Judge Amy Berman Jackson Lays the Precedent for FARA

I said while following yesterday’s live tweets of the Paul Manafort sentencing that, because so few FARA cases have been criminally prosecuted, Manafort’s will set some precedent going forward, as DOJ moves to put some prosecutorial teeth behind the law. So I wanted to look at the various things she said yesterday about it.

First, there’s the way she characterizes Manafort’s own actions. After calling out the way Manafort claims his entire life’s work has been about spreading democracy without actually presenting evidence to support the case (and leaving unstated the obvious fact that in fact he was more often serving dictators), she then notes that ultimately it was easier for him to get a win for his clients if he hid who he was working for.

The sentencing memorandum also states: Mr. Manafort has spent his life advancing American ideals and principles. It starts with his work on numerous political campaigns and positions within some of the administrations, and it goes on to say during his years outside of government service, Mr. Manafort also worked with world leaders. He has spent a lifetime promoting American democratic values and assisting emerging democracies to adopt reforms necessary to become a part of Western society.

At times he interacted with politicians and business people in emerging countries to assist in the development of American beliefs of equal justice, human rights, and free markets. There aren’t really any exhibits or letters that go along with that, so I don’t have the facts or the record before me that would permit me to either accept or question what is a very general description. It will fall to others in other settings to assess whether the way the defendant chose to market the access he gained during political campaigns and the work he did for the clients he represented has been characterized accurately. So it doesn’t factor into my consideration of the history and characteristics of the defendant.

[snip]

It may have been that in addition to thinking of his own finances, he had his clients’ ability to win in mind. He knew that revealing the true source behind the lobbying activities would have made those activities ineffective and unsuccessful, as the prosecutor said. Secrecy was integral. But that willingness to win at all costs was contrary to laws designed to ensure transparency in the political process and the legislative process. So it cannot possibly justify the behavior, particularly when there’s no question that this defendant knew better and he knew exactly what he was doing.

This is important background for how she distinguishes lobbying, even for sleazy clients, and lobbying without disclosing it.

It is important to note, in case there’s any confusion, notwithstanding the use of the word “agent,” an unregistered foreign agent is not a spy. He is a lobbyist. Lobbying is not illegal. Being paid to do it, even on behalf of clients who others might view as unseemly or odious or even tyrannical is not illegal, if you follow the laws that govern foreign financial transactions and pay your taxes. But this defendant kept his money offshore and under wraps so he wouldn’t have to pay.

[snip]

So what remains to be considered here? According to the defendant, it’s just an administrative matter, a regulatory crime, a violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act. And that’s not a fair description. He was hiding the truth of who he represented from policymakers and the public, and that’s antithetical to the very American values that he told me he championed. And this was after he knew and already had been warned not to do it.

What becomes clear from this record is that defendant’s approach in his career, and what he didn’t abandon even after he was indicted, was that it’s all about strategy, positioning, public relations, spin. And you could say, well, there’s nothing wrong with that, at least if you’re not a journalist. But there is something wrong with it if you’re not simply advancing a position as part of a PR campaign.

It’s okay to say: Members of Congress, the government of the Ukraine, President Victor Yanukovych, would like you to consider the following when you consider how to respond to his actions, when you determine what the foreign policy of the United States should be. But what you were doing was lying to members of Congress and the American public, saying, look at this nice American PR firm, look at this nice U.S.-based law firm, look at this nice group of prominent former European officials, isn’t it great how they’ve all voluntarily stepped forward to stand up for Yanukovych and the new administration, when all along you were hiding that you and the Ukrainians actually had them on the payroll. This deliberate effort to obscure the facts, this disregard for truth undermines our political discourse and it infects our policymaking. If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work.

That’s key background for how she treats Manafort’s specific violations of FARA. She dismisses Manafort’s claims that this is a mere registration violation in several ways that may lay important precedent: she invokes the money laundering (which prosecutors said was an important part of hiding the lobbying he was doing), the serial lies to DOJ — including lies told to his lawyer preparing his registration, and his efforts to get others (Tony Podesta, Vin Weber, and Greg Craig) to lie as well.

