How Roger Stone’s Trial Relates to the Ukraine Scandal

The White House released the readout from one (but not all) of the calls involved in the whistleblower complaint. It shows that before Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky for help framing Joe Biden, he first asked Zelensky for help attacking Crowdstrike.

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I . would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

As with the sections involving the request on Biden, this one includes ellipses, hiding part of Trump’s ask. Also like those sections, this one suggests Bill Barr is involved in his improper request.

A request about Crowdstrike more directly addresses matters of intelligence — the attribution of the 2016 operation to Russia — than an effort to frame Joe Biden.

And this Crowdstrike request is what ties the call obviously to the timing — the day after the Mueller testimony gave Trump the belief he had weathered the Russian investigation.

Only, Trump is not clear of the impact of the Mueller investigation. On the contrary, if all goes on schedule, prosecutors will present abundant evidence of what even Mark Meadows calls “collusion,” the campaign’s effort to optimize the WikiLeaks releases, in Roger Stone’s November trial. As I have noted, in addition to Steve Bannon and Erik Prince, the trial will talk about Stone’s texts and calls to four different Donald Trump phone numbers, as well as his aides and bodyguard, Keith Schiller. (This screen cap comes from a list of stipulated phone numbers and emails that has since been sealed.)

The Stone trial (if it goes forward–I still have my doubts) will show that Trump was personally involved in these efforts and got repeated updates directly from Stone.

And a key strand of Stone’s defense is to question the Crowdstrike findings on the hack. Stone has been pursuing this effort for months — it’s what almost got him jailed under his gag. And while Amy Berman Jackson ruled twice this week against Stone getting any further Crowdstrike reports (once in an opinion denying Stone’s efforts to get unredacted Crowdstrike reports as moot since the government doesn’t have them, and once today in his pre-trial hearing when she deemed the remaining unredacted passages to pertain to ongoing Democratic cybersecurity protections and so unrelated to what Stone wants them for), Stone still has several redacted Crowdstrike reports from discovery.

Stone’s defense has focused entirely on discrediting the evidence that Trump partnered with a hostile country to get elected (which presumably is part of his effort to get a pardon). If he can support that effort by releasing currently private Crowdstrike reports he will do so.

Today’s pre-trial hearing — where ABJ also ruled that Stone won’t be able to question the underlying Russian investigation — may have mooted the effort to tie Ukrainian disinformation to Stone’s own disinformation effort. But the two efforts are linked efforts by Trump to deny his own role in “colluding” with Russia.

80 replies
  1. Savage Librarian says:

    It’s like y’all are reading my mind, sometimes. Stone has been noodling around my head since I woke up today. I’ve also been thinking about the new(?) information about the Hofeller files involving very specific racial profiling and gerrymandering in FL, W.VA and AL.

  2. Molly Pitcher says:

    Marcy, In this, the next to last sentence of the quote you posted: “As you said yestrday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.”

    What ‘yestrday’ [sic] is Trump referring to ? Was there another phone call the previous day ?

  3. PSWebster says:

    Trump’s reference to Cloud Strike and servers…guy is almost unintelligible. You gotta imagine Zelinsky laughing about it with his aides.

    Trump now rhymes with Impeachment…focking forever and ever.

    Cannot see Stone securing a pardon now, EW. Maybe so though. Really want to see that trial play out.

  4. viget says:

    Interesting… is it possible the GRU was using Ukrainian cutouts to do the hacking? We know good ole Kilimnik was tied to them, he’s a Ukrainian national. After being named in indictments, he fled from Kiev to Moscow, and lived in the same gated community that the GRU hackers did. Also Deripaska, who likely helped bankroll the Fancy Bear operation, grew up in Ust-Labinsk in Krasnodar Krai, the portion of southern Russia directly across the Kerch Strait from Crimea, and home to Sochi as well. Deripaska has a special interest in Ukraine as well, and there are reports linking him to the troops that invaded Crimea in 2014.

    Another interesting data point is that Crowdstrike was initially behind the reports accusing Fancy Bear hackers of hacking a positioning app used by Ukrainian armed forces to position and aim Howitzers during the Crimean conflict. Crowdstrike reported this in December 2016, but then was forced to walk back the numbers of units that were targeted by the hacking and as a result, destroyed by Russian forces. However, they never retracted the claim of the Fancy Bear hacking of the app, and as far as I can tell, it still stands today.

