Beryl Howell’s Whack-a-Mole Grand Juries

Coverage of the May 29 court hearing that led Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller to testify before a different grand jury describes how his attorney, Paul Kamenar, tried to argue it would be an abuse of the grand jury, because Stone has already been indicted. But after prosecutors (including former Mueller prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky) explained why they needed Miller’s testimony ex parte, Howell upheld the contempt order. (See also CNN and ABC’s coverage.)

Miller, of St. Louis, was on speakerphone Wednesday for the hearing at which U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell denied a last-ditch motion by Miller’s attorney, Paul D. Kamenar, to block his client’s grand jury appearance.

Kamenar argued it is an abuse of grand jury process for prosecutors to seek pretrial testimony from a witness about a subject who has already been indicted, also noting that Mueller has issued his final report.

[snip]

Howell said it was long-settled law that prosecutors can properly obtain grand jury testimony to develop additional charges against an indicted target, or to investigate individuals not yet facing charges. Prosecutors can also use evidence against Stone in his pending November trial if it was collected incidentally and not the primary focus of Miller’s questioning, she said.

“The government is not abusing the grand jury process in this case, and the government has need of Mr. Miller’s testimony,” Howell ruled from the bench, upholding her August contempt finding when Miller failed to testify.

“If Mr. Miller does not appear before the grand jury on Friday, he will be in contempt and there will be an arrest warrant issued for him. Do you understand, Mr. Miller?” Howell asked.

“Yes, your honor,” Miller answered over speakerphone.

Prosecutors told the judge in a sealed bench conversation about the ongoing matters in which they seek Miller’s help, but not before Kamenar said that in a May 6 email prosecutors confirmed that one question would regard “what work he did for Stone from 2016 on.”

Presumably, Howell would have known (because she has presided over Mueller’s grand jury from the start) that Miller would testify before a different grand jury.

We now know that Howell had a similar conversation over two months earlier in a hearing (starting at PDF 166) in the Mystery Appellant’s somewhat successful effort to withhold information the government wanted about a state-owned bank. At the hearing, DC Assistant US Attorney Zia Faruqui had replaced Zainab Ahmad as lead prosecutor on the issue (he had started to take over earlier in March, certainly by March 21).

Howell started the hearing by asking why the subpoena was still pending given that Mueller had announced the end of his investigation a week earlier.

Howell: [T]he first question I am going to ask the Government is in the last paragraph of their reply which is: What are we doing here? Why isn’t this whole matter over as of 5 p.m., March 22, when Mr. Mueller delivered his report?

Fauqui: Your Honor, I can say with absolute certainty that the case is robust, ongoing; we are working within our office. The matter was transferred back in fact to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We have met numerous times with agents. We have reviewed materials, and our plan is to go forward with our investigative steps. We are in constant communication with the special counsel’s office.

It’s very different, I think, to the outside world; but, within the Government, theoretically we are one Government. One AUSA may leave, one prosecutor; but, when there is a case of this import, there is no reason that it would stop because a separate focused matter has been presented with a letter and report.

In response, Howell makes it very clear that this subpoena — for which she would have seen abundant sealed description — was originally presented to her as part of the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, which leads her to be really confused about why the government would still need the information.

Howell: Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but this matter was presented to the Court as one part of the investigation into whether there was Russian influence with the 2016 election, presidential election; and that’s been resolved by the — at least the summary of the special counsel’s report. So there are other aspects of that investigation that led in other directions. So I thought this part — this particular subpoena and leg of the investigation was also related precisely to what Mr. Mueller said he resolved in his report delivered at 5 p.m. on March 22.

So are you saying that this is a different aspect of this investigation related to different inquiries than that?

Faruqui: Yes. That’s correct, Your Honor. I am happy to approach. I think it’s —

Howell: Well, there’s been nothing submitted that — in the Government’s opposition papers that provides any detail about how these records have continuing relevancy to something subject to investigation by the grand jury to warrant continued fines to coerce additional compliance, which we’re going to get to in a minute, or whether there is anything all relevant to an ongoing grand jury investigation from these records that the Government’s continuing to seek.