The other thing the sentencing statute tells me I’m supposed to do is I’m supposed to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct. With respect to sentencing disparities, the defense points primarily to other regulatory cases. But those involve, ordinarily, just a plain failure to register, or a plain failure to reveal a foreign bank account. They’re not analogous. They don’t involve, as here, a failure to register — to hide the existence of — multiple foreign bank accounts for the purpose of laundering millions of dollars, shielding millions of dollars from the IRS.

[snip]

I’ve got the regulatory FARA piece of Count 1 and the money laundering. And I don’t believe that’s covered by the Eastern District sentence and I think it has to be addressed. As I noted earlier, it’s not a mere oversight, it’s not a missing piece of paper. To the extent it could or should have been treated as a mere administrative matter, I think the defendant forfeited being able to rely on that sort of discretion on the part of law enforcement by having his lawyer lie to the Department of Justice twice on his behalf.

I do note that the Eastern District of Virginia found 30 months to be an appropriate sentence for the other single regulatory disclosure violation. And here, it wasn’t just a single failure to register; the defendant prevailed upon others in the scheme not to register either, and he admitted under oath at the plea that he caused them not to register.

Those three factors (the second of which was present in Mike Flynn’s FARA violation as well), are all likely to be aggravating factors that may got into criminal prosecution of FARA in the future.

Finally, there’s the timing. To rebut claims that these prosecutions were simply about long passed lobbying efforts, ABJ clearly describes the crime as persisting through the time Manafort twice lied to DOJ about his lobbying.

Furthermore, this conduct is not, as the defendant would have me conclude, old news. It’s not just some ancient failure to comply with a couple of regulations, something that took place so long before the campaign it’s just unfair and inappropriate to charge him for it in 2017. He pled guilty to laundering of funds through 2016. He pled guilty to a lobbying campaign in the United States for the government of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, and when he was out of office, his Party of Regions and the Opposition Bloc from 2005 to 2015. And the defense says, well, yes, but the government investigated and wrapped it all up and there wouldn’t have been a prosecution but for the appointment of the special counsel.

I’m not exactly sure what that prediction — which they’ve made to me repeatedly — is actually based on. I don’t believe there is evidence that a formal final determination was made. Prior to the time when anybody was even thinking about a special counsel, the Department of Justice was already looking into this matter. And when the Department of Justice — not the Office of Special Counsel — was looking into the matter, it asked Mr. Manafort questions. He lied to his own lawyers and he lied to the Department of Justice. He had them submit not one, but two letters, falsely stating that he had not performed lobbying activities in the United States on the part of the Ukraine.

That first lie was in November of 2016, after he resigned as campaign chair but well before the appointment of the special counsel. The second, in February, was after the special counsel investigation was underway. So it’s not entirely clear that a civil resolution would still have been possible at that point.

This, too, would have big implications for Flynn’s actions, since he lied to DOJ while he was at the White House.

Particularly given Manafort’s example, people are unlikely to wrack up these many aggravating factors in the future. But they do lay out a clear map for what a criminal FARA violation would look like in the future.

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. 

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65 replies
  1. punaise says:

    So if you’re down on your luck
    And you can’t jeopardize
    Find a judge with FARA-weigh ezyes
    And if you’re downright disgusted
    And life ain’t worth the crime
    Find a judge with FARA-weigh “ayes”

      • punaise says:

        same group, OT subject:

        Goodbye Rudy Clueless
        Who could hang a crime on you?
        When you change with every new day
        Chill; ain’t gonna miss you

    • Fran of the North says:

      Well the president kept right on saying that all I had to do was send
      Ten dollars to the church of the bleeding hearts of MAGA
      Located somewhere in Manhattan, New York
      And next week they’d take another of my benefits on the radio
      And ALL my dreams would come true.

      • punaise says:

        Soon he’ll be harried and raze his family (Oh yeah)
        A cozy little cell out in the pen’tiary with two bunks maybe three.
        I tell you I can visualize it all
        this couldn’t be a scheme for too real it all seems;
        But it was Just thy MAGA nation,
        once again runnin’ away from me.
        It was just thy MAGA nation runnin’ away from me

        • Fran of the North says:

          So, so many opportunities in that catalogue!

