Hillary Clinton’s Devious Plot to Get Oleg Deripaska to Install Paul Manafort as Trump’s Campaign Manager

Out of curiosity and a good deal of masochism, I listened to the latest podcast of “The Corner,” the frothy right wingers who spend their time spinning conspiracy theories about the Durham investigation.

It was painful.

At every step, these men simply assert evidence must exist — like a Democratic order to bring dirt to the FBI — for which there’s no evidence. They ignore really basic facts, such as that Sussmann was necessarily working with the FBI because his client was being systematically hacked, and therefore it wasn’t just Christopher Steele who had ongoing ties to the Bureau. They make a huge deal about the fact that the US government’s Russian experts know each other, and that Christopher Steele persistently reported on topics — like Rosneft — that really were and are important to British and US national security and on which he had legitimate expertise.

They’re already starting to make excuses for Durham (such as that Durham chose not to obtain privileged emails the same way Mueller and SDNY did, without noting that Mueller had probable cause of a crime, which Durham admits he does not, much less that Mueller got them in a different way and a different time then they believe he did).

They keep making much of the coincidence of key dates in 2016 — “We continue to have a very, very tight timeline that that accelerates” — but never mention either the WikiLeaks dump of the DNC emails or Trump’s request that Russia hack Hillary some more, a request that was followed closely by a new wave of attacks. Those two events in July 2016 explain most of the actions Democrats took in that period, and these men don’t even exhibit awareness (or perhaps the belief?) that the events happened.

Worse still, they are ignorant of, or misrepresent, key details.

For example, all but Hans Mahncke assert that John Brennan must have been acting on some kind of corrupt intelligence in July 2016, rather than real intelligence collected from real Russian sources. They do so even though Billy Barr described in his book bitching at Trump after Trump complained that Durham found that, “the CIA stayed in its lane in the run-up to the [2016] election.”

Emblematic of the fraying relationship between the President and me was a sharp exchange at the end of the summer in the Oval Office. To give the President credit, he never asked about the substance of the investigation but just asked pointedly when there might be some sign of progress. On this occasion, we had met on something else, but at the end he complained that the investigation had been dragging on a long time. I explained that Durham did not get the Horowitz report until the end of 2019, and up till then had been look- ing at questions, like any possible CIA role, that had to be run down but did not pan out.

“What do you mean, they didn’t pan out?” the President snapped.

“As far as we can tell, the CIA stayed in its lane in the run-up to the election,” I said.

The President bristled. “You buy that bullshit, Bill?” he snarled. “Everyone knows Brennan was right in the middle of this.”

I lost it and answered in a sarcastic tone. “Well, if you know what happened, Mr. President, I am all ears. Maybe we are wasting time do- ing an investigation. Maybe all the armchair quarterbacks telling you they have all the evidence can come in and enlighten us.”

Durham looked for this evidence for years. It’s not there (and therefore the intelligence Brennan viewed is something other than the dossier or even the Russian intelligence product that the frothers also spin conspiracies on).

All but Fool Nelson misrepresent a July 26, 2016 email from Peter Fritsch to WSJ reporter Jay Solomon, which says, “call adam schiff, or difi for that matter. i bet they are concerned about what page was doing other than giving a speech over 3 days in moscow,” suggesting that that must be proof the top Democrats on the Intelligence Committees had the Steele dossier, rather than proof that it was a concern to see an advisor to a Presidential campaign traveling to Russian and saying the things Page was saying. (Jeff Carlson makes the same complaint about former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s observations about something that all experienced Russia watchers believed was alarming in real time.)

They get the evidence against Carter Page wrong, among other ways by misstating that all his time in Moscow had been accounted for and that the rumor he met with Igor Sechin was ever entirely debunked. “Of course it’s impossible. He was chaperoned. He had a hotel. He had a driver. Without people noticing.” For example, the son of the guy who brought Page to Russia, Yuval Weber, told the FBI that they weren’t with Page 100% of the time and there was a rumor that he had met with Sechin.

In July, when Page had traveled to give the commencement speech at NES, Weber recalled that it was rumored in Moscow that Page met with Igor Sechin. Weber said that Moscow is filled with gossip and people in Moscow were interested in Page being there. It was known that a campaign official was there.

Page may have briefly met with Arkady Dvorkovich at the commencement speech, considering Dvorkovich was on the board at NES. But Weber was not aware of any special meeting.

