The Unseen Aspects of Paul Manafort’s Lies and Truth-Telling Are as Telling as the Ones We’ve Seen

As noted, yesterday Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller’s team had proven Paul Manafort lied in three of the five areas they accused him of lying about:

  • The kickback scheme via which he got paid
  • Meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik to share polling data and discuss a “peace” deal with Ukraine
  • The role of a 7-character named person in an attempt to salvage Trump’s campaign being investigated in another district

The ruling is damning, and Manafort now may face what amounts to a life sentence (though, in her order ABJ noted that whether she’ll give him credit for acceptance of responsibility at sentencing depends “on a number of additional factors”).

Yet, in spite of the mounting evidence that Manafort shared polling data at a meeting where he also discussed a Ukrainian peace deal (a backdoor way of giving Russia sanctions relief), in spite of how damning this breach discussion has been, ABJ’s ruling is still just one step in an ongoing process.

I say that for several reasons that have to do with what we didn’t see as part of this breach determination.

We’re only seeing half of Manafort’s cooperation

First, we’re only seeing material relating to half of Manafort’s cooperation. In his declaration on the breach determination, FBI Agent Jeffrey Weiland described Manafort’s cooperation to include 14 sessions:

  • 3 pre-plea proffer sessions: September 11, 12, and 13
  • 9 debriefing sessions: September 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, October 1, October 5, October 11, and October 16
  • 2 grand jury appearances: October 26 and November 2

If I’ve tracked everything properly, the descriptions of Manafort’s lies only include material from some of those sessions:

  • 3 pre-plea proffer sessions: September 11, 12, and 13
  • 5 debriefing sessions: September 20, 21, October 1, October 5, and October 16
  • 1 grand jury appearance: October 26

That means there are three debriefing sessions and a grand jury appearance we haven’t heard anything about yet:

  • 4 debriefing sessions: September 25, 26, 27, and October 11
  • 1 grand jury appearance: November 2

In the breach hearing, Richard Westling claimed that the material we’ve seen constitutes just a “small set” of the topics covered in Manafort’s cooperation and he says some of the other topics were “more sensitive topics.”

WESTLING: And I think, you know, the last point that I would make is that given that relatively small set of areas where this occurred, whether even the allegations are being made, you know, we note that there’s not really a lot to explain. There’s no pattern, there’s no clear motive that would suggest someone who was trying to intentionally not share information. And many of the more sensitive topics that we’re aware of from a — all of us paying attention to what’s gone in the news cycle over the last many months, you know, are things where these issues didn’t come up, where there wasn’t a complaint about the information Mr. Manafort provided. And so we think that’s important context as we get started here today.

THE COURT: Do I have — and I don’t think I need them for today, but I’m certain that what you just said is also going to be a part of your acceptance of responsibility argument and argument at sentencing. Do I have the 302s from 12 days of interviews? Do I have everything, or do I only have what was given to me because it bore on the particular issues that I’m being asked to rule on today?

MR. WEISSMANN: Judge, you do not have everything. We are happy to give you the — all of the 302s. We just gave you — you have, I think, the majority of them, but not all of them.

THE COURT: Okay. And I don’t know that — if I need them. But, it’s hard to assess — and I certainly don’t think they should be a public part of any sentencing submission. But, if you want me to put this in context of more that was said, it helps to have it.

Now, it’s possible that Manafort did tell the truth about these more sensitive topics. It’s possible that (for example, with regards to Trump’s foreknowledge of the June 9 meeting), Manafort lied but prosecutors don’t have proof he did. Or it’s possible they know he lied about other issues but for investigative reasons, don’t want to share the proof they know he lied.

One of the other topics Manafort would have been asked about — which Westling’s reference to “what’s gone in the news cycle over the last many months” may reference — pertains to Roger Stone’s actions.

ABJ asked for — and presumably has or will obtain — the rest of the 302s from Manafort’s cooperation, so she may end up agreeing with Manafort’s lawyers that some of his cooperation was quite valuable.

Mueller was interested in Manafort’s cooperation, in part, to obtain intelligence

As I’ve noted before, Andrew Weissmann described Manafort’s cooperation to be somewhat unusual for the extent to which Mueller was seeking intelligence, rather than criminal evidence. Though he makes clear that that was true, as well, of Rick Gates’ early cooperation.

[T]here’s enormous interest in what I will call — for lack of a better term — the intelligence that could be gathered from having a cooperating witness in this particular investigation


And with Mr. Gates, we also wanted to make sure that we could get information, and we thought that there was — I think there was certainly a significant issue. And we dealt with it by having the defendant plead to something in addition to take — to have the ramification for it. But that is to show, I think, an example of wanting the intelligence, but dealing with what we considered to be, you know, unacceptable behavior from the Government, particularly from somebody whose information we would rely on, and potentially ask the jury to rely on.

So we may never see a great deal of what Manafort was asked about.

Mueller is still protecting an ongoing investigation

That said, Mueller is still protecting both his and the other DOJ ongoing investigation. We know what Mueller is protecting from the redactions in the transcript.

ABJ noted that much of what they discussed at the breach hearing could be unsealed, while noting that Mueller felt more strongly about keeping some things secret.

I think a large portion of what we discussed could be public. I think there are certain issues where you probably only need to redact out names and turn them back into entities. And then there are may be one or two issues where we’re really talking about something that was completely redacted at every point prior to this and will continue to be. And, hopefully, you’ll both be on the same page about that with respect to what of the investigation is not yet public. I think the Office of Special Counsel has the stronger point of view about that.

