Manafort’s Bid for a Pardon: No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion No Collusion

Paul Manafort submitted his DC sentencing memo. I lay out some of his more ridiculous claims about wanting to serve public servants like Mobutu Sese Seko, Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi and his use of “garden variety” to describe his epic corruption in this thread. Particularly given the way that parts of this memo will surely piss off Amy Berman Jackson (and probably even TS Ellis, his EDVA judge), the real substance of his argument is this:

Importantly, the defendant has not been charged with any crimes related to the primary focus of the Special Counsel’s investigation; i.e., “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump[,]” otherwise referred to as “Russian collusion” by the national media.


As said at the beginning of the case, there is no evidence of Russian collusion.


Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election, the Acting Attorney General appointed the Special Counsel in May 2017 to investigate allegations that his campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. The scrutiny was (and remains) intense because the investigation involves a sitting U.S. president.


Rousing the defendant and his wife from bed, the federal agents entered their home with guns drawn and searched high and low—not for evidence of Russia collusion—but rather for evidence of tax and financial crimes and Mr. Manafort’s failure to file forms under the obscure FARA statute.


In October 2017, unable to establish that Mr. Manafort engaged in any Russia collusion, the Special Counsel’s Office charged Mr. Manafort in the District of Columbia with crimes that did not relate to Mr. Manafort’s work on the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and generally involved his employment years ago by Ukrainian oligarchs, politicians and the Party of Regions. Several months later, in February 2018, the Special Counsel increased the pressure by charging Mr. Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) with tax fraud, failing to report foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud—allegations, once again, that predated the 2016 campaign or that were unrelated to collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.5

5 As U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III noted in the EDVA matter, the Special Counsel’s strategy in bringing charges against Mr. Manafort had nothing to do with the Special Counsel’s core mandate—Russian collusion—but was instead designed to “tighten the screws” to compel Mr. Manafort to cooperate and provide incriminating information about others. See United States v. Manafort, 18-CR-0083-TSE (EDVA), Tr. of May 4, 2018 Motions Hearing at 5


The Special Counsel’s investigation and prosecution in this case (and the EDVA case) do not charge him with anything related to Russia collusion or to the presidential campaign. 34

34 As Judge Ellis noted in the EDVA case: “And so what is really going on … is that this indictment [was] used as a means of exerting pressure on the defendant to give you information that really is in [the Special Counsel’s] appointment, but itself has nothing whatever to do with it.” United States v. Manafort, 18-CR0083-TSE (E.D.Va. 2018), Tr. of May 4, 2018 Motions Hearing at 8.


The sentences already imposed in other cases that have been investigated and/or prosecuted by the Special Counsel’s Office reflect the fact that courts recognize that these prosecutions bear little to no relation to the Special Counsel’s core mandate of investigating allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

Particularly given ABJ’s finding that Manafort lied about how he gave the Russian government polling data via Konstantin Kilimnik amid conversations about a sanctions-ending Ukraine “peace” plan, and given that the warrant to search his Alexandria condo explicitly including Russian conspiracy in the affidavit, the eight different claims Mueller wasn’t searching for and didn’t find “collusion” are false.

But that’s doesn’t matter. Manafort’s job — if he wants the pardon he has been playing for all this time — is to keep repeating that lie, just like the guy he’s speaking to.

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. 

93 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Importantly, the defendant has not been charged with any crimes related to the primary focus of the Special Counsel’s investigation;

    I think there’s a word missing right after the word “not” in this sentence in Manafort’s filing. That word is “yet.”

    For instance, perhaps Mueller has one more big set of indictments yet to come (or be unsealed), charging Manafort, Don Jr., Jared, and the folks with whom they spoke concerning the Trump Tower meeting with ConFraudUS. Or perhaps there are pending indictments related to the meeting of Gates, Manafort, and Kilimnick where the polling data was passed along.

    Patience, Mr. Manafort. I’m relatively confident that those charges will come.

