Bill Barr’s DOJ Protecting Sean Hannity the Cut-Out

Today, DOJ will have to release a less-classified version of the Mueller Report and another batch of 302s in the BuzzFeed FOIA. Then, after the election, Jason Leopold’s lawyers and DOJ start fighting over all the things DOJ withheld, including Mike Flynn’s 302 (which DOJ withheld because DOJ is trying to blow up his prosecution and releasing them publicly would make it clear his lies were material).

While we’re waiting, I wanted to point to a paragraph from an October 11, 2018 Paul Manafort interview that was wrongly withheld.

DOJ redacted Sean Hannity’s name, perhaps to make it harder to demonstrate that Manafort’s claim was a lie.

This is a reference to text messages Manafort had with Sean Hannity. Judge Amy Berman Jackson unsealed them during Manafort’s sentencing, making them a public official DOJ document. The texts show Manafort acknowledging the gag ABJ imposed.

Less than a week later, Manafort says they’ll have to hold off on talking until he gets bail, and Hannity passes on what appears to be word from Trump, that unless Jeff Sessions appoints a special prosecutor to investigate Uranium One, he’ll be gone.

In December, after Mueller’s team busts Manafort for working with Konstantin Kilimnik to edit an oped to run in Kyiv, Manafort tells Hannity he has to delay talking to him until they get past a hearing on that violation of ABJ’s gag order.

In early January, Manafort talks about having his lawyer (probably Kevin Downing) do an interview with Hannity about a civil suit he filed against Mueller as a way around the gag.

Again in January, Manafort says he needs to have his lawyer meeting with Gregg Jarrett to talk about their plans to try to get Andrew Weissmann thrown off the team.

On January 24 and 25, 2018, Manafort tells Hannity that Kevin Downing will be calling him.

On the 25th, Hannity confirms that he did speak with Downing and insists that Downing feed him “everyday.” Manafort says he will.

In May 2018, Manafort tells Hannity to look for his filing claiming the Mueller team was illegally leaking.

In May, Manafort asks Hannity if he’ll pitch his defense fund. Hannity says he will when Manafort and his lawyer are on.

Manafort insists to Hannity that his leaks filing exposes Weissmann misconduct. Hannity explains that Jarrett did not share the filing with him, so asks Manafort to sent it to his (!!!) AOL.Com address.

After Manafort gets busted for witness tampering, Manafort texts Hannity and insists it was bullshit.

And then Paulie goes to prison and the texts end.

Throughout the exchanges — particularly with that meeting between Downing and Hannity on January 24, 2018 — it’s clear Manafort is feeding Hannity.

And, as Weissmann got permission to include include in his book, the Muller team analyzed the texts and mapped how comments Manafort shared showed up in Hannity’s broadcasts.

At the same time the Manafort allies were working Gates over, dangling the prospect of money and a White House pardon, they were also fomenting a press strategy to undermine our office’s work, and Team M’s case against him in particular. In the spring of 2018, we discovered a new Manafort account he was using after his indictment in October 2017. As we had done countless times before, we obtained a court order from Chief Judge Howell, served it on the carrier, and soon unexpectedly had in our hands hundreds of texts between Manafort and the Fox News host Sean Hannity.

In one text exchange, during the weeks in which we were working to flip Gates, Manafort assured Hannity that Gates would stay strong and never cooperate. In others, he supplied Hannity with a cache of right-wing conspiracy-laden ammunition with which to attack Mueller, me, and the Special Counsel’s Office as a whole—some of it, Manafort claimed, had been passed on from sources within the Justice Department. Manafort, who was under house arrest at the time, assured Hannity that Manafort’s counsel would be in touch with him. Hannity worked this information into the tirades against us that he performed almost nightly on the air.

At the time, remember, Manafort was under indictment for the same charges as Gates; both were out on bail with strict pretrial conditions. Communicating with Hannity about the case was a violation of the gag order Judge Jackson had put in place on both sides so as not to taint the jury. But Manafort was undeterred by such legal niceties as a court order; he was doing what he did best: surreptitiously cooking up a smear campaign, then using Hannity to disseminate it, thereby contaminating the political discourse.