Certainly, all the names had to be redacted, under DOJ guidelines prohibiting the publication of anyone’s name who has not been charged. Likewise, the other investigation is not Mueller’s to reveal (in any case, it seems to be still active, even if Manafort’s refusal to cooperate may have protected the target of it).

But more of the rest of the discussion could have been unsealed if Mueller didn’t have ongoing interests in the topics. Those topics include Manafort’s ongoing communications with the Administration, Ukrainian peace deal/sanctions relief, and his sharing of polling data (though there’s one reference to sharing polling data on page 19 that may have gotten missed by the censors). Mueller redacted those things even though Weissmann makes clear that they believe the polling data goes to the core of what they are investigating.

MR. WEISSMANN: So — so, first, in terms of the what it is that the special counsel is tasked with doing, as the Court knows from having that case litigated before you, is that there are different aspects to what we have to look at, and one is Russian efforts to interfere with the election, and the other is contacts, witting or unwitting, by Americans with Russia, and then whether there was — those contacts were more intentional or not. And for us, the issue of [2 lines redacted] is in the core of what it is that the special counsel is supposed to be investigating.

Note his use of the present progressive. They’re still trying to answer the question about whether that August 2 amounts to witting conspiracy with Russia.

Mueller is still sitting on information about the shared polling data

It may well be that, given Manafort’s refusal to cooperate on this issue, Mueller will never be able to charge Trump’s campaign for sharing polling data with Russia in the context of sanctions relief.

But they are sitting on more information than came out publicly in this breach discussion. Starting on page 93 of the transcript, ABJ, on her own, brings up other information she has seen, that pertains to the topic.

THE COURT: I need to ask the Office of Special Counsel about something ex parte because — and so I apologize for that, but I need to do that. And it may be after I talk to them, they tell me there’s no problem with sharing it with you. But I have received information in this case, in this binder, and in other means, and I just want to make sure I understand something. And so, I can’t — I need to ask —

MR. DOWNING: We would object. But we don’t know he —

THE COURT: I note your objection. And I will deem your objection also to be a request that what we’re about to discuss be revealed to you. And that will be the first thing I’m going to ask. And we can do it at the end, after we’re done, or you can just have him come to the bench for a minute.

The ex parte discussion on this topic is fairly short. But after the lunch break, Weissmann tells ABJ that the material she was thinking of remains redacted. But he does point her to two Gates 302s from early in his cooperation that seem to provide some of the same information.

THE COURT: All right. Let me start with you, Mr. Weissmann. Is there anything further you can add to what we talked about, that you can add publicly?

MR. WEISSMANN: Yes. Yes, Your Honor. So, we haven’t finished our review, but we believe that the material that you asked about was redacted.


MR. WEISSMANN: However, I would like to direct your attention to two exhibits in the record. If you recall, I mentioned that I recalled that Mr. Gates had, very early on in his cooperation, given us information about [redacted]. And there are two 302s that are dated in, I believe, both in January of 2018. So before he actually pled guilty, so in connection with his proffers. So, the first one is Exhibit 222. And if you look at page 17 of that exhibit, there’s a long explanation of communications with [redacted] that refer to [redacted] at the direction of Mr. Manafort. And then if you look — and that is dated January 31st, 2018. And that was, of course, provided to counsel in connection with the Eastern District of Virginia trial. And Exhibit 236, and I believe I referred you previously to page 3, and I would also refer you to page 5. Both of those refer to [redacted] and also refer to the discussions of the — discussions of [redacted] at the August 2nd, 2016 meeting.

THE COURT: All right. I will look at all of that. So for right now, I’m going to leave the little conversation that we had ex parte, ex parte with your objection noted.

MR. WEISSMANN: Judge, we will continue to look to see if there is any portion that was unredacted to confirm that.

Given the issues she has presided over, this may pertain to one of the search warrant affidavits that Manafort tried to get completely unsealed last year, but which ABJ suggested pertained to other people.

In any case, there’s more on the sharing of polling data that ABJ knows about, this is relevant to its importance, but that does not appear in the unsealed transcript.

Mueller didn’t reveal all the evidence of Manafort’s attempts to contact the Administration

Finally, there appear to be communications between Manafort and Administration officials that Mueller did not release as part of this process. The government stated that clearly in a footnote (on page 27) of its breach declaration.

This is not a complete listing of such contacts Manafort had with Administration officials. Further, for the purpose of proving the falsity of Manafort’s assertions in this section, the government is not relying on communications that may have taken place, with Manafort’s consent, through his legal counsel.

And, in a bid to refute Manafort’s claim, in the redaction fail filing, that, “Mr. Manafort was well aware that the Special Counsel’s attorneys and investigators had scrutinized all of his electronic communications” because “Mr. Manafort voluntarily produced numerous electronic devices and passwords at the request of the Government,” Agent Weiland states that the FBI had found more than 10 devices or documents for which Manafort hadn’t shared a password.

Defendant said in his pleading that he has provided electronic to the government. However, although he has provided some electronic data, passwords, and documents, in more than ten instances he did not provide passwords to access his electronic communications, thumb drives, or documents.

Mueller’s team remains coy about how many of those 10 accounts, thumb drives, or documents they’ve been able to access without his assistance.