    • taluslope says:

      I dunno about more charges for Manafort. I’m hoping Mueller has bigger fish to fry and Manafort is already rather crispy.

      At times I actually feel sorry for Manafort (I know watch my tongue or I’ll be banished from this site); my how the mighty have fallen.

      • Scott Woody says:

        I gather that you, like myself, were unaware until recently about the hacked texts obtained from Manifuck’s daughters re: how he had a habit of farming-out his brain-damaged wife to satisfy the sexual desires of PM and, perhaps, the 8-12 men he brought into his wife’s bedroom (see It sounds truthy to me and, while I do not begrudge any consenting adults of their kinks, knowing this makes it MUCH easier to remove any nagging concerns about whether PM is finally getting his just desserts.

        • Rayne says:

          The problem with the texts is that we can’t be absolutely certain they weren’t in some way manipulated (though the daughters haven’t protested the contents). The release may also have been a form of manipulation itself — inoculation against what, one might ask.

          I find the alleged abuse of his spouse abhorrent, but that’s not why he’s charged. It says something more about his gross sense of entitlement if the text content is true — he doesn’t feel he owes even his closest relationships any fundamental respect. Why would he respect laws?

          EDIT — Just realized while reading that Psychology Today link the kink and deviancy described in the article could be the stuff Russia acquired from RNC’s emails which have not been leaked. One could easily imagine RNC folks talking about political risk factors and action plans based on associations with persons who’ve been linked to certain behaviors. ~smh~

          • vicks says:

            I had a hard time reading about those texts.
            If true Manafort is even filthier than we thought.
            On another note WTF is wrong with these women?
            WHO simply sits and gossips about what a rat their father is for abusing their mother in the vilest of ways?
            These are grown women, not children hiding in terror in a closet not understanding what is going on. The only “fear” they seem to have (at the time the texts were written) is he will stop writing checks
            I would take everything they say with a grain of salt. I can’t imagine what a person would have to tell themselves in order to sleep at night with this baggage but it’s not unreasonable to think that whatever stories they tell themselves come as a bit unreal.
            I 100% apologize if I am missing something of the story, I know they comment that their mom refuses to do anything about it, but they also claim that their mom is in a vulnerable position because of a brain injury.
            I see their mother as a victim and her daughters as another example of individuals too weak and/or too greedy to do the right thing when it’s hard.
            I would love to be wrong on this one. Anyone?

            • Rayne says:

              This is *exactly* how the text messages work, though. You’re now concentrating on the daughters and the wife instead of the criminal who defrauded the U.S..

              I can’t worry about the texts; as I said earlier in thread, we don’t know if the texts are manipulated.

              But I can avoid being manipulated by the texts. I can’t worry about adult women who aren’t directly involved in the case as co-conspirators. I can focus on Manafort and what he’s done to our democracy.

              p.s. You now have three different usernames. Please stick to one, thanks.

              • darms says:

                Texts?????? Ye cats, is there yet another rabbit hole out here or is this something I should probably best ignore? (yeah, I know about Stone’s kinky past, Studio 54 & Roy Cohn…)

          • Democritus says:

            Have you gotten to the part where he tells his daughters they are to blame for their moms suicide attempt? I read those quite sometime ago, and honestly it took me six months Or so after reading them before I started talking about it online.

            It’s a complex issue. He is a piece of work though, and the wife sounded very coerced, shamed, and had to drink to blackouts to partake. Hence why I didn’t want to mention it and make that public. It’s been a serious ethical dimemma for me.

            Damnit with the user name again. My neck arm is bugging m so he the auto fill pops I’m trying to click and assuming it fills I think. I’ll be more careful. Sorry!😳🙃😕

            Shoot, treatment is tomorrow and hopefully I can score a trigger point injection with the extra cortisone.