Faruqui then explains that this matter started in the DC US Attorney’s Office, got bumped to Mueller, and has now been passed back to DC.

Faruqui: So if we can have an opportunity now, or we can refer to portions of the ex parte prior affidavits of the special counsel, I think we can either now or file supplemental briefing to Your Honor to try to further elucidate that. Certainly, the special counsel’s remit, I think, allowed them to take this investigation in.

The investigation initially came into our office and was passed to the special counsel at that time because I think there was a question within the realm of their remit. However, I think it’s very clear I think the matter —

Howell: So are you saying that this investigation started with the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, spent some time within the special counsel’s jurisdiction, so to speak, and is now being given back to the U.S. Attorney’s Office?

Faruqui describes the investigation as being very time consuming and resource-intensive.

Faruqui: That is correct, Your Honor. And it does in fact involve issues that have not or are in any way close to being resolved and very much is a live issue that requires, I think, a great deal of resources, time, and attention by the Government, which is why we believe the subpoena is in fact still a live controversy that requires, I think, a great of [sic] deal resources, time, and attention by the Government, which is why we believe the subpoena is in fact still a live controversy that requires contempt because it goes to the core of the question in this investigation.

Howell: All right. Well, before I got the Government’s opposition, I didn’t know whether the Government’s opposition was going to be, oh, forget the whole thing. I have read all of the ex parte filings, and I am puzzled.

Faurqui: We can supplement —

Howell: What’s still going on here?

Faruqui: We can certainly supplement, Your Honor, with an additional ex parte supplement that will go into greater detail explaining what is being investigated and how it is in no way resolved by what may or may not be in the Mueller report or in AG Barr’s letter to Congress and the public.

These are live issues that require immediate attention from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and from which the grand jury — because the grand jury matter is still alive and being thoroughly investigated, we require the Court to intervene and assist us as we try to force the contemnor to comply fully with our subpoena.

Howell then makes sure the government still is really using a grand jury and Faruqui — in a detail that probably parallels and precedes what happened with Stone’s case — explains that they’re still using the existing grand jury but plan to move onto a new one when the Mueller one expires.

Howell: So you are still presenting evidence to this grand jury that was being used by the special counsel’s office?

Faruqui: We — yesterday, anticipating that the grand jury may or may not — what its life cycle is, it’s a little unclear.

Howell: Well, I am very aware of its life cycle.

Faruqui: We are unaware. I apologize, Your Honor, Yes. It’s your grand jury; you certainly know.

We are trying to sort those issues out with the special counsel. However, we have reopened it yesterday in the grand jury, understanding that the current grand juries that are soon to expire; but with the intention that, when those expire, we will reopen a new one. We do plan to seek additional records, both in — and, potentially, additional testimony as well.

This exchange has significance beyond the Mystery Appellant matter, to Stone and (because the government insists there is are ongoing investigations pertaining to the stuff covered in Paul Manafort’s plea breach hearing) Manafort as well. This case might not even be considered a referral in Mueller’s report, given that it started in DCUSAO. But from Faruqui’s description — and Mystery Appellant’s invocations, at times, to only being bound by Presidential sanctions and turning this into a diplomatic incident — this is a very significant and serious investigation.

Howell, having read multiple secret filings that led her to believe this was about Russian interference in the US election, got really confused after reading Bill Barr’s 4-page memo declaring victory and then learning that something this big, that must, in some way, relate to Russian interference, is still pending.

Aside from being a testament to just how misleading Barr’s memo was, that such confusion was possible for someone privy to the details of the investigation should focus far more attention on the limited scope of Barr’s exonerations. They pertain just to Russian election interference (not, say, graft), and just conspiring with the Russian government (though, if it’s a Russian bank, the Mystery Appellant clearly counts as that). And even the election-related events continue only through the Transition, not afterwards.