[redacted] was not with Page 100% of the time, he met him for dinner, attended the first public presentation, but missed the commencement speech. They had a few other interactions. Page was very busy on this trip.

This testimony was consistent with Mueller’s conclusion about Page’s trip: given boasts he made to the campaign, “Page’s activities in Russia — as described in his emails with the Campaign — were not fully explained.”

They badly misrepresent emails between a handful of journalists and Fusion GPS, spinning real skepticism exhibited by journalists as journalists somehow conspiring with Fusion. Indeed, they repeatedly point to an email from WaPo’s Tom Hamburger pushing back on the Sechin claim, “That Page met with Sechin or Ivanov. ‘Its bullshit. Impossible,’ said one of our Moscow sources.” They claim that Hamburger nevertheless reported the story after that. They’re probably thinking of this story, which reported Page’s 2014 pro-Sechin comments, not that he had met with the man in 2016.

After the Obama administration added Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin to its sanctions list in 2014, limiting Sechin’s ability to travel to the United States or do business with U.S. firms, Page praised the former deputy prime minister, considered one of Putin’s closest allies over the past 25 years. “Sechin has done more to advance U.S.-Russian relations than any individual in or out of government from either side of the Atlantic over the past decade,” Page wrote.

In other words, they’re claiming journalists doing actual journalism and not reporting what Fusion fed them is somehow corrupt, when it is instead an example, among many, of failed attempts by Fusion to get journalists to run with their tips.

They complain that Fusion was pointing journalists to Felix Sater, in spite of the fact that Sater really was central to tying Trump Organization to Russian funding and really did pitch an impossibly lucrative real estate deal in the year before the campaign that involved secret communications with the Kremlin and sanctioned banks and a former GRU officer, a deal that Michael Cohen and Trump affirmatively lied to cover up for years.

They grossly misrepresent a long text to Peter Strzok reflecting someone else’s early inquiries on the DNS allegation to Cendyn, imagining (the redaction notwithstanding) that it reflects the FBI concluding already at that point that there was nothing to the DNS allegations and not that the FBI inquiry instead explains why Trump changed its own DNS records shortly thereafter (addressing one but not both of the questions raised by NYT reporting).

Obviously, none of them seem interested in the nearly-contemporaneous text from Strzok noting that “Russians back on DNC,” presumably reflecting knowledge of the serial Russian effort to steal Hillary’s analytics stored on an AWS server, a hack that — because it involved an AWS server, not a DNC-owned one — not only defies all the favorite right wing claims about what went into the Russian attribution, but also explains why Sussmann would be so concerned about seeming evidence of ongoing covert communication between Trump and a Russian bank. The Russians kept hacking, both in response to Trump’s request in July, and in the days before and after Sussmann met with James Baker in September.

Crazier still, none of these men seem to have any understanding of two details of the back-and-forth between Sussmann, the FBI, and NYT, one that is utterly central to the case against Sussmann. They conflate a request FBI made to NYT days after Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI to kill the story — one made with the assent of Sussmann and Rodney Joffe — with later follow-up reporting by the NYT reporting that the FBI had not substantiated the DNS allegation. Those were at least two separate calls! Durham had chased down none of them before he indicted Sussmann. It wasn’t until almost six months after charging Sussmann that Durham corroborated Sussmann’s HPSCI testimony that Sussmann and Joffe agreed to help kill the initial NYT story, which provides a lot of weight to Sussmann’s explanation for his meeting with James Baker, that he wanted to give the FBI an opportunity to investigate the allegation before the press reported on it. As a result, Mahncke states as fact that Sussmann’s September 18 text telling Baker, “I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau,” (even ignoring the temporal problem it creates for Durham’s charge) proves Sussmann lied, when in fact, his and Joffe’s efforts to help the Bureau kill the story strongly supports Sussmann’s public story.

If you don’t know that Sussmann and Joffe helped the FBI to kill what would have been a damning story about Trump, you’re not assessing the actual evidence against Sussmann as opposed to Durham’s conspiracy theories.

All that said, laying out all the ways the supposed experts on the frothy right prove they’re unfamiliar with the most basic details about events in 2016 and since is not why I wrote this post.

