Paul Manafort Violated Campaign Policy in Risking a Meeting with Konstantin Kilimnik on August 2, 2016

When Don Jr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he defended accepting a meeting from a bunch of Russians offering dirt, in part, by noting that he took the meeting before there was such a focus on “Russian activities.”

Nonetheless, at the time I thought I should listen to what Rob and his colleagues had to say. To the extent that they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of any presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out. Depending on what, if any, information that they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it any further consideration. I also note at this time  there was no focus on Russian activities that there is today.

The guy who Mueller decided was too stupid to be charged with a campaign finance violation basically explained away doing so (as he has elsewhere): that because the public wasn’t yet aware of the efforts Russia was making to get his dad elected — and the suspicious ties between key campaign figures and Russians — it was reasonable for him to take dirt from Russians.

And the Mueller Report actually does show that the campaign passed up offers from Russians they otherwise seemed to find attractive later in the summer, after the release of the DNC emails made Russia’s intentions clear.

For example, after Sergei Millian reached out to George Papadopoulos promising to help him reach leaders of the Russian-American community, the “Coffee Boy” was instructed to decline the offer because too many stories were accurately telling voters how pro-Russian both the campaign and — especially — Paul Manafort was.

On July 31, 2016, following his first in-person meeting with Millian, Papadopoulos emailed Trump Campaign official Bo Denysyk to say that he had been contacted “by some leaders of Russian-American voters here in the US about their interest in voting for Mr. Trump,” and to ask whether he should “put you in touch with their group (US-Russia chamber of commerce).”507 Denysyk thanked Papadopoulos “for taking the initiative,” but asked him to “hold off with outreach to Russian-Americans” because “too many articles” had already portrayed the Campaign, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and candidate Trump as “being pro-Russian.”508

Similarly when, after JD Gordon twice emphasized with Sergei Kislyak at the Convention that he had meant what he said in his speech — that the US should have better relations with Russia (see pages 123-4) — Kislyak invited Gordon to breakfast at his residence. Gordon would have been happy to take the invite, according to an email he sent in response to the invitation. But he said he’d take a raincheck for when “things quiet down a bit.”

On August 3, 2016, an official from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United States wrote to Gordon ” [o]n behalf of’ Ambassador Kislyak inviting Gordon “to have breakfast/tea with the Ambassador at his residence” in Washington, D.C. the following week.818 Gordon responded five days later to decline the invitation. He wrote, “[t]hese days are not optimal for us, as we are busily knocking down a constant stream of false media stories while also preparing for the first debate with HRC. Hope to take a raincheck for another time when things quiet down a bit. Please pass along my regards to the Ambassador.” 819

While Gordon doesn’t say the “false media stories” were explicitly about Russia, that is where the focus was at the time (indeed, the defeat of the Ukraine amendment in the platform that Gordon himself had carried out was one focus of that media attention). Update: In the obstruction section, the report confirms this was about Russia:

For example, in August 2016, foreign policy advisor J.D. Gordon declined an invitation to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s residence because the timing was “not optimal” in view of media reports about Russian interference.46

46 DJTFP00004953 (8/8/16 Email, Gordon to Pchelyakov) (stating that “[t]hese days are not optimal for us, as we are busily knocking down a stream of false media stories”).

So it seems clear that in the wake of the DNC dump and revelations about the platform, Carter Page, and Manafort, the campaign did make a conscious effort to “take a raincheck” on any more approaches from Russia.

It’s against that background that the August 2 meeting between Manafort, Rick Gates, and someone Gates believed was a Russian spy, Konstantin Kilimnik, is all the more remarkable.

As the report describes, at the same time other campaign staffers were being told to turn down approaches from Russia, the campaign manager set up a late night meeting with the same Russian employee who was involved in so much of the scandal (and to whom he had been sending internal polling data since the spring). At the meeting, the campaign manager discussed at least three things: how Trump planned to win the three states that would ultimately make the difference in the election — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (along with Minnesota, which also was unexpectedly close), a plan that required Manafort and Trump’s buy-off to give Russia part of Ukraine, and a way for Manafort (who was working for Trump for “free”) to get paid by Ukrainian oligarchs and to get Oleg Deripaska to forgive a huge debt.

