Manafort Claims He Can’t Be a Witness to Trump’s Conspiracy with Russia because He Managed the Campaign

As more detail has come out about the events about which Paul Manafort lied to Mueller’s prosecutors, the method of his lie becomes more clear: it serves to excuse anything that might taint Trump’s campaign with conspiracy with Russia; it excuses that by claiming forgetfulness caused by the busyness of that campaign. Manafort cannot be a witness to the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with Russia, you see, because his memory of those events is too garbled because he was campaign manager at the time.

Only that excuse doesn’t work.

In their redaction fail submission the other day, Manafort’s lawyers addressed each of the subjects about which Mueller accused Manafort of lying in what appears to be the same order as Mueller’s prosecutors laid them out in their own submission last month:

  1. Interactions with Kilimnik
    • Issue a (page 4-5)
    • Issue b (page 5-6)
    • Issue c (page 6)
  2. Kilimnik’s role in the obstruction conspiracy
  3. Payment to a firm working for Manafort
  4. Another DOJ investigation
  5. Contact with the Administration

But rather than dealing with Issues a, b, and c separately, Manafort lumps all three into one discussion, like this:

It is accurate that after the Special Counsel shared evidence regarding Mr. Manafort’s meetings and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik with him, Mr. Manafort recalled that he had – or may have had – some additional meetings or communications with Mr. Kilimnik that he had not initially remembered. The Government concludes from this that Mr. Manafort’s initial responses to inquiries about his meetings and interactions with Mr. Kilimnik were lies to the OSC attorneys and investigators. (See, e.g., Doc. 460 at 5 (After being shown documents, Mr. Manafort “conceded” that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion); id. at 6 (After being told that Mr. Kilimnik had traveled to Madrid on the same day that Mr. Manafort was in Madrid, Mr. Manafort “acknowledged” that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid)).

It is not uncommon, however, for a witness to have only a vague recollection about events that occurred years prior and then to recall additional details about those events when his or her recollection is refreshed with relevant documents or additional information. Similarly, cooperating witnesses often fail to have complete and accurate recall of detailed facts regarding specific meetings, email communications, travel itineraries, and other events. Such a failure is unsurprising here, where these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a U.S. presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently. In fact, during a proffer meeting held with the Special Counsel on September 11, 2018, Mr. Manafort explained to the Government attorneys and investigators that he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought, had the issue not been raised during the period he was engaged with work related to the presidential campaign. Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort’s mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed. The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign. (See Doc. 460 at 6). The simple fact that Mr. Manafort could not recall, or incorrectly recalled, specific events from his past dealings with Mr. Kilimnik – but often (after being shown or told about relevant documents or other evidence) corrected himself or clarified his responses – does not support a determination that he intentionally lied.

The way in which Manafort’s lawyers cite from Mueller’s text (which I’ve bolded above) even makes it clear which discussion is which, with “issue a” including the “conceded” quotation on the correct page to be Ukraine.

“Issue b” includes the “acknowledged” quotation on the correct page to pertain to the Madrid meeting.

That — plus the page number — makes it clear that “issue c” is the sharing of polling data.

By submitting this filing with failed redactions — whether intentionally or not — Manafort’s lawyers have told co-conspirators precisely what events Mueller asked questions about during proffer sessions, as well as what kind of evidence Mueller had obtained to learn about those events. Mueller has electronic communications, drafts, and travel records proving multiple discussions about a Ukraine peace plan, he has evidence of Kilimnik’s travel to Madrid, and he has email and testimonial evidence describing how he and Gates shared polling data with Kilimnik.

And while Manafort doesn’t think a hearing in which Mueller could provide more evidence that Manafort lied about conspiring with a former or current GRU officer is necessary, he would like witness statements about which he could find some opportunity to fail to redact in the future.