I wrote this post because of the way Fool attempted to explain away the inconvenience of Paul Manafort to his narrative. Fool went on at length showing how (a possible Russian fabrication claiming) Hillary’s plan to focus on Trump’s ties to Russia must have predicated an investigation that started before that point. He ignored, entirely, that an FBI investigation had already been opened on Page by then (and all four frothers ignore that Fusion started focusing on Page when Paul Singer was footing the bill). But Fool does acknowledge that the money laundering investigation into Manafort had already been opened before Crossfire Hurricane started. He treats Manafort’s very real corrupt ties to Putin-backed oligarchs as a lucky break for what he imagines to be Hillary’s concocted claims, and not a fact that Trump ignored when he hired the man to work for him “for free.” “Luckily, I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not, Manafort joined the Trump campaign and that gave them a reason to look deeper.” In other words, Fool suggests Manafort’s hiring might be part of Hillary’s devious plot, and not the devious plot of Oleg Deripaska to get an entrée to Trump’s campaign or the devious alleged plot of Mohammed bin Zayed to direct Trump policy through Tom Barrack.

Because I expect the circumstances of Manafort’s hiring may become newsworthy again in the near future and because Deripaska was pushing an FBI investigation into Manafort before Hillary was, I wanted to correct this detail.

According to Gates, the effort to install Manafort as campaign manager started earlier than most people realize, in January 2016, not March.

In January 2016, Gates was working mostly on [redacted] film project. Gates was also doing some work on films with [redacted] looking for new DMP clients, and helping Manafort pull material together to pitch Donald Trump on becoming campaign manager. Roger Stone and Tom Barrack were acting as liaisons between Manafort and Trump in an effort to get Manafort hired by the campaign. Barrack had a good relationship with Ivanka Trump.

Tom Barrack described to Mueller how Manafort asked for his help getting hired on Trump’s campaign in that same month, January 2016.

But Manafort may have started on this plan even before January 2016. Sam Patten told SSCI Kilimnik knew of the plan in advance. Patten’s explanation of his involvement in the Mueller investigation describes Ukrainian Oligarch Serhiy Lyovochkin asking him about it in late 2015.

In late 2015, Lyovochkin asked me whether it was true that Trump was going to hire Manafort to run his campaign. Just as I told Pinchuk that Putin’s perception of America’s capabilities was ridiculous, I told Lyovochkin that was an absurd notion; that Trump would have to be nuts to do such a thing.

In any case, even before his hiring was public, on March 20, Manafort wrote his Ukrainian and Russian backers to let them know he had installed himself with the Trump campaign. He sent one of those letters to Oleg Deripaska, purportedly as a way to get the lawsuit Deripaska had filed against Manafort dropped.

Gates was shown an email between Gates and Kilimnik dated March 20, 2016 and four letters which were attached to this email. Gates stated he was the person who drafted the letters on Manafort’s behalf. Manafort reviewed and approved the letters.

Manafort wanted Gates to draft letters announcing he had joined the Trump Campaign. Manafort thought the letters would help DMP get paid by OB and possibly help confirm that Deripaska had dropped his lawsuit against Manafort. Manafort wanted Kilimnik to let Deripaska know he had been hired by Trump and he needed to make sure there were not lawsuits against him.

Gates was asked why Manafort could not have employed counsel to find out of the Deripaska lawsuit had been dropped. Gates stated Manafort wanted to send Deripaska a personal note and to get a direct answer from Deripaska. Gates also thought this letter was a bit of “bravado on Manafort’s part.”

Gates was asked if the purpose of the letter to Deripaska was to determine if the lawsuit had been dropped, why didn’t the letter mention the lawsuit. Gates stated that Manafort did not want to put anything about the lawsuit in writing.

This explanation, true or not (and it’s pretty clear the FBI didn’t believe it), is critical to the frothers because even before Christopher Steele started collecting information on Trump, he was collecting information on Manafort at the behest of Deripaska in conjunction with this lawsuit. And Steele was feeding DOJ tips about Deripaska’s lawsuit before he started feeding the FBI dirt paid for by Hillary’s campaign. The first meeting at which Steele shared dossier information with Bruce Ohr, for example, Steele also pushed the Deripaska lawsuit, and not for the first time.

Either the Deripaska lawsuit was a cover story Manafort used consistently for years (including through his “cooperation” with Mueller in 2018), or it was real. Whichever it was, it bespeaks some kind of involvement by Deripaska long before Hillary got involved. Viewed from that perspective, the dossier (and Deripaska’s presumed success at filling it with disinformation) was just part of a brutal double game that Deripaska was playing with Manafort, one that led Manafort to share campaign strategy and participate in carving up Ukraine, another event the frothers are trying to blame on the ever-devious Hillary. Whichever it is, the process by which a bunch of Putin allies in Ukraine knew Trump was going to hire Manafort before Trump did is a big part of the story.

