The Many Sided Stone: The Investigation Is Not Over

While we have been talking about how good and done Robert Meuller’s investigation is, a slew of filings and other reports relating to Roger Stone in the last few days remind us that the fruits of his investigation are definitely not done.

Roger Stone’s cry for help

As background, consider this cry for help, in a local, as opposed to the kind of national media outlets that had recently hung on Roger’s every word. In it, he describes the burden of spending all his money on defense attorneys.

“The worst part of this is being broke,” he said on the SiriusXM program that airs weekdays on the Faction Talk channel 103.

“I’ve lost my home, my insurance, what little savings I had, my ability to make a living because people pay me to write and talk, and of course the things they want me to write and talk about are the very things I’m not allowed to talk and write about. In the blink of an eye you can lose everything.

“I have to pay everything I have to lawyers. And I could no longer pay the rent in the property that I was in. I moved from a nine-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment. Had to do the move myself with my wife renting a truck. On the last day of the move in kind of a freak accident the truck slips out of gear and rolls over my wife’s ankle, breaking it.”

More interestingly, Stone claims he hasn’t spoken with Donald Trump for almost two years (he doesn’t say whether his attorneys have spoken to Trump’s attorneys).

“I’ve known him for 40 years. We’re very good friends. I don’t agree with everything he does, I agree with a lot of what he does,” Stone said. Stone said Trump was at his wedding, and he at two of Trump’s weddings; he was at the funerals for Trump’s parents, and is friendly with his sister. “I do miss him.”

He also complains that Alex Jones is not selling T-shirts for him.

“I am grateful for Alex Jones for giving me a platform. He is a friend of mine. I like the guy, I like hanging out with him. I do not agree with everything he says, I agree with some of the things he says. He probably doesn’t agree with everything I say. But you know, the check would be nice.”

While I’m sure Stone exaggerates his financial straits, I’m also sure they’re considerable. These two specific calls for help, though (especially in the wake of allegations that InfoWars may have been providing hush money to Jerome Corsi), are especially interesting.

Stone’s throw of the dice

Meanwhile, the lawyers that are bankrupting Stone have been busy, filing six challenges to his indictment last night, several of them meritorious, the others not. The motions include:

  1. A bid to throw out the prosecution on several grounds designed to appeal to William Barr’s prejudices
  2. A demand for the full Mueller report based on some specious (appeals to Bill Barr) and some justified bases (prosecutorial decisions on Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico)
  3. A motion to enjoin his prosecution based on a claim that Congress hadn’t funded this Special Counsel investigation
  4. A motion to dismiss based on the claim that Mueller violated separation of powers by charging him for lying to HPSCI without a formal referral
  5. A request for discovery to support a selective prosecution claimed designed, in large part, to accuse Randy Credico of lying to the grand jury
  6. A renewed objection to having his case judged by Amy Berman Jackson along with the GRU hackers

He seems to be pursuing several strategies (beyond just throwing a bunch of spaghetti against the wall).

Embarrass Credico

The first is to use the motions process to discredit the witnesses against him. That’s most true of a passage of his selective prosecution motion that accuses Credico of lying to the grand jury.

Another witness, Randy Credico lied about speaking to Assange and Assange’s lawyer to federal agents. It is curious that the Special Counsel found one aspect of Credico’s interactions with Stone so compelling that it made its way into Stone’s Indictment. In Paragraph 14(e) of the Indictment, the Special Counsel quotes the conversation between Stone and Credico from Credico’s radio show of August 23, 2016. Stone and Credico have a discussion regarding communications with the “head of Organization 1.” Yet, astonishingly, in Credico’s testimony to the Grand Jury (DOJ-3500-RC-000111) Transcript Page 44, Lines 7-22, Credico tells the Grand Jury that on the very show they quote, Stone and Credico never discussed the head of Organization 1. For unknown reasons and the precise reason why discovery is mandated in these situations, the Special Counsel elected not to charge Credico with lying to the Grand Jury, something expressly within their regulatory authority.

Later in his testimony, Credico says that prior to his interview with presidential candidate Gary Johnson on September 10, 2016, that he had never spoken to Stone about WikiLeaks or Assange.3 This is a demonstrated lie as according to the text messages between Stone and Credico that Stone voluntarily released, and the Special Counsel possessed. As early as August 19, 2016, Credico was bragging to Stone that he had a connection to Assange and that it was through Margaret Kunstler, Esq., an attorney represented to be on Julian Assange’s legal team. There is no indication based on the initial review of discovery provided by the government that the Grand Jury was ever informed of Credico’s lies regarding the August 23d radio interview.

It’s unclear whether Stone’s representation of Credico’s grand jury testimony is fair. But if it is, the selective prosecution claim provides a way to discredit Credico.

Appeal to Barr and Trump

Then there’s a series of arguments that appear to be an attempt to appeal to Bill Barr’s prejudices, and through him, Trump. There’s the separation of powers argument about the lack of a criminal referral that suggests — incorrectly — that Mueller would have needed to rely on Adam Schiff’s testimony to assess whether and how Stone lied in his testimony (as a matter of courtesy, HPSCI shared informal copies of the transcripts with the IC) and claims — probably ridiculously — that an equivalent example of Barr’s contention that the president can’t be guilty of obstruction without committing the underlying crime is also true for the President’s rat-fucker. Stone repeats this argument in his demand for the full Mueller report, claiming that it will show there was no “collusion,” which therefore means he couldn’t obstruct anything.

