Jerome Corsi Prepared the Lies He told Special Counsel

I noted several times that Jerome Corsi’s lawyer, David Gray, claimed on the record in an interview with the WaPo that Corsi was offered, but declined, to engage in criminal behavior with Roger Stone.

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

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

That story was published on October 5, the day before he his first interview with Mueller’s team. We now know some of what Corsi said at that interview. He admitted that Roger Stone had asked him to reach out to WikiLeaks to find out what it had.

CORSI said that in the summer of 2016 an associate (“Person 1”) who CORSI understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump, asked CORSI to get in touch with Organization 1 about materials it possessed relevant to the presidential campaign that had not already been released.

But, Corsi claimed in an interview the day after his lawyer had told the press he declined to engage in criminal behavior, he had declined Stone’s request.

CORSI said he declined the request from Person 1 and made clear to Person 1 that trying to contact Organization 1 could be subject to investigation. CORSI also stated that Person 1 never asked CORSI to have another person try to get in contact with Organization 1, and that CORSI told Person 1 that they should just wait until Organization 1 released any materials.

That seems to suggest that Corsi denied he had reached out to Ted Malloch, somehow obtained information on what WikiLeaks had planned, and shared that with Stone because he believed it would involve criminal liability — and his lawyer agreed.

But his plea agreement doesn’t include reaching out to WikiLeaks among the crimes it says would be covered if he took the plea deal. That plea deal only envisioned Corsi’s risk to include lying, more lying, and conspiring to lie.

In consideration of your client’s guilty plea to the above offense, your client will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for the conduct set forth in the attached Statement of the Offense; for any other false statements made by him to this Office or to the grand jury between September 6, 2018 and November 2, 2018; and for obstructing, aiding or abetting in the obstruction of, or conspiring to obstruct or commit perjury before congressional or grand jury investigations in connection with the conduct described in the Statement of Offense.

Now, Corsi claims that he told those lies because he didn’t remember what really happened, and because he had deleted all his emails (in a very curiously specific period, January 13 to March 1, which means the government is somehow sure he did it weeks before he first rolled out the public cover story he had worked on with Stone), couldn’t refresh his memory until the FBI obtained the deleted emails from his computer. So it’s possible that Gray really believed Corsi’s claim to have declined Stone’s requests (though it’s unclear why he would have thought that responding to them would involve criminal liability — as I keep saying, speaking to Guccifer 2.0 or WikiLeaks is not, by itself, a crime, and Corsi would have the added protection of being able to claim he was acting as a journalist).

Still, all this seems to suggest that Corsi prepared the lie he told prosecutors, believing that telling the truth would expose him to criminal liability.

That’s going to make it a lot harder to claim this was all an accident brought on by poor memory once he does get charged.

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54 replies
  1. RWood says:

    This pattern of “tell the best lie I can come up with” seems to be more of a gold standard among this group.

    But then, if the truth is a guaranteed jail sentence, I guess it’s all they got.

    • Drew says:

      These guys (Manafort & Corsi are most in the current news, but it applies to Trumpworld generally) are all basically gamblers–they are looking for the best upside they can get. Gamblers might hedge a bet when it’s practical, but their focus is always on their own personal best upside.  When things are going to shit for Paulie or Jerome, they don’t look for the most certain way to reduce the bad effects of a bad loss, they look for the route that might have the best possible upside for them.

      Their previous patterns are likely still to obtain: Paulie worked through shady behind the scenes deals with powerful crooked people & influence peddling, Jerome cynically manufactured self-serving conspiracy theories, basically riffing on a single piece of information in the public domain and then weaving a macrame of falsehood around it and pushing it out into the public eye. It’s not surprising to me that this is what they would continue to do when caught.

      Add to this that both of these guys are way on the wrong side of the Rock & Roll line in terms of understanding how computers & information security work. They thought they had covered their lies by destroying evidence. I would never expect guys like this to follow good advice, or to tell their lawyers enough of the truth to give the attorneys occasion to explain what happens to those deleted gmails, etc. or how the top levels of the FBI can penetrate “secure” communications when they really want to.

