerji‏ @OzKaterji
    (Oz Katerji Retweeted Ruptly)

    Russian state media are now airing the forced confessions of Ukrainian POWs, which is a crime against humanity. The soldier is clearly reading a statement line by line. People working for RT/Ruptly are now complicit in a serious crime.

    https://twitter.com/OzKaterji/status/1067361765833494529

    • Trip says:

      More:

      Julia Davis‏ @JuliaDavisNews 2h2 hours ago

      Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov is downright condescending to @SecPompeo calling for talks between Putin and #Ukraine’s Poroshenko—says there is no need for talks, as Russia did all the appeasing it’s going to do when it seized the Ukrainian vessels & their crew.

      https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1067423468575182848
      Julia Davis‏ @JuliaDavisNews

      #Russia’s state TV gloats about Trump’s failure to condemn Russia for its escalating aggression against Ukraine: reporter mocks Nikki Haley’s UN speech, says: “She must have an unstable connection to the Captain’s Bridge, since the owner of the White House didn’t blame Russia.”

      https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1067420315607867392

  40. 200Toros says:

    Great post, as usual. I know the main charge we are hoping for is ConFraudUS, but don’t Trump’s Mueller-bashing tweets constitute outright, blatant attempts to obstruct justice? Or is that small potatoes in light of the meatier charges. Perhaps I’m being naive…

  41. Rusharuse says:

    Replying to
    @OzKaterji
    “Russia is not a country.
    It’s a failed state run by gangsters.
    Once you see that, everything Russia does makes perfect sense.”

  42. Jeffrey Cohen says:

    Whitaker is such a novice newbie, clearly in over his head. He’s counting on DOJ going along with his (and Trump’s agenda). While they are openly supporting judicial procedure and rule of law – neither of which is friendly to Trump and cohorts.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Whitaker has the opportunist’s view that established institutions run themselves and that he need only work on the narrow issues that interest him personally.  Sadly for Whitaker, he works for Trump, which means that what interests Trump interests Whitaker, and what interests Trump varies moment by moment, a fish sandwich here, a Mac there, a chocolate shake in between.  Following Trump’s tweets as a guide to his daily agenda will send even a christianist party thug like Whitaker into conniptions.

  43. AxuveS says:

    Who or what determines if Mueller’s report to the court is under seal or not? Not clear if it’s up to Mueller to decide, the court or DOJ?

  44. abo says:

    Mueller is a man’s man. A respected combat vet. He’s been shot. He’s killed people. He’s not of afraid of anything. Certainly not some lying pork weasel like Trump.

    Mueller is a Terminator. He isn’t distracted by our yellow-bellied commie president’s blathering. Or FOX’s. Or Trump’s racist, uneducated, low IQ base. He’s Trump’s worst nightmare. Who is stupid enough to p*ss off the FBI?

    Sleep tight, President Tiny Weener. You’re going to die in NY prison for unpardonable crimes.

    tick tick tick….

  45. TravisV says:

    Marcy,

    A key question on my mind: when Mueller delivers his detailed account of Manafort’s lies to the judge, do you think it will be made public soon thereafter? Or not?

  46. dancesonpedals says:

    After this maneuver, Trump has nothing to gain by pardoning Manafort. He has committed perjury on his open-book test, and Mueller doesn’ Need Pauline to confirm it.

    • obsessed says:

      never mind … read the twitter feed – I *really* love the idea of using the court filing as a report though.

  47. Robert Littlejohn says:

    The Morning Joe segment for Nov 27 echos several of the thoughts advanced in this post, including: Was  the timing of the latest Manafort announcement related to the fact that Trump finished his take-home quiz last week?   Was Mueller using Manafort to feed misinformation back to Trump about the progress and strategy of the investigation?   Will the court papers that Mueller will file for Manafort’s sentencing be used to make public information that might otherwise be suppressed by Whittaker?  It sounded like the moderators (not Joe or Mika, who seem to be on honeymoon) had read Marcy’s report.

    I haven’t seen any similar awareness of these questions on any other outlet, not so far.

    Some discussion was also had about why Manafort would risk going to jail for the rest of his life.   None of the answers seem plausible:  because he believed Trump would pardon him; because he fears retribution by Russian and/or Ukrainian agents, perhaps to his family; out of some kind of loyalty.   Nevertheless, he did it, so there is some answer.