  5. Peterr says:

    From Politico:

    During a pre-trial conference held exactly eight months to the day after special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed Stone’s indictment and FBI agents arrested him in Fort Lauderdale, a defense lawyer for the Republican political consultant signaled there could be a big showdown on the witness stand with former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon.

    Bruce Rogow, the Stone lawyer, didn’t provide details about why exactly Bannon would be called in the trial, which is scheduled to start Nov. 5 in Washington. But he dropped Bannon’s name, along with three others who were already known as potential witnesses — former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates, radio host Randy Credico and conservative author Jerome Corsi — during an argument with Justice Department prosecutors over what can be said in front of the jury.

    U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, ultimately sided against Stone on the issue of whether his attorneys would have the right during the trial to take issue when talking to the potential witnesses about the conduct of Mueller’s team, the FBI, intelligence officials and members of Congress.

    “We’re not going to try the investigators or the investigation,” she said.

    Poor Roger. Another defense strategy, out the window.

  6. drouse says:

    Just think, Stone’s trial will be happening simultaneous with a election campaign and an impeachment inquiry. Maybe someone could point out to the various committees that Trump is still acting really guilty about 2016.

    • Stacey says:

      AND simultaneously with a less stellar economy than Trump might want by then as well. I expect by November we’ll be neck deep in economic deep shit, which will further put off the smell of Trump’s blood in the water which will draw even more sharks to the feeding frenzy of Trump’s ass by then.

        • Mainmata says:

          And I am personally concerned that things will go way too fast (people use it as a hammer are talking about December). That would be a huge political mistake because we know the Senate will never convict so the whole issue will be dead by January in time for Trump/GOP to use it as a hammer for nine months. Impeachment vote should be May/June at the earliest so that the Trump/GOP campaign can’t get out in front of it.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            A Republican Senator said if the vote could be secret, 30 Republican senators would vote FOR impeachment. So, that’s something. More whistleblowers may be coming forward, too. Tectonic plates are shifting.

              • Savage Librarian says:

                Twice, in the early then mid 1970s, I lived in CA for about 3 months each time. First I was in Oakland, then in San Francisco at the top of Liberty St. It had a steep concrete staircase that went down to Castro. In the early 1990s, my brother lost his home in the Oakland fire. He barely got out with his life.

                • P J Evans says:

                  My sister had changed jobs some time before Loma Prieta, so she was working in Richmond instead of down by Oakland Airport. Otherwise she’d have been on the Cypress structure right about then. (I met a guy a couple of weeks ago who had just handed his ticket to the gate attendant at the ballgame. He thought at first it was the crowd stomping in the stands.) And I know people who were living in Northridge in 1994 – one leaped out of bed, the other didn’t, and they *both* did the right thing (a bookcase fell on the empty bed)..

                  • Savage Librarian says:

                    Yeah, scary stuff. Here I’m just looking forward to hurricane season ending at the end of November. 2016 and 2017 were not good for my neighborhood.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s news conference claim that “millions of dollars” have been stolen from Ukraine – during the Obama administration – would be hilarious if it were not so important.

    The signature characteristic of failed or failing states is the millions and billions that are taken out of them by ruling elites for their personal benefit. It funds more than a few London banks and property purchases. It keeps more than a few banks in Switzerland and the Caribbean healthy. Quite probably, tens of millions of dollars of such money paid for Trump properties around the world.

    West African states are among the most commonly cited examples. Russia and Ukraine, too, at various times.

    The most damaging omission Trump makes – in his sleepless, monotone, Why am I here? delivery – is that his former campaign manager and convicted felon, Paul Manafort, took out tens of millions from that Ukraine.

    • Americana says:

      How satisfying if Trump tried and failed to prove the Bidens were responsible for money flight from Ukraine only to have Trump financial records demonstrate Trump was actively courting Ukrainians wishing to launder money into U.S. or foreign real estate investment deals! There are so many Catch-22s in this whole Trump saga, I’m not sure which should serve as the keystone elements for impeachment. I guess politically we really should focus on two main subjects but w/several subcategories because Trump’s corruption was so all encompassing. I can’t think of a thing Trump worked on that he didn’t corrupt.

  8. Matthew Harris says:

    One thing I have been wondering about is whether there is any type of “Grand Unified Trump Theory”. I tend to think there is not, or at least I don’t want to assert that there is one, because it tip toes to close to the edge of conspiracy theory. I think things in Trump’s conduct fit together as part of coordinated actions, but I don’t know what.

    Part of the oddity is even though we have been saturated by Trump in the media, Trump’s own thinking is a black box. I don’t believe he is suffering dementia. We don’t really know from media reports how canny he is, how much he coordinates his attacks, or whether he just acts and reacts on impulse.