      So, the idea that they must be telling the truth because it wouldn’t make sense to lie never applies with these guys. It’s also not necessary for specific explicit plans to have happened (e.g. promises of pardons). For Corsi & Manafort, the best result would be for the Trump administration to stay intact for 6 more years both for favors like pardons/clemency and to shield them from criminal charges on things that are yet to come out. After all, if Trump were to win re-election, RBG died or retired, Thomas Farr were elevated to the Supremes, Trump could do all manner of corrupt use of clemency & bullying of the courts (even state courts in this scenario). This would be their fantasy and the risk for the upside they would take.

      Fortunately, it looks like Mueller & co. are a step ahead of them.

    • Rayne says:

      “…and fewer women.”

      Yeah. A woman would actually have to crack misogyny’s firewall to have any expectation of power let alone lust for it.

      • Humanoid says:

        Plus, women have a small fraction of the incidence of psychopathy (pathological arrogance/power lust) that men have, biologically. It’s an 80% male phenomenon. And it’s genetic and physiological.

        • Rayne says:

          Please provide citations. We can readily see how few women are in positions of power. Claims of innate psychopathy by gender need substantiation, however.

          • Bruce Olsen says:

            From the abstract of “Epidemiology, Comorbidity, and Behavioral Genetics of Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy”: published 2015

            Gender also seems to play a role in ASPD, as males are 3 to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASPD than females, with 6% of men and 2% of women meeting DSM-IV criteria for ASPD5,6 in the general population, which holds as well for clinical samples based on primary care clinics (8% of men v 3% of women).7

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649950/

            • Rayne says:

              Thank you. A claim like that in threads here needs substantiation; I don’t want to risk credibility on swag.

              The study you link makes a pretty strong case for the necessity of gender equity in corporate management, elected office, and definitely in technology development if we are to have social infrastructure which is less callous, more empathetic, less anti-social and more altruistic.

              • Bruce Olsen says:

                If you’re looking to prove that women should be included more in managing society and/or business these studies don’t support that as a conclusion.

                As others have mentioned, female psychology has  been under-studied, and may not present in the same way for females as males.

                We should include more women for many other reasons.

                • orionATL says:

                  my principle public policy reason for wanting many more women in positions of real power, other than righting an unwarranted inequality, is this: watch a woman or a group of women settle a serious conflict. now imagine how you and the guys might have tried to settle that conflict. watch how a woman leading, or a group of women, go about supporting a contentious public issue, say local low-income housing in a not-so-low income area. how would you and the boys go about that? or would you even try?

                  different value structures, different approaches, different instincts about communicating. why waste all that good talent?

              • Eureka says:

                The study you link makes a pretty strong case for the necessity of gender equity in corporate management, elected office, and definitely in technology development if we are to have social infrastructure which is less callous, more empathetic, less anti-social and more altruistic.

                There was a big push/discussion about twelve-ish years ago, I am feeling, for same for those reasons.  Just can’t recall sources now, but it made the rounds of business-type pubs, say like a Fast Company-type thing.

            • Kai-Lee says:

              To be fair, most research on psychopathy has been conducted on males; only in the past two decades have women also been in focus. There’s also the issue of “likely to be diagnosed” – that does not translate to appropriately diagnosed, and may mean females are underdiagnosed with APD and psychopathy (the latter is not a condition housed in the psychiatric bible as the former is) and/or that males are overdiagnosed. Finally, there is some evidence suggesting that female psychopathy manifests differently from the male presentation. ASPD and psychopathy refer to both traits and behaviors – these may be different between the sexes (e.g., https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359178918300284 and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019188691630976X).

              • Island Girl says:

                And the people doing the studying are also probably mostly males. It takes a woman to understand a woman. In virtually any social setting,such as, say, a party, or a family Christmas dinner, men are clueless as to the undercurrents of competition, control, etc. that are played out among women in all kinds of ways too subtle for a man to grasp or even notic.