But according to the frothers, Hillary Clinton is just that devious that she orchestrated all of this.

69 replies
    • Rayne says:

      I’m gonna’ need a bigger height from which to suspend my disbelief.

      Tell Occam I’ll scout a place from which to hang that chainsaw.

      • Bobby Gladd says:


        We may have to escalate to Occam’s diesel-powered wood chipper to process the Amazon rain forest of dubious-at-best assumptions.

        • ducktree says:

          Damocles holding on line 1, with his sword suspended in place . . . please pick up or get out from under.

          • P J Evans says:

            Biomass powering an electric chipper? With the chips going to the biomass plant?

            • Purple Martin says:

              …they all laughed at me! They all said a perpetual motion machine is impossible! I’ll show them!


              (You just need an infinite amount of biomass streaming in from one of Marvel’s Multiverses.)

    • Matthew Harris says:

      The thing about the argument that Hillary Clinton is able to work so deviously that she got Paul Manafort appointed Trump’s campaign manager is that it doesn’t just defy evidence—it also is against what they believe about Trump the other half of the time.

      Umberto Eco, of course, said it best:
      “Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. ”

      Donald Trump is simultaneously a sophisticated billionaire businessman who has mastered geopolitics…but also a naive outsider who is constantly being entrapped by the unfair machinations of elites.

      Which goes back to the right-wing response to the Clintons dating back to the 1990s— they were both chronically bumbling fools, with Bill as a hayseed chasing women and hamburgers—or they were the devious masterminds of a gigantic assassination ring. And ironically, if they would have just stayed with the first assessment, they had a pretty good case.

  1. Gordana says:

    It’s an interesting point that you brought up about Manafort’s plans to become Campaign Manager earlier then what was believed. I’ve been stuck on a small matter that has piqued my interest for years now. It has to do with the so called coffee-boy, George Papadopolous. Why did he choose to go to work for Misfud in London just before March 2016? In the fall of 2015, Papadapolous was already attempting to get into the Trump campaign. When his overtures were not bearing fruit, how did this decision to leave USA & go work for Misfud is the mystery I’d like to get answers to. Why did Misfud tell Papadopolous in March 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton? In May 2016 when Papad.after being suddenly okayed to work for Trump Campaign he told them at the meeting about this juicy tidbit, (personally, I believe he told them as soon as he heard and could be a reason on how he sold himself to get hired on the campaign).

    • Zinsky says:

      Papadopoulos was hired by Trump National co-chair Sam Clovis on March 6, 2016. Clovis apparently told him that “a principal policy focus…is better relations with Russia”. Per an interview with his wife on CNN, nothing he did after that was done “without [Trump] campaign approval”. Papadopoulos’s trip to Italy in mid-March, when he was approached by Misud, then was ostensibly approved by the Trump campaign although Papadopoulos claims he was working for a group called London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP). Papadopoulos is thought to have made calls to Trump himself both before and after his meetings with Misud, although these calls were never disclosed. Why Papadopoulos would be named to Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee in the first place, is highly questionable given he only had been a part-time intern and volunteer on Ben Carson’s failed presidential campaign, prior to that.

      — Excerpted from Seth Abramson’s Proof of Collusion (pp. 107 -123 hardcover edition)

      • bmaz says:

        Except for Seth Abramson is a nutcase, as is George Papa’s flaky Mifsud supplied wife, Simona Mangiante. Why anybody would listen to either one is beyond imagination. But, hey, George and Simona have a reality show and a podcast with Tom Arnold they have to promote. Should we cite that too?

  2. Notyouraveragenormal says:

    If it offers any explanatory help… my father, even though not American or located in the US, is a Trumpista, was an early follower of Q and uses words like cabal too frequently for comfort. When discussing his support for Russia against Ukraine recently (thinks 2014 was a coup by US), I raised the issue of Russia meddling in US elections. He thinks this a fabrication. He also thinks Putin’s struggles and the west’s thus-far-unified response was predicted by Putin and is part of his plan and he’s got the West right where he wants it. All of which is to say that, wherever you think the line of debate is with folks like this, it’s much further off and more primal, even. Personally, I don’t “get” how thinking reflexively that everything mainstream is a lie, but then trusting some randomers online is a thing. I am also bewildered by how much credit he gives certain people or entities apparently pulling the puppet strings. He is otherwise a pretty wonderful man, so we generally stay off these topics because nihilism isn’t fun to deal with. But it occasionally creeps in when he complains that Spotify doesn’t have the Russian waltzes he’s wants to listen to.