The events leading to the meeting are as follows. On July 28, 2016, Kilimnik flew from Kiev to Moscow.912 The next day, Kilimnik wrote to Manafort requesting that they meet, using coded language about a conversation he had that day.913 In an email with a subject line “Black Caviar,” Kilimnik wrote:

I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. We spent about 5 hours talking about his story, and I have several important messages from him to you. He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation. I said I have to run it by you first, but in principle I am prepared to do it. … It has to do about the future of his country, and is quite interesting.914

Manafort identified “the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar” as Yanukovych. He explained that, in 2010, he and Y anukovych had lunch to celebrate the recent presidential election. Yanukovych gave Manafort a large jar of black caviar that was worth approximately $30,000 to $40,000.915 Manafort’s identification of Yanukovych as “the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar” is consistent with Kilimnik being in Moscow-where Yanukovych resided-when Kilimnik wrote “I met today with~ a December 2016 email in which Kilimnik referred to Yanukovych as “BG,”-916 Manafort replied to Kilimnik’s July 29 email, “Tuesday [August 2] is best . .. Tues or weds in NYC.”917

Three days later, on July 31, 2016, Kilimnik flew back to Kiev from Moscow, and on that same day, wrote to Manafort that he needed “about 2 hours” for their meeting “because it is a long caviar story to tell.”918 Kilimnik wrote that he would arrive at JFK on August 2 at 7:30 p.m., and he and Manafort agreed to a late dinner that night.919 Documentary evidence- including flight, phone, and hotel records, and the timing of text messages exchanged920-confirms the dinner took place as planned on August 2.921

As to the contents of the meeting itself, the accounts of Manafort and Gates — who arrived late to the dinner — differ in certain respects. But their versions of events, when assessed alongside available documentary evidence and what Kilimnik told business associate Sam Patten, indicate that at least three principal topics were discussed.

First, Manafort and Kilimnik discussed a plan to resolve the ongoing political problems in Ukraine by creating an autonomous republic in its more industrialized eastern region of Donbas,922 and having Yanukovych, the Ukrainian President ousted in 2014, elected to head that republic.923 That plan, Manafort later acknowledged, constituted a “backdoor” means for Russia to control eastern Ukraine.924 Manafort initially said that, if he had not cut off the discussion, Kilimnik would have asked Manafort in the August 2 meeting to convince Trump to come out in favor of the peace plan, and Yanukovych would have expected Manafort to use his connections in Europe and Ukraine to support the plan.925 Manafort also initially told the Office that he had said to Kilimnik that the plan was crazy, that the discussion ended, and that he did not recall Kilimnik asking Manafort to reconsider the plan after their August 2 meeting.926 Manafort said [redacted] that he reacted negatively to Yanukovych sending — years later — an “urgent” request when Yanukovych needed him.927 When confronted with an email written by Kilimnik on or about December 8, 2016, however, Manafort acknowledged Kilimnik raised the peace plan again in that email.928 Manafort ultimately acknowled ed Kilimnik also raised the eace Ian in ~ary 2017 meetings with Manafort [grand jury redaction] 929

Second, Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election.930 That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to Gates, it also included discussion of “battleground” states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.931 Manafort did not refer explicitly to “battleground” states in his telling of the August 2 discussion, [grand jury redaction]

Third, according to Gates and what Kilimnik told Patten, Manafort and Kilimnik discussed two sets of financial disputes related to Manafort’s previous work in the region. Those consisted of the unresolved Deripaska lawsuit and the funds that the Opposition Bloc owed to Manafort for his political consulting work and how Manafort might be able to obtain payment.933

Eight days after that meeting at which Manafort described how they might win Rust Belt swing states, where Kilimnik pitched a plan to break up Ukraine, and where Kilimnik also explained what Manafort would have to do to get paid by his Ukrainian paymasters, Manafort told his accountant to book that Ukrainian money, which he said would be paid in November.

Here’s the thing about this meeting, which Trump’s campaign manager and his deputy attended even while the campaign was telling other associates to “take a rain check” on outreach from Russia. They, too, recognized the problem of being caught accepting such outreach. They just tried to avoid getting caught.

After the meeting, Gates and Manafort both. stated that they left separately from Kilimnik because they knew the media was tracking Manafort and wanted to avoid media reporting on his connections to Kilimnik.934

This is a point Amy Berman Jackson made when she ruled that Manafort had lied about this meeting (and the sharing of polling data).

If he was, as he told me, so single-mindedly focused on the campaign, then the meeting he took time to attend and had [redacted] had a purpose [redacted]. Or, if it was just part of his effort to [redacted], well, in that case he’s not being straight with me about how single-minded he was. It’s not good either way.