          • G Holland says:

            Rolf Wynn, Marita H Hoiseth, Gunn Petterson (2012) Psychopathy in women: theoretical and clinical perspectives, Int J Womens Health. 2012; 4: 257–263. Published online 2012 Jun 1. doi:  [10.2147/IJWH.S25518]

            “With few exceptions, studies have shown that there are more male psychopaths than female.”  However, I don’t see support for the “80% male phenomenon” mentioned in the post above.  Most studies hypothesize a 3:1 ratio of male to female psychopaths, but they acknowledge the discrepancy might be due to the factors historically used for diagnosis screening (i.e., women hide it better).

            See also:

            Diana M. Falkenbach PhD (2008) Psychopathy and the Assessment of Violence in Women, Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 8:2, 212-224, DOI: 10.1080/15228930801964125

            Kent A. Kiehl and Morris B. Hoffman. THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOPATH: HISTORY, NEUROSCIENCE, TREATMENT, AND ECONOMICS. Jurimetrics. 2011;51:355-397. PMID: 24944437; PMCID:PMC4059069

            Stéphanie Klein Tuente, Vivienne de Vogel & Jeantine Stam (2014) Exploring the Criminal Behavior of Women with Psychopathy: Results from a Multicenter Study into Psychopathy and Violent Offending in Female Forensic Psychiatric Patients, International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 13:4, 311-322, DOI: 10.1080/14999013.2014.951105                

            https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-equation/201205/female-psychopaths

          • Diviz says:

            Thank you Rayne for pushing for citations and everyone for your responses. My Wednesday is henceforth given over to a clickhole on gender and psychopathy.

  2. Marc says:

    So just to make sure I understand correctly.  It goes something like this:

    Corsi: I had communications with this bad guy, but refused to do anything he asked.

    FBI: You’re sure about that?

    Corsi:  Yup.  Sure as sure can be.  I didn’t want to do anything that could possibly be illegal.

    *LATER*

    FBI: OK, so here are a bunch of e-mails between you and this bad guy as well as a bunch of other people in which you clearly did the bad things you denied having done earlier.  Care to elaborate?

    Corsi: Well, you see, I had already deleted all those e-mails before I spoke with you and I couldn’t remember what I had done until you reminded me, so I really wasn’t lying when I said something that wasn’t true.

    FBI:  …right.  We’re going to need you to turn over your passport and wear this ankle bracelet, OK?

  3. Rugger9 says:

    OT but I think this will affect the future investigations: it appears Minority Leader Schumer just pledged to build the border wall (1.6 b$ vs the 5 b$ full price) which is a pretty clear indication he’s not “getting it”.  Even a nickel is too much, and it signals to me that once Kaiser Quisling is removed (most likely by the GOP) Schumer will be OK with the GOP plan of “bipartisanship” and “letting the nation heal” so their people stay in office and not in prison.

    • Steve13209 says:

      In NY, only Sen. Gillebrand has moved in the proper direction. Schumer and Cuomo are just living off their donor checks. The right loves that people speak of those two as liberals.

    • Rayne says:

      New Yorkers should be pounding on Schumer’s office door and reminding him that New York is a D+12 state. Start targeting his big ticket donors and go after them as well with protests. Stupefying how these guys don’t get this MOVE TO THE LEFT after watching Cynthia Nixon run a credible progressive gubernatorial race and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes win a primary first time out of the gate.

      His 75/25 rule of thumb is a bunch of bullshit for D+12. Should be more like 98/2 especially in the middle of a blue wave.

    • cat herder says:

      Schumer is a grown-up, he understands that the only way to win this fight is to give the other side what they want.

      Besides, I’m sure he got something valuable in return, like Pizza Fridays in the Senate cafeteria. Or at least a statement agreeing to consider bipartisan talks on the possibility of setting up a feasibility study on the idea of Pizza Fridays in the Senate cafeteria at some indeterminate time in the future.

      • Eureka says:

        Besides, I’m sure he got something valuable in return, like Pizza Fridays in the Senate cafeteria. Or at least a statement agreeing to consider bipartisan talks on the possibility of setting up a feasibility study on the idea of Pizza Fridays in the Senate cafeteria at some indeterminate time in the future.

        LOL.  But he works so hard at it!