    So, did Donald Trump think “My good friend Roger Stone is facing trial, and I must be loyal to him and I can help him with this masterly stroke of using the president of Ukraine to curtail the evidence against him”?
    Did some odd connections of names and places he has heard about in the past few years just rattle around in the world’s gnarliest pinball machine of his brain, and he starts blurting out about “servers” and “Mueller”?

    It is hard for me, knowing what I know, to tell which one of these scenarios better describes what is going on.

    • P J Evans says:

      He isn’t loyal to anyone but himself (and maybe Ivanka). Everyone else is disposable if they don’t display unthinking loyalty to *him* and praise him a lot.

    • Drew says:

      I don’t believe that Trump is senile or that he is ever loyal. However he will respond positively to people who are loyal and helpful to him. His thinking is muddled more by his extreme indulgence of his narcissism–he’s totally drunk on his grandiosity and need to regard himself as perfect and universally popular (except when he is unfairly made a victim by bad people). The thing is, his intelligence has never been coherent, nor is he some sort of genius or savant even at his best. He’s an opportunist who intuitively responds to things that will go to his advantage.

      The thing about intuition is that it is not random, it is selectively associative–so things that fit together with helping his friend Roger who is helping him will flash through and connect with things he might do or say to advance the cause–so then he speaks … but sometimes it doesn’t make much sense.

      I guess I think that Trump’s thinking isn’t that opaque–it’s just outside of what would occur to most humans with even the most basic of formed values.

      • orionATL says:

        this is interesting.

        my view, similarly, is that trump is not crazy or demented – that his understanding of the world and his behavior has been shaped by the narrowness of his life experience (poor little rich boy, real estate developer, teevee star), by the happenstance of his extraordinary self-involvement (often referred to as narcicissm) and lack of introspection, and by his having learned early to lie facilely and to respond aggressively to any attack. the unusually unsophisticated, often aggressive, language he uses to speak to the world, even as president, i take as evidence of this poverty. the angry demeanor his face often shows suggests an anxious mind perpetually prepared to respond to attack.

        • Rayne says:

          What you’re describing is malignant narcissism and it’s not a sickness but a personality disorder. He’s always had it, always been like this, can’t be cured. It’s just worsening with stress, possible drug abuse/medications, and some other underlying physical disorder compromising his cognitive skills and emotion control. Oh, and being a spoiled rich boy only made it worse as an adult.

          • orionATL says:

            i think that is right, rayne – or should that be “right as rayne” 😉.

            i was deliberately using (semi-) ordinary language to convey my opinions of trump’s personality because i think it is important in political communication. i read recently the astonishing fact (to me) that only about 20% of the american population have a college degree. the way educational attainment statistics are presented can be tricky, but could this be true?

          • Stephen says:

            Actually narcissistic personality, even of the malignant variety, can be treated. Otto Kernberg’s team developed and validated a specific therapy for those whose personalities are organized at a borderline level (which includes the superficially more functional-seeking narcissists). But it’s a lengthy, difficult, emotionally painful painful process for both patient and therapist. And it presupposes that the person being treated is motivated on some level to change, which for narcissists generally means that things aren’t working out as the person desired (i.e., they aren’t getting the adulation they crave). And okay, to be honest, the malignant variety (where you have strong aggression and limited moral controls in place) has a poorer prognosis/lower success rate.

            • Drew says:

              I think that Rayne is fundamentally right. Character disorders are not the same thing as mental illness. (I’ve heard it described as more akin to not having a limb or organ as opposed to having an injured or diseased limb or organ). It involves the essential character of a person, rather than a variation or aberration.

              Is it possible to change a person’s character once they are an adult? That’s a matter of some contention, but even if it is possible, it is only possible to change if the person is deeply motivated to change and willing to go through arduous and long term treatment. The characteristics of severe narcissists, such as Trump, militate against that ever happening.

              Noting the dynamics of Trump’s personality is not to excuse his behavior or regard it as a mitigating factor, but to understand and predict how he will react. As Nancy Pelosi said, “The President is responsible for his behavior.”

              Trump’s behavior is amazingly consistent over time. He has merely become more exaggerated as he gained more power and has been less constrained by the power of others.

              • Stephen says:

                I would not assert that this individual will change. I don’t think he sees any need to, and it’s possible that his brain has lost its ability to rewire itself – again, so far agnostic on the “early signs of dementia” question.