            • Rayne says:

              As I told Vicky/vic/Vics, the texts can be used to manipulate us. They can redirect our attention too easily. He’s a criminal based on what SCO found and that’s what I have to focus on because to look at the rest means I’ll miss the connection he has with Russia and Trump.

              It’s kind of like the pee tape in the dossier. Everybody talked about the tape because it was prurient detail but failed to look at the big picture: there was a conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, hijacking our democracy. The pee tape inoculated us in such a way the public didn’t jump more quickly on the much, much bigger story.

              • Democritus says:

                Yes, I’ve had that thought about the pee tape. But Manafort texts have been out for a while, and we all shy away. I think that’s likely good, it’s too sordid I feel bad for her to be honest. But then measured against the impact of getting and accurate assessment of Manafort. (Not that I care about the swinging, or multiple partners, eh. I honestly do not care what consenting adults do, providing they aren’t causing massive permanent damage like the extreme body modding community maybe. But other than that swinging or hatever That’s not that big a deal to me, not my thing- I’m way to insecure to pull those arrangements off;-) , but whatever. So long as it’s adults, who are able to give consent, and consensual, but I’m not sure how much she consented . Her seeming loathing of the acts is what is my problem with it)

                But yes, I can see how the topic could be easily manipulated among the puritanical wing, which could be another reason I didn’t say much about it. The double standards and fake protesting by the right gets old :)

                Plus the ickiness factor. Once he breached his deal though, then his conduct and being the type of person who would do that seemed relevant… ugh I should try to sleep.

        • Ckymonstaz says:

          Haha, hang in there BMAZ! It’s yeoman’s work your doing trying to squash this but does remind me of my endless yard battle here in PHX after every rain storm. Just can’t stop the never ending weeds from popping their ugly heads up thru the gravel :)

      • Tom says:

        “Garden variety” was the term used to describe Manafort’s various fraud and tax evasion offences on page 1 of the SCO’s Sentencing Memo, but I’m sure it was meant to be taken sardonically, not literally in the way that Manafort’s lawyers have quoted it.

        • Rayne says:

          My -__- was that the phrase was ever used to describe a decade-plus of tax and bank fraud along with all other white collar crimes amounting to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Hard to shame someone after spending much of their adult life committing “garden variety” crimes in exchange for substantial financial reward when their behavior is labeled “esoteric.”

          • Arj says:

            If it’s garden-variety crimes, let’s hope they’re F1 hybrids and don’t breed true to type. The name-changing daughter suggests it may be so. The old weed himself needs digging up though.

            • Jockobadger says:

              Speaking of F1 hybrids – OT a bit – it appears that Toro Rosso and even Haas may be competitive this year Bmaz. Thoughts? Please disregard if this is too OT or inappropriate here. Thanks to all of you.

              Tomorrow will be one of those horrifying spectacles where I have to hold my hand over my eyes but just baaarely peak through anyway…

              • bmaz says:

                That its the word coming out of early testing. And all the teams are showing improved reliability. Assuming that holds, it will sure make for a better season.

  2. AirportCat says:

    Well he already defecated in the punch bowl with his non-cooperation under his cooperation agreement, so what else is he to do but go swimming in it? Still, if I were the judge I think this would push me to the uppermost end of the sentencing guidelines because there is clearly no remorse or acknowledgement of wrongdoing, only persistent mendacious criminality.

    • Drew says:

      One thing seems clear about Judge Amy Berman Jackson. She is an extremely careful jurist who works hard to keep her personal feelings out of her decisions (even when her personal feelings have been provoked). This is why she is so effective in not putting up with bullshit, she adds no bullshit of her own.

      However, among the things that that means is that she won’t put up with disingenuous assertions like this and if the defense’s entire rationale for a mitigated sentence is disingenuousness, she will be left with what the prosecution has put forward, which includes making her sentence of Manafort consecutive with the EDVA sentence and going to the top of the recommended guidelines (or even to the statutory maximum).