While a hearing regarding the Government’s “good faith” in declaring a breach of the plea agreement is not necessary, to the extent that there are witness statements that the OSC contends demonstrate Mr. Manafort’s intentional falsehoods, these should be produced to the defense. After having an opportunity to review such statements and any other documentary evidence, the defendant would then suggest that the issues be narrowed during the usual sentencing process in the parties’ submissions to the U.S. Probation Office in the preparation of the PSR.

By treating all three of his Kilimnik lies as one, Manafort excuses the lie about the Madrid meeting — which Manafort’s spox issued a “clarification” to explain happened in January or February 2017 — the same way he excuses the lies about events that happened during the campaign — he was too busy running a campaign to remember them all.

[T]hese occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a U.S. presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently.

This is, of course, nonsense! Even the Ukrainian discussions (which Manafort’s lawyers try to minimize as maybe having been discussed on more than one occasion, but which Mueller has reason to believe got discussed “at each meeting” Kilimnik had with Manafort) appears to have extended beyond the time when Manafort was ousted from the campaign, as Kilimnik was still talking about it (though trying to distance Manafort from it) in February 2017, around the time he met Manafort in Madrid.

Kilimnik also said that he had drafted a plan to bring peace to Ukraine in the nearly three-year-old conflict with Russia.

He referred to it as a “Mariupol plan,” a reference to the southeastern port city that abuts the current line of conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatist fighters.

It would bring Yanukovych back to Ukraine as a regional leader in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, where fighting has raged on and off for nearly three years, or possibly involve others such as the current separatist leaders there.

That plan, which Kilimnik said Manafort was not involved with, would face almost certain opposition in Kyiv since it calls for Yanukovych returning to Ukraine from Russia, where he fled in February 2014.

It is nonsense to claim that the daily grind of a campaign he had exited at least five months earlier, or protective confinement in jail, or gout can explain why Manafort forgot a meeting that involved flying to a European city to attend.

Nevertheless, that’s the explanation Manafort’s lawyers offered in their attempt to claim that Manafort really had good intentions while he was supposed to be cooperating with Mueller, he just had a bad memory of all his ongoing conspiring with a former or current officer from the same Russian intelligence service that hacked Trump’s opponent.

Yet, in spite of the defense claim that “there is no identifiable pattern to Mr. Manafort’s purported misrepresentations – no specific individual or potential crime is identified in the Government’s submission,” there actually is. On top of trying to dissociate a guy with whom he conspired from the conspiracy he pled guilty to, Manafort is excusing his forgetfulness about anything that might show a conspiracy between him, while he was campaign manager for the Trump campaign, and Kilimnik, by saying his activities as campaign manager prevent him from remembering conspiring with Kilimnik while working for the campaign.

Only, for that to be true, whatever “campaign” Manafort was running would have had to extend well into 2017.

As I disclosed last 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. 

67 replies
  1. CaliLawyer says:

    Apart from helping the Trump campaign, sophisticated, campaign-level polling data would likely have value to Russian intelligence.

        • bmaz says:

          Please. I will beg you only once, do NOT traffic in this bullshit here. If you do not understand what is, and is not, “treason” then shut up.

          Here is our friend Steve Vladeck, nearly two years ago:

          This post is going to be brief. There’s still a lot we don’t know about what role, if any, Russia played in the 2016 election, and what role, if any, the Trump campaign had in facilitating that role. But that hasn’t stopped lots of folks from throwing around the t-word to describe the most sensational versions of the allegations, or insinuating that various officials–from Paul Manafort to Michael Flynn to President Trump himself–may have committed treason.


          Here’s the full text of the treason statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2381:

          Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

          Note the key terms here: “levies war against” [the United States] or “adheres to their enemies.” Whatever one thinks of Russia, Vladimir Putin, or the current state of relations between it/them and the United States, we are not at war with Russia. Full stop. Russia is therefore not an “enemy” of the United States. Full stop. Collaborating with Russia is a serious allegation, and may violate other federal laws. But treason is something very special, unique, and specific under U.S. law–and, as my friend and UC-Davis Professor Carlton Larsen has long explained, for good reason. Let’s keep it that way.