And Greg Andres provides some hints about what those other conversations involve: Manafort providing information about the investigation.

MR. ANDRES: Sure. Judge, throughout the interviews with Mr. Manafort and some of the issues we’ve discussed today, you see that he constantly either minimizes the information he has about the administration or any contact with the administration. So there’s an issue whether or not during his cooperation he’s communicating with [15 character redaction] or providing information about the questions or other things that are happening in the special counsel investigation, whether he’s sharing that with other people. And this is another example of Mr. Manafort —

THE COURT: That hasn’t been given to me as we’re troubled by this or he wasn’t truthful about that, so I don’t see how to put this in the context of that because I don’t know about that.

MR. ANDRES: Well, so for example, in the No. 4, the one that Mr. Manafort — that Mr. Weissmann just talked about with respect to the [redacted, other investigation], you see Mr. Manafort changing his story so as not to implicate either [redacted] or someone in [redacted]. I think, with respect to this issue, again, Mr. Manafort is trying to distance himself from the administration and saying he’s not having contact with the administration at a time when he’s under at least one indictment.

THE COURT: But you’re not suggesting right now that there’s more information in here about other efforts to distance himself from the administration or to deny a relationship or to deny reporting back to them?

MR. ANDRES: We’re not relying on any other evidence of that issue.

Particularly given that Manafort, between his early September proffers and his October 5 lies about the other investigation, managed to match his own testimony to that of the Trump associate being targeted in it, those communications may even date as recently as last fall (though that would mean he was communicating with the Administration from jail).

The fact that Mueller has other communications between Manafort and the Administration — but chose not to bolster their argument that Manafort lied about ongoing communications with the White House — suggests protecting what he wants to do with those communications is more valuable than convincing ABJ that Manafort lied about this topic (and, indeed, this is one of the two topics where she did not rule for the government).

For all the debate about whether Mueller is almost done or not, the things we didn’t learn about during this breach discussion are just as interesting as the things we did learn about. They suggest that all the discussion about cooperation deals (including my own) often forgets that Mueller is seeking both criminal evidence and intelligence on what the Russians were doing. They also suggest that Manafort may have provided testimony that bears on other parts of the investigation we’ve recently learned about (which might include Stone, or the Trump Tower deal) — but we can’t be sure whether Manafort told the truth, or whether he lied but Mueller either can’t prove or doesn’t want to reveal that he knows Manafort lied. They suggest that Mueller would still like to make the case, in whatever form, that Manafort intentionally gave the Russians polling data with the understanding that he’d push a Ukrainian peace deal that amounted to sanctions relief — but Manafort’s refusal to cooperate on this point might thwart that effort. Finally, they make it clear that Manafort remained a part of an effort to obstruct this investigation, including via means that bypassed the Joint Defense Agreement Trump has exploited.

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. 

121 replies
  1. General Sternwood says:

    > Manafort intentionally gave the Russians polling data with the understanding that he’d push a Ukrainian peace deal that amounted to sanctions relief

    I was thinking about the conversation in the cigar smoke, and imagined the indirect speech of gangster movies, in which the only possible evidence of a quid pro quo is Manafort’s testimony. But then I remembered, they have Gates’ testimony already. Gates printed out the “polling data.” Gates can speak to intent. So what can Manafort give them that Gates cannot? Was it the part of the meeting Gates missed? Did only Manafort communicate about it with the campaign? Did Manafort alone handle the caviar transfers?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      At a basic level, corroboration, hence the pound-the-table lawyering about Gates being an unreliable source. Harder to lock down a case when Manafort and Gates have different accounts and the other [admissable] evidence isn’t conclusive.

      Though to some degree it’s moot, because we’re reaching the point where the investigation moves out of the legal domain and into the political domain.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        No, we remain squarely in the legal domain.  That there are political implications that Congress should take up, not to mention the conspiratorial GOP, is a separate issue.

  2. Geoff says:

    Mueller’s team remains coy about how many of those 10 accounts, thumb drives, or documents they’ve been able to access without his assistance.

    I think you can safely say that, given Manafort’s technological “prowess”, Mueller has access to all of them. :)

    I feel like ABJ was given just enough to slam dunk that Manafort breached his agreement, but Mueller left enough hidden that he let Manafort hang himself through further dissembling that will be made obvious once it is finally revealed what is in all that evidence from those devices.

  3. pseudonymous in nc says:

    (“President” has nine characters.)

    I was thinking last night about how King Stupid’s legal team have consistently maximised the amount of information they get from other sources as a way to offset their client’s tendency to lie about everything. That raises the question of whether Manafort’s lies were strategically designed to make Mueller’s team demonstrate how they knew he was lying, but even if that was the strategy, it’s reached a dead end.

    At very least, ex parte is the new redacted, in the sense that even the normal redacted stuff is making its way to the White House via the JDA.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Are Rinat Akhmetshin and Rinat Akhmetov the same person or two different people?

    I have seen important references to both names. At first I thought they were the same. But now I’m not so sure.

  5. jonb says:

    mueller chose not to reveal some of the information that Manafort lied about concerning his contacts with someone higher up in the trump campaign…how many people fall into that class ?

  6. obsessed says:

    Seems like we need a database of the lengths of character names and the titles Mueller would be most likely to use. For example, the 15-character redaction could be “PRESIDENT TRUMP”. “DONALD TRUMP JR.” would be 16 if they would be expected to included the period and not include the “J.”