  3. bie phiephus says:

    I get that Manafort might think it’s his only play, but it’s a hell of a long shot to think Trump is all of a sudden going to find loyalty for his minions. Should have stuck with the plea deal.

    BTW, after all the “Mueller is wrapping up soon”, “oh no he’s not” flip flop, what are the odds that Mueller will bring sweeping ConFraudUS indictments?

      • Sharon says:

        I’m trying to stay calm about Barr. It may be magical thinking, but I keep telling myself Barr conned the con to get the job and his agenda is actually to protect the investigation. Like I said, may be magical thinking.

        • Hika says:

          I’m in the same magical kingdom as you, hoping and wishing Bob Barr will honor his oath to the Constitution, and honor his friendship with Mueller. (The fact that he was involved in the handing out of pardons to Iran-Contra malefactors at the end of Bush41’s term does worry me.)

          • Tom says:

            I’ve heard Lou Dobbs (any relation to Fred C.?) and other right wing types talk about William Barr as if he were the 7th Cavalry riding to the rescue of the beleaguered Trump homesteaders, but I prefer to see Barr and Mueller as the two old grizzled gunslingers strapping on their shootin’ irons and saddlin’ up to go after those thievin’ no good varmints, the notorious Trump Gang!

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    It’s utterly cynical. I’m not sure if it’s *exactly* a pardon play: trolling ABJ and Ellis feels more like a bid for max-guidelines sentences. That sets up a rationale for commutation to time served (shades of Libby) and a dare for Mueller to show his hand on as-yet uncharged crimes, which in turn would mean going through Barr.

    But you know more about the commutation gambit than most of us.

    Also, no letter of mitigation from the daughter who said he “has killed people in Ukraine knowingly” and who recently changed her last name.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Interestingly, I believe Patty Hearst was the only person who was both commuted (Carter) and pardoned (Clinton.) Mueller was adamantly opposed to the pardon.

      It might be said that he was “constitutionally” abhorred by the prospect of a rich, elite person mocking the law. So, he has strong feelings in this regard.

      I guess the question remains whether this is a universal standard for him or a partisan one. Was it Plato or Aristotle who said, Good has two meanings: good in the general sense and good for somebody.

      So, what is the greater good? This is relative because truth has many faces (or so the maxim says.) And that is why we are all so anxious about the outcome.

      We seem united in what we would like. And we worry that they may be united and fused to an alternative outcome. Time will tell…

      • Valley girl says:

        ~~Interestingly, I believe Patty Hearst was the only person who was both commuted (Carter) and pardoned (Clinton.) Mueller was adamantly opposed to the pardon.~~

        What is your basis for saying that Mueller was adamantly opposed? You need to give some concrete basis for this statement. Without that, your further comments are, pardon me, hot air.

        I have read most of your comments with interest and appreciation. This one raised questions for me.

        Also see

        ~~Hearst, the daughter of newspaper tycoon, Randolph Hearst, briefly became the most famous woman in the world when, as a 19-year-old student of art history in Berkeley, California, she was kidnapped by eight members of a revolutionary terrorist group.

        For 57 days, Patty Hearst lived in a cupboard at a safe house. She was blindfolded, sexually assaulted, then raped repeatedly. Her only conversations were lectures from her captors about the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

        On the 58th day of her ordeal Hearst tried to win her freedom by joining the SLA, a revolutionary group, and ended up carrying out bank robberies for them.

        When most of the SLA were tracked down by the FBI and burnt to death in their safe house, Hearst survived. One year later, she was captured by the FBI,and convicted for robbery. She spent two years in prison before President Carter commuted her sentence.~~

        How much do you actually know about the Hearst case? I lived across the Bay during the whole of it with wall-to-wall coverage.

        • Charlie says:

          Blimey. Blast from the past – the journalist Ed Vulliamy was a customer of ours back in the early eighties.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Do your homework, VG! Hate to burst your balloon, but this is not the 1st time you have been less than respectful.