          Take me down little Grifter, take me down
          I know you think you’re the King of the underground
          And you can tweet me dead flowers every morning
          Tweet me dead flowers by the mail
          Tweet me dead flowers to the investigation
          And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave

          • P J Evans says:

            reaching further back:
            In a gloomy cell in Sing-Sing there sat a handsome lad;
            Though young, his sad career had lined his face.
            Unpracticed eyes could tell at once his ethics they were bad,
            Or what would he be doing in that place?
            “How have you come to fall so low?” a social worker cried,
            And as he pinched the worker’s watch, the handsome youth replied:
            “I put a slug in a gum machine, in the happy long ago.
            It seemed at the time, more a lark than a crime.
            But how was I to know?
            Success made me bold and ambitious,
            I was soon socking gents on the bean;
            So it’s thanks to that gum,
            That I am a bum!
            Curse that slug in the slot machine.”

              • P J Evans says:

                That one is from my misspent youth – I learned it (and others) from my mother. (She had, and I got hold of, a song book called “Soft-Boiled Ballads: A Collection of Heart-Wrecking Songs” – copyright 1931.)

  2. Democritus says:

    Can someone please post an insightful on comment post so I can try to maybe post a ramble of thoughts I just had about Mueller, but have no idea how plausible they are because I don’t have enough subject matter knowledge about law etc.

    Would that be ok?

    Oh man, punaise FTW with their amazingly witty bon mots for the word lovers mind

    (Sorry broke into medicinals🙃)

    I can think of few judges I would rather have setting precedent that ABJ, after reading and seeing a bit about her, though I lack for comparables to be fair. She is diligent, thorough and careful. Good, I do t want the tricksters pulling a trick and getting out of jail free.

    Again thanks for all the insights you’ve shared over time, whoops that almost said Tim and then you might have some explaining to do😉🙃. Again sorry medicinals.

    *Runs away before getting banned*

    • Democritus says:

      So long rambling thought, if it doesn’t go here please remove!

      Thought Deadline WH chuckrosenberg and Nicole discussion. Sorry if it’s garbage.

      So we know Mueller was handed a CI investigation fromMcCabe. Certain powers come with a CI investigation, and certain responsibilities-again not that knowledgeable about this and also NAL, that arise from a CI investigations including briefing congress so that is one benefit to get around Barr obstructing evidence getting into congressional Dems.

      What if Mueller knowing his oversight by the DoJ is right in his authorizing statute so he knows he can’t indict the president (assuming thatBarr is bar.)

      So he farms all the ancillary investigation maybe even including ones that are best suited for arrest and prosecution to other districts, to someone who maybe CAN get around the weak DoJ policy? Would asking forgiveness rather than permission so risk the case it isn’t worth it?
      Is one of the powers being able to to use CI investigation rather than a normal one, that prosecutors can use Nat Sec program, NSA, and whatever the hell else they do, powers to scoop up data that is still allowed to be used in court, because of the CI nature, part of patriot act extension or something I thought?

      If the head of say SDNY signed off, could SDNY then use that CI data from Mueller and anything perfected by SDNY to try to arrest the president or would the like every single judge for a warrant, fbi and Marshall’s all balk at that without Barr approval?

      How in the hell did the GC of a dirty as hell🇩🇪 Bank from all end up affiliated with SDNY, and thanks to whomever mentioned that here.

      I’d do another comment on ABJ but I don’t want to take over the thread.

      But doesn’t it seem like, ya know, we need to pass some new regulations regarding Lobbying in general, and foreign lobbying in particular? I’m so sick of the seeming assumption in large parts of the country that any possible way to make a profit is worth pursuing. Whether unsafe planes, drugs, oil…

      ok ends ramble before I got outside and start screaming at the clouds and shaking my cane in the air.

  3. Squiggy says:

    Marcy, you are otherwise superb in your descriptive prose but… Would you not use the phrase: “going forward.” Thank you.

      • Democritus says:

        Plus I happen to like the phrase myself as it clearly says what it means.

        And I’m sure everyone knows I was appointed god of grammar today in a sick prank, right? Especially amusing since I can barely make a comment without entire phrases being so mistyped that it’s gobblygosh.

    • Diviz says:

      “Moving forward” is a cognitive metaphor, a great number of which have overtaken their literal counterparts–frequently expressing change in a concept using directional vocabulary. It’s just as kosher as saying “prices are rising,” “get one’s hopes up,” or “lower your expectations.”

      Moreover, metaphors between physical space and time are persistent across cultures. Maybe if you were coming from one of the cultures that conceptualize the future as behind you and the past as in front of you, you’d have a leg to stand on. Otherwise, you’re just leaching the unique voice out of Marcy’s writing that make her so fun to read.

