Putin’s Chef, Evgeniy Prigozhin, Says He Needs Discovery So He Can Figure Out if He’s Putin’s Boss or His Chef

Among the more trollish arguments in Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s latest troll argument in defense of his troll attack on the 2016 election is that Prigozhin has to get all the discovery turned over to Concord’s lawyers because only he can tell whether he’s Putin’s boss, or his chef.

[T]he documents that the government appears to contend are statements of Concord under Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(C)(i) and (ii) are primarily in Russian. While defense counsel has engaged translators to begin its review of the discovery materials, the only way to get fully accurate translations and prepare for trial is to speak to the individuals who allegedly wrote the documents. See United States v. Archbold-Manner, 577 F. Supp. 2d 291, 292-93 (D.D.C. 2008) (noting the need for translations of voluminous foreign language discovery in ruling relating to Speedy Trial Act). This is particularly true with respect to Russian, which is highly dissimilar to English and literal translations of words often result in lost meaning or context. See, e.g., https://www.state.gov/m/fsi/sls/c78549.htm (Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute School of Language Studies identifying Russian as a Category III Language “with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English”). Again, by way of example, certain allegedly sensitive documents contain the Russian word “шеф.” This word can be translated into the English words “chief,” “boss” or “chef”—a distinction that is critically important since international media often refers to Mr. Prigozhin as “Putin’s Chef.”

Each logical step in this paragraph is nonsense, because it’s clear the documents in question are getting translated by people who do not suffer from the “significant linguistic and cultural differences” cited by the State Department in an off-point citation. Ultimately, this argument amounts to Prigozhin claiming that only he knows whether — all this time! — has has actually been Putin’s boss, not his chef, as usually claimed.

That said, the argument is telling, because it suggests that Prigozhin has to get discovery because documents turned over in discovery directly implicate his relationship with Putin.

“The Russian national who controls the Defendant but has not personally appeared”

The main gist of this filing, however, is an attempt to revisit an earlier order in this case and force the government (the troll lawyers pretend this case is being exclusively prosecuted by Mueller and not also by lawyers from two other DOJ components) to turn over 3 million pages in discovery to Prigozhin, even though he hasn’t appeared before the court personally.

Since the entry of the Protective Order, the Special Counsel has produced nearly 4 million documents, 3.2 million of which it has designated as “sensitive.” The Special Counsel has not explained to defense counsel the reason for the designation of any particular document or category of documents, nor has he explained why—with non-classified material—defense counsel should not have access to his secret communications with the Court.

Remember, Prigozhin made himself General Manager of Concord Management after it got indicted in the same indictment in which he got indicted so he could insist that he get this discovery in his corporate form, even while dodging prosecution in his natural form (it’s sort of the reverse effect of the Trump Organization consubstantiation that is going to get Trump in trouble). As a result, Concord argues (for the second time) that Prigozhin must get discovery because he is the defendant, and not a co-defendant currently avoiding any court appearance.

Undersigned counsel has been unable to identify a single reported case where a corporate defendant was prohibited from viewing discovery,


Second, co-defendant Mr. Prigozhin is the only person directly affiliated with Concord identified in the Indictment. As such, Concord cannot be expected to make informed decisions regarding its defense or meaningfully confer with its counsel unless it—and specifically Mr. Prigozhin—understands the evidence the Special Counsel intends to use against it at trial. Maury, 695 F.3d at 248 (recognizing that “[a]n organization has no self-knowledge of its own Undersigned counsel has been unable to identify a single reported case where a corporate defendant was prohibited from viewing discovery,

Yet the troll lawyers don’t address the issue that proved key the last time: that this an attempt for Prigozhin, who because he has not made an appearance is not bound by the protective order, to obtain discovery as a defendant without risking his neck. Indeed, it turns that scenario on its head, searching for instances where corporations have been denied discovery as opposed to where indicted co-conspirators obtain discovery without showing up in court first.

In a related filing, the government calls Prigozhin “the Russian national who controls the Defendant but has not personally appeared” and cite national security concerns about “certain facts regarding Prigozhin and other Russian nationals associated with him.” Perhaps the government needs to present details to Friedrich about just what Putin’s chef has cooked up for him.

