Now that DOJ Has Rudy Giuliani’s Phone Contents, Lev Parnas Prepares to Plead

Back on January 21, Special Master Barbara Jones reported on the status of her privilege review of Rudy Giuliani’s devices. For eight of Rudy’s devices, she had turned over over 27,000 items that post-dated January 1, 2018. For eight others, she had turned over the 3,000 items dated between December 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019.

While she had started to turn over materials as early as November, Jones turned over the balance on January 19. From there, a filter team at the FBI would have to scope the contents to make sure the investigative team only got items covered by whatever warrants the government has gotten.

The one known warrant that SDNY has covers Rudy’s efforts — assisted by Lev Parnas — to get Maria Yovanovitch fired in 2019. Those charges were included on the original October 2019 indictment against Parnas, but removed when the charges against him were superseded in September 2020.

If DOJ is going to charge Rudy for ousting Yovanovitch at the behest of Yuri Lutsenko and others, they are probably preparing to do so now.

Which makes it interesting that yesterday, Parnas asked for a change of plea hearing on the remaining already-charged count for which he still has to stand trial.

Remember: Back in March 2020, Parnas tried, unsuccessfully, to flip.

Lev Parnas spent much of January 2020 claiming to want to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry — though those claims were often suspect. At the same time, SDNY seemed to want to stall those efforts. The Senate acquitted Trump in February.

Only after that, on March 5, 2020 (and apparently just March 5), did Parnas proffer testimony in what he had been publicly claiming for some time was an interest in cooperating. But apparently after making statements that support the government case against him at trial next month, nothing came of the proffer.

On March 5, 2020, Parnas and his counsel met with members of this Office and the FBI, to proffer Parnas’s potential testimony about the charges at issue here and other matters. In advance of the proffer, the Government provided a written proffer agreement to Parnas’s counsel, setting forth the terms under which statements Parnas made during the proffer could and could not be used against him.


During a lengthy proffer, Parnas made several statements that tend to prove the charges at issue here, or facts underlying those charges. An FBI agent took detailed notes of the proffer, and later produced a formal report memorializing it (the “302”). Those notes, and the 302, have been provided to Kukushkin and Parnas.

In a pretrial hearing last October, Parnas’ lawyer Joseph Bondy revealed that at that early point, SDNY had insisted Parnas plead to all the charges against him (which at that point still included the Yovanovitch charge).

But now that DOJ has — after 30 months of work — obtained all Rudy’s communications about the Yovanovitch plot (and already facing prison based off his October 2021 guilty verdict), Parnas appears to have a deal that’s worth pleading guilty to.

Remember: When Parnas was previously trying to flip, it wasn’t just the Yovanovitch plot he wanted to cooperate on. He also wanted to help SDNY prosecute obstruction of the investigation into that effort, including efforts to delete iCloud content as impeachment started. Parnas has receipts — not just against Rudy (and Mike Pompeo), but also videos implicating Trump.

Meanwhile, as Parnas prepares to plead guilty, Yovaovitch is using her book tour to highlight the damage done by autocrats like Putin and Trump.

84 replies
  1. Caliban says:

    We all the low level people being nabbed, charged, and sentenced, it will be interesting to see if, in the future, these types realize they are being set-up to take the fall for the higher-ups, who are very much unlikely to ever be charged. If my experience with criminal law defendants is any indication, I doubt it. For some reason, the fall guys/gals always seem to think Big Poppa will take care of them.

    And this is the case no matter how intelligent the fall guy/gal is. Their faith in Dear Leader is often unshakeable.

    • Leoghann says:

      That is a class of ignorance and blindness that has been self-replicating for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Hell, there may be a gene for it.

  2. greenbird says:

    “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”

  3. BobCon says:

    Pompeo has been making the rounds trying to talk tough about Ukraine, and as you would expect, has been getting about as much pushback from the press as Barr. It shows how bad their instincts have become about what will get an audience — he’s throwing big fat changeups right in the middle of the strike zone, and they’re shying away like he’s Shohei Ohtani throwing 100 mph fastballs.