Plus, his asserted inability to remember rings hollow when the event we are discussing involving [redacted] not only [redacted] but he’s [redacted] with a specific understanding and intent that [redacted] at a meeting in which the participants made it a point of leaving separate because of the media attention focused at that very time on Manafort’ relationships with Ukraine.

Manafort had claimed he was so busy trying to win a campaign that he forgot the meeting at which he discussed carving up Ukraine in the same two hour discussion where he talked about the import of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in winning that campaign. And to attend the meeting, he risked public scrutiny on precisely the Russian ties that every other member of the campaign was being told to discourage.

Update: This Amy Berman Jackson order reveals a little more about how Rick Gates’ updated testimony changes the story. It sounds like when Gates heard that prosecutors used Manafort’s order to Gates to print out polling data on August 2 to prove that he had shared it with Kilimnik, he contacted prosecutors and told them that they had, in fact, used it at the staff meeting that morning, which is the explanation Manafort gave for the order. He says he arrived late so doesn’t know if Manafort shared that particular polling data with Kilimnik.

But ABJ refused Manafort’s request for reconsideration of her judgment that he lied about that for several reasons:

  • He still lied about sharing polling data to be passed on to Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs
  • He still lied about the Ukraine “peace” deals
  • She still gave him credit for his plea

Given those details, the Manafort bid for reconsideration must just be an attempt to discredit what is one of the most damning details in the Mueller Report.

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. 

73 replies
  1. Jockobadger says:

    Nice dissection and discussion, Marcy. I would sure like to see those redactions. Here is part of your summation:

    Manafort had claimed he was so busy trying to win a campaign that he forgot the meeting at which he discussed carving up Ukraine in the same two hour discussion where he talked about the import of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in winning that campaign.

    So while everyone else in the campaign was at least temporarily discouraging contact with persons/agents of the RF, Manafort and Gates sneak into a late night meeting Kilimnik to discuss not only the above, but also, perhaps more importantly to Manafort, the money. It seems to me that Manafort, with his sleazy high-flying lifestyle, was likely more interested (and therefore willing to risk unwanted attention) in the Ukrainian $2.5m he believe he was owed. Further, though it’s not discussed in detail above, I suspect he was worried sick about the money that he apparently stole from Deripaska (I’ve seen $19m thrown around?). Paulie was willing to risk meeting because he was desperate to make Deripaska “whole” before he ended up being Skripaled.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Hi, Jockobadger! Apologies for putting this OT here, but I have been unable to locate the past post where you expressed an interest in this. So, here it is here and now:

      “The Mueller Report, Alfa Bank, and the Deep State”
      Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of “Deep Politics” — the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed, and career officials who come and go.

      A professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country’s recent past, including American War Machine (2010) and The American Deep State (2018), which are relevant to the story…”

      • Jockobadger says:

        Read the article, Savage. Thanks very much.

        When I read through something like that, I’m astonished at how the tendrils of money and corruption are global in scale and seem to me to be non-political (or maybe apolitical.) It’s almost bigger than any politics. It’s about power. Power that is expressed politically – and financially, and militarily, but in the end it’s all about personal authoritarian power. Putin has it in spades. Erdowan does too. Duterte has it and tr*mp wants it.

        Tr*mp’s problem is that he’s a jumped-up reality tv star who is none too bright and the rest of real players know it and are using him. We know they played a significant roll in putting him in place. They’ve created an opportunity to remove what has been a real spanner in the works of their corrupt global enterprises – the onetime US legal hegemony (?) that until recently had been a nearly invincible PITA. But hey! Now there’s a weakling narcissistic clown in the WH and there are contacts within the admin that are known to Putin et al. e.g. Barr from his Kirkland and Ellis days (and there are others.) These oligarchs and authoritarian leaders and corrupt too-big-to-fail fat cat bankers are creating that old chestnut that scares the bejeebus out of the repubs, a One-World Gubmint, with them right at the top!

        This whole thing feels like a cheap paperback Clive Cussler-ish thriller about world domination. Except it’s real. Is the United States of America too big to fail? JHFC

        • rip says:

          Thanks JockOBadger and Savage Librarian for this additional information and commentary.

          I also believe that it is the avarice for power/money/sex that is the root cause. Politics be damned but politics are a good way to fleece the flocks.