The troll lawyers also don’t address the terms of the discovery order. Prigozhin has a means of getting the discovery he wants: he only needs to come to the United States and enter into the protective order to do that. Indeed, two of the cases Concord cites seem to support the existing protective order, which requires those who access this information to be bound by the court before they do so and prohibits discovery from being removed from the US.

United States v. Carriles, 654 F. Supp. 2d 557, 562, 570 (W.D. Tex. 2009) (rejecting the government’s proposed protective order related to sensitive but unclassified discovery which would have prevented defendant from disseminating any sensitive discovery material to prospective witnesses without first obtaining court approval, and instead allowing defendant to disclose materials necessary for trial preparation after obtaining a memorandum of understanding related to the protective order); Darden, 2017 WL 3700340, at *3 (rejecting the government’s proposed protective order that prohibited the defendants from reviewing discovery materials unless in the presence of counsel and adopting a less restrictive protective order which specified precisely which discovery materials defense counsel could review with the defendants but could not provide or leave with the defendants).

Admittedly, Judge Dabney Friedrich invited Concord to return to these issues (albeit at a slightly later stage than where we’re at). But Concord doesn’t even address that there are means for Prigozhin to access materials under the existing protective order.

There are two more interesting sub-arguments here.

Concord argues that because the US government has charged accountant Elena Khusyaynova — but not in this case — the ongoing investigation is done

First, Concord uses the fact that Eastern District of VA charged Concord accountant in a parallel case, the “ongoing investigation” the government cited to justify its secrecy has ended.

Nevertheless, the Special Counsel has publicly invoked—in the Protective Order itself and its briefing—both an “ongoing investigation” and “sensitive investigatory techniques” as grounds for preventing disclosure, neither of which should apply here.

Undersigned counsel must assume for now that the “ongoing investigation” referred to in the Protective Order is related to the criminal complaint recently unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia. Ex. A. Because this complaint is now unsealed, and the ongoing investigation has been publicly revealed, there is no further need to protect this investigation from disclosure.

It later says that some of the documents cited in the affidavit submitted in Elena Khusyaynova’s case are “the very same documents” turned over in discovery here.

Relatedly, the government itself has described some of the “sensitive” discovery in great detail in public filings, yet has made no effort to subsequently re-categorize those very same documents as no longer sensitive. For example, in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed under seal on September 28, 2018 in the Eastern District of Virginia and unsealed on October 19, 2018, an FBI Special Agent described “detailed financial documents that tracked itemized Project Lakhta expenses” allegedly transmitted between an employee of Concord and an employee of its co-defendant, Internet Research Agency. See Ex. A, Criminal Compl., United States v. Elena Khusyaynova, 1:18-mj-464 (E.D. Va.) (filed Sept. 28, 2018; unsealed Oct. 19, 2018) (“the Holt Affidavit”). The Holt Affidavit goes on to state that “[b]etween at least January 2016 and July 2018, these documents were updated and provided to Concord on approximately a monthly basis,” and provides “illustrative examples” of these documents, including identifying the individual who sent the document (the defendant identified in the complaint); describing the date on which the documents were allegedly sent and the approximate dollar value contained in the document; and even quoting from the documents. Id. ¶ 21. To the extent that these very same documents are among those designated by the Special Counsel as “sensitive,” it is impossible to understand why they cannot be shared with Concord in order to defend itself against criminal charges in this case. [my emphasis]

The argument that any investigation into Concord is complete is undermined by the other motion Concord submitted the same day they submitted this motion. It complains that Mueller prosecutor Rush Atkinson somehow took investigative action on information a week after Concord provided  the same information to the Firewall Counsel, on August 30.