      • Rayne says:

        Continue the analysis for fun. “Conspiracy” = 26; “conspired” = 1; “tax” = 32; “taxes” = 2; “Russian” = 7; “Russia” = 5; “Ukraine” = 17; “Ukrainian” = 5.

        Says something about their focus. I did run into an interesting bug trying to look up crime/crimes and oligarch/oligarchs. Something about the plural form and a space following produces weird results, but then I used Ctrl-F in my browser and not Adobe Reader.

  5. RWood says:

    A part of me ( a very very small part) feels a bit sympathetic for the person who had to write this. I can’t imagine a more $hit assignment than trying to defend Manafort at this stage of the game. I can picture the entire bar shaking their heads at this exercise in futility for years to come. It may even become a term. “Your guy is guilty as hell, there’s nothing left to do but write a Manafort and move on.”

    Only job that might be worse: Secret Service detail for Drump while he’s in prison.

      • harpie says:

        Still in a holding pattern today:
        Manafort’s Mystery Lender Battles Mueller to Remain Shrouded
        […] In what has become a curious sideshow to Manafort’s sprawling legal battles, an obscure Nevada lender says it has a right to be paid back without Mueller asking too many questions. The lender offered to identify the money’s source to Mueller if he promised to keep it confidential, according to a court filing on Monday. Mueller refused. // The company, Woodlawn LLC, is now moving to collect anyway. The court shouldn’t allow the special counsel’s office to run up fees and costs for the company “by engaging in wasteful discovery,” the company said in its filing. […]

        • RWood says:

          Highly paid or not, working with people who lie to you and undercut your reputation when they are supposed to be working with you is a shit job. I bet every one them has said “I should have demanded more money.” a few times.

          Nevada makes the name Wynn come to mind of course, but so does the name Broidy. I never bought the story that he was the other David Dennison that Cohen dealt with. It just seemed too..convenient.

          Makes me wonder if the name Broidy will come up this week in Cohen’s testimony? Not that I really care about Drumps sex life, but with an abortion involved it would make his die-hard base of evangelicals squirm a bit.

          Either way, I hope Manaforts financial backers are forced into the sunshine. Once they are, it’ll never wash off.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            My guess for the money behind PM’s defense is Sheldon Adelson, a Nevada resident, Trump bank roller and ethically challenged individual.

  6. Worried says:

    I am also confused.
    When I read the mandate that Rosenstein signed in 2017, assigning Mueller as SCO, I don’t see the word “collusion”.
    He is assigned with finding whether there were “any links and/or coordination” between the Russian government and Trump campaign related individuals.
    IANAL, but looks like these attorneys are shifting the goal posts…..

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      They’re not addressing ABJ any more: they already got a kicking from her. They’re addressing the Fox & Fuckwits panel who will distil it into short sentences that King Idiot understands.

    • Sharon says:

      Coordination, collaboration, conspiracy, correlation, collusion…take your pick from the alliteration menu.

        • Worried says:

          Sorry, I also meant to add that I think that Marcy has clearly explained the “links” and “coordination” between Manafort and Russian govt related people. So from the SCO side they are approaching this case per their mandate.
          Again, IANAL, but looks to me that it is the defense attorneys who are playing with words to influence non legal people

          • Arj says:

            IANAL either, but am hoping the Manafort lawyers’ strategy is technically known as the ‘no-defence defence’. It appears to have been chosen faute de mieux.

  7. CD54 says:

    All those excerpts above sound like the FOX couch idiots explaining the Manafort case to their idiot viewers . . . oh, wait, I forgot about the biggest idiot viewer. That makes it a FOX News two rail pardon bank shot.