      • viget says:


        Been going back through your posts on Guccifer 2.0 and the genesis of the investigation, and have been keenly interested in the status of the Philly FBI investigation into the skiddies’ server. Is that investigation closed now, or do you know? The alfa bank thing made me think of this.

  2. Report Counselor says:

    Is it possible that this “polling” data included Republican/Democrat voter roll information that could then be used to alter targeted voters info in swing state/counties?

    Since we know that the Russians had penetrated and were looking to penetrated additional voting systems it seems that this would be more valuable than aggregate polling/demographic information.

    Is it also possible that Trump was led to believe that the Russians were successful in changing voter roll information and believe that these “ineligible” voters were still allowed to vote. This would support his thought of widespread voter fraud and creating a commission to expose this even though the Russians weren’t successful (But Trump wouldn’t know this).

    • viget says:

      I still wonder if in MI, PA, WI that a small percentage of HRC votes weren’t flipped to 3rd party candidate votes. It would be nearly impossible to track and prove (no comparable historical data), and given the IRA effort to tighten the margins in certain precincts (and the unfortunate Comey announcement), the results were totally plausible (remember Nate Silver said Trump had about a 30% chance of winning).

      Also, it might not have been the Russians… there were other nation state actors that had a vested interest in Trump winning.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Hello, Report Counselor. You say:
      “Is it possible that this “polling” data included Republican/Democrat voter roll information that could then be used to alter targeted voters info in swing state/counties?“

      I have been wondering this, too. And it links in my mind with a potential reason for having Susie Wiles at TT campaign headquarters. And for the business relationship between Lanny Wiles and Akhmetshin. Even more so now that Rubio admits to knowing that the FBI has more info on the hack attempt in some specific county in FL that has not yet been revealed.

      • Peacerme says:

        It seems a coincidence too far for me to buy:


        In each of these countries there is a big split. Splitting is the work of personality disorder or authoritarians. A conflict wreaking havoc and festering unrest. The old divide and conquer. Yes, a move from KGB but also the move of an alcoholic authoritarian in a family. It’s a fairly universal human power move. In some cases, of the countries listed above, how many have experienced shockingly close elections or election results that were surprising or unexpected? How many times has it caused a surprising shift in perspective. It seems like it’s happening all of the world to well established social democracies. Ukraine (not an example of strong or stable) electing a comedian is not that different from USA electing trump. I don’t buy it. I don’t know why but it seems like this is happening globally. It seems more likely that these splits are being exploited and grown through social media every where. Social media is a perfect weapon to use to divide and conquer. Add election data hacking, the manipulation of a few variables that no one would notice and voila!!! A perfect machine to take over the world.

        But we need to do something now.

      • Taxidermist says:

        ABC producer Chris Vlasto called Corey Lewandowski & David Bossie at 5:01PM on election day while polls were still open and passed the Trump campaign confidential exit poll data (gathered from ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, NBC & Fox ) for 11 battleground states including Ohio, Florida & Pennsylvania. Bossie passed it to Kushner, Bannon & Priebus.
        Trump was losing by 5-8 points in eight of the eleven states at 5:01PM.

      • Taxidermist says:

        Some interesting 2016 Florida voting data (note it is not httpS and I don’t really know what that means, so hopefully it isn’t danger)
        Here is one County:
        LAFAYETTE Cnty Florida

        Registered voters:
        Republican 1,478
        Democrat 2,649
        Independent 243

        Election Results:
        TRUMP 2,795
        CLINTON 515
        JOHNSON 47
        STEIN 10

        Reason for suspected result tampering/hacking:

        *More votes for Trump than all registered republicans & independents combined.

        *Extremely low turn out of democratic vote while all other larger florida counties, not showing discrepancies, show dems largely voted democratic, republicans voted republican and only a minor ( not major) percentage of independents voted for Trump.

        The list goes on for other counties with impossible Republican turnout, and differentiates them from counties with no discrepancies.

        • RWood says:

          Some of that can be credited to the snowbird vote.

          Florida gets a concentration of 65 and older lilly-white republicans every fall from the northern states. I liken it to an invasion of locusts.

          Unfortunately election day is in November.

    • Tech Support says:

      It seems like EW always swallows my wallposts, never to be seen again. So here’s the short version:

      “Since we know that the Russians had penetrated and were looking to penetrated additional voting systems”

      This is false. There has been no public reporting of any sort to suggest that *voting systems* have ever been compromised. There HAS been reporting that voter registration databases were infiltrated. That is a very bad thing but it is super different than what you are implying.