          I have repeatedly tried to utter the same words to clackers in our comment section. Please stop being stupid. NO, it is NOT “treason”. Just stop.

          [FYI: formatting cleaned up for ease of reading on mobile devices. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          When a lawyer says it’s not treason, there’s a reason why. You can say it’s equivalent to treason but it’s not treason because it doesn’t fit a very narrow definition.

          U.S. Constitution Article III, Section 3

          Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

          The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

          Until an entity is declared a enemy of the U.S. as an opponent in a war against the U.S., it’s not treason.

          Let’s end the treason talk here and stick to what charges have already been produced: conspiracy to defraud the U.S., obstruction of justice, false statements, tax and bank fraud, so on.

        • Milo says:

          Legally, the only definition of ‘enemy’ is an opponent in a war? So as of right now, it’s _impossible_ to commit treason against the US with Russia cause we’re not at war? You could help them plan a military attack against Pearl Harbor, and that’d be illegal but not _treason_?

        • Rayne says:

          Read the Constitution. I didn’t make this up out of whole cloth; this is what the founders wrote, what hasn’t been amended, what hasn’t been modified by legislation.

          Someone who aided the Japanese in WWII could have been tried for treason because the U.S. and Japan were in a declared state of war. The problem is that we are not in a formally declared state of war with Russia (or any other nation-state which participated in the interference with our 2016 election) and therefore have no case for treason against anyone who conspired with them. The chances of getting the Manchurian candidate in the White House to declare Russia an enemy are also slim to none. There is ample case for conspiracy at this point, however.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The reason the Founders wrote the definition that way had to do with the abuse of the concept by other governments, including the UK, to the point where criticism of the monarch was treason.  Kind of like how we see Faux News, Kaiser Quisling and the Palace declare their adversaries as treasonous.  That’s gone on for a long time now.

          Also, the Constitution restrains the evidence allowed to be used, pretty much for the same reasons.

          ConFraudUs sends someone to jail for a long time, and FWIW, executing for treason when the perp could be seen as a victim creates a martyr and we’ll never be rid of the MAGA mob.

        • P J Evans says:

          That should come under “aid and comfort”, but I think you’re probably going to get busted for conspiracy and maybe espionage.

        • Willis Warren says:

          Julius and Ethel weren’t convicted of treason, but the judge said it anyway…

          The immediate family is brought to grief and when justice is meted out the chapter is closed. But in your case, I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country. 

        • SteveB says:

          Treason under US law comes in 2 forms

          1 levying war

          2 adhering etc enemy

          As to the 1st levying war would include preparing an insurrection against the US government (=conspiracy to levy war, = conspiracy to commit treason) and an overt warlike act in furtherance of the insurrection eg firing a canon at Fort Sumpter, completes the conspiracy converting it from an incohate offence into the full offence of treason by levying war.

          Similarly if a conspiracy existed between US persons and foriegn actors to do the things you hypothesise then it is similarly a conspiracy to levy war (subject to there being war like aims and methods being at the heart of the conspiracy) The conspirators are in these circumstances liable to be charged with conspiracy to levy unlawful  war, and the US ones with conspiracy to commit treason. At the latest, Once the attack is launched, war is levied and the offence of treason by levying war is complete. The foriegn actors, in this instance a soveriegn state Japan, by levying unlawful war have by that act declared themselves an enemy, thus any act by the US persons in furtherance of the conspiracy to levy war, is now also an act which contravenes the second form of treason.

        • Mark says:

          If this does not apply then there is no threshold of treason that can ever be applied.  I will remind you that of the 9 convictions for treason in our history MOST did not involve firing weapons at the USA.  President Harding called the National Guard up to bust up a strike by the UMW and when strikers skirmished with the soldiers they used that as a pretext to charge two men with treason (1921) one, the president of the UMW was acquitted and the other was convicted.