The most novel of these arguments, however, is that the President — and his campaign from before he was elected!! — can’t be investigated under the Take Care Clause. This is mostly bullshit, a dime store version of Bill Barr’s own opininion excusing many kinds of obstruction for the President. Trump will like it best where Stone argued that investigating all links with Russia inhibited Trump’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

The Mueller Appointment grants the Special Counsel the authority to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” Accordingly, every action taken by President Trump since he formed his campaign with regard to the United States’ relationship with Russia has been second guessed as evidence of “collusion,” or a conspiracy between Trump and Putin.20 Many have asserted that Putin has some form of control over Trump.21 The Special Counsel investigation has stimulated this second guessing, significantly undermining the President’s ability to conduct foreign policy with regard to Russia. The Special Counsel investigation hog-ties the President in the execution of his foreign policy.

The Mueller Appointment not only hobbles the President’s ability to conduct a rational foreign policy with regard to Russia, it undermines his ability to deal with every world leader. No President can deal effectively with the heads of other nations when he is the subject of a Department of Justice investigation that is prominently being portrayed in the press as imminently removing him from office. Counterparts will be inhibited in reliance on a President who may not serve out his term

This is bait for the frothy right. More importantly, it treats Roger Stone as the President for investigative purposes when according to both him and the President he wasn’t even formally part of the campaign for the key periods under investigation.

This is mostly spaghetti throwing for the frothy right, but there’s no telling what will happen if some of the nuttier GOP judges latch on to one of these strands of spaghetti.

Engage in graymail

Stone repeats his demand for the full Mueller report in several ways — first in a bid for the report itself, then as the “prologue” to a bunch of mostly spurious attacks on Mueller’s authority (some of which have already been rejected in the larger Mueller investigation). This is graymail. Of course Stone is not going to get the full report, which includes grand jury material unrelated to his prosecution and descriptions of ongoing investigations likewise unrelated to his prosecution. But he probably does have a good case to claim that he should get the parts that will be redacted for us that pertain to him.

Misstate Barr’s citation of Mueller’s findings

I’m perhaps most interested in the way Stone engages in Russian hack trutherism. For example, his first justification for needing the full Mueller report — even before he claims to need to know why Credico and Corsi weren’t charged — is to understand Mueller’s “assumption” that Russia hacked the Democrats (something that Stone himself admitted until August 2016, when it became inconvenient).

His lawyers must be allowed to review the Report in its entirety because it contains the government’s evidence and conclusions on matters essential to Stone’s defense. Starting with the base assumptions by the Special Counsel that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign email databases (see Indictment, ¶¶ 1-3, 7, 18, 20, 39);

And in Stone’s bid to get his case reassigned, he makes several misrepresentations of the public record. For example, he claims Barr’s representation of Mueller’s finding said there was no evidence of “collusion” between Trump’s associates and Russia.

The Office of the Special Counsel has since concluded its investigation and has found that there is no evidence of collusion between Russia and those associated with the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

Barr addressed only conspiracy and coordination, and all the language is consistent with Mueller not finding enough evidence to charge it, while finding some evidence.

Stone also claims that prosecutors have claimed that his case is associated with the GRU indictment only because communications between Stone and Guccifer 2.0 were obtained with the GRU warrants.

Previously, however, opposing counsel designated this case as related to that of United States of America v. Netyksho, et al. (1:18-cr-00215-ABJ), because the government claimed that communications between Guccifer 2.0 and Stone were obtained from the Netyksho search warrant.

If they said specifically that, then it was in private. In public, the government said this:

The defendant’s false statements did not arise in a vacuum: they were made in the course of an investigation into possible links between Russian individuals (including the Netyksho defendants), individuals associated with the dumping of materials (including Organization 1), and U.S. persons (including the defendant).


In the course of investigating that activity, the government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release. Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.

Even ignoring that Stone seems to cede that at least one of the number of warrants referred to in that filing included his communications with Guccifer 2.0, it’s even more amusing that Stone ignores WikiLeaks — I wonder if they took it out after Julian Assange got arrested?

Stone then misstates another thing Barr said, claiming he claimed no American citizens conspired with “Russian agents.”

[T]he Department of Justice has concluded that there was no conspiracy between Russian agents and any American citizen, including Roger Stone, this “connection” is unsubstantiated.

What the Barr memo actually says about the hack-and-leak operation is,

Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

Barr’s statement only refers to the Russian government, not possible Russian cut-outs like WikiLeaks, and only discusses Americans with ties to Trump.

Stone then claims that the GRU indictment claims no American was part of the conspiracy.

Additionally, the only document filed in Netyksho, the Indictment, states no American was part of the conspiracy charged. There is nothing left to “connect” Roger Stone to.

It doesn’t name any Americans, but also doesn’t say no Americans were part of the conspiracy. Here’s what it says about the conspirators.