    Is there a lawyer-protocol for how each of these mooks would be indentified in such a filing?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      A hearing transcript is going to be less formulaic in the terms and titles that lawyers use than a formal filing. And formal filings use variable-width fonts.

      • obsessed says:

        So I guess we’d need multiple identifiers per perp, but the “7-character” has got to be KUSHNER, right? What are the other numbers that come up frequently?

        another 7 BARRACK

        • chicago_bunny says:

          There was another thread with lots of guesses on character counts:

          5s: Stone, Cohen, Gates, Trump, Flynn, Pence, Putin, Nunes, Sater, Corsi, Smith (Peter W), Hicks, Nader, Zamel, Flynn, Wiley

          6s: Patten, Bannon, Conway, Miller, Clovis, McGahn, Prince

          7s: Kushner, Kislyak, Credico, Nunberg, Assange, Torshin, Priebus, Scavino, Sanders

          8s: Manafort, Parscale

          9s: Deripaska

          10s: Kilimnik

    • Desider says:

      Russiagate scrabble. Not sure if we get to by vowels. For those asking, “collusion” is 9, “conspiracy” is 10, so they’re definitely not the same thing, but close.

  7. Savage Librarian says:

    This is from a site called Medium:

    Business records show Russian finance intertwined with Psy Group –
    Jun 14, 2018
    By: Scott Stedman

    “An analysis of the Matryoshka doll-like company structure of the private intelligence group that met with Donald Trump Jr. and Erik Prince during the 2016 campaign has revealed the presence of Russian money intertwined with Psy Group’s affiliates.
    Additionally, the beneficial owner of Psy Group has no open source connection to Israel. The British Virgin Islands shell company which ultimately owns the private intelligence group, Protexer Limited, has links to Russian commerce“
    (access article for complete story.)

  8. Jim_46 says:

    They suggest that all the discussion about cooperation deals (including my own) often forgets that Mueller is seeking both criminal evidence and intelligence on what the Russians were doing.

    What “the Russians and their foreign agents” were doing? Much is made by some (including me) about the gap between the criminality of some within the Trump circle, e.g., someone getting convicted under a law such as Contributions and Donations by Foreign Nationals, and their full culpability. Papadopoulos serves a two-week prison sentence: is that how we should measure his culpability?  Not in my book. The president may not be indictable: is that how we should measure his culpability? Of course not.

    So, putting aside the seeking of criminal evidence, we have a situation where a special counsel is investigating “what the Russians and their foreign agents were doing” from within a branch of government headed by a man who, whether he is a target of the investigation or not, is quite certainly a subject of it, and who has moreover made abundantly clear that he believes it is unnecessary, misguided, even illegitimate. What some of us don’t understand (a lot of us?) is what the endgame is for Mueller on this non-criminal component of his work. Hand over his findings to Comey, McCabe, and Rosenstein? Oh, wait …

    Adam Schiff, if you’re reading this, your moment has arrived. I hope you’re up to it.

  9. jayedcoins says:

    Regarding redaction discussions and character lengths, a thought and a question.

    What we’ve been reading and re-reading the last few days is a transcript from a hearing, not a filing. So I can’t help but wonder if redacted names are going to be a bit less consistent.

    For example, I would assume in a filing you establish the way you are referring to each person in the cast of characters, and you consistently use that. But in an oral hearing, you’d expect things like President Trump, The President, POTUS, Trump Sr., etc. to be more likely to show up in the same extended discussion.

    The questions are — is that a fair analysis I’m making, as a layman? And if it is, when hearings are transcribed, do they transcribe names like this as actually said, or do they standardize for each cast member?

    • chash12 says:

      In my experience, the answers are yes and as actually said.

      What I  don’t understand is why they were just lobbing when I would have assumed they were playing hardball in earnest:)

      • Drew says:

        I would think that part of what is going on is that both sides wanted this done, and the results they were realistically aiming at as a result of the hearing weren’t that far apart. (i.e. Manafort in prison for a long time, hoping for a pardon). The defense wanted as little established against their client & his associates, incl. Trump, as possible. The SCO wanted to reveal only as much as absolutely necessary to establish their points. This is a middlish stage of a long game, so lobbing isn’t so inappropriate at this point. I don’t know how to interpret the sentencing guidelines, but if the range was 5 yrs for Manafort fully cooperating, 8 if SCO said he voided the deal but didn’t establish much up to 20 years if it was a catastrophe & the judge made everything at maximum & run consecutively, I would guess the outcome on the high side against the defense, but not the full on catastrophe. The defense in no way has a win here, but their real life expectations had to be somewhat limited anyway.

        • chash12 says:

          Interesting  Drew. I was actually poking fun at the court reporter (which is evil-they have the hardest jobs in the world) who seemed to leave the y out of lobbying in the transcript. To the extent there was a point to my wiseguy comment, it was to underline the extensive vagaries of  transcripts even at this high level of practice.

          That having been said, I think your points about what is actually going on here make a lot of sense and I’m glad my sophomoric stab at humor brought them out, however indirectly. Manafort’s room for maneuvering is limited and all of his options suck. OSC is playing 3-dimensional chess.

        • Drew says:

          I totally missed the misspelling of lobbying, so I didn’t see it was a joke. Didn’t mean to get pedantic.

  10. BobCon says:

    Can someone clear up an issue regarding public access to information?