      • xbronx says:

        Person: Any day with Buffalo Springfield is a good day. But it’s “the man come and take you a-way…”
        As in “The Man”

        • grennan says:

          Remember the phone commercial with the exec in the corner office saying a rate plan was his way of ‘sticking it to “The Man”‘?

          His assistant guy timidly says, “But sir…you ARE The Man”.

    • Rayne says:

      Interesting, thanks for sharing this. What media outlets including social media does your father visit the most?

    • john paul jones says:

      “Personally, I don’t “get” how thinking reflexively that everything mainstream is a lie, but then trusting some randomers online is a thing.”

      This is exactly the problem I’ve been having with my son, in his late 30s now, and while he’s able to be cordial and engaging with me, every now and then I get a comment (usually about how you can’t trust the media) hwhich shows he is still very much in the grip of these fantasies. I pointed out to him that some of his FBook comments were parroting Russian propaganda points (about the Azov Battalion), and he basically ducked the implications with (again) you can’t trust the media. It took me nearly two weeks of conversations to get him to get vaccinated, so a lot of these notions and conspiracies are reinforcing one another. Hard to know quite what to do, except, tackle it one day at a time.

      • notjonathon says:

        Same here with my son in his 40’s. He can’t get beyond thinking that because you can’t trust big media, Reddit has all the answers.

    • Leoghann says:

      It’s one thing to be a Trump or MAGA fanatic, and to be one requires a certain level of tolerance for lying and willingness to be duped. The whole thing about Make America Great Again involves a desire to turn back the clock. But I’ve seen a number of people who were firmly in the Trump camp become disillusioned; at some point their belief in him and his ideas evaporated.

      On the other hand, to be a true believer in the alternate universe, like your father is, requires a complete suspension of disbelief. In my observation, the seductive power of Q and the various conspiracies embraced by Qanon seems to be a threshold, beyond which people are willing to believe anything, as long as it’s a conspiracy theory. These people are really hard to reach. It seems like the whole set of alternative beliefs forms an almost impermeable shell.

      You’re right about the believers, like your father, who are in other aspects and on other topics are their old selves and appear completely normal. But I know one person (extended family) who now has a conspiracy for everything, even breathing. She won’t associate with anyone she thinks is vaccinated for covid-19 because she’s afraid of being attacked. She will only eat a very small selection of foods, and never anything prepared by anyone else, although her daughter is exempt. At that point, it’s a cult.

      • HW3 says:

        I have a family member who has decided that since the media is clearly fabricating all this climate change stuff that maybe his long-held belief in evolution is based on a lie too

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            And we’re back to Bandy X. Lee, MD, and her concept of a “folie a millions.” Which is to say that it is both a cult and a mental illness, spread by membership in that cult, whose infectivity makes Covid look like a piker.

          • Anathema Device says:

            I wasn’t attempting to speak about the wider situation, although I agree that Q is now a cult, that many people who are heavily involved in it are not in the best mental health, and that being involved in it is making them worse.

            I was really only commenting on your family member’s particular situation. You can question whether the cult caused the mental crisis or if her underlying mental issues led her to follow the cult, but it’s clear that she needs more than reasoning with, at this point. Someone who is suffering that level of paranoia and orthorexia truly needs urgent medical intervention. I hope she gets it.

  3. BobCon says:

    “Roger Stone and Tom Barrack were acting as liaisons between Manafort and Trump in an effort to get Manafort hired by the campaign. ”

    One other crazy bit about saying Manafort just sort of joined the Trump campaign, who knows how, is that Stone and Manafort have such a long, deep connection that they were founders of Black, Manafort and Stone and did millions of dollars of business working together for corrupt foreign powers going back to the 80s.

    I think the best the nuts might push back is to say Stone and Manafort later left the firm, as if that meant some kind of monastic vow of silence cutting off brothers of two separate monasteries. But Stone and Manafort in 2016 knew exactly who the other one was.