A Team M analyst correlated the texts to the Hannity Fox News programs that then aired in support of Manafort. The texts revealed a media plan that was just like the work he’d done in Ukraine, targeting President Yanukovych’s enemies. Now, however, Manafort was working on his own behalf, launching an assault on a government investigation poised to undo him.

I had wanted to submit the Hannity texts to the court as they revealed a continued flagrant violation of the court’s order, and it was something I believed the judge needed to know as it could well change her view on whether Manafort should remain on bail, or at least whether the conditions of his bail should be tightened up. When I told Aaron this, he had his usual reaction: No one could see these texts. “They are too explosive,” he said. He did not want the inevitable shit storm that would result on Fox and other media outlets, but that was no excuse for not alerting the court to the violation of her order. (I made clear that the court would have to see them at least in connection with sentencing Manafort as it was our obligation not to hide this from the court, which is how these ended up seeing the light of day.) Soon this latest Grant-McClellan standoff would be largely moot when we discovered Manafort’s breach of his bail conditions in a manner that made the gag order violation pale in comparison.

The fact that Weissmann was able to include this detail in his book makes it clear this is not sensitive and, indeed, DOJ considers it public.

And yet DOJ hid the identity of one of the most public men in America to hide the way Fox was running interference for Trump’s criminals.

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11 replies
    • John Paul Jones says:

      Various online dictionaries list up to 36 different meanings, one of which is “high hopes,” and another of which is “happy hunting.” I’m betting that it doesn’t mean Herbert Hoover (another listed possibility).

      Incidentally, in the first set of texts, the very bottom one (“let’s update”) was sent on the different day than the others in that set, the 8th, instead of the 5th.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        German radio operators routinely ended transmissions with “HH” during the second world war.

        I’m hoping it wasn’t “heil Hitler”,
        in the Manafort texts, but with these guys, you can never know for sure.

    • subtropolis says:

      Normally, I’d suggest “ha-ha” but that doesn’t seem to fit the context. It’s more than 15 minutes after his previous text, and not apparently in response to anything.

      • rosalind says:

        yeah, that’s why i asked. dunno if he used this in other contexts. and yes Old Tulsa, did wonder if it was someone’s initials like Hugh Hewitt. (and living in a liberal town surrounded by white supremicists, my first thought went in a ‘nother direction but…no, that can’t be it).

  1. Peterr says:

    The fact Weissmann could get this into his book also says that there is at least one person at DOJ who does the vetting who is willing to act appropriately, even thought they must know that Barr and Trump would NOT like to see this appear in plain sight.

    Of course, the fact that this must be said at all is a sad commentary on how far the DOJs reputation has fallen in the last four years.

  2. Nehoa says:

    It was not that long ago that Italian and Irish criminals would not work together, and indeed often fought each other. How nice to see such cooperation in this day and age. Such progress in societal relations.

  3. BD Mac says:

    Marcy (apologies for length in advance), I’d like to see Paul and Roger face true Justice too. Neither is serving the original format of their sentences prescribed by the courts. I know: B – O – O! H – O – O! One of life’s great Proverbs.

    Bob, Andy, and so many others did a lot of hard work and kept their mouths shut (notwithstanding false accusations that they were leaking and conducting a political witch hunt). The Special Counsel investigation team took a lot of unwarranted and disrespectful Twitter abuse from the orange Narcissus in addition to the Fox News’ seethe(rs) slandering their names/professions nightly. Obstruction of justice anyone? Congress? Oh, got it now, DOJ OLC memo [wink-wink]. Nothing 2 C here; move along. Apparently no Old Testament justice to be had in 2nd decade of the 21st century. They beat at least half the wrap, but most of us STILL know the score. And yes, I STILL know: B – O – O! H – O – fucking – O! One of life’s other great Proverbs in addition to the 1 above.