  8. Strawberry Fields says:

    So the TS Ellis case was about paying off debts to Russians with money laundering. The DC ABJackson case was about failing to register as a foreign agent working for pro-Russian coup in Ukraine and conspiring with a Russian to commit witness tampering. The plea deal broke because he lied to the FBI to protect Russians from being prosecuted and then they write “no connection to muellers mandate” that’s really rich :)

  9. HawkeyeState says:

    First time poster here. Curious what your thoughts are on the possibility that Mueller refers any direct Russian conspiracy/collusion related crimes to the new AG and let’s him make the decision to prosecute? More specifically, when Mueller submits his report to Barr and lays out what he found, can he then recommend that DOJ pursue charges? If this is even a possibility, I see it as a way for Mueller to leave the big conspiracy indictments up to one of Trump’s guys to decide on how to move forward..anyways, love the blog and apologies if I’m out in left field on this

    • Maestro says:

      He’s not really supposed to do that. Per the regulations, the Special Counsel is supposed to function as a United States Attorney would, which entails making independent assessments and decisions about which cases to bring and not to bring. The Special Counsel is also supposed to be exempt from day-to-day supervision by the DOJ. The AG or Acting AG is supposed to be the one supervising the Special Counsel and the AG’s only role is to ensure the Special Counsel is following Department guidelines and to potentially countermand a recommendation by the Special Counsel (but only if the AG determines that the proposed action is so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Department guidelines that it should not be pursued).

      So the way the regs read is that the SCO is supposed to make the calls on who gets prosecuted, with the AG only countermanding those decisions if it’s something way out of bounds.

      • Tech Support says:

        “So the way the regs read is that the SCO is supposed to make the calls on who gets prosecuted, with the AG only countermanding those decisions if it’s something way out of bounds.”

        So one hypothetical scenario which fits this model is where the OSC recommends an indictment of the POTUS in spite of standing DOJ policy, due to extenuating circumstances. The AG countermands such a recommendation on the basis that the circumstances offered aren’t sufficient to deviate from the existing standards.

        In this scenario, the POTUS would not be indicted, due to DOJ policy. The incriminating details would not be publicly disclosed, due to DOJ policy regarding unindicted individuals. Yet in this situation the AG would be required to disclose that he had countermanded a recommendation to indict.

        I won’t argue that this is plausible or likely, but mechanistically it seems like the one way Mueller could force a certain level of disclosure that is allowable under the existing regulatory framework.

  10. horses says:

    My client is a criminal! Sure he is! He’s so crooked he has to screw his pants on every morning! Don’t ask me about his wife. No, I’m just throwing that out there. It means nothing.

    But he didn’t do anything with Russians. You hush now.

  11. Rod Heisler says:

    But doesn’t the idea that merely repeating the party line NO COLLUSION would convince Donny to swipe right on a pardon seem to under-estimate DTs craven & self-serving nature? Seems like he’d need something in addition (eg approval, money, direction) to pull that pin – not just as “a reward for loyality”.

  12. Charles says:

    Congratulations to Marcy for getting BDTS (spelled out) onto the screen on All In with Chris Hayes.

    As for the Manafort sentencing memo, a key part of a public relations strategy is convincing people that he was convicted on a technicality, that there was no underlying crime, just a zealous and vindictive prosecutor. This is still evident in conversations with die-hard Nixon supporters, who say that he didn’t commit any crime, that he was just exercising his prerogatives as a president to administer DoJ as he saw fit. And his people, they say, were charged just for being loyal to him. This is reinforced by the fact that no one did really serious time, and many of the figures went on to have comfortable post-carceral lives ( The lesson Republicans seem to have learned is that you can pretty much get away with anything.

    For this reason, I think it’s important for Trump’s associates to be charged with actions that ordinary people recognize as crimes and spend long times in prison.