    • Legonaut says:

      “Hey, Donnie, if you’re serious about this President grift, you need someone who’s gonna be really good at getting you to the front of a pack of corrupt, authoritarian RWNJ weasels so you can get the GOP nomination on other people’s money. I’m too infamous, and you need me behind the scenes anyway, but I’ve known just the right frontman for years…” – Roger Stone, 2015

      • BobCon says:

        And for that matter Manafort was a longtime tenant in Trump Tower, they were both embedded in the worlds of NYC and DC media and PR, and there is no doubt that Trump was familiar with Manafort already before Stone and Barrack added their endorsement. And of course, who knows what may have come up due to both Manafort and Trump’s cultivation of Russian money as well.

    • Silly but True says:

      This highlights a lingering benefits that is part of the 2016 legacy:

      Rampant and mercenary foreign electioneering profiteering by U.S. consultants without consequence and renewal of focus on FARA-lobbyists and FARA vs. foreign lobbyists.

      All of the various Blacks, Manaforts Stones, Black-Manaforts, Stone-Manaforts, Black-Stone-Manafort’s, Podestas, Podesta Groups, Mercuries, and Skadden-Arpses got cleaned up.

      It’s not necessarily a bad thing that for-profit consultants lend themselves and their expertise to the Ukraines of the world in need of experts in Western democratic elections, but now everyone’s on notice that it has got to be by the book.

      No more “oopsies, I got caught so let me retroactively file without consequence until the next venture where we all repeat the same thing.”

      It’s like still being able to legally own a fully automatic machine gun or working tank: yes, the hurdles are numerous and onerous but the regulations are there for good reason; forcing US individuals and companies to file with the FBI Director when they’re working as foreign agents is no bad thing. And that crackdown was a long time in coming.

      • Leoghann says:

        I couldn’t agree more. The willingness of DOJ to allow unregistered foreign agents to simply register and then get off with their duplicitous lives has completely pissed me off for at least two decades.

  4. Desider says:

    Apr 26, 2016 Papadopoulos got tipped by Mifsud of Hillary dirt in emails, spent next 2 months pitching to Trump campaign (& loose-lipped to Aussie diplomat in a bar), Jun 19 had Sam Clovis of Trump team pushing him to fly to Moscow to get more info. Meanwhile:
    “””On 9 June 2016, Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower, which they scheduled after Emin Agalarov’s publicist, Rob Goldstone, told Donald Jr. that she was a “Russian government attorney” offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton due to “its government’s support for Mr. Trump”. Regarding the meeting, Trump Jr. initially wrote, “I love it” but, in July 2017, said the meeting “was a waste of time”.[17][18] Donald Trump Jr. said that Veselnitskaya used the meeting to criticize the Magnitsky Act.[19] Veselnitskaya herself commented that she mostly talked about Browder’s (alleged) misdeeds, whereas the Trump team wanted what she termed “some sort of grenade”.[20]

    Akhmetshin said he met with Veselnitskaya for lunch and she asked him to attend the meeting, which he then did.[21] According to Akhmetshin, Veselnitskaya’s translator, Anatoli Samachornov, also attended.[15] He said Veselnitskaya left a document with Trump Jr.[21]””” (Donald Trump presumably called into this meeting from an unmarked line)

    Not to mention Flynn’s Moscow dinner with Putin in Dec 2015 & becoming Trump’s campaign NSA guy 2 months later. It’s amazing with Russia all over this election that Durham is getting away with “who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    • Legonaut says:

      I still chuckle every time I see mention of Veselnitskaya, thinking of the insane accent & eyebrow-waggling from Colbert when he’d bring her up on his show.

      Hey, it’s either that or cry.

  5. Silly but True says:

    Leopold pried loose some interesting tidbits. Strozk’s 2015 letter pretty much speaks for itself in terms of some strange unanswered questions:

    htt ps://ww w.scribd.com/document/320564549/FBI-and-State-Letters-Clinton-Top-Secret-Emails#from_embed

    “Section Chief
    Counterespionage Section”

    Several facts jump to mind with Strozk’s credential here:

    1. Strozk’s FBI position at this time was not “Section Chief – Counterespionage Section” it was “Deputy Assistant Director —Counterintelligence Division.”

    2. The FBI has a Counterintelligence Division, not a Counterespionage Section.

    In fact, the FBI has no Counterespionage Division (or Section).

    3. The CIA does have Section Chiefs, as well as a Counterespionage Section.

    I have no idea whether Strozk was sheep-dipped CIA under FBI cover, whether he held two positions in the US government in two different agencies, or whether there was some sort of coordination or clearinghouse position with dual-agency assignment.