[The defendants] were GRU officers who knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other, and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury (collectively the “Conspirators”),

Stone’s effort to get a new judge is not going to work in any case. Which leads me to wonder why he repeatedly misstates the public record.

In any case, assuming normal judicial review, Stone’s request for more of the Mueller report might have promise and he could get some thoughtful briefing on a few of the other claims. But most of this is wall-splat for specific audiences: Trump, Barr, and the frothy right.

Andrew Miller claims he has been mooted

Meanwhile, as expected, Stone associate Andrew Miller just requested an en banc review of the DC Circuit ruling that he needs to testify against Stone. Along with the arguments he already lost on, he is now asking the court to find out whether the government really still needs his testimony, arguing (in part) that Mueller’s authority has expired.

Since the subpoena issued to Mr. Miller was for the purpose of obtaining evidence related to Mr. Stone’s connection with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Guccifer 2.0, it would appear that the Special Counsel would no longer need Mr. Miller’s testimony regarding that subject matter. Nevertheless, the next business day, Monday, January 28, 2019, undersigned counsel was advised by the Special Counsel’s office that it believed the case to be a live controversy since the grand jury was still active, though it was not apparent whether the grand jury or its foreperson was consulted as to any continued interest in hearing Mr. Miller’s testimony. 3

On March 22, 2019, Special Counsel submitted his final report to Attorney General Barr pursuant to the Special Counsel regulations, 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c), concluding his investigation, explaining his prosecutions and declinations, and finding that no conspiracy or coordination took place between the Trump campaign or any aides associated with the campaign and Russia regarding interference with the 2016 campaign or hacking the emails of Hillary Clinton or the DNC. 4 No further indictments are expected. According to Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec, “The investigation is complete.”5 Thus, like Cinderella’s carriage that turned into a pumpkin at midnight, Special Counsel Mueller’s authority expired. Accordingly, the intervening events described above that have occurred since the issuance of the subpoena in question over nine months ago, strongly, if not definitively, demonstrate Mr. Miller’s testimony regarding Mr. Stone is no longer required nor can be legally obtained. Thus, this Court should invite the government’s views to verify whether this case continues to be a live controversy or is moot to assure itself that it continues to possess judicial power to adjudicate the instant petition for rehearing and suggestion for rehearing en banc and any subsequent action in this appeal

3 Notably, while the mandate was stayed as is the usual practice until 7 days after the time for the filing a petition for rehearing had expired or after disposition of any timely filed petition (45 days from the decision, or April 12), the Special Counsel had the right to ask the Court to issue the mandate ever since February 26 if Mr. Miller’s testimony was needed. The Special Counsel declined to do so. [my emphasis]

This is really just decoration on an en banc review that will be denied, but along the way he’s fishing for information about where else prosecutors (including the DC AUSAs who’ve been involved since Stone’s indictment, at least) are headed.

Mueller may be done but prosecutors are not

Which brings us, finally, to this response from prosecutors (signed by two DC AUSAs, Jonathan Kravis and Michael Marando, from the Stone team and Aaron Zelinsky from the Mueller team) in response to what is fairly characterized as a media request for all outstanding warrant materials in the Mueller investigation, with a focus on Stone. After getting two extensions, one because the attorneys involved in it were involved in a press of other work, one to transition to the DC AUSAs who’d take over because Mueller was done, the government today issued a narrowly targeted (to Stone) response.

After introducing the scope of the investigation as it proceeded from Comey’s March 20, 2017 scope to Mueller’s May 17, 2017 scope to his March 22, 2019 closure, the government response then stated the media request in remarkably narrow terms, focused just on Stone.

The movants seek to unseal search warrant materials related to the Stone prosecution. Specifically, the movants seek unsealing of “warrants, applications, supporting affidavits, and returns relating to all search or seizure warrants relevant to the prosecution of Roger J. Stone, Jr.” Doc. 4, at 2 (Order) (quoting Media Coalition Mem. 1). 2 It is unclear whether the movant’s request is limited to warrants issued pursuant to Rule 41 or also includes warrants under the SCA. In an abundance of caution, the government is treating the request as covering both categories. It is similarly unclear whether the reference to “warrants relevant to the Prosecution of Roger J. Stone, Jr.” means only warrants to search Stone’s property and facilities or includes other warrants that were executed as part of the same line of investigation. Again, in an abundance of caution, the government is treating the request as covering both categories.3

2 In places, the movant more broadly references warrant materials pertaining to “the Russia investigation” (Mot. 1, 4; Mem. 4) and once references “Manafort records” (Mot. 3). Consistent with this Court’s March 1, 2019 order (Doc. 4, at 2), and the movants’ detailed description of the records sought, see Mem. 4-5, the government understands those references as context for this specific request to unseal records related to the prosecution of Stone. See Mot. 1, 3, 4; Mem. 1, 4, 5.

Yes, it makes a big show of interpreting the media request broadly to interpret the request as both a request for Rule 41 and Stored Communication Act warrants and both Stone’s property and others (though again, they remarkably blow off all requests for anyone but Stone). But then they get to footnote 3, which reveals that there were warrants targeting entirely different people that ended up “merely happen[ing] to yield evidence that concerns Stone.”

