Trump’s Two Denials Could Provide Reason for Mueller to Demand an Interview

According to an updated NYT story on this week’s Paul Manafort and Jerome Corsi developments, the delay in Trump’s submission of his open book test came in response to two things: Seeing a reference to Roger Stone’s regular contact with then-candidate Trump in Corsi’s draft statement of the offense and learning that Mueller had informed Manafort he had caught him lying.

Mr. Corsi’s dealings with Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors have caused alarm among the president’s legal team, who were informed of developments by Mr. Corsi’s lawyer. President Trump’s lawyers were especially troubled by a draft statement of offense against Mr. Corsi that was passed on to them, according to people familiar with the situation. In it, prosecutors claimed that Mr. Corsi understood that Mr. Stone was “in regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump” when he asked Mr. Corsi in late July 2016 to “get to” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

The reference to Mr. Trump coincided with other events that so disturbed the president’s lawyers that they delayed turning in his responses to written questions after negotiating over them with the special counsel for nearly a year. At roughly the same time, the Justice Department inadvertently released a secret criminal complaint against Mr. Assange and Mr. Trump’s legal team learned that prosecutors were accusing Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, of lying. Only after Mr. Mueller’s team reassured Mr. Trump’s lawyers that they were not trying to lure the president into a trap did they forward his answers on Nov. 20.

Unsurprisingly, CNN has already confirmed that Trump denied culpability in his answers to the two questions that address those topics.

President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

One source described the President’s answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection.

Remember, the GRU indictment described Stone as “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” so the inclusion of “including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump” reflects language added since July. Recall, too, that Stone at first complained about that description, insisting that “My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials,” only to backtrack to, “I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials,” when he realized the implications of that. As CNN notes, in recent weeks Mueller’s team asked for records of Stone’s calls and visits to Trump Tower. So it’s possible a recent witness — Michael Cohen and Steve Bannon could both be possibilities — suggested that Stone had conveyed WikiLeaks information directly to Trump, leading to the request for more records.

And (as I used as a hypothetical last night on Chris Hayes’ show), we know that Manafort and Trump met on June 7, 2016, just before Trump announced an attack on Hillary Clinton in coming days and two days before the June 9 meeting.

So it is quite likely Mueller has evidence that both of Trump’s claims are lies.

Finally, remember that one excuse Trump has given for refusing to sit for an interview is that none of this really affects him directly, so Mueller has no need to engage in back-and-forth with him. It’s quite likely that a Corsi indictment and a Manafort sentencing report could be public within the next month alleging that both of the claims Trump made are false. While I still doubt Mueller would wait for a Trump interview, any inconsistency between Mueller’s evidence and Trump’s answers would make it far easier to demand an interview.

87 replies
  1. mymuse666 says:

    Perhaps I’m not quite following, but wouldn’t Trump’s lawyer’s delay tactic indicate they were potentially aware Manafort was being used as a source of misinformation by Mueller? If this is the case, doesn’t that imply the written test would be full of answers prepared with that knowledge and therefore not self incriminating?

    Thank you for the analysis!

    • EricEtcetra says:

      Yeah – this seems to contradict the premise that Mueller pulled some rope-a-dope, ninja-lawyer tactics by feigning naive and showing Manafort their hold cards. This delay, along with the Mueller guarantee (what is that exactly?), seems to reinforce that Mueller was playing this straight-up and may have lost more value than we thought.

      • bmaz says:

        Not exactly sure what you and Mymuse666 are saying, but if you think Mueller did not know that there was backchannel communication going on between Manafort and Trump, you are living in absurd land. It was literally in the news media, and Mueller has sources and methods far above that.
        So, what is your point?

  2. Peterr says:

    Or even have Trump begging for urgently requesting, for the sake of justice, an interview.

    “I can explain . . .”

  3. Jay says:

    Why even bother with an interview? If the Mueller investigation could demonstrate coordination between Manafort and his lawyer with Trump’s written testimony in a conspiracy to commit perjury, as well as whatever else Mueller has, that is impeachable, and if it were any other person, worthy of felony indictment.

  4. Alan says:

    So Bobby sends Donny a letter saying “I demand an interview”, and Donny says no.  Then what?  Bobby stomps his feet and angrily exhales?