    Looking at the list of Manafort’s cooperation, I know that there is a very high wall around revealing what goes on before a grand jury. Can anything be said about the debriefings and pre-proffer sessions — are those also very hard to get into the public realm, or is it more likely that at some point we’ll get a fuller accounting of what was going on there?

    I recognize in part it depends on various rules, such as information about classified operations would be off limits; but beyond those rules, are these records generally off limits to things like FOIA or congressional investigations?

  11. Anne says:

    Have I understood correctly that Kilimnik regularly communicated with Paulie by email?

    Why is a KGB-trained person doing illegal stuff over email or texting or any other darned means of electronic communication?  He can’t be as stupid as T’s crew.  OpSec, guys.

    • emptywheel says:


      I actually had a convo with a former high ranking spook person about this last year. He thought they hadn’t thought through the way we collect.

      I think they knew exactly how we collect and so made sure these were accessible.

      • Geoff says:

        Receipts, FTW. I think you can start from the assumption that all of the Russian players know this game way better than even the best informed of “team USA.” And I use that term extremely loosely.

      • viget says:

        More receipts, eh?

        In a similar vein, why was Roger Stone so careless with incriminating info with Randy Credico?  Was that just a wild goose chase for the FBI (meaning Credico was just a ruse?)  I’ve seen speculation that Aaron Nevins is the real cut out.  Or is Stone really that dumb?

    • P J Evans says:

      Codewords and personal jargon. You can say a lot with them. (If you went on a birdwatching walk for the first time, you’d miss a lot of what’s going on, because people use nicknames for the birds. “LBJ” isn’t just a president.)

  12. CaliLawyer says:

    If Manafort had been completely freelancing at the Aug 2 cigar bar meeting, he wouldn’t have to lie to protect TrumpCo and boost his pardon chances – if anything, taking the bullet for a pardon would be the money move at that point. Manafort confirms this with his “win/win” remarks. Either DJT or one of the princelings signed off on this meeting.

        • Rayne says:

          Interesting…what I also find equally interesting is the lack of photos and videos featuring customers/clients on the internet from the Grand Havana. Should be saturated with everyone carrying cellphones but nope.

    • MattyG says:

      I agree. What we’ve been allowed to see to this point is consistent with a TeamDT partnership – too much doesn’t make sense from an actions/motive POV otherwise. And besides, DT would have already called him a lying rat if there was any chance M had gone rogue on him. DT and “good man” Manafort are joined at the hip, sadly;)

  13. Savage Librarian says:

    Curiouser and curiouser (or clearer and clearer?)
    “Exclusive: Trump’s 2015 Deal In Moscow Is Directly Tied to His Ocean Club Hotel in Panama
    Law firms in Cyprus and Panama — both with links to allegations of money laundering — connect Trump, his Moscow developer, and his Panama Hotel “-
    Scott Stedman – 1/12/18

    “Newly obtained documents and open source information have revealed that Trump’s Ocean Club Hotel in Panama and the 2015 Trump Tower Moscow Letter-Of-Intent with Russian developer IC Expert both trace back to the same Cypriot lawyer, Christodoulos Vassiliades.” 

    (see article for whole story.)

  14. Frank Probst says:

    So assuming Trump doesn’t intervene, we’ve got 3 big things in Manafort’s:

    1.  Sentencing by ABJ.

    2.  Sentencing by Ellis (who, if I recall correctly, specifically delayed issuing his sentence until after ABJ ruled on whether or not Manafort had violated his plea agreement).

    3.  Transfer from the Alexandria jail to his future residence.

    Does anyone know who’s going to rule first?  And are we going to end up having to listening to the definitions of “consecutive” verses “concurrent ” for hours on end?

    • emptywheel says:

      EDVA is not scheduled–it had been scheduled for February 8, but he bumped it bc of the breach determination. The PSR is done there, so he could reschedule and move fairly quickly.

  15. Ewan says:

    ABJ :« it comes from the same lawyer who tried to sell me a little bit of a bill of goods in connection with the loan documents during the bond hearing? Like, how is he suddenly sending this supposed promissory note that existed way back when? »

    That’s in the breach hearing. It is a part about how Manafort covered how he was paid. Who is the lawyer that wrote this bogus paper a few months ago, do we know?

  16. cat herder says:

    “Christodoulos Vassiliades – 24 letters”
    No, that’s 25. A (space) hidden behind a black box counts as a character the same as a letter/number. You don’t know it’s a space and not something else until you know what it is.

    “cat herder” is 10 characters – I haven’t been keeping a chart, do I need to hire a lawyer?? Shit! Shit!

    • Arj says:

      Ah, but suppose they’re using aliases…?  I think the redactions should be in scratch card form, with a prize for the winner.  An ostrich-skin jacket, say.

  17. cfost says:

    Re “the way we collect:”
    Can/do we collect from an encrypted mobile LAN originating from an Airbus A319 sitting on a tarmac in, say, Charlotte or Newark? Not a phone or internet LAN, but a wireless one. Asking for a friend :)

  18. Jockobadger says:

    Looks like that mean old coot Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.  Odd that he too was a tyrannical POS just like our erstwhile president.  Can’t stand the sight of the mofo.  JHC

  19. Wotadog says:

    I’m trying to keep track via your great analysis of Mueller’s progress. Is there a Marcy post on the intelligence side (besides the criminal side) that I can read?
    I found this post today:
    Christopher Titus Verified account @TitusNation 11:21 AM – 14 Feb 2019
    A friend of mine sat next to John Brennan on a plane and asked him if the Russia thing was as bad as they say. John Brennan said, “Can’t tell you what, but it’s much worse than you think.”
    Mueller hasn’t found too little, he found too much.