    The bigger irony here is both Paul and Roger are sitting at home watching the pre-election night polls (those not shared privately with Kilimnik), neither serving their true sentences, frantically praying to the Dark Lords of the Sith for a Trump victory on election night which portends pardons for them both. I know: B- O – O! H – O – double-fucking – O! Life is not fair. Yes another one of life’s great Proverbs in addition to the 2 above.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t make a comment regarding the unfairness you see in the main culprit of this post; the one you’ve pointed out here as an important protagonist, Mr. “Yes Sir” Sean Hannity (Paul’s pipeline to the world). Sean didn’t pay much of a price either for aiding and abetting (from afar) the crime of obstructing justice. “May his ratings sink and his advertisers bail!”. I know, Proverb 1: B-O-O! H-O-O!

    So I got to thinking there must be some kind of solution to this conundrum that will accurately see justice delivered to its rightful end. After all, Bob wrote an Op-Ed in the NYT to let everyone know that Roger is still a felon; and we know Paul is still confined to his house and a convicted felon – all is still well in Lady Justice’s blind-folded eyes. Ergo, Lady Justice had not, has not, nor will be defiled, just cheated on with commutations and altered confinements. To which Roger (and even a confined Paul too I would imagine) in a chorus with Trump retort: B – O – O! H -Up your ass – O – O – Mueller-Weissman! The latter is NOT one of life’s great Proverbs. Always consider the source! Ex-FBI director’s and prosecutors who accelerate ultimate justice with defendant’s like Enron’s Ken Lay (died of an overwhelming guilt induced heart-attack) and securing Jeff Skilling’s 14 year sentence for cooking the books deserve more respect from even villains such as these. But still, boo-hoo Lady Justice! Not this time; not with these villains; they’re just too smart 4 U.

    So, after I pontificated for far too long both to myself and in this comment, I can now say what might be the remedy to the disease of failed justice (and trying to get a few good LAUGHS in in the process which was my true intent). My prescription is simple:

    The two former lobbyists and the current FOX anchor can be setup on a blind date with our Lady Nemesis (sister to the Fates) instead. Why? Because Lady Justice was not to their liking; and they told her so by obstructing Her. A daughter of Justice in Judge Jackson’s case was rejected by Roger so profusely that her life was even threatened with subliminal assassination cross-hairs during their time together. I mean really! It’s one thing to not like someone and tell them that to their face; it’s a whole other matter to threaten via proxy to have a nutter that scans your Instagram page follow through on the veiled threat (Note: On behalf of all fellow ancestral Celts, “IT WAS NOT A CELTIC CROSS” in Roger’s photo-shopped photo of Judge Jackson – Piss Off!)

    So if Lee Atwater’s Fate (an old friend of Paul and Roger) is any prognosticator of events to come, they’ll pay for their crimes in due time. [We] just may not be there to chaperone their date in our lifetime(s); nor would we most likely desire to be (well, maybe just a little bit after all the hard work put in). Besides, we should be HAVING FUN about now after all that has been done [pursuing justice/reporting]; has IN FACT been done. It’s documented for history’s sake as Bob said in his congressional testimony. Their crimes will not be forgotten.

    For me, I can just let it be now (sigh), but then I’m too easy going. For years now watching an orange Narcissus with his concubines and catamites in congress and in his administration serve his dark political desires which have allowed for such injustices as those we’ve witnessed in the post-Mueller investigation convictions – I still seemed to have somehow mellowed some. It may have to be enough for the Karma Police to make the final arrest(s) and 4 the real Justices of this World to decide their Fate. We humans do pretty good sometimes (as this week’s election will show us ALL). I’m happy with this much human justice (even if it’s only a little “j”). Always remember:

    “There walks a Lady [Justice] we all know; who shines white light and wants to show [Truth]; how everything still turns to gold [Precious].” LZ – STH

  4. mospeck says:

    Marcy, today or tomorrow we will rid ourselves of this trump demon.
    But how much damage can he do in the interim? In the next 10 weeks?
    A lot. We need folks like you to advise old Joe about all these jokers like hannity and stone who can
    and will work for he and russia to wreck our republic. Kasparov is warning us about dictators
    https://www.kasparov.com/win-or-lose-with-trump-prepare-for-the-unimaginable-after-the-election-cnn-op-ed-october-31-2020/
    Schiff said it best with his closing argument.

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