  5. JKSF says:

    But the part that needs to be explained is why did Trump go ahead and hand in his take home test after he learned that Manafort was discovered to be lying?

      • RWood says:

        Your comment raises a question; What’s the exposure for the lawyers involved? I would think they would at the least be co-conspirators in this mess. Does their rapid distancing indicate that they will do/say what you’ve eluded to here?

        “Our clients lied to us too, we can’t control what either of them do or say, it’s not our fault, we were just doing our jobs based on the information they gave us.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Kaiser Quisling handed in the test shortly before the Manafort news broke, but at the moment we do not know for sure what his legal team knew when he handed it in.

      We do have the tweet-storm continuing with more intensity so even KQ the Clueless knows he’s at risk here.

      What did Sarah say about it? That’s when we know its real (-ish).

      EW got a hat tip over at Raw Story, congrats from us.

    • jatb says:

      Perhaps his lawyers were telling how bad it would look if they needed to delay any longer as it would give the appearance (more than it already does) that Manafort was feeding Trump info about the investigation.

  6. Rayne says:

    You have quite a number of embedded links in your comments; they take a lot more time to clear moderation. Please be patient. Thank you.

    I also note you have used different screen names when signing in to comment. Please stick to one so community members get to know you. Thanks again.

    • G Holland says:

      I’m so sorry!  I thought I was doing something wrong.  Please PLEASE delete my “testing 1-2-3-” posts.

    • G Holland says:

      Originally I wanted my screen name to just be “G Holland” – but when the post(s) didn’t show up, I thought maybe a full name was required (so Gretchen Holland). When that didn’t appear to work, I thought maybe the name had to match the email address (so Gretchen Beckwith).

      I will stick with G Holland going forward, and will minimize the number of embedded links in my future comments.  Feel free to delete my prior comments or change my screen name to G Holland for all of them or whatever you prefer.

      Again – I’m sorry – I’ll know better now!

      • Rayne says:

        I’ve edited all your posts to “G Holland” and removed one duplicate post. Good to go!

        As for Sen. Tim Scott: what you’ve shared indicates he’s still soft on this vote. I’d rally a bunch of like-minded friends and family in South Carolina to call him and insist NO on Farr. Sadly, he’s a member of Class III and not up for re-election until 2022 mid-terms.

        I’d still call Lindsey Graham, too, and bash him for failing his oath to defend and uphold the Constitution by not resisting cloture on Farr. Graham is up for re-election in 2020.

        Good luck, give it your best.

  7. Rayne says:

    All set. I’ve edited the username so that they all appear under the same user. Let me know if you’d rather use a different variant.

  8. Ollie says:

    So t is putting out there he ‘might’ pardon Manafort.  Just to be sure?  Manafort DOES NOT get his $43M back under any circumstances,  right?

    • rip says:

      I’m sure the Don will reach deep in his own pockets to make good for dear friend Paul.

      Of course this will be the first time he has ever made good to someone else, unless it’s family members or certain “ladies”.

      • Desider says:

        Money for the ladies is “Trump change”. The big money is in his franchise fee – everyone else scrambles for bankruptcy proceedings.

  9. jf-fl says:

    fwiw thanks for continuing to summarize tho I do feel some more grasping of late in your articles.

    Lying is something Trump does all the time.   Not a lawyer but I understand proving this to a meaningful legal standard (esp w/out a jury trial) is a pretty high bar.    The biggest concern of mine is that because Trump doesn’t use email (not sure if he texts, seems more like a phone person) and only writes in block sharpie, that it’s going to be hard to catch him in anything.    The guy isn’t very bright to begin with, so even if he did make a material statement he could contradict it in next breadth (we’ve all seen him do this every week for 2+ years already).

    I still think the most likely way Trump implicates himself is by impeding the investigation and/or if his family is indicted, he could be so mad he simply admits to a conspiracy and says everybody conspires w/foreign powers.   Perhaps pardons could also get him impeached, less sure on that but could certainly hurt his approval and increase primary challenges.   That said, mcconnell wants to keep stacking the courts so fair to assume they’re going to keep putting off or minimizing Trump’s obstructions as long as they can.