          • Eureka says:

            It takes *decades* to define those ‘ifs’ and refine those ‘maybes’!

            Or are we refining ‘ifs’ and defining ‘maybes’? It’s all so hard to figure out. Let’s just have some pizza!

  4. The Old Redneck says:

    Manafort probably figured he’d go to prison for the rest of his life even under the plea deal. Thus, his incentive was to act as an informant for Trump, feeding him information about the investigation, in hopes of getting a pardon for his loyalty. That’s not much of a strategy, but it was the best one he thought he had.

    Corsi may similarly be thinking loyalty will get him a pardon. But I suspect Mueller’s team is way ahead of him too.

  5. NJrun says:

    My take: they thought they could get away with whatever Mueller didn’t specifically know, and gambled Mueller knew less than he actually did.

    There is a long history of Republicans getting away with illegal behavior because the actual crime was cloaked in plausible deniability. Everybody might know they did the crime, but prosecutors have been unable to prove the elements in court. Iran-Contra, outing of Valerie Plame, one could go on for a long time.

    • Martin from Canada says:

      The Justice department let Spiro Agnew walk on multiple crimes in exchange for removing himself from the line of succession.

      BTW, Maddow’s Bagmen podcast serial has been pretty interesting and quite worth the listen.

    • Kai-Lee says:

      Ultimately, they will all say they don’t recall – Trump, Corsi, Stone, et al. And even among the non 70 plus crowd, that kind of response tends to win the day.

      As of today, it’s looking less and less likely that Trump and his thugs will ever face Lady Justice and be appropriately punished for their crimes.

      If only Mueller weren’t such a Boy Scout, beholden to patently unjust DOJ guidelines on the treatment of a tender, crime-committing, democracy-destroying, illegitimate president. What kind of BS permits him to not be charged, and not charged now? Are we to believe that were he to have committed murder or some comparable violent offense, that he wouldn’t be indicted for that and held accountable now? I don’t know if Mueller does have sealed indictments against Trump, but a simple referral to Congress for possible impeachment is woefully inadequate here. Mueller knows that, and given his history of dispatching some serious creeps in the past, one would think he could find a way to rise to the occasion, from a charging perspective, in this most exceptional instance. Is there any hope of this?

      And the pardon power of the president needs some serious re-evaluating.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Consider the skill sets necessary for Mueller’s work, which surely include accounting forensics, telecom, and languages.  That’s just for starters.

        There’s a case to be made that Mueller is mopping up after milk that has been spilling since the 70’s (Stone, Manafort) and 80s (Corsi, also Ukraine and GOP lobbyists becoming bagmen for dictators globally).

        Give Mueller time; surely, he’s dealing with global crime, US political corruption, and levels of fraud (including Fox News) that have been decades in the making.  Grab a beer and enjoy the unraveling.  Speaking for myself, I’ve waited years.  I sincerely hope that Mary, MadDog, and jlopresti are watching from heaven with huge, shit-eating grins.

        • Island Girl says:

          But I thought Mueller’s brief was to find the connection between Trump and Putin. Not this fishing expedition for every bad or stupid thing Trump and anyone near him ever did. If we are doing fishing expeditions, why not include Democrats? let’s take a good close look at the Clintons and Podesta, Brazile, Feinstein, Pelosi, etc. ?  Let’s for the DNC to hand over theiri computers for forensic analysis. Oh, can’t do that. The Dems  are the VICTIMS!!!!

          • Rayne says:

            Look, newbie, I know you don’t know the community well based on this comment. You are going to have to step up your (trolling) game if you think you’re going to survive here. Read the authorization for the Special Counsel:

            (b) The special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

            (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

            (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

            (iii) any matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

            (c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

            Trump has been an outlaw or criminal for nearly his entire adult life. It’s impossible to dig into anything he’s done without running into some violation of the law.

            Now knock off the right-wing propaganda and bring something relevant to the table or begone.

  6. Strawberry Fields says:

    Won’t Matt Whitaker just shut down any further pursuit of these lies or obstruction of justice, feels like Trump is winning now.