On August 23, 2018, in connection with a request (“Concord’s Request”) made pursuant to the Protective Order entered by the Court, Dkt. No. 42-1, Concord provided confidential information to Firewall Counsel. The Court was made aware of the nature of this information in the sealed portion of Concord’s Motion for Leave to Respond to the Government’s Supplemental Briefing Relating to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment, filed on October 22, 2018. Dkt. No. 70-4 (Concord’s “Motion for Leave”). Seven days after Concord’s Request, on August 30, 2018, Assistant Special Counsel L. Rush Atkinson took investigative action on the exact same information Concord provided to Firewall Counsel. Undersigned counsel learned about this on October 4, 2018, based on discovery provided by the Special Counsel’s Office. Immediately upon identifying this remarkable coincidence, on October 5, 2018, undersigned counsel requested an explanation from the Special Counsel’s Office, copying Firewall Counsel on the e-mail. The Special Counsel’s Office responded to the email on October 7, 2018, but did not explain how it obtained the confidential information, stating instead that the trial team was unaware that undersigned counsel was in communication with Firewall Counsel and that “[n]o criminal process that has been turned over in discovery is derived from [those] communications.”

Having received no further explanation or information from the government, undersigned counsel raised this issue with the Court in a filing made on October 22, 2018 in connection with the then-pending Motion to Dismiss. In response to questions from the Court, Firewall Counsel denied having any communication with the Special Counsel’s Office.

In a footnote, Concord makes the kind of vague claim I expect to be corrected by Mueller, suggesting that its one request to Firewall Counsel hasn’t gotten a response.

Concord initially requested authorization from the Court pursuant to the Protective Order to disclose a small number of specifically identified allegedly sensitive documents to particular Russian individuals, but to date the Court had not required the Firewall Counsel to respond to that request in writing.

While it’s certainly possible Atkinson’s investigative action fed into the September 28 charges against Khusyaynova, one way or another, it suggests the parts of the Concord investigation under Mueller also remain ongoing.

Interestingly, Atkinson wasn’t on October 23 and  November 27 filings in this case, though he was on yesterday’s brief; during October and November, however, Atkinson was dealing with red-blooded American trolls like Jerome Corsi.

In any case, the complaint about Atkinson feels like a parallel construction issue to me. After all, Concord surely remains under close surveillance by the US government, and so long as Progozhin does not have a lawyer who files an appearance for him personally in this matter, he likely remains a legitimate surveillance target. So Atkinson might have means to obtain such information independent of the Firewall Counsel.

Reverse engineering the parallel construction on 3 million documents

Indeed, that’s what this entire thing feels like: an attempt to obtain the non-classified discovery from US providers to reverse engineer it to understand what surveillance the underlying investigation is conducting. As Concord describes, its lawyers are seeing millions of documents obtained via subpoena.

The Special Counsel has explicitly acknowledged that none of the discovery is classified. Moreover, the allegedly “sensitive” discovery appears to have been collected exclusively through the use of criminal subpoenas, search warrants, and orders issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703, as opposed to any classified collection method.

It then goes on to suggest that what US tech companies turn over in response to legal process is all laid out in public. It also helpfully names a bunch of providers from which discovery has been provided: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Instagram, WhatsApp, Paypal, and Verizon.

With respect to “sensitive investigatory techniques,” the discovery produced to date comes from legal process issued to various companies, including email providers, internet service providers, financial institutions, and other sources. See Government’s Mot. For a Protective Order Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(d)(1) at 2, Dkt. 24. But any person anywhere in the world connected to the Internet already knows that law enforcement agencies can and do gather evidence from these types of companies through legal process in criminal matters, and specifically what can be gathered through those various processes is widely known and is not in need of protection. For example, Google explains in detail on its website precisely what information it will disclose in response to legal process in the form of a subpoena, court order, or search warrant. See https://support.google.com/transparencyreport/answer/ 7381738?hl=en. Google specifically publicizes that in response to a subpoena for Gmail data, it can be compelled to disclose subscriber registration information (e.g., name, account creation information, associated email addresses, phone number), and sign-in IP addresses and associated time stamps. Id. In response to a court order for Gmail data, Google may provide “non-content information (such as non-content email header information)” and in response to a search warrant Google can be compelled to produce email content, in addition to the data produced in response to a subpoena or court order. Id. Facebook publishes similar information, explaining that in response to a subpoena, it may disclose “basic subscriber records,” which may include name, length of service, credit card information, email addresses, and recent login/logout IP addresses. See https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/law/guidelines/. In response to a court order, Facebook may disclose message headers and IP addresses, as well as basic subscriber records. Id. In response to a search warrant, Facebook may disclose stored contents of the account, including messages, photos, videos, timeline posts, and location information. Id.

Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Instagram, and WhatsApp, all publish similarly detailed information about the types of data available to law enforcement through subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants. See https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-lawenforcement-support (explanation from Twitter that obtaining non-public information requires valid legal process like a subpoena, court order, or other legal process and that requests for the contents of communications require a valid search warrant or equivalent); https:// www.apple.com/privacy/government-information-requests/ (explanation from Apple, Inc. of what government and law enforcement agencies can obtain through legal process); https:// www.microsoft.com/en-us/corporate-responsibility/lerr (explanation from Microsoft that a subpoena is required for non-content data, and a warrant or court order is required for content data); https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geK.OJvA5cPPUAkCJXNyoA;_ylu= X3oDMTEyaDM4Z2dkBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjQ4NTNfMQRzZWMDc3I-/RV=2/ RE=1544498442/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.eff.org%2ffiles%2ffilenode%2fsocial_net work%2fyahoo_sn_leg-doj.pdf/RK=2/RS=sXU4pB1SMj3WwjZBx3ltlU4S6v w- (explanation from Yahoo of precisely what data may be disclosed in response to a subpoena, 2703(d) order, or Search Warrant); https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/26000050/?category=5245250 (explanation from WhatsApp detailing what information is available through various forms of legal process); https://help.instagram.com/494561080557017 (explanation from Instagram describing the information it will disclose in response to subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders). Financial institutions and internet service providers also openly describe what information is available to law enforcement through various legal process. See, e.g., https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/law-enforcement (explanation from PayPal describing the type of data it collects and when that data is made available to law enforcement as required by law); https://www.verizon.com/about/portal/transparency-report/faqs/ (explanation from Verizon of the types of information it is required to disclose when properly requested by law enforcement or court order).

Thus, if it is the so-called “manner of collection” of the discovery that the Special Counsel seeks to protect—that is, the fact that law enforcement agencies can collect a certain type of data—that fact is widely known and does not justify the burdens the Protective Order imposes on Concord’s right to present a defense.3

Concord goes on to dismiss the concerns of exposing “witnesses.”

3 To the extent that the government argues that limiting access to discovery will ensure the safety of witnesses, there is no valid basis for such argument. Specifically, even in cases where there is such a risk (and undersigned counsel knows of no such risk here), there must be more than “broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples or articulated reasoning.” Johnson, 314 F. Supp. 3d at 251. In those instances, courts are still willing to allow a defendant to review the evidence, subject to certain parameters. See, e.g., id., at 254 (requiring government redaction of discovery materials); Darden, 2017 WL 3700340, at *3 (adopting less-restrictive measure to ensure witness safety). If the government has a legitimate concern about witness safety, the burden is on it to specifically articulate the concern, identify precisely the documents that would lead to the identification of a witness, and redact that information or propose an alternative means of restricting disclosure.

The FBI hides a great deal of detail about precisely what it can obtain from providers by deeming service providers witnesses, and this feels like the same.

Still, even the public record in past dockets reveals that discovery from providers can be vastly more extensive than the public imagines.

Which is, I imagine, what Concord is trying to provide Putin’s chef.

The troll lawyers implicitly troll Judge Freidrich’s past rulings

Don’t get me wrong. What kind of protective order Friedrich sustains against Concord so long as it insists co-defendant Prigozhin is the only one at Concord who can handle that discovery is an interesting legal question.

That said, Concord’s signature style might start wearing on Friedrich’s patience given claims that seemingly defy her decision on the last major challenge to the Mueller prosecution.

In this first-of-its-kind prosecution of a make-believe crime, the Office of Special Counsel maintains that it can unilaterally—and for secret reasons disclosed only to the Court— categorize millions of pages of non-classified documents as “sensitive,” and prohibit defense counsel from sharing this information with Defendant Concord for purposes of preparing for trial. This, apparently only because the Defendant and its officers and employees are Russian as opposed to American. The Special Counsel’s unique argument appears rooted in the maxim, “Happy the short-sighted who see no further than what they can touch.”1

Maillart, Ella K., The Cruel Way (1947).

Friedrich has already ruled that this is not a made-up crime.