3 The government does not understand the request to include warrants that were not related to Stone or that line of investigation but that merely happened to yield evidence that concerns Stone and is being provided to him in discovery.

This is a fairly remarkable disclosure, that the government obtained warrants thinking they were getting one thing that “merely happened to yield evidence that concerns Stone.” Particularly when you consider the earlier discussion of the “multiple lines” of Mueller’s investigation, some of which have been spun off.

The Special Counsel’s investigation has involved multiple lines of inquiry. Many have been handled in the Special Counsel’s Office. But the Special Counsel has also referred a number of matters to other offices in the government for investigation.


On March 22, 2019, the Special Counsel notified the Attorney General that he had completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Special Counsel, however, referred a number of matters to other offices in the Department of Justice. Those matters remain ongoing.

The filing claims, again, that this is an ongoing investigation, with stuff still being handled by “other offices and entities,” plural,

As explained, although the Special Counsel has concluded his work, the Special Counsel referred a number of matters that are ongoing and are being handled by other offices and entities. Disclosure of the warrant materials threatens the harms that courts have catalogued in holding that the First Amendment provides no right of access to search warrant materials in ongoing investigations.

Nor would it make sense to recognize a right of access automatically once any indictment has been returned. In complex investigations, such as this one, where a single warrant may have relevance to interconnected lines of investigation, that test would fail to take into account tangible investigative harms from disclosure. An indictment does not end an overall investigation, for example, when a defendant is potentially involved in activities with other subjects or targets, and the warrant in question seeks evidence bearing on that joint activity, but the defendant has been charged only with a subset of his conduct under investigation. The probability of a continuing investigation post-indictment grows when the search targets are linked to other persons of interest by ties to a single organization, common associates, or coordinated activities. Disclosure of warrant materials could reveal sources, methods, factual and legal theories, and lines of investigation extending beyond the charged conduct.

It suggests a “single warrant may have relevance to interconnected lines of investigation” (I assume those targeting Rick Gates are one example), then specifically says an indictment, like that targeting Stone, “does not end an overall investigation” perhaps because the “defendant has been charged only with a subset of his conduct under investigation” and he “is potentially involved in activities with other subjects or targets … linked to other persons of interest by ties to a single organization, common associates, or coordinated activities.”

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. 

50 replies
  1. Troutwaxer says:

    “In the blink of an eye you can lose everything.”

    Hey ratfucker, cry me some more crocodile tears. You might beat the rap, but you’re not beating the ride. What a schmuck!

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    “Disclosure of warrant materials could reveal sources, methods, factual and legal theories, and lines of investigation extending beyond the charged conduct.”

    Here’s hoping. x1,000,000

  3. BobCon says:

    Do we know where his money supposedly went? He was a big time player in conservative lobbying and campaign work, as a partner with Manafort for a while and an independent operator. That should have generated millions for him in fees.

    Manfort’s bad financial decisions were well documented but I haven’t seen a good explanation of why Stone might be hurting for cash.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve heard he made at least $50 million. If he’s hurting, it’s because he can’t get to his accounts in tax havens. (It isn’t like he couldn’t find someplace much less expensive to live. $9500 is a lot of money for one month’s rent.)

    • viget says:

      Hey, you know the guy owns hundreds of custom made suits, god knows how many pocket squares and ties, probably lots of shoes too. Plus he likes to throw lots of parties on a whim. I mean his laundry bill alone…

      And that’s before you even get to his sex life. I mean, I’m guessing swinging is probably not a cheap hobby.

      My point is he lives life high on the hog. I don’t think he saves very much, or if he does, it’s offshore as P J surmises.

  4. Rapier says:

    It strikes me that tide has gone out on Stone as it has on his old partner Manafort. They are old has-beens now. I suppose it would be fitting if they end up being the biggest fish caught in this whole affair. Some old Beltway hands sacrificed because somebody had to pay for this stupid shit show. In lieu of anybody that actually counts today. Maybe Mueller and Barr and McConnell and all the old hands figure that’s enough. This process isn’t the proper venue to get rid of Trump they might figure.

    Personally I think Trumps denouement will come from a stumble in the financial markets and the economy. Crazy I know.

    • timbo says:

      What would be more fitting is if the muckety-mucks that they tried to support were actually also indicted and convicted. These guys are suck-ups to bigger fish. “Fitting” would be for the bigger fish to be caught depending on these suck-ups.

  5. Yohei72 says:

    Did someone say they want to hear a dumb question? Ok, if you insist!

    I suppose my longstanding fantasy of seeing a Don Jr. indictment out of this investigation is out of reach? Mueller wouldn’t spin that off to others, would he?

    • Drew says:

      My fantasy is that the EDNY money laundering crew will emerge with an array of big indictments against all the spawn & Trumpworld types.

    • timbo says:

      It’s not out of reach. Or is there a secret OLC opinion that family members of Presidents also can’t be indicted while Presidents are in office? “Someone tell Billy!”

  6. Rugger9 says:

    I think the demand for Mueller’s full report is interesting in that a known Palace flunkie just undercut Kaiser Quisling’s argument for keeping it secret. As noted before, this is how Stone will leverage his pardon, like Cohen leveraged his bid on the so-called new evidence that hasn’t been heard from since Cohen dangled it. We’re not done here, and it’s delicious to watch KQ be forced to decide if he’ll pardon either of them.