    But Leopold’s interesting tidbit doesn’t get much notice.

  6. joel fisher says:

    If you’re paying any attention at all, you know that the Clinton Campaign was a victim, pure and simple.
    Saying that to a right wing nut makes their tiny, conspiracy laden brains explode. Keep up the good work.

  7. Brian says:

    The judge cooper, he is going to provide enough to stand up on so that Lisa Monaco can demand immunization of Joffre. Then we proceed or perhaps the counsel resigns in protest. Counsel replaced, continue proceed?

    Can we fucking win one? When a win is staring you directly in the eyes

    • Brian says:

      The US is in a war with Russia. It is a new type of war.
      The strategy to win is economic strangulation. To get the full strangle takes a lot of cooperation. Also it means breaking ties with the sway of the global monetary interests.
      Why has the US not reciprocated sanctions from EU countries on Alfabank?

      Why is this trial not a vehicle towards those interests?

      • Brian says:

        The US snatched that one Russian from Switzerland in December.

        But we will never hear shit about it. The gov will use him to glean information to aid spycraft. Proper deep state work to keep more people safe.

        But hasn’t all that bullshit been broken over the past term?

          • Brian says:

            All right, I’ll say the soft part out loud the sake of the lawyer.

            Maybe it’s time to think different.

            • bmaz says:

              Nobody cares what you expected. Slow your roll there chief and quit trying to dominate this thread on a Sunday night. Enough. Further, your opinions on the law do not interest me, soft part or otherwise, as you clearly do not particularly know anything about it, other than spewing BS on the internet. Stop. Check back tomorrow if you have to, because I am not going to spend the entire Sunday night policing your BS.

              Also, too, Rayne has already warned you about your far to. common name. Clearly to no avail. Differentiate it please.

        • Brian says:

          Sweet. You are really the only dude I wanted to hear from. Thanks for quoting my shit back to me in a context of explaining lawyering. Why would I expect anything different?

        • Brian says:

          For real?
          This is clearly already a criminal trial acting as a political “vehicle”

          Is this some personal issue you have regarding your vows as a lawyer? Code, meaning to life, identity? If so, yes good on you. But shit got totally broke. Maybe it survives. We are all banking on it.

          [SECOND REQUEST: You’ve posted comments here under “Brian ed,” “brian ed,” “beddy,” and “Brian.” If you’re not crazy about any of these pick a name you can easily remember which is distinctive and stick to it here forward so the community gets to know you. “Brian” is not distinctive enough as there are multiple community members who also post as a variant of “Brian” or “Bryan.” /~Rayne]

      • emptywheel says:

        The US has imposed two sets of sanctions on Alfa Bank.

        Judge Cooper looks set to say the ONLY way Durham’s conspiracy theories can come in is with testimony from Rodney Joffe.

  8. grennan says:

    (Fantastic work, MW)

    Manafort speaks neither Russian nor Ukraine, which you’d think would have been a big disadvantage doing business there all those years. Apparently none of his firm’s U.S. people did either, which to me has always made it seem more sinister.

    FWIW, Michael Cohen is fluent in both languages.

  9. eyesoars says:

    Always need to check in for my every-few-days dose of sanity.
    Thank you so much.

    different time then they believe he did).
    different time than they believe he did).

    traveling to Russian and saying
    traveling to Russia and saying

  10. Anathema Device says:

    Hi Dr Wheeler. Love your work, even though I’m often lost in the depth of detail. (I’m Australian, living in Australia, and not a lawyer, so there’s a lot of nuance I don’t get.)

    Something that I haven’t been able to understand, even though I’ve gone back and read your posts, is this:

    “Sussmann and Joffe agreed to help kill the initial NYT story”

    I’m not doubting that Sussman did, because you are sure he did, but why did he do this? Just because of his friendship with FBI agents/past loyalty? I’m sure I’ve missed where you’ve explained this, so my apology in advance on that.

    I don’t know who’s paying for Sussman’s legal bills, but it would be outrageous if he has to foot them himself considering this is nothing but a snipe hunt for partisan reasons. I’m assuming his legal and political connections are stepping up? Am I right in assuming that even if he is able to get this indictment dismissed, he’s still on the hook for his own costs? That would mean even if Durham fails and is ultimately sanctioned for his malpractice here, his victim still pays a hell of penalty :( How can that possibly be fair?

    • bmaz says:

      Sussman, via Perkins Coie has a defense. Also could muster one on his own. He will be fine.