                But it is not a matter of contention that personality patterns, even very stubborn ones, even those associated with poor integration of identity structure and so forth, can change. There is plenty of good evidence to the contrary, including controlled clinical trials.

                I am usually circumspect in my occasional postings here, because the issues at hand are usually legal ones (in which I have no expertise) or political ones (in which I am at best a fairly well-informed citizen, not a professional pundit or scholar). But I am well versed in the mental health field: hold a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, worked 8 years in a variety of clinical settings, authored a number of peer-reviewed studies, and taught college and graduate-level classes in the field for several decades. So when the subject turns to personality, mental illness, assessment and psychotherapy, I am in my element.

                P.S. I did not say that a “mental illness” as such is involved in this case. A badly structured personality – that’s another story.

                • bmaz says:

                  You do fine as a commenter here. Don’t hesitate to participate fully, you are more than informed enough to talk about most anything.

                • Drew says:

                  I appreciate your expertise, and I was not saying that you were saying that a mental illness was involved–but that is a confusion that many readers have.

                  I’ve seen others with strong credentials express extreme skepticism about the ability of persons with serious character disorders to change–though perhaps it’s merely a distinction between what is practically forsee-able with the resources, family systems and willingness typically available and what can be done with long-term highly motivated and skillfully executed efforts.

    • Valley girl says:

      Au contraire, I believe that Trump is suffering from Alzheimers -dementia and that he’s going downhill fast. His father had Alzheimers too.

      • Drew says:

        One caveat. Most of his behavior, including most of the word salad can be explained by extreme malignant narcissism. However, that doesn’t mean that there can’t also be neurological and cognitive decline. Being in the White House is physically and emotionally more challenging to Trump than he ever expected (despite his constant golf vacations and “executive time”), so it makes sense that he would fall apart in a number of ways.

        • Valley girl says:

          Drew. I agree with you about the malignant narcissism and so forth. Also, I had read that article posted by SL (link) several days ago- it certainly fits that Trump is dyslexic too. And more. But to me symptoms of his dementia have been obvious at least since the G7.

          • orionATL says:

            in dealing with trump and especially in challenging him repeatedly and consistently, which democrats must now do, i think it is important to focus on how he behaves rather than on diagnoses.

            our president has a limited vocabulary and range of behaviors but he is both very predictable and very effective in deploying them. he has been playing the game he plays with the press and the citizens since he was a young new york developer.

            a key is trump’s cleverly misleading use of language.

            – for example, he has a well-documented habit of denying something he has done, acknowledging it under pressure (a deposition), and the publicly denying it again. he has just finished playing this game once more re the ukraine fiasco. any party can choose any side of his story.

            – trump seems to be an instinctive propagandist. his description of criticisms of his conduct as “fake news” and his extension of the term to all media not favorable to him is an example. the key here is that trump is trying to play with his supporters’ minds when he uses terms like “fake news”.

            an example of this right wing wordplay (and that is all it is) is calling a journalist a “bigot” for writing critically about racial bigots like some of the charlottesville thugs. at that point a foolish media may say “well, maybe there’s a point”. but there is no point whatsoever if language is to have mooring and meaning. in fact the key defense trump seems to have against media executive editors, if not reporters, is that verbal claims like this buffalo them.

            this trickery with language which the president uses instinctively provides a key defense of his conduct but can be broken down by persistent opposition based on analysis of his conduct..

        • p-cubed says:

          Narcissism of any degree is an unlikely cause of his bizarre disorganized speech structure. Narcissism doesn’t do that. Dementia does. In addition to massive narcissism, Trump is exhibiting significant and increasing cognitive impairment. This is a dementia or other organic brain disorder. And narcissism.

          • Rayne says:

            Agree that it’s more than one challenge. His narcissism has been manifest in decades of massive TRUMP branding and all the gold plating as just a couple examples but his degrading physical condition including cognitive impairment, slurred speech, difficulty navigating inclines/stairs, stooping posture, all indicate some progressive neurological problem.

          • Stephen says:

            I am uncertain as to the dementia piece; it’s possible that the man’s brain is showing early signs of deterioration but that he had enough reserve capacity to be able to function for a while yet. The simplification of his speech patterns and the way he is easily exhausted (“loses interest”) would be consistent with that hypothesis.