    • Geoff says:

      This also ties in with Ghouliani’s approach of swaying public sentiment against the SC investigaton. They are banking on no one ever threatening to indict a sitting President, stalling things out as long as possible, (trump questioning, govt shutdown, etc etc) keeping the base on the watergate defense playbook, and ultimately, making sure the Dems if they ever DO get impeachment going (which looks less probable all the time) are stymied ultimately in the Senate where the obstructionist Republicans have no intention of removing Trump. Even if indictments come down on Don Jr, or Jared, they will be defended in the same way, minor process crimes, misinterpreted actions, etc, and be swept under the rug. And of course, meanwhile, all of the people that matter to Trump (Ivanka? not sure about anyone else, maybe Jared, Don JR…better cross your fingers) will get pardoned. Manafort can rot, but he is playing the only card he has. The other strategy I assume is to undermine the courts for four years, so that when the state cases play out, Trump can somehow save his own arse via the same type of process that kept him out of jail before he was president. I’m not saying this strategy works, but we shall see. So far, SC has done what it can do, roll up the bit players, let them off for their info, and try to use that info to indict the bigger fish. It’s now time to see how effective that was. IF the justice department hasnt been so corrupted as to still make that possible.

  13. Bay State Librul says:

    Re: RWood

    “Your guy is guilty as hell, there’s nothing left to do but write a Manafort and move on.”

    Loved it

  14. Michael says:

    Never read a sentencing memo before, so it was a slow slog. Wish someone had advised me to skip the volumes(!) that talk to what a great hubby and dad and friend he is; his selfless use of secret, untaxed millions to benefit his little family and certain friends; the pathetic physical and mental wreck that Paulie has become due to the stress of indictments and solitary confinement. Would have sped up my reading and prevented temporary Eye Roll Disorder.

    By the way, anyone know what “devestated” is supposed to mean? Ain’t in any of my dictionaries. ;-)

  15. Sharon says:

    Come to Empty Wheel for solid information, stay for intelligent argument, such as is occurring in this thread.

  16. orionATL says:

    bmaz tells us that there is no crime called “collusion”.

    manafort’s legal team early on sets up the use of the term “collusion” and then uses it again and again:

    “…Importantly, the defendant has not been charged with any crimes related to the primary focus of the Special Counsel’s investigation; i.e., “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump[,]” otherwise referred to as “Russian collusion” by the national media..”

    using this word game, of course manafort can be said not to have committed any crimes the osc was set up to investigate.

    but who are manafort’s lawyers talking to? this argument sure as hell is not going to impress judge berman.

  17. Willis Warren says:

    I don’t think he gives a damn about ABJ, to be honest. They know their goose is cooked. At this point, telling her to stuff it and calling her a deep state plant would be optimal, if not career ending.

    They’re going for the pardon. I’m curious about how she treats Kilimnik in the sentencing.

  18. Willis Warren says:

    Here’s my issue with the “Mueller is done” thing… Manafort will be more likely to talk if he doesn’t get a pardon. Obviously, Mueller is laying the groundwork for him being unpardonable.

    I just don’t understand what is happening. It might be that they’re worried Barr will kill the investigation, but killing it themselves doesn’t solve that unless they’re laying the groundwork for Manafort flipping back.

    A more succinct explanation is that Rosenstein is a wimp. I don’t buy that they didn’t find anything, because they obviously believe Manafort gave Kilimnik campaign data.

    • Anvil Leucippus says:

      Talk about what? What do they even need from Manafort at this point? Right now all he is doing is attracting more crimes committed by Trump on a monthly (if not daily) basis.

      As we have previewed with Cohen, if Manafort changes his tune to “Trump made me do it”, all the WH is going to say is look at the prosecution’s argument that Manafort is a lying sack of shit (suddenly acknowledged by them).

      • bmaz says:

        It is beyond silly to state that there is no potential use for Manafort whatsoever. We have no idea the full extent of exactly what he has given up to Mueller. Some of it may still be useful directly or as corroboration. Secondly there was simply a ton of documentary and electronic evidence taken from Manafort and he could be useful in getting it admitted in future proceedings.

  19. Phil says:

    Feel like getting a pardon is pretty much impossible at this point? He’s basically ruined himself as a witness so he can’t really testify against Trump in a way to make anything stick so why would Trump invite the trouble (beyond being stupid as hell). Dangling the pardon got Trump what he wanted.