      I’m not saying forever, but for the time being people really, REALLY need to let go of the idea of vote totals being altered by hackers. I’m not trying to say it’s impossible. I AM trying to say it is a shitty way to influence an election. Voting systems are independently operated at the county level.

      On the other hand, stupid dimbulb voters can be influenced through media manipulation. RNC polling data + DNC polling data + Cambridge Analytica data = surgical precision Facebook advertising to incite likely Trump voters and suppress likely Clinton voters.

      • EchoDelta says:

        Bradblog? Mike Connell? Man in the middle attacks?

        How would anyone even know if no one is looking in an organized, systematic fashion? There is no voting machine police, after all.

        • P J Evans says:

          Several of the states run by GOP-T politicians have refused to fix or improve their voting systems, even after being warned about their high level of insecurity.

        • Tech Support says:

          Ima put your blogger and your radio personality on the side for the moment, and just address your use of “man in the middle.” That form of attack involves intercepting data as it’s being transmitted from point A to point B and then modifying it in a way that neither the sender nor the recipient is aware of the intervention.

          I’m not aware of any electronic, paperless voting system that transmits results over an Internet-accessible network. Such systems might exists, but to the best of my knowledge, all electronic voting systems in production today are offline systems that would require the attacker to have physical access to compromise. MITM attacks are not even an issue in those scenarios.

          But I’m not a subject matter expert on specific systems or implementations and if you’ve got some real-world examples I’m listening.

      • Willis Warren says:

        What’s the purpose of hacking the voting rolls, then? The obvious purpose is that they were datamining for some evidence that voter fraud/registration mistakes were occurring, so they could delegitimize Clinton’s win. That’s not necessary in the scenario where trump wins, so “nothing came of it.”

        Trump *seemed* to have insider information on this. He may have been pulling the voter fraud claims from the ether, but I doubt it.

        • P J Evans says:

          There’s the really obvious ones of changing information on the rolls, so voters end up with the wrong ballot (in primaries) or not matching sufficiently for states with very tight ID requirements, or so that they end up voting with provisional ballots, which may not be counted.

        • Tech Support says:

          Accessing voter rolls absolutely has value if you’re trying to manipulate an election. PJs response offers a couple valuable examples.

          But a SECOND way you can harm an election is to reduce voter confidence in the results. Screwing with the voter registration database can lead non-technical people to believe that actual votes are impacted, and that is harmful even when the votes are untouched. Hell, screwing with absolutely NOTHING but pushing memes on social media about how voting systems have been allegedly hacked is nearly as effective.

          Ultimately that’s the reason why I’m up in this thing posting about how hard and low-reward it is to attack voting systems directly, one county at a time. Because there are highly educated but otherwise technically inexperienced people here, and in other venues who are unwittingly helping our adversaries by propagating inflammatory hearsay.

      • Report Counselor says:

        Sorry I meant voting registration systems. I believe the Russians gained access to some of them and had the intent to alter voter roll data. The assumption is that Trump would lose and he would cry rigged election when he lost. The Russians probably exaggerated what they actually were able to accomplish and Trump probably believe they were successful in tampering in some way. When he unexpectedly won then it mattered less to cry about a rigged election. Yet he still complained about election fraud without any indication it occurred. I would believe it was because of his ego but he went as far as forming a commission and looking for signs of voter fraud. He believed there was voter fraud because the Russians made him believe they were successful.

        • timbo says:

          What you’ve just said makes zero sense. Why would the Russians stop Trump from being elected if they thought that Trumps advisors were willing to negotiate with Russia to set up an “independent” republic in Eastern Ukraine. The Russians would want to get Trump elected in that case. Doing it by fraud is just an added bonus as it puts the Trump-ites on the blackmail list big time.

        • Stacey says:

          Judging why Trump does any given thing is a fool’s errand usually, but whether the Russians DID anything in the voter registration data base as a ‘set up’ for Trump to find after losing and crying ‘election fraud’ or not, I’ve seen reporting that someone in Russia messaged Trump Jr suggesting that his dad ‘cry foul’ if he lost.

          But the main point I wanted to make is just that I think Trump put that voter fraud stuff out there, in addition to it being ‘the song of his people’ in general, crying voter fraud gives him that great pretense to put that voter fraud commission in place. That thing was scary as hell! They wanted all of this voter registration data, which no one thought would be a good idea even before we learned all about Cambridge Analytica and the Russians messing around in the voter registration data bases, and all the rest of it!