        • Silly but True says:

          There already was immediate damage: Sussmann resigned as Partner at Perkins Coie when he got indicted.

          Not sure where he’s landed, but it may not be anywhere yet until he gets through this case.

          So, it’s double whammy: he gets the high burn of high-priced legal expenses, and lost his primary source of monthly wage income.

      • Leoghann says:

        Considering the caliber of lawyer that Sussman is, would I be mistaken to think that he’s probably doing 50% or more of the work on his own case?

        • bmaz says:

          No, no decent criminal defense atty allows that. If clients want to give notes or suggestions, fine. But can they literally do the work and have me sign it? Nope.

        • Silly but True says:

          Latham & Watkins has been representing Sussmann. It looks like he may also have just added Gibson Dunn & Crutcher today as co-counsel per today’s hot docket action.

  11. punaise says:

    Totally off topic, but as a dual citizen I take some pride in having voted to defeat Marine Le Pen, the French extremist following in her wanna-be fascist father’s footsteps but “cleaned up” – probably with the help of some US right wing political consultants, just my speculation – to make her seem less edgy and slightly mainstream. ( She used blatant xenophobe Zemour as a foil).

    And check this out out: I voted not once, but twice! The second was by “procuration”, a sanctioned proxy vote for mme. punaise, unable to vote in person. Something like that here would make winger heads explode.

    • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

      Is the taking away of people’s votes called “devotion”? Or is it merely that an active verb shows action while a passive verb shows passion?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      “Something like that here would make winger heads explode.” Something like that did happen here in 2020, but it was a die-hard MAGA winger who voted in rural Colorado for the wife he had allegedly murdered on Mothers Day Eve. One could argue that his head had already exploded, but he cast both votes (his and wife’s) for Trump.

      Question: Why the ‘e’ after ‘Punais’? (I may be revealing the limits of my French vocabulary in the process of trying to show off my command of its grammar.)

      • punaise says:

        Seems like a nice fellow. Not.

        Funny you should ask. It’s a nod to puns, of course, but there are several different aspects. “Punaise” means thumbtack or push pin in French, but also (unfortunately) bedbug. It’s also a polite substitute for a common exclamation “putain” which literally means whore but is used kind of like “holy shit!”. Punaise would be the G rated “aw, shucks” version.

        As to the ‘e’ at the end, the word is feminine in gender – there is no masculine equivalent or variation sans e in French. Voilá!

  12. Yargelsnogger says:

    How do they explain Trump’s pardon of Manafort? Was Trump also in on the plot by Hillary to get Manafort installed in his campaign in order to sabotage his campaign? /s

    Why on earth would Trump pardon the one guy who did the most to actually link his campaign to Russia. Trump doesn’t normally repay such epic betrayals with forgiveness and mercy.

  13. mospeck says:

    sry OT, but the Ukrainians are hitting the CPs! No, they didn’t get manafort, but they almost got themselves gerisamov the other day! .. Hell, it’s almost like bagging yourself a Nazgul.. here’s a physics problem that kind of illuminates backstory for what the Ukrainians are now facing with tsar vlad sending in those plucky lucky 20 year old conscript lottery winners in order to reinforce his (pentagon-speak “reduced”) BTGs on his Eastern front. Back in his idol big boots joe stalin’s day there came the curious case of the Russian “paratroopers” in WWII. The trouble was that they didn’t have any parachutes. WTF the high command they didn’t give a flying fuck — just dropped the 20 year old soldier joes in behind the German lines into the snowfields from a height of around 50 meters (160 ft). Testing things out they found that a young man could about half the time withstand (LD50) 22 Newtons of force per square centimeter on his body. So the pilots would start with a test drop of a slab sandwiched into a bale of hay, and then judge how far it would sink into the snow. They had to be careful before putting an actual person into the bale since big boots joe said it was only cleared to drop if it was less than 11 Newtons per square cm (or around 50 thousand Newtons per soldier joe). So the pilot sees the hay bale sink 2/3 of a meter into the snow. Is it safe to drop? Turns out, yes it is! In fact only about 10 N per square centimeter, or a 75 gee impact force felt by the soldier (his weight times force multiplier height over sink 50/(2/3) ). So soldier joe, you’re good to go. On the russian front the guys in the trenches sure understood that “the winds and the furies, they happen all the time.” However, one doubts that the russian gens, cols and officer corps feels the same way today.

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