            However, I beg to differ on the issue of whether narcissistic personalities ever exhibit signs of thought disorder. These people (the real ones) are organized at a borderline level, with poorly integrated identities. In general their reality testing is intact (except that perceptions of social cues are often distorted) but that can change under stress. The deviations into quasi-delusional thinking and/or disordered speech patterns (formal thought disorder) are generally transient – but isn’t that what we’ve been seeing? Most of the time the man speaks like a standard-issue egocentric grandiose wannabe criminal-mastermind-cum-demagogue, but when things look really, really bad the cognitive slippage emerges.

            And let’s face it: things look potentially very, very bad. Public disgrace, exposure as a fraud, and possible prison time are scary for just about anyone, let alone a lifelong rich-kid narcissist.

            • orionATL says:

              what i sense in trump, most especially in his tweets from early morning on to those who criticize him, is an anxious person.

              secondly, this is a person who is not comfortable interacting directly with individuals, in being at least superficially courteous. this suggests fear and is unusual in an american politician. he has no apparent interest whatever in even engaging with people let alone in winning them over. yet the narcissist in him dotes on cheering crowds – from which he is removed by the lecturn.

              finally, there is the persistent trump scowl in public photos – very unusual in an american political leader. anxiety and anger can go together.

  9. Fran of the North says:

    The word hash in the “transcript” that follows the Crowdstrike reference sets the mind on fire.

    Is it possible that the series of tubes that form the internet of POTUS’ brain is actually conflating the DNC hack (penetration of a server) with the missing HRC emails and the location of her server?

    You can imagine that in prep for the call the briefing team is coaching Trump with all of the talking points. At go time, they just don’t stay in a coherent outline, and so when it’s time to lay out the case for why Ukraine should help the US in this investigation, wires get crossed and suddenly it is arch-villan HRC that is front and center?

  10. BobCon says:

    If Pelosi is serious about a floor vote on impeachment by year’s end, she’s shutting down the opportunity to meaningfully dig into Stone — either trial evidence, or a pardon blocking the trial.

    While the standard five minute rule hearing would probably suit him fine, I cannot see the value of passing up the opportunity to get a skilled counsel questioning him in an impeachment hearing with rules allowing extensive questioning.

  11. Ed Smiley says:

    So now Trump’s fate is tied to a lunatic with a Nixon tattoo on his back, who may not get the pardon he is expecting?

  12. orionATL says:

    “..the trial will talk about Stone’s texts and calls to four different Donald Trump phone numbers, as well as his aides and bodyguard, Keith Schiller. (This screen cap comes from a list of stipulated phone numbers and emails that has since been sealed.)….”

    this is extraordinary access to trump. six different phone numbers by which stone could contact trump – his cell phone, his residence, his work, some of his assistants, his girl friday, rhonna graff, and his bodyguard keith schiller – show stone’s extraordinary access to trump. other than trump’s family, what other persons might have had such complete access to the candidate?

    this complete access lends support to my guess that roger stone was an important advisor to trump and his campaign for president into the heart of the campaign – well beyond feb 2016. given the long personal relationship between stone and trump (and between stone and manafort), there is no reason in my mind to exclude the ever-scheming stone from advising trump on manafort and on the use of the russians. an interesting question would be what signs of stone’s influence on the campaign other than wikileaks right up to election day have been overlooked?

  13. Rapier says:

    Emptywheel should just write the story of Stone’s pardon and why he is getting it, right now. Avoid the rush of all after the fact stories. The story is already written. The facts known. Just tell the story now and then let the facts play themselves out.

    Ideally the story will be published off this site. How about the, and I hate to say it, NY Times? Well they probably have the story in the can already too and would be loath to run it before the events. Good sports that they are.

    • bmaz says:

      I know it is all the rage to talk about pardons. But it is far more complex than that, and has far more implications. I wrote a post that turned out to be very prescient, even though folks kept on clacking about “oh Trump will just pardon them”.

      Even though the Mueller probe is done and past, there has to be a strong concern by Trump that he might not be in office in 15 months. Pardons are not a magic unicorn for Trump. The only thing Trump cares about is Trump. Michael Cohen was right about that.

      A pardon of Stone will accomplish only one thing…keep Trump’s name out of news during Stone’s trial…but the downside for Trump could be pretty ugly. So, please, keep that in mind before making assumptions about pardons.

      If, and when, it comes, rest assured it will be written about here. Until then though, we will wait and see.

      • Peterr says:

        In the meantime, I’ll just leave this here . . .

        If impeachment charges go to the Senate, and it looks like the Senate will convict, I predict a flood of pardons right before Trump signs a letter of resignation filled with righteous indignation. It would be a giant middle finger from Trump to Angry Dems and Turncoat Republicans as he heads out the door, allowing him (in his own mind) to hold his head high. “I got screwed, but I’m not going quietly.”