    I also find it interesting that our Chinese subplot continued to simmer this week, with the articles on Prince Charles Lee and some of the organizations tied to him. As much as Vlad has on KQ, Xi probably has more considering the curiously protected trademarks issued to Ivanka can vanish in a stroke of a pen (or the placement of a “chop”) which seems to be a whole lot of money involved. One wonders whether KQ would offer up Taiwan (we have a mutual defense treaty in force with them) to keep Xi happy.

    The China angle may be the first straw for a lot of people in the base, since they aren’t Caucasians like the Russians are. MAGA tribespeople are racists first.

    • Stacey says:

      I have thought for a long time that Russia has eclipsed China in our interest in finding Trump’s dirty laundry, but we all must know that given the corruption that just permeates international Chinese business affairs, and Trump’s having done plenty of business in and around China, and Trump’s never having met a dirty deal he didn’t like…one must expect that there is an absolute treasure trove of Trump’s filthy business dealings over there and I’m pretty sure China has just as much to hold over Trump as Russia and no less inclination to do so. War on multiple fronts, anyone?

      • timbo says:

        Meh. I’d say that the Emoulments Clause applies to both China and Russia, not just one and not the other.

    • Eureka says:

      I don’t think there is going to be any “China angle…first straw” to his “base” (and if Trump directs hatred against Chinese people, his base would follow and would still be his base).

      Part of the racism involves fetishizing “Asians” in a number of ways, and in contrast to “Blacks.” I’m going to omit listing and reifying their “reasons;” they can be found amidst any racist meme-set (analysis) these days.

      Also (on the “economic anxiety” front), the “base” didn’t/doesn’t care about the MAGA hats and other Trump merch being made in China, for example, as far as I recall from news reports on the issue.

      In other words, racism as a tool of oppressive convenience isn’t being bent towards ‘prioritized fear of China/folks of Chinese descent’ right now (and if it was– and it does pop-up as a sub-current, in any case– Trump’s interactions would be hailed somehow as appropriate). That’s not who they are at war with– i.e., that’s not who is currently said to be invading (sic) our country or challenging their supremacy.

  7. horses says:

    This motherfucker again.

    The smartest lawyer I’ve ever called my friend was a fellow named Jack, who was from Iowa and used “clod” as an insult. Somehow he ended up a player in Albany and saw some shit.

    Jack told me that this is DOJ SOP. If they decide you’re guilty, they’ll grind you into dust, and they can do it because they have endless resources and you don’t. Eventually, you cop a plea.

    Stone is one of those guys. He had a long run, made and spent money, and flew his freak flag high. As long as you stay on the right side of the law, nobody cares. But he had to be The Man.

    The cure is easy: don’t commit federal crimes, and you’ll be fine.

    • timbo says:

      You do realize that you’ve contradicted yourself at least once in your post, right? Please help us all think clearly instead of whatever that was.

  8. Eureka says:

    Well that puts fresh blossom on “coordinated” activities, much like the cherry trees right now. Thank you (once again) for the satisfying close. [Thanks also for the Assange series.]

    Also it seems on first pass that the section you quoted re Stone engaging in ~ RU hack trutherism may be him also trying to get at evidence to help in his other case, the DNC suit.

  9. Tom says:

    So Stone is claiming that the Mueller investigation interfered with the President’s ability to conduct foreign policy with Russia because it framed all of Trump’s dealings with Putin in the context of possible “collusion” between the two of them? To counteract this impression, the President would have had to present himself as being tough and unyielding towards Russia, but he clearly hasn’t been despite his claims to the contrary. In fact, the implication of Stone’s position is that, had it not been for the Mueller investigation, the President would have been even more fawning and deferential towards Putin than he has been, for example, at last July’s Helsinki summit. Thanks to Mueller, Putin may have missed out on having his own office in the West Wing and the Freedom Caucasians … er, Caucus, could have been formally designated the House Russian delegation.

    • timbo says:

      Trump’s stance towards Russia has been more nuanced than that. I seem to recall that he sent cruise missiles into Syria at one point. This isn’t as clear cut as others wish it was.

      • Rayne says:

        Oh good gravy the April 2017 missiles or the April 2018 ones? I think you’d better check your nuance and the date that happened against who was then secretary of defense and secretary of state. Come to think of it, you might even check chief of staff at the time. ~smh~

        • timbo says:

          Heh. Sure, I mean you could argue he fired all those guys later of course…plus there’s that weird meeting in Helsinki that is still not fully explained… still, the Russians haven’t got what they (allegedly) paid for exactly.

  10. CD54 says:

    Apologies in advance. Anybody else considering the possibility SCO’s report was designed to support and promote impeachment (lower bar), but was intercepted/hijacked in order to counter such in a PR sense?