    • Trip says:

      Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been investigating a meeting between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in Quito in 2017 and has specifically asked if WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, were discussed in the meeting, a source with personal knowledge of the matter tells CNN.
      In November 2017, The Associated Press reported that Moreno publicly acknowledged meeting with Manafort and a group of Chinese businessmen who wanted to privatize the country’s electric corporation. Moreno said the proposal was rejected.~CNN

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Oh JEEEEzus!!  Good catch. Mueller is expanding the universe of this entire coup and now I’m getting really worried not just about whether or not the entire thing is so big that nobody can ever get it all but I’m beginning to fear for Mueller’s well being. The entire western alliance is prostate right now before Russia and America’s little fiefdom in the western hemisphere is getting turned upside down with some 150 years of payback gettin’ ready to be unloaded on the USofA. This whole thing is a long way from over.

  48. Kat says:

    Couple of questions:

    What upside is there for Manafort to serve as a mole for Trump even if he’s facing state crimes after a potential pardon?
    This seems like a really dumb move on Trump’s and Manafort’s lawyer’s parts. If they were relaying info to each other to corroborate answers on the open book test and from Manafort, wouldn’t the lawyers know that their clients are lying? And wouldn’t they assume that they would get caught? It’s just hard for me to believe that no one on Team Trump/Manafort thought this was a bad idea from a legal standpoint, and again – if Manafort is facing state charges, a pardon won’t help him.
    If it’s discovered that the lawyers knowingly helped their clients go through with this, what consequences could they face?

  49. fishmanxxx says:

    Aside from the obvious raison d’etre for Whitaker to hinder Mueller’s investigation, could he also be placed in the AG position to provide cover for the JDA lawyers scheming? Attorney client privilege only works if it’s not embroiled in a crime but is this legal rat-fu—ing a crime?

    As usual here, absolutely great reporting and equally effective threads! As I’ve commented in the past, there’s regrettably less and less critical thinking in the world save for ew and a few others (eg bellingcat)

  50. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Luke Harding is regarded as MI6’s go-to man at the Guardian. He delivers the agency’s line on the news of the day, often before others have the news. Getting ahead of the curve helps shape how the news is understood, something that access journalist Maggie Haberman knows well.

    Disinformation at its most effective interweaves lies and facts sufficiently to discredit a larger truth, but without having to negate all of it, which is ordinarily hard to do. Why worry about killing a charging rhino when you can more easily breaks its leg, stopping the charge. Mother nature – or the lazy and journalistically underfunded MSM – does the rest.

    • Trip says:

      Phil Elliott‏Verified account @Philip_Elliott

      Paul Manafort statement: “This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him.
      More Manafort: “I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. … ” 2/
      More Manafort statement: “We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.” 3/ -end-

      https://twitter.com/Philip_Elliott/status/1067515901757571073

      @earl, could you explain what damages he could prove? Manafort’s name is dirt, he’s a public figure, he’s already a convicted felon, he has just been accused of breaking a plea deal by lying and is heading to sentencing. Meeting with Assange, in and of itself, isn’t a crime. What reputation or earning potential has he lost?

      • Avattoir says:

        Superficially, I’d expect your question to be more in Popehat’s wheelhouse. And with the Grauniad being a UK publication, there’s all sorts of additional complicated fun, what with pithy points of law being raised in what was, back in my law school daze, THE most mystical and seemingly complex subject on the curriculum: resolving conflicts of laws among or between separate sovereign jurisdictions.

        It’s great fun! The premise in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House is based on an actual case that was infested with such conflicts of laws questions, careening up and down from the trial courts into the labyrinth of appeals and thru the Master of Rolls enough times to make that office look like a traffic cop, to the English House of Lords Privy Council Judicial Review committee so much that, by the time the novel was published (around 1853), the case had already gone on for decades.

        The ACTUAL case on which Dickens based his fictional take in fact did not get finally resolved, at the Privy Council, until I was in high school in the 1960s.

        OTOH, he’ll have lots of time on his hands, so it’s that or a start-up website dedicated to all things rug.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, an inheritance case that went on so long, costs and legal fees devoured the estate, leaving nothing for the heirs.

          Even Parliament bestirred itself sufficiently to update English law just a tad, at about the same time that it finally did something about the Great Stink, when the sewer-filled Thames so fouled the air that the new, Thameside Palace of Westminster, which houses Parliament, was unusable.