The Mueller Investigation is over and Trump has declared victory, but it appears that what Mueller achieved was protecting significant aspects of it long enough to see them metastasize to new grand juries.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

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57 replies
  1. MattyG says:

    Amen. What all this means – or strongly impies – is that Barr forced Mueller out. Is Barr under pressure from Moscow too? Or can he be that blind and that tied to the ideals of a royal presidency?

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      Is Barr under pressure from Moscow too? Or can he be that blind and that tied to the ideals of a royal presidency?
      _____________________

      Why does it have to be one or the other?

      Aren’t they really just one and the same at this particular moment?

      • MattyG says:

        So, Mueller sits at home knowing DT conspired with Moscow in fixing the election – or at very least – had knowingly tried to. But lives with himself because he considers it adequate that a “tacit” agreement to conspire (and establishing even a tacit agreement was part of his remit) wasn’t allowable because his remit was limited only to establishing an agreement to conspire with the “official” Russian government? For tacit to mean anything third parties and cut-outs must be considered. I realise that this is O/T but at this point I’m not sure what game Mueller is playing at but sure hope Barr pushed him out and re-framing the investigation rather than Mueller sitting on real evidence that he somehow felt compelled to disregard in his assessment.

      • P J Evans says:

        He’s been committed to the imperial presidency for a couple of decades, at least.

        • Mongoose says:

          But surely not to the extent of protecting Trump after learning that he has betrayed our nation. Forgive my naivete, but Barr’s (and perhaps Mueller’s) actions make no sense to me unless Trump has blackmailed him (or them).

          • Americana says:

            I don’t believe Mueller was blackmailed in any way. Mueller completed the task he was given and he’s passed on lots of other equally dangerous & provocative litigation/investigations to other jurisdictions. The Mueller legal missiles have found their mark even if Republicans are refusing to acknowledge they hit their target. Republicans may be doing this stonewalling because they don’t wish to be saddled w/yet another GOP POTUS who’s been impeached and dismissed for legitimate cause. But it may also reflect the GOP being somewhat in political sync w/Russia.

            AG Barr is another thing entirely than Mueller and Barr’s stance reflects a few things that are relevant. Barr’s always held a stance about the POTUS being somewhat unassailable. Was that a result of Nixon’s near impeachment? Who knows… Republicans are in a very weird relationship w/Russia right now if Russia is as big a source of dark money for Republicans as it seems to be. The Russians have been courting the GOP for a long time via the National Prayer Breakfast and other such malarkey. Barr is also aware a few noted legal eagles like Alan Dershowitz seem to wish to pretend there’s nothing underlying the Russia investigation other than politics and sour grapes. Why Dershowitz wouldn’t have done massive research on Trump before making such a judgment call and publicly voicing such strong legal opinions, I can’t presume to say. Someone ought to send Dershowitz a package of Trump exposés and see if he continues his support of Trump and continues to demonstrate his ignorance of Trump’s international business dealings.

            • Mongoose says:

              The Trump/Dershowitz/Epstein relationship is another thing entirely and satisfactorily explains Dershowitz’s rabid support of Trump. He has no choice.

              • Americana says:

                I’m not sure I agree Dershowitz is compromised just by his sexual escapades w/Epstein but explain yourself further. Maybe you’ll persuade me. These may not cover adequately the sexual allegations so provide better links if you’ve got ’em:

                https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2018/12/22/epstein-dershowitz-lawsuit-allegations/

                https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article223315075.html

                I find Dershowitz is thoroughly dishonest in that he never addresses the enormity of the riches Trump expected to gain inside Russia and via additional new Russian financier partnerships if he were able to accommodate the Russians as POTUS. I mean if Trump is willing to bribe Putin w/a $50 million Trump Tower Moscow penthouse, Trump’s only doing that because of the greater riches he expects will come his way via Russian developments and Russian partnerships because of that bribe. (Sorry, I refuse to entertain the conceit Trump didn’t know about the bribe to Putin.)