          Walter Allen was convicted of treason on September 16, 1922 for taking part in the 1921 Miner’s March with the coal companies and the US Army on Blair Mountain, West Virginia. He was sentenced to 10 years and fined. During his appeal to the Supreme Court he disappeared while out on bail. United Mineworkers of America leader William Blizzard was acquitted of the charge of treason by the jury on May 25, 1922.

          Another guy was hanged for treason for tearing down a US flag during the civil war.  Most of the convictions were for various local uprisings like the Whiskey Rebellion, but there was Tokyo Rose who had as her crime nothing more than talking on the radio, not making war but giving aid and comfort to the enemy.  Same for Axis Sally.  Another guy was convicted for his acts on behalf of Japan even though his only connection to the USA was he had been born in California; Tomoya Kawakita, sentenced to death for treason in 1952, but eventually released by President John F. Kennedy to be deported to Japan.

          There is not one single word in the CFR or the constitution that says there has to be a declared war on in order for treason to happen.

          All told there was not one case of any American who took up arms and actually made war on the nation during a declared war.

          And, if a nation that has 7,000 nuclear weapons pointed at us, and which clearly seeks to undermine our nation and disrupt our institutions, and hits us with cyber attacks cannot be called an enemy then I am greatly relieved, it would mean that the only way we could ever have any enemies is if thermonuclear weapons start falling from the skies, and then we will not have enough time to ponder what got them so mad at us.

        • bmaz says:

          Do you have a point, or just proving mine with an excess of words that have the silly patina of stupid “cyber” fearmongering?

          If, Mark, you want your cyber scary scenario to be the actual case under American law, please feel free to change the Constitution (that would require an amendment) and 18 USC §2381. Until you do that, no.

        • Mark says:

          It is not my place to prove the meaning of the word treason in the constitution, it is not I who said it cannot apply in this case.  I would say it is more your place to prove there has to be a declaration of war in order to file such a charge.  In fact several of the people convicted of treason in our history did nothing other than talk, give aid and comfort to our enemies.  So, making war is not required.
          18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason

          Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

          That is the entire statute directly from the CFR.  Please point out for me where it A) defines “enemy” and B) says there has to be a congressionally declared war.

          For such an erudite website who’s only reason to exist is to apply exact and strenuous legal definitions I find the fact that you do not cite precedent  in your arguments about this potential crime but rule it out summarily without saying why you rule it out.

          In fact, treason is very poorly defined (like high crimes and misdemeanors; or as Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…” ) but as it has been used seems to cover a lot of acts, including the interference with private property rights of mine owners.  It is what consensus says it is at any given time.  

          As to verbose and silly, sweetie you can be among the hardest of web pages to read because you are the master of the endless compound sentence.  And I assure you I will not be bothering you again.  I can get legal analysis of the russiagate case from a number of sources that does not include foul tempered snide people who think their opinions (and that is all I find here) are never wrong.

        • bmaz says:

          So, just to be clear, you still have nothing but yet another run on comment that is patently wrong. Thanks for dropping by. Oh, and nobody here is your “sweetie”.

        • Rayne says:

          Firing on the military? Levying war.

          Aiding a hostile nation-state which becomes a formally identified enemy? Come the fuck on.

          As bmaz said, nobody here is your sweetie. Go, find your legal analysis elsewhere. They come here first, though. Don’t let the door hit you.

        • Rayne says:

          Have you seen a statement issued by the Executive Branch or Congress which meets the 1907 Hague Conventions, declaring war on Russia?
          Have you seen Congress issue a declaration of war on Russia?
          Have you seen an Authorization to Use Military Force issued by Congress, signed by the President targeting Russia?
          Have you seen a U.N. Security Council Resolution authorizing military engagement with corresponding bipartisan legislation funding military action against Russia, passed by Congress and signed by the President?