      “How time flies,” Laura Spinney, The Guardian, Wed 23 Feb 2005.
      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/feb/24/4

      • Tom says:

        Those Aymara people must have designed my microwave oven because when I put something in it to reheat for, say, two minutes, the timer starts at “2:00” and then goes backwards: “1:59 … 1:58 … 1:57 … ” and so on until it reaches “0:00”. You would think it might make more sense for the timer to start at “0:00” and then advance with our perception (or accepted convention) of the forward movement of time–“0:01 … 0:02 … 0:03” and so on–until it reaches “2:00” and shuts off. There’s probably a good design reason why timers count backwards instead of forwards. Perhaps engineers think of time as a quantity that we use up, like gas in a car’s gas tank. Anyway, just a pointless observation, like figuring out why you always see signs that say “Please use other door” and never–or hardly ever–see signs that say “Please use this door”.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’ve never seen a timer that counts forward. They all, whether mechanical or electronic, count down from the duration you set.

          • punaise says:

            My pet peeve is oblivious drivers who don’t signal for a left turn in time for one to switch into the other lane. How many times have you been at a red light, and when it turns green on comes the blinker of the car in front of you? Grrrrr.

            “irregardless”.

            • P J Evans says:

              Drivers who make right turns from the traffic lane, when there’s room to pull out of traffic. (If there’s a bike lane, it will have a broken line, meaning you can enter it as long as you don’t cut off a cyclist.) Drivers who treat one-way lanes in parking lots as pull-through (or optional-direction – driving crossways to traffic).
              “May have” as past tense, instead of “might have”.

            • Arj says:

              Maybe those drivers think theyre saving electricity some folk treat punctuation the same way have you noticed

  4. BobCon says:

    “This deliberate effort to obscure the facts, this disregard for truth undermines our political discourse and it infects our policymaking. If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work.”

    I am worried that the conservatives on the Supreme Court are not sympathetic to this view, and we will see rulings coming down the pike that laws like FARA and campaign finance disclosure law are violations of the right of free association. I think there is a real danger that Kavanaugh etc. will argue that the right of Americans to work for anyone — even foreign governments — outweighs the right of the public to know who is paying for foreign influence campaigns. I would also not be surprised if they also will argue that free speech rights extend to the right to communicate with as little disclosure as the speaker wishes, so that it is essentially the US government controlling speech when they require a lobbyist to say if they are working for a foreign government.

    I think they will simply not care about any public interest in knowing more facts, and by extension, really don’t care if democracy works.

    • Democritus says:

      That’s a bit of what I’m afraid of too, but it seems so absurd on its face that the obvious distinction can’t be made.

      If it’s comes down to a 1A issue lik CU, what remedies are there short of an constitutional amendment?

      • P J Evans says:

        I’d want to start with a law that says that corporations are not persons for civil-rights purposes.

        • Democritus says:

          Long overdue, like it! Um, any thought for PACs, dark money or any chance of public financed elections ever?

    • Peterr says:

      The “foreign” part of “Foreign Agents Registration Act” may be what tips SCOTUS toward upholding this. Per Citizens United, they’re fine with money = speech for OUR rich folks, but I doubt they’d apply it to foreign rich folks.

      To borrow from Animal House “They can’t do that to our democracy. Only we can do that to our democracy.”

      • BobCon says:

        I’m not sure whether the foreign aspect is a roadblock or a speedbump.

        There is a significant line of thought among Federalist Society types that the 1st Amendment is not just a guarantee of the right to speak but a bar on any restrictions on someone’s ability to be heard.

        According to this thinking, requiring foreign lobbying disclosures would mumblemumbleslipperyslope lead to a ban on people buying Ulysses from a Paris bookstore.

        Personally I think the Supreme Court went too far in connecting campaign spending with speech, but here we are.

  5. Anne says:

    Here’s somebody who knows what Paulie was up to in Ukraine:
    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/us-ambassador-criticizes-failures-in-corruption-fight.html

    So, our Ambassador in Kiev, Marie L. Jovanovitch, looks like a no-nonsense,
    super competent professional who is trying to spread American values of democracy, transparency, justice, honesty in government and so forth. I’d guess she’s of Ukrainian descent and speaks the language (we’re probably the only country in the world able to send Ambassadors of the right ethnicity).
    Geez, doesn’t sound like somebody the dumpster fire would appoint! So I read further down in the article and, sure enough, she was appointed in 2016. An Obama holdover.