    • Peterr says:

      Pompeo, unlike Barr, has more than his legacy in mind when he talks publicly about things like Ukraine. He wants the GOP nomination for president, and figures that his record of helping Trump will push aside folks like DeSantis and Abbott, as well as upstarts like Hawley.

      This means he will, at some point, have to face other-than-fawning interviewers, which should be quite a set of conversations. I would love to see Mary Louise Kelly ask Pompeo a few questions about all this tough talk on Ukraine.

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    “While she had started to turn over materials as early as November”
    I wonder if that is what triggered the Robert Costello search warrants. Of all the eleventy billion people in the world, is there anyone more likely to have multiple incorrect versions of Costello’s gmail address than Rudy?
    Technically, the Costello stuff looks to have started in late October. Still, it makes a great story.

  5. Simon says:

    The lack of any timely and meaningful justice for tfg has been a big green light for authoritarianism and the endless idiots of the right. Whatever happens to him, it’s evident that the window of time when it would’ve had some value in pushing back against these forces has gone and shows to me that we don’t have the tools currently to fight back.

    • Bill McCann says:

      Seriously? You waste space here with that Eeyore whine? Haven’t you been paying any attention at all?

      • Simon says:

        I thought it went to the heart of what this entire blog is about – namely, US Justice? – did you have a point?

        • Peterr says:

          The point is — and it has been made here repeatedly — that there’s no way Trump was going to be indicted and charged on Jan 21, 2021, and marched off to federal prison by Memorial Day.

          What * has* been happening is that the DOJ has been moving firmly to roll up the whole collections of miscreants, starting as soon as the Biden DOJ took office, when approving the subpoenas at the heart of this post were some of the first decisions Deputy AG Lisa Monaco made on her first day of work.

          Six week ago, Marcy wrote this:

          While TV lawyers have been wailing impotently that DOJ has been doing nothing to investigate Donald Trump, DOJ and the National Archives have been acquiring the communications behind some of the most damning events leading up to January 6.

          That whole post might be worth reading.

        • Simon says:

          I understand this – I read this blog regularly, I never said tr*mp was going to be “marched off to prison on Jan 21st” – your words.

          My point is that our Democratic system has to deliver Justice which serves to strengthen the integrity-of and belief-in our system of Government in the face of all these new Authoritarian regimes – If it doesn’t do this and we lose everything will you be satisfied that we were “patiently building cases” while the free world died? – surely recent events show that it is swinging in the balance.

          What I get back from all the good people here is that the system is set in stone and we just have to trust it will deliver and if it’s rulings come too late to save Democracy I guess we’ll just have to be content with patting ourselves on the back that we gave it our best shot – I, for one don’t think that is good enough.

        • Thomas says:

          I think you make a really good point.
          I haven’t given up hope yet that Trump, Manafort and many others will still be put in prison for the CENTRAL CRIME.
          Trump and his accomplices didn’t just benefit from a Russian intelligence operation, they were part of it, and it is ongoing as of now. Mueller didn’t follow the money.
          If I was Joe Biden, my first priority would be to find out if tfg was a Russian asset, and if so, then what has he been doing? Then I would want to know the national security implications of having him out there, free, doing the dirty work for Putin, and how fast I can put his ass in prison.
          I don’t disagree with Dr Wheeler when she points out how difficult the various cases are, and I greatly appreciate that she points it out when progress is being made.
          But I still think you have a good point. It is possible that Trump and the Republican Party have gamed the legal and political system so well that they will succeed in creating an elite criminal organization that can’t be prosecuted. It’s not a lot of steps from there to authoritarian rule.
          Trump’s allies are passing laws that allow Republicans to nullify elections and just declare that they never lose. Trump’s allies are organizing paramilitaries to assist them in seizing power. Trump’s activists are trying to infiltrate the electoral system, to attack it from within. Trump’s allies are passing laws making it legal for any person to purchase a gun, and brandish it in public without any licensing. Trump’s allies are passing laws to “deputize en masse” their followers to “enforce laws” and the majority on the Supreme Court says that’s ok.
          The policies of the Republican Party, wherever they have the power to enact them, are aimed at facilitating the violent overthrow of the constitution and the government. They are brazen organized criminals and openly seditious terrorists. They are relentless liars who bankroll whole organizations to use nazi propaganda techniques to defraud millions of people.
          My prediction is that the Republican Party will lose the next election very badly, at all levels. They will react violently. They will refuse to leave power. They will attack state capitals and the US capital and they will be heavily armed.
          And they will lose that contest too. Very badly, as well.
          My position is that this is inevitable, and any prosecutor who is slowing his roll or declining to prosecute out of fear of lunatics with guns needs to understand that failing to act is a useless caution.