          If you haven’t the U.S. is not in a state of war with Russia no matter whether there are weapons aimed in each country’s general direction.

          This goes both ways. There’s a reason why Russian hackers and contractors conduct many cyber attacks — they are not formal military instruments and can be plausibly denied. And hackers associated with spy agencies are spies, intended to be covert and not formal military resources, again plausibly denied.

          Re-read 18 USC 2381 — treason relies on one or both of “levies war against them (the U.S.)” or “adheres to their enemies.” Without a formal instrument there’s no enemy to aid or comfort. Has Manafort and other conspirators “levied war” against the U.S.? It’s a weak argument that they did; given the economic benefits sought and the losses to the U.S. as a result of election interference, this is the easy argument to make:

          If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

          That’s 18 USC 371 which by now the regulars at this site should know cold.

          Now give the T-word a rest.

  2. CaliLawyer says:

    Looks like Manafort’s team chose the phrase “polling data.” Really wonder if it’s been narrowly tailored to exclude CA psychographic data – which would be extremely useful to Russian intelligence above and beyond the campaign. What did TrumpCo pay CA – 5-6 mil?

    • BobCon says:

      I’m sure it had more than raw numbers and went into the kind of affinity categorization that modern polling does.

      It’s probably an open question whether CA was involved — there are a number of vendors who do what they do, and I would bet the Russians know a good chunk of them due to the influence campaigns they have backed in recent years. CA is certainly in the mix, though, considering the ties they have to the Trump camp.

        • Trip says:

          I think so too. He met with Junior in the tower, but supposedly the offer was declined. However, Nader paid Pys Group $2 million after the election. What for?

      • CaliLawyer says:

        I’ve never worked on a campaign, so I don’t know exactly what they’ve got, but I’m guessing age/race/sex demographics, voting histories, donation histories, contact info, etc., whatever you can get to drive turnout and fundraise for an election. I could be wrong, but it seems like the FB info would more microtargeted in terms of hot button issues, and mined data on personal concerns, such as jobs, relationships, ideologies, anxieties, financial concerns, and a host of other meaningful things that most people consider to be very private. The Russians play the long game, and that would seem to be an absolute goldmine for searching out potential intelligence assets such as Paul Erickson.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I notice there isn’t much about Parscale so far in the OSC releases, but Parscale seems to be a unapologetic key Trumpie already signed up for the 2020 re-election campaign.

      Anyone else find that to be curious, given how he would be expected to hold all of the keys from 2016?

    • Troutwaxer says:

      I just read that CA had 700 Terabytes of data. I wonder how much of that was sold to the Russians?

  3. jonb says:

    ot…Could the timing of resignation of DAG be part of the OSC needing his testimony asap on the firing of Comey?.Doesnt Rod have to go on the record for Mueller to improve his case for obstruction at least in relation to Comey firing.

    • bmaz says:

      That is unlikely. My bet is he is tired, ready to go make some money, and thinks Mueller has what he needs, whatever that is. It is quite notable that Rosenstein is leaving, but I would not read too much unknown narrative in to it in the larger picture.

      • jonb says:

        ok. thanks ..but do you believe he will or has testified. or his information has already been confirmed by others

      • BobCon says:

        I’d stress the tired part above all — he seems like the kind of guy who would continue drawing a government salary for the duration if this were a Kasich or Pataki administration.

  4. Rayne says:

    LOL “forgetfulness caused by the busyness of the campaign” — that must be why Manafort stumbled at 1:27-2:10 in this video.

  5. EWreader says:

    I think the Woodlawn, LLC loan could be the link to the Mystery Company (VTB Capital, the US investment bank of VTB Group, before September 3, 2018). VTB Capital is now called Xtellus Capital Partners but it’s still intimately linked to VTB Group. VTB Capital helped raise more than $10 billion for deals in recent years, which would probably qualify as considerable business in the US (even if it’s chump change relative to VTB Group). VTB Group also would have known the issues of conducting business in the US when FINRA approved VTB Capital.