                • Rayne says:

                  Yeah, I think Mongoose has the core of it given Acosta’s involvement. Acosta got his cabinet slot as a reward for his aid to Trump friends AND as a means to keep the heat off human trafficking in certain industries. Dershowitz hangs with the same kind of folks too many times to be entirely innocent, has had too many credible accusations leveled against him.

                  Epstein Accuser Sues Alan Dershowitz Over Alleged Sex Ring

                  How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

                  I frankly think it’s too much to ask Dershowitz to comment on Trump’s business. It’s hard enough for Trump to stay on top of the Trump organization without fixers and Dershowitz isn’t one of them. If anything this is yet another area where Dershowitz may have exposure — where in Florida did Dershowitz’s personal path cross Epstein’s and/or Trump’s, for example? Epstein’s real estate, or Trump’s?

                  • Americana says:

                    Hmmm… But so what if Dershowitz is caught between a rock and a hard spot from his activities w/Epstein? He retired as of 2014 and so what does he have to worry about as additional fallout? It seems to me the fallout — public disgrace — has already happened. But are you saying there might be more shocking news about Dershowitz yet to come, hanging over his head?

                    https://today.law.harvard.edu/emeritus-retiring-but-not-shy/

                    It might be a lot to ask Dershowitz to have educated himself about Trump and the Trump Organization before beginning his crusade on behalf of Trump. However, given the few cases immediately prior to Trump’s election like the case over Trump SoHo and Trump University. etc, it’s pretty shocking to me Dershowitz would further risk his legal reputation when his moral reputation has been shredded by the Epstein revelations. I do see your point though but I find it odd Dershowitz would surrender the one aspect of his life w/that value. I’ll anxiously await more revelations about Dershowitz. Hopefully, if Dershowitz has acted this cravenly, it will be discovered and exposed prior to impeachment. This would be important because so many right wing pundits are relying on using Dershowitz as their legal sword and shield. If he’s only defending Trump in order to protect himself, the American public deserves to know that.

                    Thanks for the article links.

                    • Mongoose says:

                      Dershowitz will be wiped out by his wife when (not if) he’s exposed, not to mention losing the so-called reputation that he devoted his life to crafting. He’s in a panic and suddenly flying under the radar. (Trump, too, don’t forget.) Stay tuned.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not certain that’s right. It’s possible that metastasizing this to places where Rosenstein’s decisions didn’t hold sway was smarter for the investigation.
      For one thing, it makes it less of a target, and a harder one to hit. For another, most USAs are more aggressive than Mueller was under Rosenstein’s oversight.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        i don’t have the legal background that some here have and I’ve been thinking something very much along what you just laid out here…

        That Mueller was deliberately farming out some of what he came across, simply to make it harder for Trump to cut off all its heads at once… that was actually a question I intended to float here at a good moment…

        With apparently so many different investigations going on in different places, how much ability does Barr have to interfere with all or any of them?

        And once something’s gone to trial, can Barr stop the trial?

        • MattyG says:

          I hope you’re right. …And not just “farmed out” as you say, but formally refered as EW mentioned at the end of the last blog post:

          “All of that would be consistent with the possibility that Mueller formally referred (rather than simply passing off)”

          … simply in order to safeguard the investiagation. This is crazy stuff indeed – the FBI trying to work around a compromised and subverted chain of command…

        • Troutwaxer says:

          I think Mueller’s playbook looks something like this: First, farm out as many investigations as possible to other AUSAs so the investigation is hard to kill. Second, put out a report, then be shy of answering questions so he doesn’t look overeager, in the hope that the House will pick up the report and run with it. (Do their frickin’ job, in other words.) Third, drop the House a big hint if the report is not take seriously. (And that’s where we are now.)

          Possible upcoming plays involve “reluctantly” testifying before the House committees, ideally behind closed doors, leaking the unredacted report or other materials, having someone else leak the unredacted report or other materials, leaking raw intelligence take, formally opining that he would have indicted the president if the DOJ’s policy allowed it, etc. Mueller is hardly out of options if he believes Trump should be taken down, and he has plenty of room to escalate.