        • Rayne says:

          If I was Joe Biden, my first priority would be to find out if tfg was a Russian asset, and if so, then what has he been doing?

          How do you know the US intelligence community hasn’t already been doing just that? And why would they disclose that if it meant not only disclosing means and methods but providing more ammunition for the influence operation he’s been running on the GOP under the “DEMS HAVE BEEN SPYING ON ME” banner? Think systemically.

          Then I would want to know the national security implications of having him out there, free, doing the dirty work for Putin, and how fast I can put his ass in prison.

          We can already see the national security implications. They are playing out in front of us in Ukraine, across NATO, the Middle East, China. It’s all connected now by the crap Trump did while in office if not earlier. See above — same problem, and he did much of what he did as president, was impeached for it, but not removed by the then-GOP Senate. The problem is in the Senate which is still under the influence of Trump and Putin and still wreaking havoc on our country. Let’s focus on that. Trump, meanwhile, is in his own prison; he can’t even afford to operate his plane, had to borrow one and got the shit scared out of him which in my opinion should happen more often.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          lolol… not to mention, since he walked out of the White House in January 2021, the Biden Admin cut off any further security briefings to the tfg. Not only is the material he stole over a year old, who knows how much of it is booby-trapped.

        • xy xy says:

          It may be over a year old, but on Jan 21, 2021 it was probably fairly fresh and may have had details of the game the US would play in the chess match.
          Putin may be testing to see if the game plan has changed.

        • rip says:

          Thank you for giving a voice to what many of us think. We trust the system (mostly) but wish there was a way to prevent the guilty (in our eyes) from being able to continue to engage in malevolent and possibly criminal acts.

        • Krisy Gosney says:

          A thing that Dr Wheeler has pointed out repeatedly is that authoritarianism can seem much more attractive than democracy because authoritarianism can do that quick-ish, satisfying ‘justice.’ If we want to hold onto our democracy then we have to have actual justice go through its process.

          But a lot of what’s being ascribed to Trump and just the last few years has been in the process decades before Trump. They just hitched their wagon to Trump to leapfrog their inevitable hold on the GOP, Supreme Court, state and local governments, etc. They are Christian Nationalists/Christianists/Evangelicals/etc. Their efforts for the replacement of democracy to a Christianist authoritarianism have been coming long before Trump.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          What you get back is not that the legal systems in the US are set in stone, but that they are not the two-dimensional myth of school civics classes.

        • Simon says:

          Stack the courts – make it actually look like the people of the USA. Add as many judges (mostly women and people of color) as you need to make it reflect the country.

          Abolish the filibuster – i believe these two things are within the power of the Dems why not do these two things to show they fucking mean business.

          If they don’t regain power it won’t matter anyways because Americans will likely never get to vote again.

          Laypersons don’t seem to know if they believe in Democracy anymore – this is awful.

          What is an Oath of Office, if the highest holder of it breaks it continually for 4 years and faces no punishment for it after a year out of office? – it certainly doesn’t make Democracy seem like it’s about equal rights.