          One day the depths of what actually did happen will be known and I do suspect it is far worse than we’ve been told to this point. I expect little things will drip out over time, like this ‘oh, some Florida county was more deeply messed with than we thought at first’ and whatever little drip comes next. There’s basically no way the authorities, even the ‘good’ ones would be telling us the full extent of vote altering if it did happen this close to the event. I take absolutely NO assurance in being told by the authorities that ‘we do not think any votes were actually altered’ because I’m completely positive that if they knew that they were they would still say that to us because they wouldn’t want to cause us all to freak out even more about how fucked up our ‘elections’ are!

          I can see the calculation being that Russia might have even been sloppy about it hoping their tracks would be discovered and the authorities would tell us that and then Russia gets even bigger Lulz out of the whole discrediting democracy thing, so yeah, they would not tell us that, I’m sure.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When someone spends sufficient millions on marketing and media manipulation – be it on cornflakes, toothpaste or nicotine delivery systems – anyone can be manipulated, not just “stupid dimbulb” voters. That’s why Madison Avenue makes so much money.

        You do not need to directly change vote tallies to manipulate an election result. You can affect it handily by manipulating information on voter rolls or just learning house by house which voters are most likely to be swayed by the tools you have available.

        The GOP does it with more obvious tools: voter purges, poll taxes, disqualifications, cutting voting locations, shortening or banning early voting, not making voting day a holiday, by not updating or securing voting technology, machines and processes, by not demanding that voting s/w be subject to outside audit, and so on.

        • BeingThere says:

          Another database of 80million US adults , all over 40, found floating in the intertubes.
          This info with lat/long location is ideal for micro-targetting advertising on Facebook, or using their advertising serviceb for web-ads (you can place ads to a geo-location at some radius, so target your living room +/- 1/2mile.) Databases of people are easy to cross correlated to match other personal attributes, so can be correlated to historical voting data maps (publicly available), or the Facebook sounded personal interests acquired by Cambridge Analytica. (The medical patient address/name database via the Alfa Bank server activity would be another example, or the insurance database via Aaron Banks for brexit).

      • horses says:

        Bullshit. Mueller’s report suggests that at least one Florida county’s tally was hacked before the narrative disappears down a counterintel rabbit hole.

        That’s a taxpayer-funded report, Ace.

        It’s been known for decades that the early model voting machines are garbage.

        Guess which states don’t spend money on elections, or anything else essential to maintaining a government?

          • timbo says:

            So far. However, the thing about the struggle that is before us is that people on the old center are no longer safe from the things that might be coming. The struggle by the House to rein in the infantile President and their supporters is just beginning…and the stakes are high, so very high…

        • Tech Support says:

          “Bullshit. Mueller’s report suggests that at least one Florida county’s tally was hacked before the narrative disappears down a counterintel rabbit hole.”

          I don’t have the actual passage of the Mueller report to share, but from the various reports I read about (the unredacted portions) of this disclosure, what it said was that elections officials in one particular Florida county were subjected to “spear phishing” attacks and it is implied that those attacks were successful.

          That does not immediately give the GRU access to votes. It would have given the GRU access to the email accounts of county employees in the elections office. Could that eventually lead to a voting system being compromised? Hypothetically it can’t be ruled out… but it would have to begin with exploiting information in that user’s mailbox (or that user’s phished password) to gain access to other information systems in the county. And like I said above, it would depend on the votes themselves being stored on a computer that was on a network that was remotely accessible.

          I’m trying super hard to be open minded here and not overstep my specific knowledge, but the leap you’re making from what’s in the report to what you think it says is Evil Kenevil level stuff here.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think it gives Don Jr a Catch-22 problem: If he’s smart to claim that it was OK for all of a leading GOP candidate for president’s top staff to take a meeting with high-level Russian cut-outs – because nobody was looking for Russians yet – Don Jr is smart enough to know the meeting was illegal.

    The manner of the meeting and the excuses used to misexplain it are evidence of guilty knowledge and attempts to hide the facts. Don Jr is as obligated as any other citizen to determine the legality of his acts. He had and has infinite resources with which to do that.

