Convergence: Mueller Obstruction, Ukrainian Favors, and DOJ’s Altered Documents

Amid uncorrected false claims about election results and tweets inciting violence in DC, Donald Trump tweeted this last night.

After respectable law firms withdrew in AZ and PA, Trump’s legal team is now down to Rudy, DiGenova and Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, along with “other wonderful lawyers” whom he did not name.

Finally, the grand convergence: Trump’s obstruction of the Mueller investigation into Trump’s “collusion” with Russia, his demand that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky “do him a favor” by inventing an investigation of Joe Biden, and the Billy Barr-led effort to blow up Mike Flynn’s prosecution for covering up Trump’s efforts to undermine sanctions imposed for helping Trump to win. All one grand effort led by lawyers barely clinging to reality.

That’s not a unique observation. Many people are making it (along with laughing at the sorry state of affairs for Trump, a glee that may be premature).

But it’s worth focusing on the relationship between Jenna Ellis and Powell. As I have noted repeatedly, when Judge Emmet Sullivan asked Powell whether she had been in direct contact with Trump about Mike Flynn’s case, she not only confessed to that, but also admitted multiple contacts with Trump’s campaign lawyer, Ellis. That means Ellis is directly implicated in whatever effort there was to alter documents to launch a false attack on Joe Biden, one intimately tied to DOJ’s false excuses (that the investigation was primarily about the Logan Act) for wanting to blow up the Flynn prosecution.

That is, the effort to throw out the Mike Flynn prosecution (about which the lawyers have mostly gone silent, post-election) was all part of an effort to obtain power via illegitimate means. And still is.

43 replies
  1. joel fisher says:

    Is it possible that Flynn is having second thoughts about his request to have his prosecution thrown out? He could be better off with a conviction and a commutation–thus preserving his right to silence–than erasing the whole thing with a pardon that would relieve him of the right to keep his mouth shut. But until he gets sentenced there’s nothing to commute.

    • timbo says:

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if that was now Sullivan’s strategy given the inability of the DOJ to explain itself in a clear and logical fashion?

    • Raven Eye says:

      I was barely able to make to 8:00 — not even halfway through. Is there anything in the last half worth seeing?

      • MB says:

        Maher seemed unprepared to me in this interview. Jenna Ellis had all of her talking point ducks in a row, well-prepared in advance and then some. She came off as a polished and consummate liar. She claimed that they (the Trump campaign) had won court victories in Pennsylvania. I think that might have been an exaggerated reference to letting GOP vote-count observers do their observing a little closer to the “action”.

        Maher had no clue how to counter her except to roll his eyes at her general ridiculousness while hemming and hawing about her “facts”, but otherwise he couldn’t stop the propaganda train she was the conductor of. The whole interview left a bad taste for me, basically wondering why she was booked at all. Maybe Maher booked her so he could attempt to make a fool of her, but he didn’t really succeed, in my eye. She got what she came for: some free airtime on his show, spewing utter nonsense – kind of a twisted “own the libs” moment.

        I like Maher some of the time, but this show was not particularly good, so ya didn’t miss much this time around.

    • emptywheel says:

      Ah thanks. She seems to think they’ll win there. If she doesn’t know what a shit-show Powell is as a lawyer it’s gonna be a tough December.

      • Pankaj Gupta says:

        Where are the Flynn court hearings headed to now with a Trump loss? I think the fact that Powell met Ellis was a big bombshell. Now they both are part of the same team. What is happening next on the court? Will there been a decision prior to Trump leaving office?

          • vvv says:

            Does anyone else see a conflict issue with Trump claiming that Powell – Flynn’s atty and theoretically adverse to DOJ – is part of his “truly great team”, as “spearheaded” by Giuliani?

            And is there a more formal declaration of who is on that “team”?

  2. Silly but True says:

    There’s nothing to be done atm in Flynn: DoJ told Sullivan they will not respond further to amicus and he has everything they will say and everything Sullivan needs to rule. Sullivan has not yet ruled, so — as en banc Circuit Ct. already ruled on — there is nothing yet to appeal.

    When Sullivan finally rules on the DoJ’s May petition to dismiss with prejudice, expect a flurry of activity. There’s also Fynn’s motion to recuse too to rule on as well. That may be the first decision to come, with Sullivan dismissing it.

    DoJ could, one supposes, have filed its own mandamus but that’s now untimely at this point.

    Silly but True

      • Silly but True says:

        Absolutely. Case load, which is randomly assigned, can have a lot of significance. Sullivan due to luck of draw is on 2020 Elections lawsuit against USPS ballot delivery, and that can still arguably consume his time while there are still emergency issues and schedule necessities in play.

        But for Flynn’s right to expediency which isn’t insignificant, the 2020 election deadlines will override whatever is going on in Flynn’s case at this point.

      • timbo says:

        Seems like he may not have to spend too energy delaying with all the antics from DOJ and Powell still fresh and lay on the table in a steaming pile.

  3. sls642 says:

    I don’t see why Sullivan wouldn’t take his time on the Motion to Recuse and then give the same careful consideration to the dismissal. Could easily go past January. More often than not, the wheels of justice grind slowly. Especially in difficult cases.

    I have seen appellate courts remand cases to trial courts with specific time frames made a part of the order.. And then watched the same appellate court take forever to rule when the trial court expedited the ruling as instructed. Go figure.

    Trying to force a judge (any judge) to rule by filing a Motion to Expedite or a mandamus proceeding is generally not a bright idea unless there are no other options. I seriously doubt that the appellate court would step in to force an order by a time certain regardless of Flynn’s obvious problem. A little to close to home for any judge with sense.

    • sneakynordic says:

      You don’t think the DC Circuit’s direction for “appropriate dispatch” is an invitation to file a motion to expedite?

  4. Peterr says:

    Trump’s legal team is now down to Rudy, DiGenova and Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, along with “other wonderful lawyers” whom he did not name.

    I think you can safely assume Bill Barr is one of those “other wonderful lawyers”. He also comes with the added benefit of being on the Trump govt payroll, so Trump Org doesn’t have to pay him. Of course, acknowledging Barr’s role would be problematic, but I’m sure he’s giving plenty of legal advice – especially on the “don’t let GSA sign the document that lets Biden start his transition work” front.

  5. Ginevra diBenci says:

    EW, your dependent clauses are giving me nightmares. To wit: ” . . . a glee that may be premature,” which sent a shiver down my spine–despite (or because of?) its being parenthesized. What am I–paranoid and obsessive as I am–missing?

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