In Concord’s view, that omission is dispositive: the indictment cannot accuse Concord of conspiring to obstruct lawful government functions “without any identified or recognized statutory offense” because a conspiracy conviction cannot be “based strictly on lawful conduct” even if that conduct is “concealed from the government.” Id. (emphasis omitted).

Concord is correct that the indictment must identify the lawful government functions at issue with some specificity. And it does. See Indictment ¶¶ 9, 25–27. A defraud-clause conspiracy need not, however, allege an agreement to violate some statutory or regulatory provision independent of § 371. 3

[Citations of 5 cases demonstrating the point]

Put simply, conspiracies to defraud the government by interfering with its agencies’ lawful functions are illegal because § 371 makes them illegal, not because they happen to overlap with substantive prohibitions found in other statutes.

Similarly, as part of a complaint that the prosecutors haven’t had to bear any burden of this protective order, Concord says they should have to redact Personally Identifiable Information rather than deeming materials including it “sensitive.”

But rather than impose on the government the burden of identifying the materials that actually contain PII, so that the specific documents or information can be redacted or restricted, the Special Counsel has used the Protective Order to designate the entirety of various data productions to completely restrict Concord’s ability to view the vast majority of discovery regardless of whether specific documents contain PII.

This is another issue that Friedrich has already ruled against the defense on, ruling against their request to make Mueller strip the PII.

Friedrich already seemed predisposed to honor the government’s security concerns, which they just teed up again. If she feels like she’s the one being trolled, as opposed to Democratic voters or Special Counsel lawyers, she may not look too kindly on this request.

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. 

53 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    You wrote this really well, such that I-the-general-reader could anticipate your next turn (as you usually do, but this is an especially involved post). I often have law questions after posts like this that I cannot quite articulate, so maybe I’ll retry later. I had also thought of the Corsi argument by reverse analogy, given their argument of a Firewall Counsel ‘leak’ or ‘peek’ (the ~ parallel construction issue). Like (as if) Corsi’s inferential skills on that plane to Italy- or was it back from- beat out USG surveillance of the trolls, and Corsi is innocent while Atkinson somehow had a peek/leak of what Concord gave Firewall Counsel. I hadn’t realized Atkinson’s connections to both cases, and don’t know that the timelines would be right (or if the social networks of their legal representations overlap), but it seemed like another example of trolling to me.

  2. Eureka says:

    NBC news analysis, from earlier today, re the two reports for the Senate on IRA ops:

    Russians launched pro-Jill Stein social media blitz to help Trump win election, reports say

    “This hasn’t gotten enough attention,” said Andrew Weiss, a Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to Moscow’s efforts to promote Stein.
    “The fact that the Russian propaganda apparatus helped create awareness and support for her candidacy and promoted her candidacy is critical to our understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    “The Russians played this extremely adroitly,” Weiss added.

    Clint Watts:

    “Is Stein a fellow traveler or a useful idiot?” Watts asked rhetorically. “I don’t know, but even after the election she played into Russia disinformation by pursuing a recount so heavily and claiming election fraud. This was a post-election coup for Kremlin propagandists.”

    Of course, given the recount discord and its synonymy with general RU strategy, this older summary from Think Progress (subtitled: “The Russian accounts were big fans of Stein, but not her recount”) might be interesting:

    Interestingly, after the election, the Russian accounts continued tweeting about Stein — although the post-election tweets appear far more critical of Stein, focusing heavily on her quixotic push for a recount. “Mich voters rejected @DrJillStein’s candidacy and her refusal to accept verified results poses an expensive &a risky threat to MI taxpayers,” read an early December 2016 tweet from @CarrieThornthon. Added another, @Finley1589, “Michigan recount cancelled. Will Jill Stein donate her scam money to environmental causes or just keep it?”

    Obviously RU wanted Trump and would not want a recount to imperil his win.  But I am wondering if there was knowledge-based or -suspected fear of what a recount might have revealed with regard to ratfuckery.  Because of voting methods, I don’t know if or where recounts in the relevant states would or could have revealed much of anything; I know it was widely regarded as a useless waste of time in many parts.

    So again, given its multi-factorial mayhemery, why did RU propagandize opposition to Jill Stein’s recount?