  6. Jockobadger says:

    Reuters ~

    Graham told reporters Barr assured him the investigation would continue. “I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job,” Graham said.

    How the heck does this reconcile with Barr’s screed?  Somehow I’m not reassured by Lindsey and Barr’s reassurances.  What a bloody time we live in.  Thanks EW, et al.

  7. CaliLawyer says:

    FWIW, I think Facebook allowed significantly more intrusive 3rd party data-mining to CA and  others than it’s admitted. It’s likely CA learned at least indicia of financial hardships, personal affairs, etc. – exactly the kind of information Russian intelligence would zero in on. This is an existential threat to FB, which is why Zuckerberg is so evasive and always looks like he’s about to crap his pants. It’s bukt into the various algorithms behind the interface. When FB first started, they took the position that every photo, DM, writing, etc. posted on FB belonged to them.

    • Trip says:

      Not just the FB database, I think.  There were the lists of Democratic voters including credit card numbers (dropped by Wikileaks). There was that list of Republican voters left sitting unprotected and right out in the open (I can’t find the security guy’s link right now).

      But I agree that Zuckerberg hasn’t come completely clean yet.

    • MattyG says:

      And, wasn’t the digital campaign captained by Kushner? With Flynn a sort of aide de camp? IMO the main charge (and most historically significant) has always been; were Americans collaborating with Russia to affect the election – and the investigation seems to be finally wheeling into position. A little puff of wind cleared the smoke and for a moment we could catch a bit better sight of the battlefield.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Manafort, staring at grim prospects, arranged the redaction slip to publicly shine a bit of light on higher ups. Yes he’s a lieutenant – but see – he’s not a capo – .

      In what scenario can DT possible escape? Manafort and a few bad apples freelancing behind everyone’s back for their own personal motivations? At very least DT should get the Congressional equivalent of “thank you very much sir for taking the time but after much discussion we feel you are not a good fit for our company”.

      • First Time Caller says:

        @MattyG: You may recall this article from Bloomberg just before the 2016 election, “Inside the Trump Bunker With Days to Go” ( which detailed a lot of the work being done by Kushner, Parscale, Bannon, et. al. At the time it raised some flags but didn’t seem to get much traction beyond “more than we can see” horse race discussion. On re-reading, a couple of interesting quotes jump out:

        “[T]he digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers.”

        “Trump’s data scientists, including some from the London firm Cambridge Analytica who worked on the “Leave” side of the Brexit initiative, think they’ve identified a small, fluctuating group of people who are reluctant to admit their support for Trump and may be throwing off public polls.”

        “Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.”

        “Parscale was given a small budget to expand Trump’s base and decided to spend it all on Facebook. He developed rudimentary models, matching voters to their Facebook profiles and relying on that network’s “Lookalike Audiences” to expand his pool of targets. He ultimately placed $2 million in ads across several states, all from his laptop at home, then used the social network’s built-in “brand-lift” survey tool to gauge the effectiveness of his videos, which featured infographic-style explainers about his policy proposals or Trump speaking to the camera. “I always wonder why people in politics act like this stuff is so mystical,” Parscale says. “It’s the same shit we use in commercial, just has fancier names.””

        Re-read the whole thing, etc., with the context we have now, it has a much more sinister feel.

    • BobCon says:

      I have a feeling a big part of Zuckerberg’s fear is related to the exposure of all of the data FB has collected about nonmembers. To an extent he has a fig leaf of Ts and Cs for all of the data they hold on members, but they have also been compiling massive amounts of data on people who never gave consent, including children.

      I would not be surprised if they cut a deal with the congressional GOP to be a whipping boy for supposed social media discrimination against conservatives in return for dropping privacy and collaboration issues. That’s going to be vastly harder to sustain.