          This is of incredible import. America is THE democracy in the world, it is the model which people around the world still aspire to – seeing it unable to save itself from this cancer of self-serving fascists is enabling acts such as we see in Ukraine right now.

          Lots of other things I don’t have time for but the fact that Biden is actually doing a pretty amazing job right now while his ratings are garbage just shows how we still have assumptions that seem way out of date and we need to change that lest we lose everything.

          Strength, inspire with Strength – Dems gotta go for broke, push hard on their agenda and forget about trying to work with Fascists or foolhardily expecting them to come around – Democracy is over if the GOP get in again.

          And any possible way of getting rid of people like Sinema and Manchin (not advocating violence here)

        • bmaz says:

          Well, that is brilliant. Stack the courts because you think they are stacked adversely to your interests—->Democracy mofos!

        • xy xy says:

          I like your proposals but can you explain how?
          Dems can’t get rid of Sinema and Manchin without violence and yet somehow the world has to get rid of Putin without violence?
          And how do you get rid of Manchin when as early as 2021 Schumer already had a deal with Manchin of $1.75billion in BBB or whatever but stringing everybody along that he (Schumer) was fighting for a larger BBB?
          And definitely need to get rid of Schumer when the best he can do is “It’s not about the settlements,…It’s not about borders, obviously,…And it’s definitely not about moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, he preached,…So why isn’t there peace?…
          “Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah,” [Schumer] continued. “So that’s the reason there is not peace.”

        • Peterr says:

          Yes, those were my words. Your specific words were “The lack of any timely and meaningful justice for tfg . . .”

          With those words, you passed judgment on the DOJ, in language that does not invite discussion. You expressed a conclusion, not a statement of fact. Given your words, let me engage some discussion anyway. What, specifically, would be “timely” in your judgment? What, specifically, would be “meaningful”?

          See my reply below for a fuller reaction.

        • Simon says:

          I expressed my opinion as someone who is not a lawyer or involved in civics. My opinion is as a person probably closer to a standard voter in terms of income but also as someone also who has been decently read on current affairs and world history since the mid 80s

          “Timely” is more of a personal estimation of how long it should take to convict someone who literally never did the job he was elected to do – to serve the United States and for whom there is more evidence recorded than literally anything, ever – so, in my estimation maybe a month.

          There’s the dreadful import of his actions and their ongoing resonance, this should’ve been a factor in speeding this process. Yes, i know they’ve gotta make a strong case but as I said, he literally never even did anything right so what’s the holdup? – and if it’s a case of his crimes being so slippery as to get around the judicial system then what the fuck is the Oath of Office then – and why are we supposed to respect it?

          – how can someone lie to the FBI or ignore a subpoena but suffer no consequences – regular people see that shit and obviously think if i did that i wouldn’t get away with it – undermines confidence in the whole damn system

          “Meaningful” consequences would be to see him behind bars and unable to get close to political power ever again – that is what he deserves for the damage he has wrought

        • Peterr says:

          The only consequence for failing to fulfill the Oath of Office is impeachment and removal from office . . . and we saw how well that worked out. Twice.

          I am not a lawyer, either, but I’ve watched how the legal process works as a juror, and also as a pastor whose parishioners have been caught up in a legal case of one kind or another, including rape victims, people who have been shot or robbed, as well as folks dealing with civil charges.

          Oh, and I also have been a defendant. I received a summons for failure to pay parking tickets on a car I had traded in at a dealership, but the dealership did not properly transfer the title. They apparently sold the car at an auto auction, and the new owner parked it repeatedly and racked up a ton of tickets. Once I got to court, it took ten minutes to get the case tossed once my case was called, because it was easy to show I had sold the car to the dealership. But between the time they sent me the summons and the day I showed up in court, about two months passed (IIRC), simply because of scheduling.

          Whether it is my case or the other cases I have followed, one thing is clear: a month is hugely unrealistic as an estimate of timeliness for damn near anything that comes before a judge.