      • Coffae says:

        Did Anne mean the Ukrainian ambassador from the US vs. Canada?
        US ambassador to Ukraine = Marie L. Yovanovitch
        Canadian ambassador to Ukraine = Roman Waschuk

      • Doug Fir says:

        Sorry Anne! I see this morning that I achieved both snark and obfuscation; not my intention. I merely meant to point out that,

        “we’re probably the only country in the world able to send Ambassadors of the right ethnicity”,

        is not the case.

        (Thanks Coffae and Greenhouse!)

  6. Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

    What I like about the new punitive approach to FARA is it brings the US into line with other countries like Iran and China. For example Iran would feel that imprisoning Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is firmly in line with a FARA-style regime. And China will rightly feel that this justifies its treatment of Michael Kovrig.

    My understanding is Paul Manafort’s widely publicized role as an adviser to Ukrainian government promoting EU integration didn’t itself need FARA registration, but that he used the services of a firm of registered lobbyists who hadn’t taken out additional registration under FARA. Additionally he may have said favorable things about Ukraine from time to time when he was state-side.

    It is worth pointing out the Podesta Group international clients were by no means limited to Ukraine – but included Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Strangely no one seems to be clamoring for principals of the Podesta Group to be given a 60 month prison sentence for such multiple transgressions of the FARA act.

    Even if you don’t like the previous Ukrainian government, if you think the people of Ukraine would benefit from EU integration, then there doesn’t seem any reason for the entire citizenry to be put on ice while you wait for a president to meet your exacting standards. That is why there is a massive difference between Manafort’s trivial violations of the FARA act and Michael Flynn’s devious, covert acceptance of Turkey’s money to spruik Erdogan’s agenda.

  7. skua says:

    This is great piece of writing Marcy.
    You’ve made clear why ABJ thinks FARA is important generally and important in Manafort’s case, and why those interested in effective democracy should be supporting the enforcement of FARA.
    And shown that FARA is very relevant to other Trump and swamp cases.

    In a world of murky in-distinction you’ve created an area of clarity. Thank you.

  8. Rusharuse says:

    From the NZ shooters manifesto:

    Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?
    As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When el presidente Donaldo Trump brags that he has the police, the military, his bikers behind him, he is not advocating for peaceful regime change at home.

    What would have happened to earlier presidents – Obama, Clinton, Nixon – had they made such claims? Trump is no 1960s James Mattoon Scott, but how will we avoid allowing him to become one as his past and his future begin to catch up with him?

    • bmaz says:

      I am loving this movie stuff. The problem is that there are no Jiggs Casey in the Republican party. The one in the military, to the extent Mattis may have been, has left the building. Seven Days In May is a VERY instructive movie to watch every now and then. Frankly, I have always thought Knebel and Bailey’s book even better. The grit to the Senator Ray Clark is much deeper, and more important, in the book.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Lindsey and Mitch are more likely to join Stephen Miller in Fox Noise’s control booth and egg Trump on than to restrain his illegal or extra-constitutional impulses. Hannity would happily play Hugh Marlowe’s demagogic broadcaster Harold McPherson. There are several Michael Flynns who would happily play Mattoon Scott’s joint chiefs.

        The Joe Bidens of the world seem more likely to search for “common cause” with them than to fight them. Which of his real life colleagues would you cast in the roles played by Douglas, O’Brien, Balsam or George Macready (playing the Attorney General)?

      • Callender says:

        Upton Sinclair’s “It Can’t Happen Here” is also an instructive and harrowing piece of literature to re-read occasionally.

        OAN, let’s play a guessing game. Who wrote this and of whom was he speaking?

        “..as (he) moved to consolidate and wield his political influence, he exhibited a wicked genius for unsealing some of the dankest chambers of the national soul. He played guilefullly on his followers’ worst instincts: their suspicious provincialism, their unworldly ignorance, their yearning for simple explanations and extravagant remedies for their undeniable problems, their readiness to believe in conspiracies, their sulky resentments, and their all too human capacity for hatred.”

        I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts it’s not who you thought it was.