  20. Eureka says:

    Thank you for distinguishing the dates/ sessions and what those distinctions (and other topical references) may entail.

    I keep returning to the thought that places like the Havana Club must be surveilled-up tighter than a drum, by the ownership, as a matter of course- at least up to the threshold of a possibly Private Room (sic). If so, that would present opportunities for both intercepts and attendance by cctv (if not by phone).

  21. e.a.f. says:

    P J Evans, the next time you refer others to a picture like that, PLEASE, PLEASE, put a warning on it.  Dinner on my key board does  not bode well for an evening of entertainment reading about the American political scandals.

    What has bothered me is, why did Manafort lie?   He had a deal in place which would have reduce jail time, yet he lied.  Did he think he could get away with it?  Perhaps, some people like him do have an inflated sense of self.  However, given the years he spent in the business he ought to have known under estimating Mueller wouldn’t be smart.  Never met Mueller, never saw a picture of him, until this enquiry.  What I do know from just watching his body language, you don’t mess with him.  He is smarter and tougher than most.

    Reviewed Manafort’s “work history” and concluded he doesn’t know when he is lying or when he is telling the truth.  Having dug himself into a lie, doesn’t know how to get out of it because he can’t remember the truth.  Now to be a good liar, you need an excellent memory.  As we age, some loose that ability, to remember the lies.   In my opinion, he engages his mouth before his brain, what may be left of it.  If you’ve been in a business for a very long time, even if your mental capabilities decline some what you continue because you know the job and its workings.  Manafort, couldn’t keep track any more.  Its the only reason which comes to mind.

    I’m sure I’ll hear from other what their opinion is.

    Not good at math so counting is out.  O.K. I don’t know enough of the players to know who’s name it is or title.

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.   Given the lack of good t.v. shows, this is one the blogs which provide my entertainment.  Thank you!  O.K. its not entertainment, but when you live in a country which isn’t involved, it can be fun.

    • P J Evans says:

      The place I ran into it didn’t hide the images. That’s even worse. (If they were going to be pasted in for real, I’d put spoiler tags around them – that’s a real HTML code, that overwrites everything between with gray, like redacting – except that it disappears when you mouse over it. — I don’t want to see that one either –)

    • Avattoir says:

      Charlie Black, the senior figure in the Black, Manafort, Stone, Atwell et al lobbying concern, is quite open with characterizing Manafort as “brilliant” and by far the cleverest of his type Black not only worked with but has ever known.

      What he did in getting Yanukovych into power in the Ukraine, and the moves he made on behalf of getting Trump elected president, reflect a deep – scary scary deep – appreciation of how electoral politics can be manipulated to get thugs into office.

      I can’t comment on every single thing you’ve read that’s attributed to Manafort – for one thing, I don’t know what all you’ve read, how its traced to Manafort, what the context and order was, etc – but I’m going to suggest here that you’re just wrong.

      Manafort’s not remotely risk averse, he’s clearly had an elevated sense of self-regard for his entire adult life, and the things he’s been trying to pull over in 2000s require something akin to evil genius to pull off. Among those things has been the execution of his plan to use features the SCO’s campaign against him as pass on information to the man who controls his life preserver, and yes, due in no small part to the demands of that plan and the limits on his resources, that does come across as seemingly crazy at some points, addled at others.

      But IMO it’s a categorical mistake to equate what Manafort has been saying with what he’s thinking, in particular what he’s been up to, and therefore to conclude he’s some confused doddering old fuzzbrain.

    • Lulu says:

      ok I’m a total newbie here. I just discovered this awesome site. I’ve been a lookie-Lou for awhile but I have a way out theory for why Manafort lied. First off I think that it could be a combination of things and not just one ie: to protect trump, hopes of pardon, scared to death of his comrade buddies but what about this…

      since we know it’s at the “heart of the matter” what if he’s scared that if he tells the truth, than the office of the SP will have a slam dunk case for treason and isn’t that a capital offense? Maybe I’m way out there but I can’t help thinking that!

  22. HighDesertWizard says:

    Off topic, but relevant to the larger, current political context…

    All this current drama about Manafort, Barr vs Mueller, the Border / Shutdown / National Emergency debates, etc., all serve to keep our minds occupied while the plan for Trump to meet with Kim jong-un and “make a deal” with this “wonderful man” that will net out to upend decades of US security policy in Asia.

    Does Trump care if the National Emergency he might declare gets overruled when, as a result, discussion of this National Emergency of our Asian Security Policy being upended is established?

    Are our Justice and Security Policy leaders going to sit back and allow him to do this?

    Inquiring minds want to know.


    • HighDesertWizard says:

      Forgot to remind… That meeting is scheduled to take place within 2 weeks.

      So I’m wondering if that meeting’s timing isn’t some kind of trigger for Mueller taking some kind of action that gets the meeting action?

      Sorry for my poorly worded previous post. I hope what I intended to communicate is clear enough.

    • HighDesertWizard says:

      As I write this, Mika and Scarborough are going on and on about how the Republicans had two years to install a wall but didn’t. ‘They want the issue, not the wall”, they say.