    • Peacerme says:

      I believe Mueller was forced to end it all much earlier than his plan. I know this does not fit the known facts but here even on EW, people seemed surprised it was coming out when it did. It was too short an investigation compared to Iran/contra, 9/11 or Whitewater, even plamegate by comparison and by seriousness of the investigation. This was an investigation of possible Russian influence in our elections. That’s a big deal. Would have been a bigger deal without the opposing influence of trump and trumpettes. I know there is no factual evidence for this, but it feels unfinished. In part because we can’t see it. But it’s more than just that…

      1) The best investigators of these issues felt this would go in to at least May. That changed only a few weeks before the report came out.
      2) The constant drum beats from that right that it was coming out, any day. This manipulation was being done for a reason. This was not coming from Mueller.
      3) Rosenstein’s behavior suggests that he has at least been protecting the republicans, and quite possibly trump.
      4) It’s clear trump is lying about being exonerated.
      5) some of Mueller’s people leaked their dismay about how Barr is handling report. Mueller has been silent. Continues to be silent. We can bet that trump is running with this in a way that is opposite to Mueller findings (at least some of them “not exonerated”). He remains silent. Why? If he perceived a misuse of his hard work, why is he not at least pushing back in some public way? He buys the presentation? Doubtful. (Bmaz, your comments make me believe that subsequent cases in the states don’t reach a level of importance that would stop the trump train.) It feels truncated. My point is that another possibility is that trump lawyers used some leverage that stopped mueller from finishing the investigation. Mueller was unable to influence trump to cooperate and this is in plain sight.
      A) no forcing him to testify under oath.
      B) Zero push back over legal scrapes with trump, Jared, ivanka.
      C) No indictments for the inner sanctum.
      6) Maybe there was no conspiracy and proof it didn’t exist. Or there was no way to prove it? Or there was obsfucation of the truth on some level that “threw dust in the eyes of the umpire”.
      7) It’s clear there are at least some unfinished leads regarding Russian interference AND obstruction. It’s not done. Despite reports that it is, its continuing through these other threads. If there were no pressure exerted on Mueller wouldn’t it make sense to finish all these threads and then put out the report? Isn’t that how it was generally done in past investigations?
      8) This investigation doesn’t come near length of time or cost of past investigations. The only valid (but INVALID) pressure comes from trump. There was no real need to end the investigation so soon. In fact it would have made more sense to finish all the lines of inquiry before publishing a report. If Mueller was working unfettered. That means (maybe) mueller succumbed to pressure from somewhere? This ending was not ideal, not perfect investigation ending when done and on Muellers terms, because we see there are continuing threads that “could” inform the primary investigation. And yes election year and all, is another valid pressure but there was still plenty of time.

      If Mueller was pressured, and succumbed to this pressure? What was the pressure ?? Who leaned on him and with what? Is that completely impossible? Maybe it is…. But it does not feel as if this went down the way Mueller would choose. So it seems possible that Muellers best intentions were influenced. Stepped on. Despite Bmaz and EW both suggesting a more impermeable mueller force. I believe this but it doesn’t seem this way. It seems possible that someone was able to exert legal pressure (because that’s the only kind of pressure Mueller would bend to per reports of his character), that forced Muellers hand in turning it over sooner than ideal?

      The report is likely an amazing investigation and we need to see it. Maybe it will make clear why no indictments. But it also feels like a pressured ending. Was there a legitimate legal way that mueller had to go along with that could have forced him to end early?

      Not just because I don’t want to accept the outcome but because it violates bigger patterns that suggest an abrupt shift about 2 weeks before the report came out and was hijacked by Barr. Maybe Barr put the squeeze on Mueller through some legal loophole that we don’t know.
      Something is wrong here. Something is not accurate and does not line up with the idea the Mueller purposefully ended the investigation when he did because the investigation was finished and just exactly how he would want it? Maybe? but I think there is reason to at least consider another possibility.

      • P J Evans says:

        Pressure via Rosenstein and Barr, I suspect. Rosenstein probably didn’t want to go there, but Barr wouldn’t have been bothered by it at all, and the handwriting was on the wall when BDTS and then Barr took over.

      • bmaz says:

        Do you have evidence of that? Do you allege that Barr perjured himself in front of multiple Congressional committees? Do you think Mueller is so weak and compromised he would not speak up? Where do you get this?

        • Peacerme says:

          I am not being as factual here as maybe I should. I apologize for that. If I use a dialectical argument I consider the theory that Mueller is untouchable. Impossible to derail. I see this as the primary most likely view. But to discuss it dialectically, are there some points to consider under the polar argument that perhaps trump and company (asymmetrical as a malignant narcissist can be) exploited a vulnerability, maybe related to pardons, to avoid a constitutional crises? I don’t know? I know that trump team will do things that normal people will not consider and that throws principled people off the rails. And maybe it’s stupid. I am willing to consider that as well.

        • JamesJoyce says:

          “What public interest?”

          Fascist shit stinks…

          The current president is a “F-POS!”

          Fascist Piece of

          This is of all Trump….

          A President claims dems are antisemitic as Nazi claimed and scapegoated Jews.

          Now a President scapegoats member of Congress.

          This man has more in common with indecency than anything decent. There was nothing decent about a banality of evil folks…

          Ask Sophie about her choice, or lack thereof ?

          Yes former CIA assets a network of Saudi Arabians inflicted harm on 911 and Saudis killed Khashoggi.