    • Eureka says:

      PS:  Given that potential answers to this Q include ~’trolling left lability,’ I am reminded of a new-ish meme/GIF game (IMO) they’ve got going:  guillotine imagery.  I noticed it again the other day on twitter; had first noticed it sometime between Kavanaugh and the midterms.  It seems to come and go in spurts.  Multiple “left-labeled” accounts (using rose emoji, and/or text indicating ~DSA or marxist affiliation in bio) will pop-up in some reply threads with all-different guillotine GIFs or stills, often without words.  In the last round that I saw, there were also a few comments about ~ send so-and-so to Gitmo.
      I am not linking (and sorry I forgot the topics they were posted under) because real people could be using this imagery of their own accord, period, or alongside possible ‘trolls.’  Contextual factors make me think it is part of a left troll op, diffusing or overlapping, who knows.  Has anyone else seen this flurry of guillotines?

      • Beez Louise says:

        This is turned out longer than I intended, so apologies for that. I have been seeing the guillotines quite a bit. At a counter-protest some people made a  large mock guillotine. The meme has existed in tankie circles for quite a while I believe but Russian trolls love to adopt that kind of stuff.

        One thing I’m noticing is, the rhetoric from the far left has been getting a lot more violent. However, compared to the far right, who fantasize about a bloody revolution, it’s a grain of sand at the beach. The push doesn’t feel organic.

        DSA members/lefties are largely mid to upper-class college kids who like memes, rallies, and podcasts. There are only a select few who are interested in throwing punches at counter protests. They seem to be incredibly easy to influence though, so it’s definitely something that needs to be looked at. Everything they do gets magnified 1000x by paid trolls and the wingnut propaganda machine.

        • allison holland says:

          The left is definitely being infiltrated. !!!   That is absolutely true.  The Womans March has been taking hate cues from Farakhan of all people. Totally freaks me out.  His hatred for women is documented alongside his antisemitism so what do progressive women do now ?  It’s all messed up. Farakhan is evil and he has a follower in the leader of a movement I support so now i am not going to march with them.  I wont be a party to  propgandized hatred.  The Russians influenced anti seminitism when they infiltrated the black lives matter movement. Thing is, I haven’t read anything about Farakhan in so long but then again Alice Walker who seems to have lost her mind is also going that way. I wish they could remember who it was that died with them in Mississippi. Farakhan is a con man and murderer and he is now in the stream of the protest movement and i think the Russians are involved.  Stein went to russia. and she knew she would steal votes from Clinton so yeah she is in bed with them. They protested her challenge because they didnt want any challenge to the traitor Trump; nothing that could be a rallying cry. But then again they like disruption so it didn’t hurt their cause… just a little confusion but not too much suited them at the time. She is a puppet. and a user for fame and glory and cash just like all traitors.

        • Eureka says:

          Thanks, Beez Louise, for giving your insights.  They provide context for what I have been seeing.  I had to look up tankie- that makes a lot of sense for trolls to push related imagery to create (even the appearance of) a ~through-line.

          Agreed:  not organic, and definitely a topic of concern.

          I think the issue dovetails with BobCon’s observations below, in that the (my gloss) ~ ‘standard’ left is becoming more progressive, by virtue of progressives joining-in to work it that way rather than splitting off.

          So troll ops are aiming to re-identify, push “left”-ward, and split off/make distasteful the “left-est” (and younger, per your observations) parts to re-create division.

    • Trip says:

      Just an opinion, based on no evidence, but here goes: I think Stein is a grifter-lite. She liked the national attention of importance and the campaign money that came with running. I could be wrong; which I often am.

    • Trip says:

      Not only her steel trap brain of retention, but the analytical breakdown is impressive!

      Editing to add: I think her assistant, Junebug, the terrorist foster forever-home dog is helping her keep track.

  3. Trip says:


    “If, God forbid, [nuclear war] were to happen, it would lead to the end of all civilization and maybe also the planet,” he said.

    Kremlin Warns it May ‘Target’ U.S. Missile Launchers in Europe

    The Kremlin has said it might have to place U.S. missile launchers in its crosshairs if they are placed in Europe, as the United States threatens to exit a key arms control treaty.
    The United States has threatened to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) which bans Moscow and Washington from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe. During his annual end-of-year press conference on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. “shouldn’t whine later” about likely Russian retaliation if Washington deployed missiles in Europe.