        • Trip says:

          HAHAHA. What lawyer in their right mind would waste valuable time (and money) pursuing something like this for Manafort? As far as money, I imagine anything the gov’t doesn’t take, Oleg Deripaska will sic his US attorneys on. He called his payments “loans” after all.

        • Trip says:

          The law now says someone making a libel claim must demonstrate that a defamatory statement will cause “serious harm.”

          The Defamation Act 2013 contains a series of measures, including:
          • “New serious harm threshold” aimed at helping people to understand when claims should be brought and discourage wasteful use of court time
          • Protection for scientists and academics publishing peer-reviewed material in scientific and academic journals
          • Protection for those publishing material on a matter of public interest where they reasonably believe that it is in the public interest
          • Libel tourism targeted by tightening the test for claims involving those with little connection to England and Wales being brought before the courts
          • Introduction of a new process aimed at helping potential victims of defamation online, by resolving the dispute directly with the person who has posted the statement
          • Single-publication rule to prevent repeated claims against a publisher about the same material
          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/26/introduction/enacted

          I don’t know how he could demonstrate “serious harm” at this point, but who knows?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Having a cause of action is not the same as having a good likelihood of receiving a large damage award.  I defer to Avattoir, bmaz and especially popehat on such things.  Generally, in the US, a claimant in defamation would have to show that a newspaper met the NYT v. Sullivan test for actual malice.  Here, that would be that the Guardian knew what it published was false or acted with reckless disregard about whether it was true of false, published it anyway.  That’s a high standard.

        As avattoir says, the UK law on defamation is more protective of the crown and the establishment, and less protective of the press.  For starters, the English press has no First Amendment protections.  Generally, the defendant in a libel action has to prove the truth.  And to collect damages, a public figure has to show the defendant acted with actual malice.

        Having a valid claim does not mean a victory would yield substantial damages.  As you say, Paulie’s an admitted, multiple count felon about to spend the rest of his life in prison. Among other things, that would preclude making money for the duration.  He has allegedly committed further crimes since he signed his plea agreement, lying to the Feds at least, on top of allegedly violating his contractual commitments.  His reputation is toast.

        Predicting is a fool’s business, but a legal victory is not likely to generate large damages.  Besides, where would Paulie find the money to pay for a defamation suit?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Guardian does have a problem in that it has a history of anti-Assange coverage, both highly critical and highly personal.  It has already had to retract a story about Assange’s supposed relationship with Putin.  That could help Assange or Manafort establish actual malice.

  51. adam says:

    This makes no sense, for a number of reasons.

    First, a pre-sentencing report is not a public document.  How’s that going to be the Mueller report if the public can’t see it?  It would be nice if you knew some of the basics of criminal procedure before spinning your theories.

    Second, Manafort clearly knew Mueller thought he was lying by no later than Nov. 9 (probably earlier).  ABC was reporting troubles in Manafort’s cooperation on Nov. 9, and that leak almost certainly came from the Manafort side.  Trump submitted his answers to Mueller on Nov. 20, so (assuming there is still a cooperation agreement between Trump and Manafort), Trump’s lawyers certainly knew that Mueller thought Manafort was lying.

    Third, just because Mueller knew that some of Manafort’s answers were lies does not mean Manafort was of no potential value.  Prosecutors routinely ask subjects questions that they already know the answers to as a way to gauge the truthfulness of answers to questions they don’t know the answers to.  Taking today’s news as an example: perhaps Mueller knows that Manafort visited Assange, but doesn’t know what Manafort and Assange discussed.  He might have asked Manafort about that visited, and Manafort might have denied it ever happened; just because Mueller knows that’s a lie does not mean Mueller wouldn’t really be helped out by knowing what the two actually discussed.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh hi there Adam! Here is the thing, what was being described is the government’s sentencing memorandum and, yes, sentencing memorandums are indeed routinely filed and docketed for the public.

      It would be nice if YOU knew diddly shit about criminal procedure before running your mouth. The rest of your comment is anodyne but adds little value. Care to come in again?

  52. Phoenix Woman says:

    This makes sense to me.

    So many people – including, apparently, most of the people on Team Trump – seem to have forgotten that Mueller has the transition team’s correspondence. He got it when the GSA holdover staff turned it over to him (along with all the phones and computer gear they used) before Trump’s GSA General Counsel Beckler could stop them (he ended up dying of pancreatic cancer shortly after taking the GC post, so he likely wasn’t able to stop them anyway as he spent the last few weeks of his life in the hospital).