          Mueller obfuscates evidence trail in both, now with Barr’s help to overcome obstacle called Boland, like Magnitsky

          This is all about protecting power not the American People.

          It is sick

        • timbo says:

          Not really. You kind of sound like Trump might if he on TV comparing his narcissism to that of others more malignant/infamous tyrants.

        • BobCon says:

          I think it’s important to stress that we don’t know a lot.

          We don’t know what Mueller wrote besides declining to say send in the federal agents with handcuffs right now.

          We don’t know what he referred or where or why.

          We don’t know how much freedom Barr has — does he have free rein to say and do as he pleases, or did he cut a deal with Mueller? Maybe Mueller warned him to issue the report in an honest form or Mueller will go public. We don’t know.

          I think it’s without question that Barr is trying to bury as much as possible But we really don’t know whether he is on a long leash or a short one, or even how big of a mess he’s trying to bury.

        • P J Evans says:

          What Barr says ain’t necessarily so. As you should have noticed, he’s been lying about the report, about the investigation, about whether presidents are above the law, and probably about how well he knows Mueller.

  11. Frank Probst says:

    “I’ve lost…my ability to make a living because people pay me to write and talk, and of course the things they want me to write and talk about are the very things I’m not allowed to talk and write about.”

    I know I keep harping on this, but this is the exact opposite of what he told ABJ, under oath, at his gag order hearing.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Exactly. ABJ went out of her way to get Stone’s side to admit on the record that her possible restrictions on his speech would have no effect on Stone’s ability – or lack of it – to earn a living.

      Al Franken’s title lives on: “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” He was just off on how many of them there are.

  12. foggycoast says:

    tangential to this article and totally speculative. is it possible that Barr will fast track the “investigation” into the origins of the Mueller investigation then refuse to release the report until it is determined whether the basis was “valid”. And then determining the basis was not valid, seal it permanently? if so would that cascade to all the other cases related to the investigation.

  13. Margo Schulter says:

    To foggycoast at 12:03 am: that scenario reminds me a bit of what an admiral said in 1972 when asked what the limits were of the Nixon Administration’s military build-up and planned retaliation against North Vietnam. He replied that it was public opinion that would set those limits.

    The same thing here — plus the risk that such an outrageous move by Barr would lead to various kinds of action by Mueller or other team members to mobilize the public and/or make portions of the report available by other means than through Barr. (I remember Senator Mike Gravel reading the from the Pentagon Papers.)

    Hopefully, within the week, this scenario will be definitely contrafactual, as opposed to the very, very, remote possibility I might now guess that it is. If it somehow were to happen, I hope that it would prove to be, to use Gandhi’s famous phrase, a “Himalayan miscalculation” on the part of Trump and Barr that might dwarf the Saturday Night Massacre.

  14. orionATL says:

    from this vantage point of information I have no doubt that trump conspired with the russians.

    I believe his central act of conspiracy revolved around the June 9, 2016 meeting with russians. while conspiring with the Russians may have begun as early as March 2016 when Manafort joined the trump campaign, the central act of conspiracy was promising sanctions relief in return for Russian help defeating Clinton at the June 9 meeting. whether or not trump may understood that the russians intended to do all possible damage to the Clinton effort with or without his involvement is unclear to me. he may have entered into an agreement as a consequence of June 9 solely with the thought that he needed russian help to win the presidency, or he may have done so as a willing continuation of the Russian bribery effort.

    following the june 9 meeting, Lucifer 2.0 pop’s up, dcleaks pops up, Wikileaks releases dem documents just before the dem nominating convention, and the Republican convention features an abrupt change in the party’s approach to the Ukraine. in October Wikileaks helps defuse the sexual harassment video with additional releases of democratic documents, Russian social media focuses on demonizing Clinton and discouraging voting.

    Donald Trump jr. gives several assurances over time that the trump campaign will consider the sanctions issue if his father wins, and after his election trump, thru general Flynn, began covert work on sanctions relief for Russia in repayment of his obligation to the Russians for their help. i suspect that the central trump-russia agreement was arrived at during the time just before, the day of, and just after June 9 meeting. Manafort may well have played a key role in all this which would explain his need to continue hiding his key role from the osc – otherwise he might well have been on the hook for a very serious espionage charge. nonetheless, it was trump who had to give the final authorization to work with the Russians and then to begin to bend American policy in a direction favorable to the Russians not only with regard to the Ukraine, but with regard to attacking the nato alliance.

    I go back and forth about whether roger stone was merely an agent for trump in this conspiracy or whether he was central to some of the planning. whichever, the long fight he and Andrew Miller have put up suggests to me they are hiding important information. fortunately for historians, there are non-osc parts of the DOJ that have authorization to pursue this tantalizing question – at least until trump/barr shut them fown.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Roger Stone and Donald Trump have a relationship that goes back decades. Both knew a dirty trickster and nasty cheat when they saw one. That suggests Stone was essential to Trump’s campaign, regardless of whether he was formally associated with it. As Paul Manafort’s career suggests, you can be an essential tool of a campaign or a White House before joining it or after leaving it.