    If being rich and stupid were legitimate excuses for committing illegal acts, the scions of many wealthy families would spend a lot less on their accountants, tax advisers and lawyers. Sadly for them, it is no more an excuse than being poor and African American is an excuse to make normal behavior a capital offense. By the same toke, committing a crime in public is not an excuse for committing illegal acts. It just makes it easier to prove it.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    Except Trump was relying on Stone and Stone knew how deeply indebted Manafort was to the Russians. And the Russians knew Manafort could not say know. When Trump hired Manafort the Russians knew they had Trump. Since Stone cannot remember which story is the truth, Trump can claim distance. Trump and Putin operated through intermediaries and private spies.

    • viget says:

      And Stone “conveniently left” the campaign in August 2015. One month later, Sater and Cohen start talking about Trump Tower Moscow. Tell me this wasn’t the sign to the Trump campaign that the Russians were willing to play ball…..

      I am EXTREMELY interested in both Stone’s and Manafort’s activities in late 2015-March 2016. Can’t seem to find much about that info. Manafort was up to something, his activities seemed to have piqued the interest of Christopher Steele and led to his conversations with Ohr, which led to a joint DOJ/FBI/State Dept/NSC meeting with the Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities about Paul Manafort’s prior shady deals a la the Party of Regions. This eventually led to the Ukrainian authorities turning over Yanukovich’s and the Party of Regions black ledger in April 2016 where all the payments to Manafort’s shell co’s were detailed, allowing for his indictment.

  5. ken melvin says:

    There’s a missing link. Trump was being kept aware, in the loop. The question is by whom and how. Maybe Stone, maybe another personal lawyer, …

    • viget says:

      I bet it’s Stone. I don’t have proof of that, other than the seemingly casual conversations the two seem to have every so often. Stone’s wanted him to be president for a very long time. Stone has also mastered the art of the cutout and how to create plausible deniability. Plus he exaggerates so much, you have no idea when he’s telling the truth, and when he’s just making stuff up, which also seems to be a technique Corsi used to avoid prosecution.

    • BeingThere says:

      McFarland seems to be everywhere between trump and Kislyak, and matching history with the other ratfuckers.

  6. JamesP says:

    Your last sentence puzzles me: “And to attend the meeting, he risked public scrutiny on precisely the Russian ties that every other member of the campaign was being told to discourage.” Did you really mean EVERY? If so, how did you reach that conclusion? If there was some evidence in the Report of such a general and comprehensive directive, I missed it.

    • bmaz says:

      You insist on playing games here. Nobody owes you squat as to an affirmative answer to a baiting question. Why are you here?

      • JamesP says:

        What’s your problem? That was no baiting question. It was a genuine attempt to understand what this was based on. But you raise a good question. Why am I here? I came to learn from Marcy Wheeler but I think I was mistaken. This seems to be the bmaz bully board. If asking a genuine question is “playing games” to you then I came to the wrong place. I won’t be wasting any more of my time here. Bully somebody else. I won’t be back.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, waaaah…..! You have anything else? You have a total of 26 comments here, dating all the way back to two months ago. You did not come here to “learn” you came here to be an antagonist.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You’re not being Socratic. And why would an investigator not working for the DoJ restrict herself to just what’s in Mueller’s report, itself artificially narrow and confined to a higher standard of proof than a congresscritter would need to impeach and convict?

      Even measured by normal DoJ standards, Mueller’s report documents substantial evidence of criminal behavior. Had Trump held any office but the presidency, a laundry list of former prosecutors contend, he would be under indictment.

      That’s why he has already raised the drawbridge, considers himself under siege, and refuses to accept that the House as independent powers of oversight. It’s the way he has responded to being sued his entire career. And it’s why he is prodding the thoughtless and violent members of his Base to prepare for a coup – his, not the Democratic Party’s.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      James P said, “Your last sentence puzzles me:”

      If Manafort was the “linchpin” of the conspiracy, and if the other members of the Trump campaign were engaging in behavior that risked “the wheels coming off” the conspiracy, then, like any other linchpin worth its keep, Manafort discouraged the other members of the Trump campaign from making the wheels come off the conspiracy that Manafort was managing.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re Foxconn walking away from its Wisconsin project, after having been promised that $4 billion in public subsidies – (honestly, a guaranteed income in lieu of job subsidies would have been cheaper) – were there no break-up fees, no clawback provisions in the event Foxconn failed to live up to the promises tied to each stage of its investment?

    Did Wisconsin use Mickey Cohen’s legal services instead of hiring a real lawyer, did the governor walk away from such obvious self-protection because he believed the promises of a big bidnessman or did he just hope they would help him win re-election?