    I personally also believe Trump would rather have Mueller taking longer, which an interview plays into.   We already know none of these people are reliable witnesses, so if RM3 has learned anything it’s that trying to get cooperation out of Team Trump is an exercise in futility.    Partisan types may still want him to pursue an interview for other reasons, but I have a hard time seeing how using information from Trump or his cronies to further the investigation is going to mean much.   They’re just too unreliable to be trusted.    Trump is the worst president of my lifetime but I can differentiate political motivations from legal and natsec implications of if presidential candidates were allowed to get away with what Team Trump is accused of.

    • CJ says:

      Pence’s nominees are likely to be just as McConnell-pleasing as Trump’s — possibly more so, in that Pence would skip the ones that are obviously controversial and get ones who are more competent and just as reliably conservative.  The nominees themselves aren’t a reason for McConnell to care about who the President is; it’s that an impeachment trial ties up the Senate’s time that could otherwise be used to confirm nominees.

    • bmaz says:

      To jf-fl – Yeah, lying, if done to federal authorities is not hard to prove at all under 18 USC 1001, the false statements statute. It happens every day. Perjury is a slightly higher bar, but written responses, if submitted under oath, would be a fairly ripe target.

    • Alan says:

      And possibly Trump’s own sex crimes

      “But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to ‘any potential co-conspirators’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes.”

  10. Thomas Paine says:

    WRT a Manafort Pardon by Trump, didn’t he also plead guilty to state crimes in NY and VA (e.g. bank fraud, tax evasion) ?  Wouldn’t he then just report to a state prison after release from a federal prison ?  I don’t see how a Trump pardon really helps him much, and state prisons are not nearly as commodious as Federal prisons.  I think Manafort was just too clever by half.

  11. der says:

    I’m among the “likes this” crowd of earlier analysis here suggesting that Mueller  knows in the end how this will all go down and is putting whatever he can out there. Spreading it around to other DA’s putting it in charging docs and whatever for the new Democratic House to use and investigate, you know Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi! If he doesn’t Matt Whitaker will make sure his report ends up in a vault in some cellar of the National Archives locked away for 50 years and what we’ll be left with is Trump’s witch hunt story and Benghazi. Just ask Pat Fitzgerald how this works, why the only fruit Alberto gave him permission to pick was Scooter when we know, without clear beyond a reasonable doubt evidence mind you, that Rove, Cheney and Addington got off.

    • Avattoir says:

      A reminder that, in no small measure due at least in part to sleuth level analysis by our hostess, AG AG wasn’t what or who curtailed Fitz’ further pursuing any of those 3.

      The impending indictment of Rove came down to some furious cross-smokification by Rove and his legal beagles.

      As Fitz himself said in the presser after the jury came in with a verdict in the trial of Libby, whole freaking point of Scooter’s lies, obstruction and perjury was to function as a break against the investigation getting to Cheney – and even then, since Fitz clearly publicly articulated that to have been the case, the larger problem would be Cheney’s being VP and basically body melting into Dubya.

      I don’t get how you get to suggest anyone or anything, AG AG or whatever, somehow stood as a barrier to Fitz getting after Addington. After all, remarkably poionted testimony presented to the jury from Addington’s mouth on what all Scooter was asking him for guidance on made a major contribution to the basis for Scooter being convicted on at least one count.

      IAE, AG AG wasn’t Fitz’ overseer at DoJ on the CIA leaks investigtion: DAG Comey was.

      OTOH, I concede your comment may well provide a timely incentive for some folks to review their Anatomy of Deceit.

  12. Geoff says:

    Ken White is throwing cold water on the EW/MW thesis, but sort of saying the end result might be the same?

    “Some analysts speculate that Mr. Mueller intended this result — that he knew that Mr. Manafort would lie to him, knew that Mr. Manafort’s lawyers would brief Mr. Trump on those lies, and knew that Mr. Trump would foolishly repeat those lies in his written statement to Mr. Mueller, thus committing a new federal crime.

    That’s a good plot for a legal thriller, but it’s not how real federal prosecutors work. Mr. Mueller is a by-the-book sort of prosecutor, not one to indulge in such ploys. To the extent he trusted Mr. Manafort and revealed details of his investigation, he made a mistake. Of course, the president’s team — never a font of shrewd criminal defense strategy — may have made a mistake, too, if they incorporated Mr. Manafort’s lies into their own written responses to Mr. Mueller’s questions.”