        • Eureka says:

          You forgot hip-hop, Adam Schefter, and anything having to do with vegetables (# pumpkin pie recipe swaps so fun).

        • Jimmy Anderson says:

          Actually, some of the longer answers to our whiney questions are very interesting and thought provoking.
          Hopefully, some of this is what actually becoming “informed” looks like.
          I’m really appreciative of those here who take their time to explain the reality of the process behind what is happening, and especially grateful for all the work the Marcy, Rayne and all contributors put into their posts.

      • obsessed says:

        Haven’t you been paying any attention at all?

        Oh, we’ve been paying attention alright. Since Pat Fitzgerald and Firedoglake. Since the Ford pardon. You seem mighty sure of yourself, but there’s going to be a big denouement on this one – one way of the other. I’m glad you non-TV lawyers are so arrogantly confident and there’s nothing I’d love more than to eat my hat and celebrate your victory laps, but this thing is going to be settled by the 2024 election – one way or the other – so you might want to hold your bluster and misplaced anger.

        • Peterr says:

          I’ll let others speak for themselves, but I am certainly not taking any victory laps. I responded to the initial comment’s opening words: “The lack of any timely and meaningful justice for tfg . . .”

          That’s a conclusion. That’s a judgment that justice has failed already. Sorry, but I’m not willing to go there.

          Marcy reads court filings and legal documents better than most lawyers, especially with an eye toward the big picture. I am in awe of how she is able to weave threads together, in order to see how they all fit together (or not). The overall picture is one in which the DOJ is clearly moving ahead.

          The DOJ is doing so carefully, deliberately, and with an eye toward getting it right the first time. Disinformation and misinformation has been central to the work of Trump and his minions as they try to deflect and deny what they had been doing. The way to counter that is not to steamroll things, but to carefully roll out the truth.

          In many ways, the DOJ is going to have to do this like the Nuremberg prosecutors approached their task. With all the screaming of witch hunts and the Deep State, the DOJ’s first task is to do everything they can to make sure that this prosecution cannot be viewed as “victor’s justice.” Instead, those responsible for criminal acts must be convicted based on their own words (in emails, orders, phone records, recordings, etc.) and their own actions.

          Uncovering those documents requires use of the legal process, with all the motions, replies, and sur-replies, as well as orders, appeals, and final appeals our system provides for. But make no mistake: these documents and other evidence are bringing the conspiracy into focus, in ways that will stand up to all the poking, prodding, and firebombing the defense will undoubtedly unleash.

          If you watch Tucker Carlson and Co. in their ludicrous discussions of Ukraine and Biden, imagine what they will do as the DOJ’s cases come closer and closer to Trump. Every typo, mis-statement, or minor glitch in any case will be held up as proof that this whole case is garbage. The DOJ knows that they can give Fox & Co no room for this to happen. Ultimately, they don’t have to just convince 12 jurors, but the nation. Barr’s slow pace of things were designed to obstruct justice; Garland’s pace is designed to make sure that justice happens, and happens in a way that will ultimately stick.

          For those who think this takes too long and is not meaningful in its approach to seeking justice, I have one question: what the hell would you do differently?

        • FL Resister says:

          Peterr: “Barr’s slow pace of things were designed to obstruct justice; Garland’s pace is designed to make sure that justice happens and happens in a way that will ultimately stick.”

          Succinctly stated.
          One cannot say enough good things about both the posts and the comments here.
          Those who follow this site have a spectacular view of the terrain the DOJ is building in the Jan 6th cases thanks to the indefatigable intelligence of its leader and dedication of her knowledgeable staff.
          (Reminder to contribute $ a month or whatever to help support this vital resource.)

        • Bay State Librul says:

          The evidence is overwhelming.