    Happy Holidays!


  4. P J Evans says:

    And the latest is that Himself is going to force Mattis to leave at the end of the month, and has named deputy secretary Patrick Shanahan as the acting secretary.
    Because of course people who resign can’t be allowed to do it; they’re supposed to leave when Himself wants them to go.

    • Trip says:

      Meh. On the one hand, Trump. On the other, any president who got such a public spanking from a resigning appointee would hasten their exit.

  5. BobCon says:

    @Eureka — It’s hard to know the motivation, but I suspect it’s an attempt to drive up Stein’s paranoia, which I think is her main fuel. That’s why they weren’t just calling on her to drop the fight, they were portraying her as a threat to the interests of the establishment.

    Post election, I think it was clear that a strong resistance movement to Trump was forming and a lot of the serious hard left was interested in joining it. It was in the interests of Russia to keep Stein and her ilk resentful of the Democratic Party and out of the action. I think they’re both fairly unhappy that progressives for the most part decided to work for a more liberal Democratic Party and challenge the leadership from within the system, rather than sit out the fight like Achilles in his tent.

    • Eureka says:

      Lol, well that would certainly be some focused lability trolling.

      See also my reply to Beez Louise above- I think your observations here go towards explaining why the social media ‘left troll ops’ are getting hardcore (with the guillotine imagery and language, etc.).

  6. obsessed says:

    Thought experiment: If Barr or Whitaker is able to end and suppress Mueller’s investigation, and if Schiff hired Mueller and his team as congressionally appointed investigators, what would the effect be on:

    1. Mueller’s powers

    2. the policies regarding disclosure of information

    Obviously, he’d retain subpoena power, but lose indictment power, but would he still be able to refer to other prosecutors as easily as he’s done with SDNY and the Butina case? What would we lose (and potentially gain), and is it likely that Mueller would accept such an appointment (or whatever the proper word is for Schiff hiring him)?

    • BobCon says:

      The short answer is that Congressional investigators lack the firepower of US attorneys. They do not have the resources of the FBI or the ability to coordinate with other government agencies, and what is more, a committee like House Intelligence has a small fraction of the budget and workforce.

      That’s not to say that a theoretical hiring of Mueller and Co. wouldn’t be able to do things, but it’s simply no substitute. I seriously doubt Mueller would take that role. And if a norm-breaking DOJ goes so far as to completely trash Mueller’s team and all related investigations, the reasonable assumption is that they would also refuse to follow up on any smoking guns revealed by the House.

  7. Marinela says:

    OT: Perhaps Trump wanted Mat Whitaker to help with getting info and help to curtail the Cohen feds investigation. He can pardon his way out of Mueller investigation aftermath, so he thinks.

    House, under democrats, after January, will need to help with protecting Mueller, and the other DOJ investigations coming from NY or other states.

    But not sure what House can do without Senate cooperation.



    • posaune says:

      Wonder where this move sits within Putin’s overall strategy?   One of the goals of ensuring Trump’s election?   There’s hardly a mention in the US press.

    • allison holland says:

      I think Trump the traitor just might sell us out and let Russia get away with that without even a whimper. I wonder if we could actually see a military coup in America this year. I never thought it could happen until i read Matiss’ letter. I think he has thought about it. And i doubt he is the only one. What a time to be alive.

      • Raven Eye says:

        “I never thought it could happen until I read Matiss’ letter. I think he has thought about it.”

        I think a worrisome thing to Mattis is that people might be thinking that he IS thinking about it.

        After 20 years in the military, and a lot of time after that working with the military, I’ve found that most of the flag and general officers are well-read and/or well advised.  This is particularly the case with SecDef Mattis.  Those senior leaders find the idea of military control of functions not statutorily defined abhorrent (with the occasional exception, such as Honoré’s ambitions during Katrina)…The idea of a soft or hard military coup even more so.  (It still seems odd to me to see troops patrolling airports in Paris, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.)