          • P J Evans says:

            I doubt he’d leak raw intelligence take. He’d want permission from the agencies, and they’re capable of doing their own leaking. The unredacted report – someone else would have to do it; Mueller’s pretty much by-the-book.

            • Troutwaxer says:

              He’s also never been involved in anything where the stakes are so high. We don’t know if/where/how he’ll break on that question, merely that it’s out of character for him at the current threat level.

            • Americana says:

              I think Mueller’s “by the book” playbook may have changed from here on out once AG Barr shafted the investigation. If nothing else, Barr’s disingenuous press conference absolution of Trump demonstrated to Mueller certain appointees wouldn’t guarantee a fair hearing for the report or might impugn the investigation in other ways. I think Mueller’s one-two punch of restating the thrust of the report and resigning guaranteed him two things — one, that Congress knew he thought the only resolution that made sense was impeachment and, two, that as a private citizen he would be able to play a new role. Mueller’s action already led to a notable letter from former DOJ prosecutors supporting the Mueller report, rebuking Barr right alongside Mueller. There will be others who are inspired by Mueller’s by-the-book rebuke of Barr, it’s only a matter of time.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Agreed. This says more about the short leash that Rosenstein and any Trump AG placed on Mueller’s investigation than it does about Mueller. It should put a nail in the coffin of Barr’s argument – wholly supported by Rosenstein – that there’s nothing to see here, move along.

      • Drew says:

        I think there may well be more of this sort of metastasized referral out there than is even hinted at by what we know yet. There are a couple of districts that haven’t even come up yet where such things as money laundering may still be under investigation.

    • Observiter says:

      It makes sense that Barr’s first aim upon taking the AG job was to immediately terminate and obscure the Mueller investigation. That’s what Trump continuously stated he wanted. Also, this is not the first time Barr has performed Executive “protection” manuevers.

      Barr’s motivation? His ideology seems in alignment with what he’s done in the past and with the current GOP. The current GOP have the power and floor to push through what they’ve wanted to for decades. They have someone in the presidency who can distract many/most Americans from recognizing what they/GOP are actually doing behind the scenes.

      I don’t think most of the GOP are concerned about Russia. What was that visit by Freedom Caucus members on our July 4/Independence Day weekend to speak with Russian legislators (Putin?) in Moscow? Supposedly, the meeting was about Trump’s visit several weeks later (ha ha).

      I also wonder what’s going on with Barr’s attorney children. Doesn’t one of them work for the DOJ?

      • Burt Berman says:

        Barr’s daughter went to Treasury’s FinCen; her husband transferred from DOJ to White House Counsel’s office.

  2. OldTulsaDude says:

    This, to me, is the key sentence: ” but, when there is a case of this import, there is no reason that it would stop because a separate focused matter has been presented with a letter and report”

    It reemphasizes how narrowly focused Mueller considered his mandate, and how minimal of area Barr covered with his vindication letter. And even within those tight confines, Individual-1 still managed to obstruct.

    When the final report is written, it will be the size of War and Peace.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      That’s my reasoning too…

      4 or 5 volumes… 1,500 to 2,000 pages… and such a convoluted tale, it’ll be almost impossible to follow…

      I’ve never seen anything like this…

      • P J Evans says:

        a multi-volume manga series, maybe – it would have to be manga for Himself to even look at it. Or something like the original version of “The Last Airbender”.

    • errant aesthete says:

      OldTulsaDude,

      “when there is a case of this import”

      Without question, the most significant remark made by Faruqui, although its real power, I think, lies in the total:

      “Your Honor, I can say with absolute certainty that the case is robust, ongoing; we are working within our office. The matter was transferred back in fact to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We have met numerous times with agents. We have reviewed materials, and our plan is to go forward with our investigative steps. We are in constant communication with the special counsel’s office.

      It’s very different, I think, to the outside world; but, within the Government, theoretically we are one Government. One AUSA may leave, one prosecutor; but, when there is a case of this import, there is no reason that it would stop because a separate focused matter has been presented with a letter and report.”