        • bmaz says:

          Uh huh. Sure. Because he would never be hesitant to remove testimonial protections from those who could, and would, have to implicate him in crimes. Which he might be on the hook for once out of office. Seriously people do not think through this deeply enough before saying PARDONS!!!

          • Peterr says:

            Trump’s lawyers would tell him that, and they’d be absolutely right. Then Trump would tell them to fk off.

            Seriously, people do not think though how toddler-like Trump can be when he’s pushed into a corner.

          • Peterr says:

            Today’s release of the memo of the conversation with Zelensky strongly suggests either that Trump does not have good legal minds around him (“Sure – this will exonerate you”) or that he is willing to ignore their advice and do what he wants.

            Either course suggests that my hypothetical has a certain logic to it.

            • PSWebster says:

              Good legal advice…Dowd was one of the first to protect Trump from himself: You’ll be wearing an orange suit (if you allow yourself to be deposed when Trump asserted he was good at it)

              Others remove documents from his desk protecting him from illegal acts. Tillerson showed him he was played. All gone now, except for Giuliani…ha ha.

              The day after the Mueller report was released Trump felt vindicated: might as well do it again…nothing to it. No one left to keep him on a semblance of legality. Giuliani just egging him on. Ivanka, hubby, his closest advisers doan know shite about political process.

      • Drew says:

        Thanks again for this BMAZ. I’m happy to see a qualified and experienced attorney saying what I’ve been thinking, but mostly don’t say.

        Of course, that’s not to say there won’t be pardons and games involving pardons–AND Trump doing things that aren’t well thought out and turn around to bite him in the ass. But Trump will ultimately be only out for Trump and he has to believe he’s getting value for any pardon.

        • bmaz says:

          Trump is goofy as hell, so you never know. And he is not necessarily rational. But, if rational souls are advising him, they will tell him of a spectrum of problems that could, if not will, result from pardons. I don’t know what will happen, but do see the issues, and the problems are deeper than the surface.

          • MattyG says:

            Pardoning one his team may be too much of an addmission to himself that he is inadequate and not all powerful – a blow to his self esteem that he may not even want to contemplate, or probably can’t. His pardons have been strikingly petty and vindictive – wielded as tools to offend. He may be emotionally incapable of the public display of co-dependency that pardonning one of the face cards would highlight. He’s used to threats, quiet settlements, NDAs and payoffs.

        • Avattoir says:

          If the House passes a bill of impeachment, can Trump grant pardons while the issue of removal remains yet to be determined by the Senate?
          The part of the constitution that mentions the pardon power doesn’t refer to removal, only impeachment.

  14. Frank Probst says:

    I read that the OLC memo released today stated that the memo we got today about the Zelensky call was not, in fact, complete, and that portions of it remain classified. Is there any truth to this?

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Today’s memo, representing a distilled, redacted, written interpretation of a single phone call between the Ukrainian President and Individual 1, is to the Whistle Blower’s report, as the Barr Memo is to the Mueller Report.

  15. Eureka says:

    Thanks for also pointing out a different interpretation of the ellipses: I had taken them as part of Trump’s habit of relying on implicature, which is probably exactly what any redactor might have relied on in whacking any subsequent text.

    At any rate, Trump’s (life)long habits of mob-talk, partial sentences, and repetitive simple mememe phrases have no doubt contributed to his cognitive decline, besides their evincing as symptoms on the world stage. How embarrassing for our country, besides all the other horrible stuff he does.

  16. SteveL says:


    Might it be that Trump IS actually focused on Stone’s coming trial, and that this accounts for his interest in the crowdstrike conspiracy theory, rather than a generalized interest in undermining conclusions of the Mueller Report?

  17. eric says:

    Hi, All – first time poster – what ever happened with the mystery appellant in the Mueller probe? Last summer the company(?) was supposed to release documents… what’s up? sorry this isnt related to this Ukraine thread (as far as i know).

    • bmaz says:

      Hi Eric! Welcome, and join in often!

      That is a great question as to “mystery appellant”. Last I recall they were ordered to submit, somewhere in late July maybe. Not sure what is up since then. Marcy probably knows.

      • eric says:

        Thanks for the response … I’m sure she does :)
        I emailed a reporter from The Hill who had written about it earlier, haven’t heard back. Also went to Court of Appeals website, couldn’t find info there either. It is like it has dropped off everyone’s radar. Thanks.

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