    • Jose says:

      Practically speaking the answer to this question is very complicated:

      Mueller doesn’t need Whitaker’s approval to go to the grand jury and seek an indictment and file it, he doesn’t need Whitaker’s approval to execute anything that was approved before his installation.

      What Whitaker can do without firing Mueller is constrain his budget for next year, or not approve major steps in the investigation (some things within DOJ require the authorization of the AG).

      In effect though, that would be a showdown moment between Mueller and Whitaker, one that may not even be legitimate if Whitaker’s appointment is ruled unconstitutional in the near future, leaving Mueller back in place.

      The most short term damage Whitaker can cause is probably trying to spy on the investigation and report back to Trump (which would lead to the kinds of meltdowns we see on Twitter from him every day these days). But it’s unclear if he truly has the power to stop all this.

      Honestly, the way I saw things playing out after Whitaker’s installment are the following: either Mueller just ignores him and he’s ineffective in his obstructing role, or mass protest resignations happen at the Justice Department, starting with Chris Wray.

      In any case, we’ll find out soon.

  7. Jose says:

    I think you’re absolutely wrong on your claim that speaking to Wikileaks isn’t a crime or to Guccifer for that matter, because it is if you do it with the understanding that other people are about to commit crimes through those conversations. That’s enough for a criminal conspiracy charge, you don’t have to take actions that are in themselves illegal to aid or abet a criminal conspiracy or even to join it, you merely have to take overt acts in furtherance of the criminal scheme with the understanding that it’s a criminal scheme, even if you don’t do anything illegal yourself.

    As long as Corsi knew Stone was willing to commit crimes with Wikileaks, being his intermediary snares him into a criminal conspiracy.

    • Island Girl says:

      “hat other people are about to commit crimes”

      What is the crime under discussion?

      finding out when Wikileaks plans to make an email dump?

      Is that illegal?

      If Wiki had gotten a flash drive from the Republican National Committee I am sure they would have published those as well. It is just coincidence, or fate, that someone at the DNC (very likely)  was disgusted enough with the DNC to upload emails to a flash drive and get it to Wikileaks..

      • Rayne says:

        Try again, sheep dip. You are not up to this conversation if you do not understand the fundamentals of the conspiracy.

        This is strike two.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    I think Corsi believes he’s too clever to get caught in a lie.  He’s a professional bullshitter, after all.   He may also believe that the Mueller investigation is going to be shut down in the near future, so they’re not going to bother indicting him on “small” charges.  We’ll see.  I think he was offered a very good deal but backed out when he realized that he could be putting Stone in the crosshairs.

    • Eureka says:

      I’m behind on the news, but it seems like new misc details- somehow informally (not in writing) in the JDA (_?_) and informed Mueller shop of same

      • Eureka says:

        Having to listen to rambling about Obama birth cert. for payoff of tiny details about his Zelinsky questioning- tiny details ew could make sense of.

        • Trip says:

          I intentionally avoided it. He is like the fat-troll-under-the-bridge version of Carter Page.

          What I imagine the purpose was, excerpted via Rawstory:

          Corsi also said, “I’m not counting on Donald Trump for anything — including a pardon.”

          “But I didn’t ask you about a pardon,” Melber noted.

          “I’m not asking for a pardon and I’m not anticipating a pardon,” Corsi claimed later in the interview.

          Reverse psychology troll goes on TV interview to inform about not wanting a pardon.

          • Eureka says:

            I missed the start and parts here and there so my mind just grabbed at a couple possible info reveals.  But of course his intention was to further their PR agenda.

            Only reason I caught it was his face suddenly filled the (muted) screen.

  9. Eureka says:

    Oh, and thank you for this post relieving the mental itch of what that repeated Gray WaPo quote may ultimately signify.

    And in general, with all of the ‘Breaking Newses’ lately, it’s nice to have been already prepared by your posts with the layers, likelihoods, and alternate routes.

  10. Rapier says:

    Corsi had a three part series on Infowars about Seth Rich as the leaker of the DNC emails, when he knew or now says he knew that was not the case, or so it seem so me.   The Rich family lost quickly on their suit against FOX.  I think going after Infowars, Jones and Corsi would be a viable option.

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