  8. Trip says:

    @CaliLawyer, Chris Vickery is the guy who found the Repub. list (from my last comment).

    Also, polling data v. data polling are different. I’m thinking the latter is more likely.

  9. P J Evans says:

    I’m thinking that “data polling” means “data from opinion polls”. Which would be useful in planning what to push and where to do it.

  10. Cristabel says:

    I think Manafort is the key to this “whole Russia thing with Trump and Russia.” He’s clearly covering for Trump by selecting to lie only about how Trump and Manafort colluded with the Russians and then covered it up. He clearly expects a pardon for doing so. His latest filing shows the impatience he feels at just getting the whole thing over with so they can get to the pardon part…I don’t agree that I lied but we’re not gonna fight it. Who cares? Charge me with more stuff, just make it quick, jail sucks. But what if Trump doesn’t still plan on pardoning him? It’s not like he can text him and ask. Manafort made his attorneys insert a message to Trump in the accidentally-on-purpose not-redacted filing. This message was: all of these things that I was lying about happened while I was chairman of YOUR campaign, Mr. Man. I was covering for YOU. Mueller knows about all of it, but NOT FROM ME. So. We’re still good with the pardon n’stuff, right? Cuz otherwise, you know. Jail sucks.

  11. Marci Kiser says:

    Just spit-balling, but could Manafort claim that he sent polling data to the Russians as part of paying back the millions he owed? In this scenario he would theoretically be a “rogue” campaign worker who stole polling data and sold it as opposed to the means by which Trump conspired with Russia.

    Not saying I buy that defense of course, but with the very little I know or understand about the situation I was curious to hear smarter people weigh in.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hard to plead Paulie was a rogue when he ran the campaign. And at one research group’s last count, senior members of Trump’s campaign had over 100 substantive contacts with Russian operatives.  It suggests Trump and his defenders have been baldly lying in their repetitive claims that they had NO contact at all.

      Paulie thinking that the sensitive polling data – which could readily be used by someone with sufficient resources to influence the American presidential election – was of great value, and that giving it to the Russians would somehow pay back a debt he owed, raises a few questions.

      Why would that information be of great value to the Russians?  What would and did they do with it?

      To whom and why was Paulie in debt at such a scale?  If he was so vulnerable to Russian interests, what was he doing managing the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign? Was that a bug or a feature for Trump? 

      How corrupt does it make Paul Manafort that he gave that information to a foreign power long regarded as America’s great enemy? Same question regarding anyone who knew about and/or aided Manafort in this effort.

      The delivery of such information to Russian state operatives or those acting on behalf of the Russian state is definitional ConFraud US.  It’s a much more obvious crime than a foreign hacker writing a few lines of code that someone else later modified and used to commit crimes.

      This information exchange would go a long way to completing a picture that Mr. Mueller has been working on for some time.  Or perhaps it brings the Trump portrait down from the attic and into the light of day.

  12. Tech Support says:

    This was the missing piece I was seeking in the comments of the prior article:

    “By submitting this filing with failed redactions — whether intentionally or not — Manafort’s lawyers have told co-conspirators precisely what events Mueller asked questions about during proffer sessions, as well as what kind of evidence Mueller had obtained to learn about those events.”

    (P.S. For whatever reason, I only have access to the formatting tools in replies rather than posts.)

  13. MattyG says:

    @Marci Kiser 3:13, I’m not one of the smart ones here but IMHO there is just too much cross-pollination in all this business for the rogue campaign worker gambit to stick – at least as a DT ploy at any rate. Too many faces in the picture, too many well attended meetings, emails, trips, and goal directed activity. DT will end up needing to claim there were *lots* of rogue operators scampering around him without his knowledge. Even in his best case scenario he will be the consummate bad executive – but the evidence will drawn him in like the rest – too much of hands on guy.