    Once Mueller got those, it was clear that a number of people were going to go to prison. The only questions were “how many?” and “which ones?”.

    https://m.govexec.com/management/2017/12/legal-specialists-defend-gsas-handover-transition-emails-mueller-probe/144659/

    • Taxidermist says:

      Well timed reminder, thank you. I apologize to all if this is a dumb question: what responsibility or obligation did the transition staff have to leave old or scattered means and use the new communications system?

  53. JXN says:

    I have never thought the Russian “collusion” case had legs because all the evidence pointed to it being initiated by the Russian “cold call” meeting on Sept. 9.  The servers had been hacked months before and the Russians were reaching out to see if they could entice the Trump campaign with illicit goods.  The meeting sort of fizzled into talk about adoptions  and nothing much connected Trump or the campaign to the underlying crime.  But the Assange/Manafort meeting setting up the whole thing re-characterizes everything.  

    If we assume for the sake of argument Manafort and Assange set the hacking of the DNC and Hillary underway, then, as TPM points out, this is a huge deal and puts the campaign firmly in the middle of the criminal enterprise.  But what, then, to make of the cold call meeting in September?

    Here’s what I think happened, and it makes more sense than the scenario we have been living with.  The Russian intelligence agents who put the meeting together were sent to the USA to make as many contacts as they could with, and ingratiate themselves to, any political operatives, including the Trump campaign.  They are here freelancing, doing what whatever they could to perform their charge.  They hear rumors that summer sweeping through friends in their intelligence service that the DNC and Hillary have been successfully hacked.  They freelance with the rumor, hoping to use the promise of hacked DNC material to insinuate themselves onto the Trump orbit.  They set the meeting, hoping to show Jr. the hook, and plan then call back home, say that Jr. will take the hook if they can put the bait, the hacked intel, on it.  But it goes sideways.

    It goes sideways because Manafort is there.  He is there (and consider how unusual, extraordinary, really, it is for the head of a national campaign, to attend such a low level meeting) for one purpose only—-to put a kibosh on Russian’s approach.  He knows all about what they are offering—he set it up!  Jr. is completely out of the loop (“if it is what you say, I love it!”) and looking for a way to impress dad.  Manafort sees what’s happening, recognizes what it is, and needs to stop it.  In the greetings prior to or at the meeting, Manafort whispers the abort message to his Russian counterpart, and the meeting becomes about nothing more than adoptions.  Manafort looks at his phone for 5 minutes and splits.  That meeting has been, all along, a red herring.   And suddenly the “collusion” case has legs.

    • chromiumbook0000 says:

      The Trump Tower meeting (which i think you are referring to) took place on June 9th, not September 9th, which was 1 day after the DCLeaks website launched and 3 days before Assange first mentions  having Hillary emails.  This article provides a helpful timeline of events.

  54. David Karson says:

    Hi, First time poster. I came to this webpost via a WAPO link today. What a great site! Thanks for all of the great articles and comments. I am not a lawyer, so I have a very ignorant question to the group, but one I  have been wondering about.  About 10 years ago, the FBI, under the direction of Preet Bharara, USDA for SDNY, put wire taps on a whole bunch of phones on a dozen or so hedge fund Managers (Raj Rajaratnam, to name one). Preet’s rationale was that it was impossible to get the incriminating information without the wiretaps. All of the defendants fought the legality of the wiretaps, but  the courts ruled otherwise and the wiretaps were allowed. So my question is, can’t Mueller use wiretaps on targets of interest in his investigation? Thanks in advance for your answer!

  55. SocraticGadfly says:

    Assuming that Mueller’s claim that Manafort lied is based on the pack of lies Luke Harding published, I wouldn’t stick my head out so far, Marcy.

    If Mueller’s claim is based on something else, why don’t we just wait for public revelation of what that might be?

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there. Thanks for your assistance. Same asinine bullshit you have always engaged in going back well over a decade and on other blogs before here. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  56. Rusharuse says:

    When fuckwits rule:
    On the economy . .
    “I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
    On climate change . .
    “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said. “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-slams-fed-chair-questions-climate-change-and-threatens-to-cancel-putin-meeting-in-wide-ranging-interview-with-the-post/2018/11/27/4362fae8-f26c-11e8-aeea-b85fd44449f5_story.html

  57. Jenny says:

    All of this unfolding of the Mueller investigation is a reflection of the have and the have nots.  There is one set of laws for the haves and a totally different set of laws for those who have not.  More exposure to a failed system of inequality.  More to be revealed …

  58. Phoenix Woman says:

    With regard to the idea that Whitaker may be interfering in the Mueller investigation: the judges of the DC Circuit have concerns about that very thing, and ordered both Mueller’s people and Whitaker’s people to report by November 19 if such interference was occurring.