    • Kai-Lee says:

      But remember that Mueller also permitted jail-time use of laptops by Manafort and his lawyer… Mueller could never have fully believed that what Manafort was going to relate would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As with Trump, he’d do best, and probably does, by assuming non-truthfulness and manipulation. These people have been doing this for decades.

    • John Forde says:

      I wouldn’t characterize Mueller giving Manafort enough rope to hang Trump along with himself is a ‘ploy’. I think that is simply a prudent prosecutor keeping his cards close to the vest.

      • Geoff says:

        I personally have believed this would be the approach you would employ with a dirty trickster. Expect lies, and lay out a plan that would allow you to take advantage of the lies you know will be coming. Mueller has(had) to know that PM is full of shit and has been for years. He’s not to be trusted, but to be used. And he knows how desperate PM is, so he knows he will do anything he can to find an escape from this mess. I guess my real question, is what did he really think would happen when there was a JDA…did he really expect that these scumbag grifters would play by the conventional rules of JDA when they dont play by the rules of literally anything???

      • BobCon says:

        I think White’s suggestion that Mueller made a mistake goes too far. I think the best way to look at this is that Mueller didn’t set up a ploy to trap Manafort and Trump, but he definitely had gamed out what he would do depending on how cooperative  Manafort was.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Remember there is no perjury trap without the perjury, so while I think Mueller did not set up this as a “ploy” he did structure it in a way that the natural tendencies would become apparent.  As I worked in the USN, I had my First Law of Dirtballs: they always give you another shot.

          That’s probably what Mueller did.  If PM had told the truth he would have been pleasantly surprised and acted on it, but Mueller is too careful and thorough with his crack squad (all would have had to miss this point) not to have planned for more fibbing.

          • BobCon says:

            Mueller has been involved in prosecutions of all kinds of characters just as slippery as Manafort, mobsters, terrorists, you name it.

            He’s undoubtably seen many who honor their deals, but he also has seen plenty who cheat, and he knows how to watch out for them and use their cheating to his advantage.

    • Drew says:

      Of course, “by the book” prosecutors deal with known liars all the time, (as do their defense attorneys who have the unenviable task of vigorously defending them while avoiding the trap of being too credulous about their own clients’ statements). I think Popehat may be right that Mueller isn’t playing 17 dimensional chess and knowing the exact outcome, but there’s also no reason to think that Mueller didn’t knowingly allow this to develop so that the machinations of Manafort & Trump were more transparent and out in the open.

      I’m most puzzled by Kevin Dowling in this. Didn’t he see from the pattern of questioning that Mueller had more evidence on Manafort than was being revealed? Wouldn’t he have conveyed that to the White House team?

    • SteveB says:

      Southpaw has via twitter noted a matter he spotted on Sept 15:

      The discrepancy between Manafort and Gates plea agreements : Gates’s had a clause prohibiting him from revealing to third parties any aspect of his discussions with SCO, whereas Manafort’s omitted that clause from a section of the agreement otherwise an identical boilerplate set of conditions: a matter he sought a comment about but which the SCO acknowledged but politely declined to comment beyond the terms of the agreement.

      There would appear to have been some deliberation behind the omission.

    • Avattoir says:

      Reading Ken is great fun and his points are very often bang on acute; but he’s not as smart as fearless leader, including in the dark art of reading into of what all, in the right circumstances, people are capable.

      Mueller is a person, not a rock.

      • bmaz says:

        I am not sure they are inconsistent. I agree with Ken. I also think Mueller built into the plea a remedy if Manafort lied and obstructed. It is clear as day right there in the structure of the plea.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A newspaper that publishes Maggie Haberman has little credibility critiquing anyone else’s reporting.  The, “That’s a good plot for a legal thriller,” line is good for dampening expectations, and for dissing what the NYT, but not Ken White, considers alt-journalism.  But it doesn’t analyze or add context to the circumstances.

      I usually agree with Ken’s commentary.  But, here, he seems to be the one who is rigid.  More accurately, he is encouraging NYT’s readers to remain naive – about what to expect from Mueller.  This is not a normal investigation.  Consider the context.

      The convulsions the DoJ has gone into to establish and oversee Mueller’s investigation – and the constant threats to it – are good indicators that this is not a business as usual investigation.