      As I hear it, the conventional wisdom is that the Republicans want the issue because of the racism of their constituents.

      But is that Trump’s motivation for wanting this crisis of declaring a National Emergency related to the wall?

      I don’t know about others, but I have trouble figuring out if Trump is stupid or an evil genius, or both.

      Whatever the case, the facts go like this…

      In the midst of stirring up profound national drama around several issues that keep the media and our minds occupied, Donald Trump has scheduled a meeting with the North Koreans and the facts appear to be that the US is acquiescing in NK becoming a nuclear power able to strike the US.

      I apologize for splitting my concern about this into multiple posts. I’ll collapse them into a single post from this point forward.

  23. Rusharuse says:

    Wear a shirt that’s way too big

    Cut your hair like a real bad wig

    Get some pills that make you woozy

    Use a walking stick now that’s a doozy

    Forget to shave and drool real thick

    Thats the Paul Manafort secret –  for lookin real sick

    • elk_l says:

      Manafort thinks we don’t remember Vincent “The Enigma in the Bathrobe” Gigante or he has been lying and is truly physically deteriorating from fear of how the Russians (or their outsourced agent) will eventually dispose of him (perhaps, in his mind, with greater cruelty than Kashoggi).

  24. harpie says:

    I haven’t been able to keep up with this comment section. Has there been any discussion about the following, from late yesterday afternoon ET? 1:53 PM – 14 Feb 2019

    [quote] The judge in Paul Manafort’s case is unsealing a few words in the transcript from the sealed Feb. 4 hearing – doesn’t give us much to work with [end quote]

    • harpie says:

      Tillman continues:

      In case you’re curious, here’s what the new version of the transcript of the Feb. 4 hearing in Manafort’s case looks like (see the previous tweet for the earlier version of the redactions) – it refers to info about convos Kilimnik had with former State Dept. officials [screenshot] 

    • harpie says:

      @spicyfiles adds 2:09 PM – 14 Feb 2019

      Per the Court’s Order // Page 76 now includes (green color) the words the Judge ordered un-redacted // line 13: the words “at the U.S. embassy in” // line 14: the words “the Ukraine” // line 15: the words “that Mr. Kilimnik has been” // line 16 : the words “the United States  State Department 

  25. Laura says:

    Is there a repository of the publicly released Mueller investigation documents and/or hearing transcripts?

    Last weekend I picked my way through the Manafort breach hearing transcript. Fascinating.  It’s hard work parsing the exchanges and I came away with even more respect for emptywheel’s dogged determination and forensic skills.

    Long plane trip home today, would enjoy reading more.

  26. Savage Librarian says:

    OK. I’m ready to concede that the Bannon associate who said, “Well done” in the Stone indictment may not be Susie Wiles :(

    Now I’m thinking it may be more likely to be Stephen Miller. He was in meetings with DonJr., Kushner, Bannon, Prince, Zamel and Nader. Here is some more info that led me to this conclusion.

    Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election
    New York Times – May 19, 2018

    By Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and David D. Kirkpatrick
    “A String of Meetings”
    “Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader were together at a Midtown Manhattan hotel at about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of Aug. 3 when Mr. Nader received a call from Mr. Prince summoning them to Trump Tower. When they arrived, Stephen Miller, a top campaign aide who is now a White House adviser, was in Donald Trump Jr.’s office as well, according to the people familiar with the meeting.”
    “After the inauguration, both Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader visited the White House, meeting with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon.
    At that time, Mr. Nader was promoting a plan to use private contractors to carry out economic sabotage against Iran that, he hoped, might coerce it to permanently abandon its nuclear program. The plan included efforts to deter Western companies from investing in Iran, and operations to sow mistrust among Iranian officials. He advocated the project, which he estimated would cost about $300 million, to American, Emirati and Saudi officials.

    Last spring, Mr. Nader traveled to Riyadh for meetings with senior Saudi military and intelligence officials to pitch his Iran sabotage plan. He was convinced, according to several people familiar with his plan, that economic warfare was the key to the overthrow of the government in Tehran. One person briefed on Mr. Nader’s activities said he tried to persuade Mr. Kushner to endorse the plan to Crown Prince Mohammed in person on a trip to Riyadh,”

    [FYI: link to article added, links to bylines removed. Multiple embedded links cause comments to move to moderation. /~Rayne]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Thanks, Rayne. Wish I had your skills and talent. Not likely to gain them any time soon. Rest assured, though, I do admire them and appreciate all your work.

      • Rayne says:

        Practice, practice. Trying poking around in the HTML lessons at W3C Schools so that you understand how links work: HTML Links

        Not every bit of HTML will work in comments for security reasons but ‘a href’ tag for links does, and the comment system’s formatting tool does it for you.

  27. klynn says:

    OT sort of…

    It would be great to discuss how D/T will be able to use a national emergency declaration to benefit himself irt the Mueller investigation. This declaration is not about a wall.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m sure with Stephen Miller’s help Trump has tried to duplicate the Reichstag Fire Decree. He shot himself in the foot just now:

      Peter Alexander @PeterAlexander

      Trump, responding to my question, concedes there’s no national emergency to justify building his wall: “I didn’t need to do this… I just want to do it faster.”
      That answer will complicate his legal case.

      11:19 AM – 15 Feb 2019

      Now the question is whether federal courts will see it his way or no — or worse.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Ultimately it is about undermining democracy before Houston and DFW flip Texas into a very big version of Colorado. The future of Texas is more urban and the Republicans probably cannot win if that happens.