  8. Marinela says:

    This mystery company is owned by a foreign entity, they say. So, Roberts is temporarily stopping the financial penalties resulting from lower courts ruling on the subpoena.
    One of the many questions I have on this, assuming the supreme court rules similar to the lower courts, how can SCO enforce the penalties for this company, since the action occurred outside of the US? How can they tell if the info is fudged or not if they ever get the info?

  9. Trip says:

    Billie Winner-Davis Takes Down The Incongruities Of Her Daughter’s Sentence Vs. Government Authorities, Like Flynn. She’s NOT wrong.

    My Daughter Reality Winner Faced Severe Punishment, but Key Figures in the Trump-Russia Scandal Are Getting Off Easy

    My daughter was sentenced to five years in prison for releasing a single document from the National Security Agency with proof of a threat to our voting system, when no one else would give the public the truth.


    Where is Reality’s Pardon?

  10. Trip says:

    On the secret case:

    Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw

    Appears interesting legal argument from a foreign state owned company/corporation before SCOTUS with a temporary freeze on daily fines. We don’t have to comply with US law on a grand jury subpoena despite profiting from its corporate protections because we are owned by another state & governed by its law. Can you imagine the well founded hue and cry if this was an Israeli state owned company?…
    Foreign Sovereign Immunity Clause dose not exist to protect foreign companies owned by their state with a nexus to the US from compliance with federal law. If it did all foreign corporations need simply do is joint ventures with their parent state to avoid accountability.


    • bmaz says:

      Unless the Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Alito wing decide to pull some shit, it may not even be that “interesting” of a case. The foreign company has attachable assets and business here in the US, or neither of the federal courts below would have found jurisdiction with US courts. The only real interesting thing left is who they are.

      • Trip says:

        bmaz says:
        December 24, 2018 at 10:56 am

        What are your thoughts on why it needed to be sealed, and (more so) why it was approved, in the first place, if it is kind of a mundane case?

        Also, Happy Holidays!

      • RisingDown says:

        I’m curious why a foreign company would so swiftly get a concession from The Supreme Court. Having seen the Trump Admin often attempt an end-run around intermediary courts, how likely is it that this matter pertains to Trump directly?

        Always appreciative of the insights here.

        • bmaz says:

          They did NOT get any particular concession in the least. A temporary administrative stay was issued, which is fairly routine, so that Roberts and full court could determine what was going on before ruling on the stay request.

          People who think something notable here occurred are wrong. This was a preservation of the status quo only.

  11. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    And where does the military come down and what language will they be speaking when they do? I hate to say “I told you so”

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    Mnuchin’s call backfires… worse than the Steelers fake punt, exclaims the Pittsburg Tribune and Gazette.

    Time to invoke the 25th amendment by citing Rick Santelli’s rant

    The Dow is speaking jittering truth to power.





    • Marinela says:

      Wall Street is cashing out their ride. They need to park the money somewhere. So the Feds are raising the interest rates.

      It benefits the people with money.

      The GOP tax cuts were never going to benefit the economy.


      • new-radical says:

        In classical economic theory, tax cuts are a tool to stimulate the economy by releasing spending/purchasing capacity, but only if the tax cuts provide cash to people who will actually spend it, not send it to Panama or the Virgin Isls. This is just standard Keynesian Fiscal policy

        These political tax cuts, because of their specific nature had only partial effects, because all the benefits went to people who already had everything and more cash was of no use.

        The Fed Reserve is the power house of Monetary Policy. The two policies,  generally anathema, are rarely used together because of the post Chicago/Friedman supply-side hegemony.

        As soon as the tax cuts were announced into an already overheated economy, it was a near certainty that the Fed would raise interest (that’s the monetarist’s only real tool) rates, and they have to get them up, so they can cut them again when they want to, that’s how the world economy works! The FW’s think its a closed equilibrium system, so you always have a pretty good idea what they are going to do.

        Well, everyone except the Donald.

        And here where I am, the sun is up, the birds are singing their heads off, but not f…ing Jingle Bells. The silence is golden and I can hear Gloria Gaynor playing in my head, not so good, but I will survive it, I can smell the Bloody Marys…

        Merry Christmas Everyone.

  13. Marinela says:

    Trip says:
    December 24, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Oh, I am all alone in this solitary confinement waiting on the Democrat President to finish it’s 8 years term, so that a republican President can pardon me.

Comments are closed.