      Bob Mueller is investigating a president and his closest campaign advisers over corrupt relations with a major foreign power before, during and after his election.  That president also has decades of shady and probably illegal financial dealings around the globe, likely making him vulnerable to political extortion.  He has abused his family’s charitable foundation for personal reasons for well over a decade.  But he and his patrons are immensely powerful.  And this president has the restraint of the Great  Khan.

      That brief description tells every lawyer working for Mueller that they started in “legal thriller” territory.  Neither they nor other journalists have descended into it.  Mueller’s convictions and guilty pleas confirm that.  So does Trump’s bizarre behavior and his addiction to hiring corrupt advisers and incompetent legal counsel.

      Ken knows this world inside and out.  But I think he’s underestimating the strangeness and import of this investigation, and Mueller’s ability to respond with exceptional strategies to manage it.

      • Avattoir says:

        BOTH Ken and his guest today engaged in at least 3 flawed premises. IMV you’ve identified one of them, maybe the most serious: that it’s unsound for prosecutors, even able, experienced, thoughtful prosecutors, to assume that THEIR experience in THEIR little fishbowls provides all answers.

        Second, to their experience. It’s not like either are hiding or reluctant to disclosure his own: one spent 9 years almost entirely, and the most active and senior of them ACTUALLY entirely, in what he describes as “white collar fraud” cases. That’s not this case Mueller et al have, not remotely: this is far closer to the situation of  a criminal organization having got hold of a superficially legit enterprise, populating it with mobbed up characters and hiring completely ethics-free even standardsless private dicks and political rat fuckers, with a thoroughly jaded and since deeply compromised now seriously bent former high profile prosecutor to front the gambit while the re-animated memory spirit of Roy Cohn communes directly and intimately with the client’s amygdala. And with all due respect, Ken’s aUSa experience was, tho I’m sure quite able & skilled, not obtained in relation to even one single case with big time media, political and public focus (FWIW, I’ve had a number of those, and hoo boy does the pressure gauge ever get elevated, almost exponentially, and worse: from ever conceivable angle, include from inside the prosecutor’s own office, sometimes even team, and not at all remotely from the folks above who fancy they’re whose actually wearing the big boy pants. And don’t get me started on death threats from thugs – those are as nothing compared to what a prosecutor’s own masters can do.

        The third flawed area is … well, folks should really listen for themselves: what I heard was some serious running out of what’s known in logic circles as “chain reasoning”. Start up the premise, then when you come to a fork in the road, pick the road more traveled, and so on and so forth all the way to either Oz or the Inferno. If even one link in that multi-link chain fails to pan out, or just fails to accurately account for the nuances involved, IOW Real Life played out by Real Players in Real Time, the whole thing fails.

        Earlier I raised one thing we KNOW happened, and I think now this might help illustrate the problems with reasoning chains in this context. We KNOW that the OSC put Manafort on the stand in front the Grand Jury on Guilty Plea day, and before the pleas were entered, while EITHER the cooperation agreement ink was fresh enough to ease shredding the whole thing, AND – and this is important, IMHO – at a moment when Mueller and team knew enough about what all they had on Manafort to realize, well, OF COURSE he’s going to tell some lies.

        I was a prosecutor. Did I ever do such a thing? You bet. I did it once, in one setting, and word of what I’d done flew round the local defense bar. Years later, in another setting, I did something the like – and the same reaction occurred. I even did something like it, some THINGS like it, from the defense table, essentially taking over the government’s role in laying out context. The result? It worked, every single time, each time within the PECULIAR and UNIQUE circumstances that prevailed. And it became a factor in how defending attorneys largely stopped forcing my indictments to trial, and later government attorneys stopped forcing me to trial to try on whether what I kept saying to them would happen would in fact happen.

        Maybe it’s just that these 2 former aUSas are both just nicer than me, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they caught the kind of case files where this peculiar level of challenge simply didn’t arise. Maybe they have an over- idealized image of Mueller and his team – the sort of image that career civil servants and directors of the FBI tend to cultivate and that gain a lot of purchase from how few of them work at all closely with the image holder.

        But Mueller isn’t ‘in’ his career arc here, and he’s not likely to be concerned with building his resume towards some future posting. This case is his freaking LEGACY – the one that will break or make whatever his standing in the legal and community and wider has with the Rule of Law.

        • Trip says:

          Plus Mueller has a variety of personalities and experience working different parts of the larger case. They aren’t clones in technique and specialty.