  14. Mynnna says:

    Just how much trouble are his lawyers in if it was intentional and it can, at some point, be proven that this was the case?

  15. quickbread says:

    @Tech Support 4:25, I was missing this piece, too. I wonder, though, how much it really matters at this point what co-conspirators know about Mueller’s depth of knowledge and evidence about these details. Haven’t all the people who’ve been called to interview/testify done so by now? If that’s the case, how does knowing these details benefit them now? (Asking to get genuine answers from someone who knows, not to be smart.)

    This is my first comment here, though I’ve been lurking for quite some time. Thanks to Marcy and everyone who contributes to this site and discussion board. It’s been such a valuable source of info, as well as a source of hope that justice may actually prevail in the end.

  16. RLHall says:

    I love this blog and the thoughtful and civil commentary!  There’s one point that I think has been overlooked.

    The redaction fail exposed information that the investigators have been working with for some time.  It’s astonishing, and by any normal measure would be earth-shaking.

    Even so, Mueller negotiated a deal with Manafort, which says to me he isn’t the “big fish.”  Was it simply to nab higher-ups on the same sort of stuff?  Seems like they have the evidence they need for that already, without giving away the store for the testimony of a pathological liar.  I can only think that it was to get at something even more important.  I don’t know what that might be, but I feel dread thinking of it.

  17. KC SEO says:

    I’m afraid that the process could take too long and Trump’s reign might be finished before this one gets settled

    [Welcome to emptywheel. FYI, we do not do advertising or commercial promotion here, for ourselves or others. / ~Rayne]

  18. PragmaticProgressive says:

    It may be impossible to prove the redaction fail was deliberate (without impartial fact finding.)  However, analysis of the content of the text contained within those black bars should consider the following facts:

    1. Manafort did not personally file the pleading because the district court in D.C. (which hears more national secuity matters than any other court) requires:

    A. All attorneys who litigate in the court understand the court’s local rules.

    B. Electronic filing of all pleadings which need redactions actually be filed with redactions by the attorney for the party.

    2. The pleading was filed in response to an order (below) which required Manafort (through counsel) to file an unredacted copy with the court clerk and a redacted copy electronically.  Local Rule 49(e).

    “MINUTE ORDER granting 469 Sealed Motion for Leave to File Document Under Seal as to PAUL J. MANAFORT JR. (1). The Clerk of Court is directed to file under seal [469-1] Attachment A to the motion, the unredacted version of defendant’s response to the government’s submission in support of its breach determination. The Clerk of Court is also directed to unseal 469 the motion itself. It is FURTHER ORDERED that defendant shall file on the public docket [469-2] Attachment B to the motion, the redacted version of his response. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 1/8/19. (DMK)”

    3. The purpose of the pleading was to respond to the government’s determination that he breached his agreement and clarify whether he wanted a hearing. If this was an ordinary case, given the circumstances (i.e. he definitely did not want a hearing on the matter before his sentencing) there would be no benefit for Manafort to quibble with the government- much less put forth the dubious assertion detailed in this blog entry.

    4. There are a handful of parties (perhaps some foreign entities that are now exceedingly difficult to communicate with electronically) that would benefit from Manafort sending up a smoke signal about what type of receipts the special counsel confronted him with.

    5. Even though it was redacted, the part where Manafort claims he did not really mean to tell a big lie, because Manafort did not know his lie was related to a crime, the pleading is noticeably vague. Submitting the document without detailing anything about that case allows this “accidental” filing to hedge against drawing the ire of the special counsel (or the court for that matter) for compromising a potentially active criminal investigation.

    6. Adobe Acrobat (and MS Word) default to a yellow highlighting tool which means that the person who put the black bars in the document needed to deliberately change the highlighter color to black.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, yeah….maybe it was intentional. But I would not assume that. Filling redacted docs via ECF is harder than it looks, and attys screw it up all the time. It was easier before they started demanding text searchable filings.

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