          Read Charlie Pierce’s take

          “It is past time for the Democratic members of Congress to stop worrying about what the Republicans are going to do. It is past time for the Department of Justice to stop worrying about the possibility they might lose a case, and about the political fallout whether they win or lose. There is a criminal case sitting right there on the ground in front of them. The filing from the committee lays it out fairly convincingly.”

          The cash is on the table. I’m all in. Fuck it.

      • Kai-Lee says:

        Manhattan seems to have walked away from their case. But let’s say he gets indicted for a tiny fraction of his crimes. We are told that because he has “no history” or relevant priors, combined with his age, he will never spend a day in jail.

        Monetary penalties and even the dissolution of his eponymous corporation will mean little to him – he has a good line in selling state secrets and assorted gifts.

        Truly warped.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s been getting away with lower-level criming for decades. What’s changed is that he’s now trying to avoid consequences on two (at least!) levels, with lawyers who aren’t top level.

      • timbo says:

        Define “lower level crimes”? Is that like working extra hard to make sure innocent kids are convicted of rape/attempted-rape? Or is it making illegal payoffs to avoid having his dalliances with porn stars while his wife was pregnant from hitting the front pages during an election? Or perhaps it’s about lying to the American public about his trying to make real estate deals happen in Russia while running for US President? And those are the things that we know about, that’s the public obvious stuff. Then there’s hundreds of contractors and others who were defrauded, stiffed, etc over the decades—more public knowledge. So, what are the things that very few people have heard of? Things like having sex with underage girls? Or is there worse out there too? Ruining thousand of people’s lives through sham university “programs” designed mainly to take the money and run, leaving all these poor folks with huge school loans…any victims there? So, how secret are the true secrets for such a man?

  6. obsessed says:

    Those TV grammarians are whinging again: “After failing to forgoing really onerous plea deal in the past, now that SDNY has obtained the content of Rudy Giuliani’s devices, Lev Parnas is preparing to plead guilty.” But on the Rudy front … be still my heart!

  7. Bobster33 says:

    I wonder how much news Lev gets about the war in Ukraine and Putin. And how much this has influenced his decision.

  8. vvv says:

    Totally OT but perhaps of some amusing and morbid interest, Chelsea Manning is romantically involved and co-habiting with Grimes, the artist formerly (still?) known as Elon Musk’s girlfriend, with whom she (Grimes) has two children.
    https :// consequence .net /2022/03/grimes-chelsea-manning-dating/

  9. vvv says:

    Also, I wonder did anyone else laugh (however bitterly) when former Ambassador Yovanovitch gave Colbert her “F*ck You, Putin” bracelet.

  10. milestogo says:

    Slightly off topic but Marcy may be on to something in a recent tweet

    “Is there a way to understand the tipping point at which Syria or Belarus sending troops to fight in Ukraine makes their domestic repression unsustainable?”

    Belarus may be more unstable than meets the eye. Reportedly Belarusian generals have been defying orders from Lukashenko to deploy to Ukraine. That may change since a couple days ago when Lukashenko was called to the Kremlin to take a knee to Putin. However the attack was thought to come as early as yesterday and so far hasn’t. And if it does, it may go very badly for the even less well-equipped potentially lower moral Belarusian army.

    The potential ouster of Lukashenko if things really go to shit could set of a chain of events that eventually take down Putin. Not saying it’s going to happen that way but it’s a distinct possibility.

      • rip says:

        When the collectible value of a stamp is worth 100 times the value of the 1USD. Stamps are cheap versions of currency. I’m not sure I’d want to send any envelope in the USSR/UKR in any case. It probably won’t make its destination and the contents will be quite well digested.

        Still, a collection of the putin-era calamity may be a collectible. Before purchasing check for polonium, novichok, radiation.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve seen anecdotes Belarusian troops have punctured tires on military vehicles to prevent their deployment into Ukraine. If Lukashenko orders full deployment, the consequence will be sanctions like that on Russia — that’d be more than enough to set off a rebellion.