      I think he hit the points with an eloquence related to the seriousness of “why” they were there, that we are one government and despite changes in the players, or the process, the pursuit of truth doesn’t rest or retire.

      Also, respected how Faruqui repeatedly used the word “live” indicating this was a living, breathing organism or life form that remains incomplete, unresolved, unfinished.

      “it does, in fact, involve issues that have not or are in any way close to being resolved and very much is a ‘live’ issue that requires, I think, a great deal of resources, time, and attention by the Government.

      “live issues that require immediate attention…”

      “which is why we believe the subpoena is in fact still a ‘live’ controversy…”

      And Marcy thank you for noting as you always do insights that offer so much more in the way of understanding:

      “Howell, having read multiple secret filings that led her to believe this was about Russian interference in the US election, got really confused after reading Bill Barr’s 4-page memo declaring victory and then learning that something this big, that must, in some way, relate to Russian interference, is still pending.”

  3. Ollie says:

    Evening everyone. So I sure hope more is to come. I kinda, sorta understand what Marcy is laying out here but for sure I know to keep coming back here plus following on Twitter will keep me sane, sorta, lol. So if DT doesn’t get his ass kicked legally? Does that mean we’re going to have: A State run TV news station, a specific holiday to celebrate the gloriousness of our Supreme Leader (and certainly the Queen will demand her invite to worship president precious) and lastly, let’s not forget how much the supreme leader wants to end a two party system by jailing ALL of the democratic folks who WILL NOT kowtow to his authority and after he’s bored serving…….he’ll want to hand the country over to jr. Oh yeah. Okay. I’m laughing now.

    peace and love to all.

      • Americana says:

        The Trumps have already tried to get the Trump dynasty started w/a sickeningly blatant PR buildup on line for Don Jr. after his dad’s term(s). How the Trumps think they’ll manage to get Don Jr. elected after the role he played in the Russian saga is anyone’s guess but if recognition of Don Jr’s actions in the Russian saga is suppressed and Trump’s impeachment continues to be stonewalled, cluing in the electorate will have to rely on positive resolutions with Trump guilt established in all those spinoff investigations. Despite all the scandals his kids have been involved in, both in normal Trump Organization business operations and during his candidacy, Trump’s still trying to build them up as legitimate political figures w/his stupid state visit BS.

        • Jenny says:

          “Nepotism is a disease, which cannot be transmitted but can only be inherited.” Abhinav Dwivedi

          • Americana says:

            Nepotism is what was behind Trump’s bringing his adult children along as supporting players on his U.K. state visit. Trump’s always used Ivanka as a tool to soften up congressional leaders by having her show up spontaneously during difficult negotiations. His children are obviously psychological social crutches and social tools for him just as his wives have been. But the main thrust for taking his children on the U.K. State Visit was seemingly getting them out there as potentially major future political contenders even if they only featured in photo ops. Those photos would make for future campaign propaganda.

        • P J Evans says:

          The problem there is that Ivanka is the only one who comes across as having any brains and experience. Junior isn’t bright at all.

          • Tom says:

            I think most Republicans will be glad to see the back of the President when he finally leaves office, and that they’d rather stick needles in their eyes than nominate another Trump for the Presidency or anything else.

            • P J Evans says:

              They’d better get moving then, because Tr*mp is trying to block all opposition in the primaries. The Dems aren’t going to do anything about the GOP party rules: it’s not their problem.

          • Americana says:

            Actually, I don’t think Ivanka is very bright, at all. She’s merely very adept at riding the verbiage and philosophy other people present for a lot of current issues. She and Don Jr. are very scary to me because I think they believe the Trump mystique and they’re both vain enough they’d ride that mystique as far as it could take them. Don Jr. definitely has seemed to enjoy the calls for him to succeed his father as POTUS.