        • Fran of the North says:

          earl/avattoir- thanks for this cogent and insightful analysis. Your ability to explain the nuance involved is a skill.

      • David Karson says:

        I asked this yesterday on this thread and no one replied, but your interesting comments that “the strangeness and import of this investigation, and Meller’s ability to respond with exceptional strategies to manage it” make me ask want to ask this again:  Why would not Mueller be wiretapping Manafort, Corsi, and Stone?  No better way to flip someone to cooperate.

        • Rayne says:

          I’ll let someone else address specifically “why wouldn’t Mueller be wiretapping.”

          I want to counter: why would Special Counsel’s Office need to wiretap when conspiracy and obstruction are already documented in existing records, statements, and other evidence?

          • David Karson says:

            In my experience, a compelling, incriminating wiretap usually end with a quick flip of the defendant or a guilty plea, saving Mueller months of trial prep and the time at trial.   If their lawyers are dumb enough to go to trial, once a jury hears a unambiguous incriminating wire tap or two, a conviction is a slam dunk.  So once again, why hasn’t Mueller used wiretaps or has he?

            • Rugger9 says:

              It would require a court order and/or collaboration with the CIA / NSA which may not be too keen to out their sources and methods.  The electronic evidence Mueller needs he already went into court to get under search warrants (a lot of Manafort’s time was spent trying to restrict its gathering) plus there was the transition data dump from the GSA.

              The deep state isn’t going to be part of this case.

  13. Barry says:

    Can anyone answer this:  I’ve read that Gates’ cooperation agreement included language prohibiting him from revealing any investigation-related info, while Manafort’s agreement did not. Is that correct, and if so, why would Manafort’s have been written differently? I’ve read that perhaps this was some kind of tricky gamesmanship on Mueller’s part, but is there some simpler and more straightforward explanation for why Mueller wouldn’t require the same confidentiality from Manafort as he did from Gates?

    • Avattoir says:

      Not that you were waiting on it or anything, but I for one approve this question, bigly.

      I think it’s worth considering that none of the big players in his serial are truly unknown characters to Mueller. And I mean that beyond merely that Mueller had, for example, abundant opportunity to become functionally familiar with the mindset and ethos of one Rudy Giuliani. Many of the center stage players in this serial have been highly visible participants in Republican politics AND GOVERNMENT for all of Mueller’s professional career in law enforcement.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Speaking of Noun-Vern-911 Ghouliani, Raw Story this AM had an article about how he could be subpoenaed himself since his conversations with Manafort’s lawyers were not privileged.  Would Mueller go after one of his own, so to speak?  I’d say he’s more likely to do so than most other SCs.

        Manafort’s blowing off his hearing too, in what appears to be an attempt toavoid polonium tea or thallium steak.

        • Frank Probst says:

          Blowing off tomorrow’s hearing is one of those things that’s not really important in and of itself, but I’m dying to know what led him to make that decision.  There’s probably some truth to the reason that he gave.  It’s probably no fun for him to be transported around by the U.S. Marshals.  He’s not some innocent person who’s in Witness Protection.  He’s a confessed felon with ties to some very shady Russians. So he’s likely being treated like a confessed felon who might get whacked during transport, because that’s exactly what he is.  He also probably wants to avoid the media as much as possible at the moment, too.
          But I also wonder if there’s anyone that he REALLY wants to avoid right now, and that leads me to wonder if his wife knew that he was going to blow up his plea deal.  Because she had to sign off on a lot of those assets that got forfeited, and unlike him, she’s actually there to see the government take them away.  She knows what’s left, and she’s probably come to terms with that by now.  But now, Mueller can come back from more, and even if Manafort gets his pardon (which I doubt will happen–anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Trump always seems to leave someone else holding the bag, even when he doesn’t have to), Manafort can get hit with charges from multiple states.  And as @bmaz has been noting, Mrs. Manafort could potentially be charged herself.  (Side note:  Nothing in the deal protected her from prosecution, but I think it was sort of implied.)  So now she stands to lose even more of their jointly-owned assets, and she my even end up doing time herself.  As bad as his plea deal was for him, Mrs. Manafort knew where she stood while it was in effect, and she could probably live pretty comfortably even with all of those assets gone.  So it was a VERY good deal for her, all things considered.  If I were her, I don’t think I’d be terribly happy right now.