      • KathyS says:

        The recruitment of Syrian fighters for 200/300 USD salary per month as “city guards”, for 6 months, is Putin’s cruel cynic nastiness and it shows that he does not want to summon to draft more Russian soldiers. Putin is afraid from a reaction internally – more Russian soldiers dying, bigger the probability for the disinformation bubble in Russia to burst. It also shows that many Belarusian people would not be happy to send their sons in Ukraine. Kazakhstan officially refused to send soldiers. I dearly hope most of the foreign students in Ukraine & POC to have been evacuated or to be on their way out of the country. If or when the war enters fight in the cities phase in every building and street corner, the mercenaries from Syria and Africa will be an easy target because of their outlook. It’s heartbreaking that someone will sell his life for 300USD. More on the failed (as of today) Putin’s provocation to create a false “reason” for Belarus to send troops in Ukraine from The Jerusalem Post:

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I suspect the anecdotes are true just as those of Russians disabling their vehicles is true, but it’s not a widespread practice. That said, Lukashenko’s grip on power appears to me as way less certain than Putin’s, so it might not take a lot of such acts of disobedience to be destabilizing.

        I think that he and President Xi have made a devil’s bargain.

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Tip of the Speer [2/3/20]

    The landfill and the trash bin
    had a meeting in the dark,
    They came across a jar of gin
    as junkyard dogs began to bark.

    The cost of opportunity
    was not wasted on these two,
    They knew that in their unity
    they’d cook up some foul woo woo.

    They found a moldy blueprint
    an architect had tossed,
    smudged roughly with a shoe print
    where a body politic had crossed.

    Just as Goebbels’ propaganda
    was the tip for Albert Speer,
    this trash now had command of
    a message that is clear:

    Put the con in confidence,
    Place the con in fraud,
    Guarantee a providence
    and repeat it, then applaud.

    Lead them down a garden path,
    Promise them the moon,
    Then sling a slimy mud bath,
    And sing another tune.

    It’s time to do the Dersh Walk,
    So, give yourself a pinch,
    Don’t let truth cause you to balk
    because lying is a cinch.

    [For those who missed them the 1st go round, there are some veiled images in this poem. You may have recognized the reference to Parnas/Fruman in the 5th stanza. But I’m guessing most missed the covert message in the 1st stanza. It’s the one that actually inspired the poem. Marcy has made mention of this once or twice recently (but not relative to this poem or to me.)

    So, for those looking to sharpen their critical thinking skills, just a reminder that the imagination can be sparked by the most mundane things.]

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    While we are it, in the spirit of tax time, why hasn’t Trump been indicted by the IRS on Federal Income Tax evasion. It is not fucking avoidance, it is evasion.
    His returns have been under review for years while Trump continues to hide the ball.
    What the fuck are they waiting for?
    What a painful lesson in delay.
    We need a Deus ex machina occurrence from the IRS.

    • bmaz says:

      Welp, can start with that the IRS does not indict people. Congress has the returns, as do NY authorities I think. What you relentlessly scream as “delay” is what in the legal world known as investigation and due process.

      • Peterr says:

        There is also the longstanding work of the GOP to shrink the IRS and its budget, forcing the agency to do less and less each year, with fewer employees to do it, using technology and software that is increasingly old and out of date. (That ProPublica story at the link is from 2018, and it’s only gotten worse since then.) The omnibus spending bill that just passed added 6% to the IRS budget, but this was a reduction from the 14% that was in the bill until the final negotiations with the GOP went through:

        One of the largest segments of the increase will go to services for taxpayers, which received $225 million, a 9 percent annual jump that will help tackle processing delays and unanswered phone calls that have affected tens of millions of Americans.

        “Last year was the most challenging year taxpayers and tax professionals have ever experienced,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins testified last month to Congress, adding that many of the delays experienced by taxpayers “have been substantial and ongoing.”

        Another significant budget boost is a 20 percent increase for upgrading the IRS’s various business systems, which Collins has said are incompatible and “need to get out of the age of the dinosaur,” and a 4 percent increase for enforcement capabilities.