        There may be enough voter suppression left in the system wreck democracy in the remaining 8-10 years.

        It really is coming down to clean v dirty states.

        Thanks for the continuing hard work.

  28. viget says:

    Rayne and klynn–

    Been saying that for a while now.  This is about a power grab.  Right now would be a good time for another indictment to drop, preferably with lots of salacious details….  Problem is, Barr may not allow it.

    • harpie says:

      Well, there is this 8:40 AM – 15 Feb 2019

      It appears to be the beginning of the bitter end for Paul Manafort. // The Special Counsel’s Office is going to file its sentencing memo for his criminal case in Virginia TODAY. Stand by for a fast-moving Friday. 

      • harpie says:

        Marcy tweets this,  9:19 AM – 15 Feb 2019

        I noted yesterday that breach determination process revealed Mueller had evidence of the following they hadn’t shared publicly: // 1) Manafort’s ongoing comms w/Admin // 2) Evidence he shared polling data / The sentencing memo today (in both DC and EDVA cases) may tell us whether Mueller thinks he can DO anything with this further evidence, or whether Manafort’s lies prevent him from making the case.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    About Trump’s blather about a national emergency – and his then admission that there isn’t one, he just wants to evade Congress’s authority faster – the federal district and appellate courts won’t think much of it. I don’t think Roberts will either. Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito and Thomas are likely to be for untrammeled executive power.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Don’t count on Roberts!! This is a race to get the indictments out and sentencing done before the SCOTUS gets to finish off our “democracy”

    • BobCon says:

      I suspect Roberts will try to thread the needle, with some kind of junk like blocking any lower court interference with Trump’s order, sending the issue back down to reconsider some point, and when it finally reemerges, shrug shoulders and say it’s too late to unspend that money.

      Whatever happens, I have little doubt that the right wing justices will accept the administration lawyers saying that they shouldn’t consider Trump’s words or anything he writes when evaluating whether there actually is an emergency. I doubt the right wing justices will accept that they have any reason to consider facts at all.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Another pithy observation from EW, via twtr:

    Also, really looking forward to the tic toc of how Trump’s actually competent WHCO couldn’t prevent him from issuing this “Emergency” on the same day he signed law that refused him this $$.

    The man is unstoppable so long as the GOP keeps sitting on its thumbs.

  31. Badger Robert says:

    The United States has experienced an attempt to end democracy and institute an oligarchy before. Just because a coalition formed to prevent that from succeeding before, does not mean the result this time will be the same.
    The plotters weaken commitment to democrat values of mutual respect, commit about 34% of the population to a belief system, and find a cadre of nihilistic functionaries, and scare otherwise respectable leading citizens.
    Demonize the opposition as unpatriotic and start a war.

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s my understanding that in 1776, only about a third of the [adult male] population supported independence. Another third were fine with how things were, and the rest just wanted to be left out of the mess.

  32. Badger Robert says:

    And this faith in the legal community is not supported by evidence. The Constitution was amended and the Civil Rights Acts were passed in the wake of the Civil War. The legal community rationalized Jim Crow and called it good and just, without the constitution ever changing.

  33. Andrew Long says:

    Amazing analysis, as always. 1 minor correx:

    3 debriefing sessions: September 25, 26, 27, and October 11

    Should be 4 sessions!

  34. Strawberry Fields says:

    The judge saw evidence that verified that Manafort shared polling data with kilimnik which could not be shown to the defense.
    Mueller interviewed Trump’s polling worker, then likely cross checked the polling data against Russian targeted attacks. I wonder if it that is part of the evidence hidden from the defense, as it would also provide evidence of collusion which they wouldn’t want prematurely shared in the joint defense agreement.

  35. P J Evans says:

    @Rayne February 15, 2019 at 8:36 pm
    Looks like it’s overloaded, so I’ll have to wait on collecting it. (I have a nice folder full of legal docs.)

  36. Laura says:

    Thanks. I’ll do that.

    I’m kind of surprised no one has created an online archive of the publicly released investigation documents yet. If I weren’t working 50+ hours a week I might take up the challenge of putting together a basic repository. But alas, I spend enough time at my desk as it is.

    Edited to add: I’m cracking up and SMH at Trump’s ‘I don’t really need to do this’ comment. His logorrhea strikes again!

  37. Tom says:

    @ PJ Evans at Feb. 15th 4:08 pm above — Those one-third divisions between rebels, loyalists, and undecided/go-with-the-winners is my general understanding as well. There’s also the fascinating idea put forward by Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston that the real reason for the American Revolution was the fear on the part of colonial slaveholders that there was a growing abolitionist sentiment in Great Britain that threatened the American colonies’ economic system and way of life. See his 2014 book, “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America”.

  38. Ewan says:

    @EW February 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm
    «  GRU ../.. I think they knew exactly how we collect and so made sure these were accessible »

    Don’t forget what happened in Salisbury, though: an embarrassing screw up in terms of leaving trails. The follow up showed that this came partly from on excessive reliance on GRU versus the other services, and naturally inter-service wars.
    The adversaries are just humans, too. And the system is corrupt, normal careers poor, so anyone ambitious is lining for the big hit, that will land you a big house and all the trimmings (Hero of Russia) that your colleagues will never have. Then, you can be a bit careless in your rush to do it first and before the others.

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