          • HighDesertWizard says:

            I understand the point of your note. Is there a link to story saying that Manafort is blowing off the the hearing?

          • bmaz says:

            Manafort has waived presence before. The transportation issue really is a bitch. If you don’t have anything to add, why go?

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jerry Corsi is as full of himself as Donald Trump.  But he is a smooth operator, in a used Maserati salesman sort of way.  He is more informed and talented than Trump, so is most of Washington, and has about the same moral fiber and credibility.  Also like Trump, he’s a man in trouble and in need of a cover story.

    That Corsi is a kid from East Cleveland, has a doctorate from Harvard, and was trained by Edward Bernays says a lot about his ambition.  It also says a lot about his willingness to use the tools of social science to sell anything to anyone as long as he’s paid for it.  That’s not a recommendation for truth-telling.  Rather, it says Corsi has a lot of tools with which to build and sell his lies.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I think his problem isn’t that he’s a bad liar, it’s that he’s dealing with an audience that’s keeping track of all of his lies and noting that, while any one of them might sound convincing on their own, a lot of them are mutually exclusive.  So now his problem is that he doesn’t have a good answer to question, “Were you lying then, or are you lying now?”

  15. Trip says:

    I’m glad this story is back in the news again.

    How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

    The douchebags: Epstein, Lefkowitz, Alan Dershowitz, Jack Goldberger, Roy Black, former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis, Gerald Lefcourt, and Kenneth Starr…A prosecutor under New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance..Acosta.

    All of the people involved were so disgusting. All of them. And they still are.

    • Jenny says:

      Trip I totally agree.  The old boys club at work.  Two systems of justice, one for the rich and one for the poor.  A billionaire serial sex abuser free to come and go.  Young girls used and abused labeled as prostitutes are emotionally wounded for life.

      ALL of the “douchebags” you listed should be exposed because they are complicit.  So, as disgusting a story, good to see it is getting attention to unearth the cover-ups, injustice and disrespect they have for children and women.

      The truth will never hurt as much as the exposure of a lie.  Guru Sophie   

      • Trip says:

        I know that other breaking news is big today (for good reason), but this is insane fox-guarding-the-henhouse material:

        Adam Klasfeld‏Verified account @KlasfeldReports

        As you read this bombshell Miami Herald investigation – and read every word – keep in mind that Trump’s labor secretary Alexander Acosta, accused here of covering up Trump’s former pal Epstein’s crimes, runs an agency that monitors human trafficking

    • BobCon says:

      And Bill Clinton. I’d be OK with seeing him go down with all the rest of them. Trump was a good buddy of Epstein too.

      • Trip says:

        Oh yeah, I don’t care about Clinton at all. Doubly on Trump. Supposedly there were other politicos involved and one member of the UK royal family.
        All way too important and rich to receive justice, versus young girls. /s

  16. Semanticleo says:

    I am fantasizing about wiping the smugness off Manafort’s mug. Is it just a dream?

    Is it merely auto-erotic?

  17. Truckbomb says:

    So Manafort’s lawyer Kevin M. Downing disgorges a computer core dump to Trump’s lawyers of prosecutor inside information. What future prosecutor will ever trust Downing representing some other accused? Doesn’t this end Downing’s ability to represent any other accused. Self inflicted wound. Was it worth it?

  18. Rugger9 says:

    OT but likely to be played up for distraction purposes: Stormy says Avenatti duped her into the defamation suit against Kaiser Quisling.

    I find it interesting that there is so much noise around Avenatti from all directions.  Why now?

  19. Michael says:

    When you guys think Mueller will release the sentencing report on Manafort that reveals everything? Friday? A few weeks from now?

    • Avattoir says:

      The judge who’s caught this case has first to agree to the exercise of scheduling the sentencing date, then the date gets set. Assuming whatever date that turns out to be doesn’t get changed, I’d expect the same order or direction fixing it to set specific dates by which the respective sides are required to file relevant materials.

      So it’s not a matter of either side have much in the way of effective control over timing.

      In that context, I’d expect Downing to ask the judge to seal even the version of the government’s memo that claims not to contain classified material, both for due diligence to ensure that’s so and to allow Manafort to have a chance to come up with his best possible world of whoppers to deflect what the OSC files.