    Turns out that – as of November 19, at least – the answer was “no”:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/public-safety/special-counsel-robert-muellers-team-defends-legitimacy-of-appointment/2018/11/19/da4fe696-ec09-11e8-baac-2a674e91502b_story.html

    Make of that what you will.

  59. Rusharuse says:

    Who speaks for the Ostrich –

    Manafort sides with the “god-man” who could free him from prison by typing six words into his phone.
    I’d call that a no-brainer!

  60. Trip says:

    Giuliani admits Manafort was sharing details with Trump. They really do act like a crime family. 32 people involved?

      • chromiumbook0000 says:

        Trip,

        Out of curiosity, is your concern that since Giuliani, at al are openly confirming the Trump-Manafort legal coordination it may suggest a lower likelihood that Trump has been caught in a “perjury trap” (per the take-home test)?

        It’s funny.  Your guess is likely better than mine, but i was sort of thinking that this is exactly how i would expect Trump+team to react if they had been caught “red-handed” on the test:   ie Go on the PR offensive about the process – “of course we were coordinating” – with Haberman reporting the story in as laissez faire as possible in the NYT > and then go on a “fake facts” offensive once the actual details of what they lied about becomes public (via the sentencing memo.

        • Trip says:

          No. My concern was/is that the conspiracy is so vast, so far-reaching, with players at various levels, combined with dark money at the top, that the whole thing could be brushed off. That’s what Rudy is counting on. (Except for the lower level foot soldiers, as is often the case of justice in this country; Especially with the corrupt being installed in multiple layers of critical government positions). It’s disheartening. I recall reading about how Putin’s puppet left that gift in Ukraine, where it was difficult to stop the corruption fuckery, since officials were in important places, judges etc, even after he fled. It’s a way of guaranteeing that the grift goes on. Mueller and his team are just minuscule compared to the level of international coordination of crime, it seems. Trump and cohorts are just at the surface of that swamp. And they are acting as if immune to consequence.

          • NorskieFlamethrower says:

            Sigh…this is exactly where I am with regard to the situation we find ourselves. Remember when “multi-national corporations” was the term of choice to describe oligarchies? The structure of control has been in place for at least 50 years with the game played out in international money markets and military proxy battles. Look at the situation  in which we find ourselves this morning with troops in North Africa isolated and hung out to dry, the NATO alliance  completely hamstrung and the administrative functions of our government controlled by a foreign power. Happy Holidays fellow patriots.

          • chromiumbook0000 says:

            Oh, gotcha.  I am with you 1000% on that.  Back in July of ’17, i wrote a exhaustively researched (~1000 hrs and 100 pages of backup docs) 30-page paper (i am painfully slow writer, so for me that was a lot!) on the ML aspect of this. The final paragraph of it asks the question whether we, as a country, will have the resolve to address the uncomfortable truths that caused our current predicament or whether the tentacles of ML are already so deeply rooted in our economic and political systems that we are destined to become desensitized to the criminality involved and accepting of its consequences as a norm?

            Sadly, like you, i am pretty certain the answer will be the latter, as the problem has become way too pervasive and embedded in our society for law enforcement (or other institutions) to fight it unencumbered and effectively.  That train likely left the station sometime in the early to mid 2000’s.

            I guess my more realistic hope is that a big, bright spotlight will be placed on the issue of ML in 2019, awaking the general public to its existence, its scale and its socio-economic implications.  And, correspondingly, that policy makers, in coordination with a wide-ranging group of stakeholders (politicians, law enforcement, business leaders, charitable foundations, and even criminals – hell, i’d be most interested in hearing Mog*lev*ch’s thoughts on the subject:-), make significant and genuine efforts to improve upon our existing global ML policies.  I am far from a subject expert on the matter, but our current approach to the problem feels a bit analogous to our seemingly never ending efforts to eliminate loop holes from the US tax code – ie the more complex and punitive the structure becomes, the more likely it is to incentivize bad behavior, as well as exacerbate the “rich get richer” (“powerful get more powerful”) cycle since those with the means will inevitably always find the next loophole.