            I think Ivanka thinks she’s as good a policy wonk as Hillary Clinton or Sen. Elizabeth Warren because she backed the family leave policy. But if Ivanka had wished to really prove her chops and her merits, she would have tackled health care given just how tenuously the Affordable Care Act is being treated by the GOP. Nah, I hate to say it but I think she’s just like her father. She wants the position for the prestige of being the first woman POTUS. After all, if she were truly smart, she wouldn’t have gotten caught up in some of the illegal things she’s done in the family business and she wouldn’t have gotten caught out copying designs for shoes, clothing, et al and selling them for 1/2 the price of the REAL designers.

            https://www.businessinsider.com/ivanka-trump-accused-of-copying-shoe-designs-2017-6

        • Drew says:

          Trump is not really a strategic planner–more a fantasizer & transactional opportunist. His plan is re-election in 2020…after 2024 what is his fantasy? Probably that the people of the Untied States will rise up and demand that the Constitution be modified so he will have a third, possibly fourth term. I doubt that mortality registers very clearly for him. If there’s a dynasty, it might as well be tied to a grandkid or even Barron. I kind of think the idea of Ivanka as Princess/Queen Regent would appeal to him if he had to think of retiring from the president biz.

          • Jenny says:

            “My father taught my siblings and me the importance of positive values and a strong ethical compass. He showed us how to be resilient, how to deal with challenges, and how to strive for excellence in all that we do. He taught us that there’s nothing that we cannot accomplish if we marry vision and passion with an enduring work ethic.” Ivanka Trump

          • Americana says:

            You’ve hit the nail on the head. Look at how Trump’s splattered his policy plans for the 2020 campaign whenever he felt he needed some publicity. Trump claimed the Republicans would be “the party of health care” only to have Sen. McConnell tell him to shut up because the GOP doesn’t want to tackle health care this cycle. Then a few weeks later, when Trump realized he didn’t have anything to say in his speeches, Trump tried to claim he’d get the middle class “a 10% tax cut” despite the enormous deficit.

            Nah, Trump’s an indescribably bad, defective strategist but he’s developed a crude, intentionally sneaky, manipulative style perfectly suited to deceive a society that doesn’t read the news. Trump has honed every skill he’s got to take advantage of ignorance among some voters. Unfortunately, he’s also riding a few decades’ worth of conspiracy theories that brought folks like Alex Jones and himself to the forefront of our political life.

  4. Marcus says:

    It’s interesting that Barr’s non-summary summary was explicitly understood by Judge Howell to be a summary, and that Faruqui twice labels it a letter.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Judge Howell’s comments make me feel like she hasn’t read the Mueller report, herself. Would she have avoided reading it so as not to compromise her impartiality ?

      • Marcus says:

        If my timeline is correct, the report hadn’t been released yet at the time of that hearing. Howell only had Barr’s letter to go on, which she naively took to be an accurate summary. (Barr issued his clarification that the letter wasn’t actually a summary a few days after.)

  5. jonb says:

    “If Mr. Miller does not appear before the grand jury on Friday, he will be in contempt and there will be an arrest warrant issued for him. Do you understand, Mr. Miller?” Howell asked.

    so ….not answering a subpoena get you an arrest warrant…..Why isn’t the House doing the same thing?

  6. Steve says:

    I have two comments generally:

    1. You disclosed that you provided information to Mueller but you have not disclosed what that information is, even after the report was issued. I suspect it is because the information was about Roger Stone and you do not want to disclose it while his matters remain pending. I could be wrong because I am reading tea leaves and speculating.

    2. I’ve always wondered who was providing the political direction to the Russian troll farm. It seems they were getting pretty specific real time instruction like when they were told to call Paul Ryan a “complete and absolute nobody” and a “two faced loudmouth”. That type of language just screams Roger Stone. I would not think the Russians left the political quarterbacking role to somebody who wasn’t on the ground in the U.S. The probably went to an experienced political consultant (i.e, a rat-f’er).

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there “Steve”. What you “suspect” is complete trolley bullshit, and you do not have a clue. Nor is it your concern in the least.

    • P J Evans says:

      (1) comes under “not your problem, not your business”.
      (2) What makes you think that the Russians *don’t* have people inside the US?

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