      • bmaz says:

        Ellis is goofy, who knows what he will do. But I have a hard time seeing Berman Jackson sealing an unclassified sentencing memorandum just because Downing whines for it.

  20. Rusharuse says:

    “The Order of the Aztec Eagle — or La Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, in Spanish — is the highest honor Mexico’s government bestows on foreigners. It is awarded to individuals who’ve done a great service for Mexico or for humanity. Previous recipients include and Roberta Jacobson, the former US ambassador to Mexico, Bill Gates, and Queen Elizabeth II.

    Now Trump’s son-in-law will be added to the list.”
    (AKA- premio de succión de polla viscosa – -)

  21. Tracy says:

    Thank you, Marcy!

    I have to think, contrary to commentators who say Mueller must’ve made a mistake in “neglecting” to include the gag clause from Gates’ to Manafort’s plea agreement, that rather, it was part of some plan. I feel like the most reasonable explanation is that they knew what they were doing in omitting it (esp reading the comment above that the OSC acknowledged having done so, but declined to explain why- seems not like a mistaken “omission” at all!) – and that the purpose of not gagging Manafort was to follow their sources and channels to see where the information they discussed with him ended up – with Trump, with various Russian actors, with other witnesses, etc. – to see with whom Manafort was connected and who had skin in the game. Possible that part of this was seeing what would show up in the open book test, as Marcy’s suggested, too.

    Jill Wine Banks reminds us that Mueller has clear proof that Manafort lied, so he must have clear evidence of alternate facts to Manafort’s lies, and we are going to hear about those soon.

    OT, commenting to the above- Jeffrey Epstein is one of the most heinous pigs imaginable and how he got off almost Scott free is just disgusting, while all of those your girls suffered, many went through addictions and other issues which is so common with sexual abuse. I read in that Miami piece that there may be another two chances to hold him accountable. Please God, this being just a few years later but now we are in a whole new era, post-Harvey Weinstein – #metoo.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yes, and Manafort had been communicating with Kilimnik, IIRC even getting help with an OpEd to whitewash some of his bullshit.  Seemed to be advertising that he could reliably be assumed to do stupid sh!t.  So it makes sense that Mueller would have loosened that leash to watch what happened.

  22. Rugger9 says:

    While various outlets report bits and pieces of what Kaiser Quisling allegedly said in his take-home exam, let’s also recall how leak-proof the OSC has been. Any leakage about what was said is probably from the Palace (like Sekulow and Ghouliani have been doing) and its truthiness has to be evaluated accordingly.

    • Trip says:

      I’m thinking his own lawyers might have leaked the latest bit about about the denial of communication, etc with Kilimnik. That, to me, sounds like self preservation and protection of his family from assassinations, by making an announcement of loyalty. We now know the Trump administration is nonplussed about such murderous deeds and proceeds with financial plans without consequences.

      If Manafort gets a pardon, his wife still has the one stately property and some assets, which he can also enjoy. No doubt, some slimeball politician would be willing to pay him again from some kind of insider work. Since IANAL, I have no clue how many years any of the individual state charges would amount to, but maybe he’d get out before he dies(?), versus the pile of federal convictions.

      I don’t remember whether Tom Barrack was ever questioned by Mueller’s team. The WSJ mentions a boat trip where Manafort and Barrack were possibly meeting up with Kilimnik, after Manafort was ousted from the official position in the campaign.

      I just don’t think Rudy would want to remind everyone of that close connection and the outstanding funding from Deripaska, with Manafort making him whole by working the campaign and sanctions.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, not sure those “remaining assets” are immune to seizure. The forfeiture amount was reduced to a fixed cash amount. If the listed assets do not cover that amount, and they may well not, the government can seek additional remedy.

      • Rugger9 says:

        As I was thinking about it the “to the best of my recollection” part in the MSM reports seems to be the giveaway on the story being a Palace plant.  Given how Mueller speaks in indictments and guilty pleas (Michael Cohen today) the use of weasel words like that phrase isn’t expected and FWIW Mueller gains nothing by releasing any of it anyway.

        Cohen’s plea deal is a problem for Kaiser Quisling as well, because if he acts like the new mole he’ll have to contend with Mueller’s foreknowledge of that tactic and likely hammering when discovered.

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