        It’s David M. Kennedy writing about “the radio priest,” Father Charles Coughlin, who hosted a radio show that obtained maybe 30 million viewers in the 1930s. He was Limbaugh before Limbaugh was.

        Kennedy’s book is part of the Oxford History US series, “Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.”

        Past is mos def prologue. And it’s scaring the beejeesus out of me. This does not end pretty.

    • harpie says:

      Donald Trump deletes Breitbart tweet about how ‘tough’ his supporters can get
      *
      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/15/trump-deletes-breitbart-post-how-tough-his-supporters-can-get/3172413002/
      Published 9:34 a.m. ET March 15, 2019
      *
      [quote] President Donald Trump used Twitter on Thursday night to promote an interview in which he explained how “tough” his supporters could get – and deleted the tweet Friday morning after the New Zealand mosque shootings. […] [end quote]

      • klynn says:

        Sickening beyond words. He knows what he is doing. He. Knows. What is wrong with the rest of the GOP?

      • pizza says:

        Trump is a real piece of shit and knows no depth to which he can’t sink. The complete absence of GOP push-back is appalling and alarming. They’re complete hypocrites. Can you imagine if Obama had done even one of the thousands of dirty things DT has done so far? Can you imagine the GOP uproar if Obama had ever said anything close to what that piece of shit said today? He would have been impeached and removed from office in the blink of an eye. But no. Not their darling Donald. He can dismember and disembowel someone in the oval office on live t.v. and the GOP will still remain completely silent.
        Re: RNC hack a few years ago. Someone needs to let the cat out of that bag. RU has them by their balls ostensibly controlling two of the three branches of our government. You know there was some juicy stuff in those emails – scandals galore but they thought nobody else would ever know. I’m very curious as to how much the IC knows about all of this but just can’t say, at least right now.
        Lord I hope that motherfucker is skewered by the Mueller reports. If he gets away with everything, I’m going to DC and something, a lot of things are gonna burn. (not trying to start anything just speaking for myself here)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        My, were the knee pads worn through in the Oval Office today. Mike Pence and Kirstjen Nielsen must wear out several pairs a day.

        Frankly, I don’t see how even the president’s narrowly drawn but stellar poll numbers – 90 approval rating among Republicans, 4% among the Democrat – explain this extraordinary supineness among GOP congresscritters. They have been less deferential to presidents in their own party in the past.

        I think it relates to two things: One, this GOP is like earlier incarnations of the party only in name; otherwise, neoliberalism has changed it beyond recognition. It is no longer a party, it is a criminal organization bent on theft. Two, they share a kind of guilty knowledge about what harm Trump and they are thereby doing, and have taken to heart Benjamin Franklin’s warning to an earlier assembly that if they don’t hang together, they will certainly hang separately.

        • posaune says:

          Yes, exactly. I keep wondering and wondering:
          Is there not even ONE Republican who can think and act independently? I would settle for just one!

  10. harpie says:

    This is from the hearing today in the case of Mike Flynn’s business partner Bijan Kian:
    https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1106563462061273088
    *
    [quote thread ][…] / Gillis also pushed back against defense claims that Kian wouldn’t even be at trial if it weren’t for the notoriety surrounding Flynn…. / Flynn or no Flynn, Gillis says: “This is prosecution for conspiracy to violate [federal lobbying rules] and moreover this a conspiracy which influenced public opinion with the help of foreign governments and high ranking foreign officials.” […] [end quote]
    *
    Sounds familiar?

  11. Bradford Scharlott says:

    Hey everybody, I just found this place about a week ago, and dang if many of you regular commenters don’t make me feel humble and kind of inadequate because there are so many extraordinary intellects roaming around here. It’s wonderful to hear your wit and wisdom in these comments. And Marci must be from another planet.

    • posaune says:

      Welcome, Bradford!

      Yes, Marcy IS from another planet! Her brain has more bandwidth and RAM than the whole bunch of us here together. An amazing capacity for analyzing patterns and connections — her mind is the most robust relational database in existence. And a steel-trap mind for details. If it weren’t for Marcy, bmaz and this wonderful community, who knows what meds (or juice) I would need!

  12. Kevin Bullough says:

    I too just recently found this place and I must agree with earlier statements about wonderful writing and astute commentary. My thanks to all of the contributors. I shall continue to visit here. Cheers!

Comments are closed.