        IRS criminal investigators would receive $21 million for new technology in the spending package, a 40 percent increase from the previous year.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        Yes, the Tax Division of DOJ handles the matter.
        Can you explain how fast they moved with greyhound speed on Manafort?
        I completely agree that the IRS is understaffed, and never fully budgeted correctly based on their workload.
        Their plate is full.
        Maybe the word priority will settle your stomach.

      • Tom R. says:

        Are you sure “Congress has the returns”?
        When did that happen?
        Last I heard, the issue was still being litigated. Oral argument scheduled for March 24, 2022. CADC 21-5289.

  13. Bay State Librul says:

    If anyone is interested in reading/analyzing where tax accounting and the law hit the road, I suggest you tune in to Bryan Camp.
    Camp is the George H. Mahon Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law. “His Lesson from The Tax Court” commentaries are witty and educational.
    His latest is a fascinating story is from the basketball world where Hoops LLC a/k/a Memphis Grizzlies sells the team and is then awash with the accounting and legal mechanics of “deferred salaries”
    Not to spoil the ending — but the initial owner of the Grizzlies was hit with a technical foul.

  14. Doctor My Eyes says:

    The above discussion with (and occasional dismissal of) Simon highlights for me a very real issue: democratic institutions are fragile. If anything, the judicial side of democracy is even moreso. I never read here about cases involving Trump, Russian meddling, and the current assault on our democracy without having the thought that none of these facts, distinctions, and legal niceties will matter if thugs gain control of enough of the levers of power. As Simon says, if the GOP carries the day in 2024, it’s likely game over.

    Given this state of affairs, it is disturbing how easy it is to abandon one’s commitment to the rule of law and its onerous requirements of evidence, argument, parsing of legal language, and ultimate respect for precedent and the rulings of judges. More generally, is it possible to defeat a foe unconstrained by rules and basic decency without abandoning those rules oneself? This is an old challenge. I fear that too many Americans believe that the constitutionally based legal avenue to holding Trump accountable is insufficient to the task; they therefore are in favor of throwing out legal restraint, of violating the system of justice to save it. It reminds of the saying from Viet Nam about destroying the village to save it.

    I feel that this is a very real conundrum, deserving of respect for the difficulty involved in protecting our institutions from the unconstrained manipulations of organized crime without violating the systems we would protect.

    (As a side note on this question, I find it sobering to see the ease with which so many internet commenters on the Russia-Ukraine war brainstorm about war crimes that would be helpful in defeating Putin, things like assassinating him with a drone and even bombing Moscow.)

    • Rayne says:

      Doc, we get kind of tired around here of the same arguments/whining/complaints over and over again about the failure of democracy. Meanwhile, I will bet some good old fashioned cash that most of these folks who insist our democratic system neatly bypass democratic process and dispense hard justice now also do absolutely dick-all to organize voters and get out the vote, let alone get up in the grill of their elected officials.

      Democracy won’t be saved by showing up here and dropping 300 words on how democracy is failing while the site’s owner/operator/moderators/contributors are doing their best to prod democracy along. Democracy, a system of government of, by, and for its people, requires those people to get off their dead asses and actually do the work of democracy.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Yeah, I hear you both. It is tiresome. I’m not defending or criticizing anyone, just saying that Simon’s attitude is an example of a common tendency and, as such, exemplifies the challenge of defending democracy and the rule of law against the type of assaults we are facing. Many of us appreciate the way you hold the line. It is heartening.

          Thanks for the response.

  15. Valley girl says:

    Can’t wait to break this news to my Tory friends in England!

    ~~Johnson continued to take a similar line to the Russian President during the Brexit campaign, during which he was branded a “Putin apologist” after blaming the European Union for Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Days later, he doubled-down, comparing the EU to Adolf Hitler in terms which could have easily been made by Putin himself.~~
    [Image source: ]

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