    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Interesting article, @earl. I feel so bad for the citizens of that state. It appears the GOP is working hard to make it a 3rd world country.

  8. Jockobadger says:

    So Rod Rosenstein is out as of May 11. I guess he did what he was told. Stick around to give the Barr intervention a very thin veil of legal cred i.e. stand in the background as though he supported the claptrap that Barr spewed at the MR presser. He looked like something from Mdm Tussaud’s. Coward.

  9. ken melvin says:

    It wasn’t the vote that was manipulated, it was the voters; the ones that Manfort gave info to the Russians on and facebook was used to manipulate because they were deemed manipulable. Facebook, Fox News, News Readers across mainstream media watching ratings and caring naught about the real story, … these are they who effected this in Putin’s and Trump’s interest.

  10. MattyG says:

    Yes, there’s the possibility that hackers armed with highly epecific voter ID information strategicaly purged voter rolls in tight precincts of a few battleground states. Election day confusion, lower than predicted voting and depressed Dem turnout. Moscow might even have been able execute the hack as to resemble “routine” GOP voter purges popular with the right and all their voter suppression programs.

    You’d at least need detailed snapshots of voter rolls in the months leading up to the election. Anyone know how this info is stored? Could weekly lists be generated? I’m curious to see what investigators found – not so much vote tampering – but on the purging side.

    • Alan K says:

      Yes that is very plausible. I really doubt that voter rolls are secure against a serious hacking program. I recall some scattered reports about hacking prior to the elections, but I don’t recall a public discussion of what the hackers were trying to accomplish.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rod Rosenstein’s resignation love note to Donald Trump is slavish and puerile. Does Donny or the Enquirer have something on Rod? Or is he just letting his real self out? If the latter, why would he leave an administration he so loves and cares for before he finishes his thirty?

    Regarding the congressional subpoena to Deutsche Bank for Trump’s records and Trump’s attempt to intervene and to enjoin them from giving up his jewels, I wonder what the Russians think of that.

  12. klynn says:

    Great post. The chain of events and your analysis are clear and really helpful in understanding intent of Manafort, Gates and most of all the Trump campaign.

    BTW Adam Schiff just did an interview live with WaPo that is well worth watching.

    Marcy, keep pulling the threads of intent of the campaign as well as individual intent.

    OT: Does anyone have a clear image of the financial statement Trump held up during his presidential run announcement?

    “So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months, because it’s big and complex, and they’ve put together a statement, a financial statement, just a summary. But everything will be filed eventually with the government, and we don’t [use] extensions or anything. We’ll be filing it right on time. We don’t need anything.

    “And it was even reported incorrectly yesterday, because they said, “He had assets of $9 billion.” So I said, “No, that’s the wrong number. That’s the wrong number. Not assets.”
    “…I have to say this. I made it the old-fashioned way. It’s real estate. You know, it’s real estate.

    “It’s labor, and it’s unions good and some bad and lots of people that aren’t in unions, and it’s all over the place and building all over the world.

    “And I have assets— big accounting firm, one of the most highly respected— 9 billion 240 million dollars.

    “And I have liabilities of about $500 million. That’s long-term debt, very low interest rates.

    “…So the total is $8,737,540,00.” -Time Magazine 6/16/15

    That paper statement Trump holds up in his campaign announcement is evidence worth looking at more closely. If anyone can find a readable image that would be great. I’ve been looking and cannot find one clear enough to read.

  13. Kick the darkness says:

    With respect to Gates/Manafort providing polling data to Kilimnick, Mueller concludes “The Office did not identify evidence of a connection between Manafort’s sharing polling data and Russia’s interference in the election”. Obviously, one is left wondering as to the value of the data, particularly as it was provided over a period of time. If the data provided a form of feedback to gauge effectiveness and/or calibrate RU/IRA social media targeting, would Mueller’s investigation been able to detect it?

    I was thinking about this and was reminded of the twitter feed from these guys at MIT, who (as I follow it) basically want to take the approach of a null hypothesis of “RU interference did not affect the outcome of the election”, and then use available data to statistically accept or reject that hypothesis. Basically placing confidence levels on the likelihood of causality.

    Since Mueller apparently has (had) at least some of the shared data, it seems like it should be possible to even further fine tune such an analysis. I wonder if Mueller’s group would have considered doing something like that in reaching their conclusions?

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