      • orionATL says:


        as ol’ rog himself put it (more or less), “Donald Trump and I have an intimate friendship that goes back 40 years.” that certainly makes you wonder what rog might have been “party” to :)

        i have thought at times that, back in February of 2016, stone may well have started his pal Donald on the Russian road by suggesting that trump bring on Manafort (stone’s former business partner in black, manafort, and stone).

        on the other hand, trump has had a management style all his life that uses a go-between to keep himself a discrete distance from direct engagement that might spell trouble. stone may have served that purpose for trump with respect to wikileaks.

  15. timbo says:

    Okay, I’m going to throw out some stuff and see if any of it sticks on the wall. Even thinking about this brings the term “Hogwash!” to mind really but here goes…

    Basically, is there any known instance(s), in the past 40 years, of a US counterintelligence investigation injecting lies into federal grand jury testimony, under oath, to further a counterintelligence investigation? As some of us spook groupies know, one way to track leaks and find moles is to present false information and see where it ends up… I mention this because I believe it’s conceivable that the Supreme Court could authorize this sort of thing if it’s decided to not be prejudicial to anyone’s potential criminal liability. Any one know? I mean, it sounds outlandish but… we probably would never know if such a thing was authorized/approved, correct? Further, while this would allow the tracking of leaks and finding of moles, if such a program or authorization exists/existed, this might make it harder to prosecute conspiracy or obstruction charges were this used as a counterintelligence method, even if led to the uncovering of a leak/mole.

    And now I shall crawl that idea back under the rock that so richly deserves to be unturned.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Greetings, timbo,
      This is not the answer to your question (which I think is a fascinating one.) It might not even provide any kind of useful analogy and it does not involve a grand jury. But, by means of comparison to a much smaller circumstance, I offer this example from a civil case that had its own weirdness.

      Apologies to all in advance if this is a waste of time and space. My hope is to be helpful, not wasteful or aggravating.
      As I was then, I am still naive and ignorant of how the legal process works or is supposed to work. Now, however, I might be able to ask more questions and express concerns a little better.

      I was the plaintiff and the City was the defendant. The federal judge was brought in from out of state. He had been taken off the Timothy McVeigh case in Oklahoma City, which may not have had anything to do with my case.

      Although I did not know this at the time, at one point, he told his hometown paper that security had notified him that something was about to happen, several days before the bombing there.
      He didn’t go to work that day and had taken his grandson out of the daycare. His office incurred significant damage as a result of the bombing.

      Although the city here is wonderfully diverse, there was not a single minority on the jury. Prior to and during proceedings I was given three offers to settle which I refused because I truly believed the substantial evidence was compelling and convincing. Later I learned that some jurors did not even look at or consider critical documents. Someone told me they were not required to.

      Immediately after the hung jury, the judge told me they could take a vote to determine a majority rule outcome. I agreed and lost. Later, to the astonishment of my attorneys, two of the jurors contacted their office. In their 20 years of practice this had never happened before.

      The jurors were outraged at how things were conducted behind the scenes. They strongly believed that there was improper behavior. The only detail that was relayed to me was that the other jurors “voted” against me because I had refused to pledge allegiance to the Confederate battle flag.

      The case I filed against the City was as a whistleblower and was for violating my First Amendment rights (plus some…) I had been demoted for speaking out against a policy the City made to benefit a white supremacist group. The policy allowed the group to bring a rifle bag to their meetings and prohibited us from checking it. Obviously, this was poor risk management and it violated existing policy that was enforced at other locations.

      During the proceedings there was what appeared to be other improper behavior and actions, including suborning and committing perjury just as two examples. During lunch breaks, some jurors met with family and others. People who were supposed to be excluded from the courtroom somehow finagled their way in.

      This is actually the first time that I have articulated these things to anyone. Feelings have been locked away in the crawl space of my cramped mind. It is still difficult to give voice to them. And I am still unclear as to what was and was not appropriate court conduct.

      The first attorney I had was for a civil service hearing that I attended in order to exhaust my administrative remedies prior to filing a lawsuit. He had assured me that filing that suit would be no problem for him. But when the time came, he would not do it. Then he was offered, and took a position with the City’s general counsel’s office. Some years later, he worked as Solicitor General for the governor. And now he is a judge, a Republican one.

      So, I had to scramble to find other representation. I did and he was competent, caring and honest. But he was also young, with a heavy caseload. And I was, not only naive, but ill with a rare disorder that was not successfully diagnosed until many years later.

      I was also very determined (maybe even pig headed.) So, when I lost in court, I filed an appeal. And then I filed another lawsuit when officials gave me a score of 20 on a promotional test I took. When I had taken the test earlier in my career I had scored 97 on it. Yes, I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going to take it any more.

      Finally we reached settlement. A highly successful attorney friend of mine told me he thought it was unusual that the City settled after I lost in a federal case. He may have just been trying to make me feel better. I don’t know. Some other interesting things happened, as well, that I am reluctant to mention here. Let’s just call it poetic justice. Maybe some of that poetic justice is even still occurring to this day.

      So, in regard to your intriguing question, I would say, “you never know..” And as they say in libraries, the only foolish question is the one that was never asked. Hopefully, someone well versed in security and legal matters can do more justice to your question than I have :-)

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