    • bmaz says:

      Nobody is ever totally “ruined” as a witness. Prosecutors use tainted witnesses every day in every court in the country.

      • Anvil Leucippus says:

        Speaking of the “your word versus mine” trap, is Cohen (or his crew) the source(s) of the Buzzfeed article that says Trump directed Cohen to lie about the hush payments?

        I am still hung up on the wording of the OSC response, in light of an assumption that both what Buzzfeed says about the credibility of their sources, and what the OSC says about how that info didn’t come from them — and how they need not be exclusive states. If you had knowledge of an unredacted document as part of the proof you lied under oath to congress, and if Trump’s name is in that document, you would make that claim to BF and OSC would point out the only copy they have shown publicly is the redacted version.

        All this to say, I really hopen Cohen shows up over the next two days with actual documents and not just a “let me tell you how it went down” sort of thing. That will be a colossal waste of time that could be better spent putting these criminals in jail. Quicker.

        • InfiniteLoop says:

          OSC filings are very clear they believe Cohen lied to Congress to coordinate with and support the Team Trump party line.

          Based on what we know, it’s most likely Mueller will have to prove a Trump-led conspiracy by inference, not by waving a smoking gun. Slate had an interesting article on how this is done in antitrust prosecutions:

          My bet is OSC was protecting Cohen’s credibility as a witness, not for a jury trial but in front of Congress where media-bias-reduction mechanisms like jury selection aren’t available.

          This type of move would matter most for an impeachment trial — and we know the I-word was discussed behind the scenes, though not the context — and it’s scary as hell to think that could plausibly have been on Mueller’s mind.

    • Drew says:

      e.g. Sammy “The Bull”. Mueller may already have everything. I’m not actually as convinced as many are that Manafort’s mendacity is directed towards getting a pardon or even protecting Donald Trump. It’s just as likely that he’s protecting Paul Manafort. Deeper and more specific revelations about him conspiring with Russia, knowingly having and acting upon loyalties to hostile foreign powers, and directing many of the misdeeds that comprise the shitshow that we are still living through would put him in a much worse position than he is now. Meaning worse than just life in prison-also the political equivalent of Charlie Manson. In other words, his lying is desperation on his own behalf and I don’t think he has any real, concrete path laid out to get himself out of this trouble.

    • bmaz says:

      Schindler is a dick pic crackpot. And he does not know squat about actual legal process, he has demonstrated that repeatedly. Take anything he says with a mountain of salt. That said, truly classified evidence can be parallel constructed. It can also be used at trial through a summary process known as CIPA. This is not the issue.

      • P J Evans says:

        bmaz, I was thinking that we’ve seen trials in the past with evidence that couldn’t be made public: the courts can handle it, even if the media refuse to understand.

      • somecallmetim says:

        Some of us check EW regularly, mostly for Marcy’s Cray-like command of the facts but also for bmaz’s blunt and salty IAAL contributions.

  20. Rapier says:

    Consider Stone and companies indirect and direct attacks on ABJ to be in parallel with Manafort’s trolling for a pardon. We can be certain Trump now considers her to be an Obama judge, a biased judge, a disloyal judge. He probably always did but he needs to be reminded of things a lot.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Memo to Chuck Todd, who seems modestly interested in whether Michael Cohen’s interviews on the Hill this week will expose the president to allegations that he has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” His emphasis appears to be definitional. Harrumph.

    The president has already committed high crimes and misdemeanors. He commits them with some frequency. The issue a political commentator should explore remains the same one that Todd ignores: a GOP-run Senate continues to refuse to address them because it would rather stay in power – and aggressively abuse the process of appointing members to the federal bench – than run a government and support the rule of law. In fact, its abuse of the judicial appointments process is designed to change those laws without bothering to legislate them.

Comments are closed.