            Well, enough of my pontificating.

            (As side story to the beginning paragraph, after all those hours spent writing what i thought was going to be a manifesto of a lifetime, my wife refused to let me share it with anyone other than my 75-year old political junky mom.  At least, she enjoyed it.  Lol)

  61. Jamin Condou says:

    $46 million! He must have equal that stashed somewhere if he wants his lawyer to press for sentencing. The more I learn about offshore havens and shell companies, the more I loathe the 1% and citizens united.
    He’s counting on a pardon, which must be doable, because he knows that he’s too pretty to spend time on the inside. Oh what a terrible web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    • P J Evans says:

      The deal now includes him pleading guilty to state-level crimes in three different states, which aren’t subject to presidential pardons.

      He’s going to be in prison for a long time.

  62. LT Dexter says:

    Why doesn’t the name, Ezra Cohen Watnick, ever come up anymore? He supposedly went to work for Jeff Sessions after he got booted from NSC. He could have been just as treacherous at DOJ as he was at NSC – remember he passed intelligence reports off to epic douche Devin Nunes.

  63. Rusharuse says:

    How to make good use of a Bragadonkyo-
    1. Turn blind eye to jda
    2. Let Mannafort lie
    3. Allow Trump to submit his “homework” based on Mannafort lies
    4. Call out Mannaforts lies
    5. Challenge Presidents answers
    6. Fuck Trump over (and send box of chocolates to Big Kev).

  64. Trip says:

    Robert Maguire‏Verified account @RobertMaguire_

    Tax filings obtained by @CREWcrew show that in 2017, the Wellspring Committee — a dark money group tied to the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo — sent an additional $919,900 to the BH Group, a secretive LLC also tied to Leo that gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration..Wellspring continued to be the main funder of the Judicial Crisis Network, another dark money group, also tied to Leo, which has spent millions of dollars backing both the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations…Wellspring raised all of its $16.65m from just 4 anonymous donors, and nearly all of that went right out the door, either to the BH Group — the still-anonymous $1 million donor to Trump’s inauguration — or JCN. That’s all it does, really: Acts as a dark-money pass-through..It has no employees or volunteers, and just a single board member. No public facing operations. No website. Just millions of dollars from anonymous donors it dutifully passes on once it receives it…Those who know me know that I am fascinated by the BH Group. It is incredibly abnormal that an inaugural fund would receive a $1 million contribution that still, two years later, would be completely anonymous…Trump is a transactional president, known to show favor to those he knows support him. It is likely Trump knows who provided the $1 million to the BH Group, but the public doesn’t, and therefore we can’t track how that access and influence might have benefited the wealthy donor…But as I noted last week, the fact that the BH Group is still taking in so much money from a constellation of dark money groups raises even more questions. Or, rather, just one big one: What are they doing?..If you’re not familiar with the BH Group — and all the other questions that 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 swirl around Trump’s inaugural fundraising — @WNYC/@ProPublica’s Trump Inc podcast did an episode on it earlier this year…And here’s my report from May tying the BH Group to Leo (though he almost certainly isn’t the source of the actual funding)

    https://twitter.com/RobertMaguire_/status/1067457156046295046

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That sort of high velocity, dark money trail, self-dealing, and skimming explain how endlessly ambitious and ethically challenged guys like Nick Ayers start with nothing and acquire $50 million by age 36.

      The power and the money then feed off each other like an ouroboros.  But it’s not alchemy.  It is corruption.

    • Trip says:

      This comment belongs here. Under the suspicious dark money subject^:
      bmaz‏ @bmaz

      (bmaz Retweeted Judicial Watch )

      And now for a demand for obstruction by @TomFitton the blithering idiots at @JudicialWatch

      Judicial Watch 🔎‏Verified account @JudicialWatch

      JW President @TomFitton: Now that President @realDonaldTrump has removed AG Sessions + appointed Whitaker as Acting AG, I hope new DOJ leadership ends the abusive Mueller probe and does a serious prosecution of Clinton’s email crimes & other misconduct.

      https://twitter.com/bmaz/status/1067793286427901953

  65. Trip says:

    Stanley Cohen brings up crime fraud exception again:

    Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw 21m21 minutes ago

    Manafort’s Lawyer Said to Brief Trump Attorneys on What He Told Mueller…OUTRAGEOUS and possibly fraud crime exception….may be at best unethical for his attorney to share information worse yet the crime fraud exception waiving privilege with client and constituting possible obstruction.
    https://twitter.com/StanleyCohenLaw/status/1067607089655107584

    • bmaz says:

      I think it is unethical too. Whether it is a crime – obstruction and/or aiding and abetting obstruction I guess – is a higher bar, but it may arguably get there too. We shall see. Only Mueller really knows the full extent at this point, we really do not.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That Manafort and Trump retain common political interests seems obvious.  It is a tad hard to see how they retain common legal interests, which I thought was required for a JDA.

        • bmaz says:

          Exactly. The common interest doctrine is literally the entire basis of a JDA arrangement. It is literally impossible to enter a cooperation plea and have common interest with the others in the JDA who are under investigation but not charged.

          • Trip says:

            bmaz, Joyce Vance had a great point, mentioning that Manafort entered a guilty plea already, so the defense part as to charges/indictments was eliminated (paraphrased). If you declare yourself guilty, how do you share any interest with another defense legally? It’s a done deal, except for the sentence.

            • Hurltim says:

              I saw that Joyce Vance clip. So if there is no JDA, can Mueller then get access to the communications between Manafort’s lawyers and the Trump Lawyers? Seems to me that if there was a pardon dangle somewhere, it would be in Manafort’s best interests to have that documented in some way in case Trump renigs on the deal. Given the rarity of this whole fiasco, it seems like Mueller would have probable cause to go digging but I am no lawyer (I did, however, stay at a Holiday Inn last night.)

  66. Thomas says:

    I read the released FISA applications, and the public knowledge background on Carter Page, and the timing of his trip to Moscow in July 2016, and his communications with Gordon subsequently.
    The FBI clearly states in the FISA applications that Carter Page coordinated the quid pro quo agreement between the Russian Government and the Trump Campaign.
    After Page came back from Moscow and talked to Gordon, Gordon and Manafort got the GOP platform changed.

    Later, during the transition, Flynn and Pence were involved in planning what would happen to the State Dept Sanctions office after Trump took office. The payoff for the Russian help.

    Many others were involved in the whole conspiracy ( Don jr, Cohen, Prince, Corsi, Assange, Hannity Papadapoulos et al) but the principals were Trump, Manafort, Stone, Kushner, Flynn, Gordon, Page and Pence.
    All of the principals were directly involved in negotiating the quid pro quo, coordinating its fulfillment on the Russian side, and orchestrating the payoff afterwards.

    Many others were involved in the Russian attack, including Stone and Hannity who pushed a fake news cover story for the Russian hacking (Seth Rich). Including Kushner-Perscale who coordinated campaign communications with Russian propaganda.

    Only the Stone-Assange-Corsi connection has been the focus lately, But Kushner and Perscale were also involved.

    Kushner was also involved in the Prince effort to set up secret communications to evade the NSA, and most likely, Flynn was also involved in that.

    Pence just sat on top of this whole thing, oblivious to it all?
    I think not. Manafort’s choice for VP. Did Pence say anything at all about Trump firing the whole sanctions office? Not a word. He expected it to happen.
    Pence was briefed on the Russian interference weeks before Trump violated his oath of office by closing the sanctions office.
    Right there and then, Pence was unquestionably complicit in the conspiracy.
    Surely if the evidence exists to indict Pence (What has Flynn offered up?), then that must be done before removing Trump.

    I would remind everyone that Trump AND ALL of these criminals, flatly denied ANY Russian contacts, and called the Russian conspiracy “fake news,” and that Trump resisted following the sanctions laws for months. And Pence was right there the whole time.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      That assumes there are elections in 2020. This thing is moving pretty fast, I just wanna get to the new congress in 2019!

  67. G Holland says:

    Criminal Docket for Case#: 1:17-cr-00201-ABJ – USA v. MANAFORT et al. (this is taken straight from CM/ECF in the case docket report)

    11/28/2018

    Set/Reset Hearings as to PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR. (1): A Scheduling Conference in this case is set for 11/30/2018 at 9:30 AM in Courtroom 3 before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. (jth) (Entered: 11/28/2018)

    Stay tuned! Wouldn’t it be fun if Mueller filed a Memorandum of Facts before the Scheduling Conference later this week?

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