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Bumped! Rudy’s Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Strategy

I got an invitation to be on my first Sunday show this week. But — as usually happens when you’re talking to big media bookers — I got bumped. I got bumped to make way for this Rudy Giuliani appearance, which sets a new standard among his many media appearances for giving Trump cause to claim his lawyer screwed him over.

The interview starts with Trump’s blabbermouth lawyer assailing someone else for bad lawyering.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYER: Pathetic. The man is pathetic. That’s a lawyer you were interviewing and he says he — oh, he directed me to do it and, oh my goodness, he directed me. He’s a lawyer. He’s the guy you depend on to determine whether or not you should do it this way or that way, whether you’re Donald Trump or you are me or you, I have…

From there, Rudy pisses away one of the few benefits he offers Trump, his past service as US Attorney in the famously cliquish Southern District of NY. Rather than soft-pedaling any critique of SDNY, Rudy repeatedly pisses all over the office currently targeting his client, his client’s spawn, and his client’s eponymous corporation in at least one serious criminal investigation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you just said you ran that office. You know how the Southern District is run. You know exactly how the Southern District is run.

GIULIANI: No, I don’t know — actually, I don’t know how the Southern District —

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: They wouldn’t have put that in the statement of fact if they didn’t believe —

GIULIANI: I’m disgusted with the Southern District.

[snip]

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the question I have for you. Why do you have so much trouble with the southern district? The southern district’s being run – this case being run by Robert Khuzami, a Republican appointed by the Trump administration, spoke at the Republican …

GIULIANI: His interpretation of the campaign finance law is completely erroneous. And to be – even if – and even if you want to make some argument that there’s some validity to it, you do not pursue a president of the United States for a questionable interpretation of the statute. That is completely wrong, it’s harassment.

After failing to respond to George Stephanopoulos’ descriptions of what distinguishes Trump’s hush payment case from that of John Edwards, Rudy fails to offer one piece of evidence that might back his arguments — that Trump had paid similar hush payments in the past, when winning the Presidential election wasn’t at stake.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did he ever make any payments like that in the past?

GIULIANI: Nobody else asked for — in the past, I can’t speak to. I wasn’t his lawyer in the past.

Rudy then tries to claim that Jerome Corsi (who, Stephanopoulos points out, claimed 9/11 was an inside job) and Mike Flynn were not lying, misstating that Peter Strzok had said something exonerating about Flynn in a text versus an FBI interview.

Peter Strzok wrote in one of his texts that he didn’t seem to be – he didn’t seem to be lying, wasn’t acting like a person …

This is where things start to go really haywire. Stephanopoulos asks Rudy about the reference to Michael Cohen’s ongoing contacts with the White House through 2018 — which, given the way multiple entities happened to tell the same false story about the Trump Tower deal, likely means a conspiracy to obstruct justice — and in response Rudy says “It was over by the time of the election.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, the special counsel went on to say that they found Cohen credible, provided valuable information about Russia-related matters for its investigation, also that his contacts with persons connected to the White House in 2017 and 2018, they seem to be getting at, there, both collusion and obstruction.

GIULIANI: Isn’t that prosecution by innuendo? I have no idea what they’re talking about. Beyond what you just said, I have no idea what they’re talking about …

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me ask you a few specifics.

GIULIANI: I have no – I have no idea – I know that collusion is not a crime. It was over with by the time of the election. I don’t know what evidence … [my emphasis]

Admittedly, by this point in the interview, Rudy was blathering. But I’m particularly interested — given that Trump reportedly refused to answer any Mueller questions about the transition — that Rudy thinks in terms of the collusion he’s seemingly admitting his client engaged in ended “by the time of the election.” Trump’s legal team may be adopting a defensive strategy premised on the claim that certain activities (reaching out to Russians to tell them you’ll give them sanctions relief is just the most obvious) can be divorced from any context that implicates election season “collusion.”

That’s the form of Rudy’s most newsworthy statement is so interesting. He says that the answer Trump gave (in context, this must mean in response to Mueller’s questions) “would have covered all the way up to,” and here he corrects himself, “covered up to November, 2016.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the president – did Donald Trump know that Michael Cohen was pursuing the Trump Tower in Moscow into the summer of 2016?

GIULIANI: According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to – covered up to November, 2016. Said he had conversations with him but the president didn’t hide this. They know …

STEPHANOPOULOS: Earlier they had said those conversations stopped in January, 2016.

GIULIANI: I don’t — I mean, the date — I mean, until you actually sit down and you look at the questions, and you go back and you look at the papers and you look at the — the — you’re not going to know what happened. That’s why — that’s why lawyers, you know, prepare for those answers.

This is breaking news, of course: the last we had heard, the Trump Tower negotiations only went up through July. Here, Rudy seems to be confessing that they went through November.

Only, his reference to “why lawyers, you know, prepare for those answers” suggests that that’s not what Trump’s response to Mueller actually was. I would imagine the response he gave was deliberately left vague enough so that if Cohen (who was caught meeting with Mueller in the days when Trump was finalizing his answers) told Mueller the deal went through November, then Trump’s answer wouldn’t contradict that, even if he didn’t admit that the deal did go that long.

Rudy went on the teevee this morning, in part, to make an utterly damning statement that would nevertheless tell Mueller’s prosecutors that the answer (lawyers wrote but that) his client swore to was meant to cover a deal that continued all the way through November, even if he didn’t say that explicitly.

Remember, the day Cohen pled guilty on the Mueller false statements charge, Rudy gave an unbelievably hedged answer about whether that deal ever died.

“The president, as far as he knows, he remembers there was such a proposal for a hotel,” Giuliani said. “He talked it over with Cohen as Cohen said. There was a nonbinding letter of intent that was sent. As far as he knows it never came to fruition. That was kind of the end of it.”

Rudy seems confident that Cohen did not know about the continuation of this deal, but I’d bet money that it did continue.

Back to today’s interview, Rudy goes on to deny, then back off a categorical denial, that Stone communicated to Trump about WikiLeaks, working hard to suggest that Mueller might only charge a conspiracy to hack, not a conspiracy to defraud the United States (even while the public record makes it increasingly possible that Stone could get charged in a CFAA conspiracy).

STEPHANOPOULOS: And did Roger Stone ever give the president a heads-up on WikiLeaks’ leaks — leaks concerning Hillary Clinton, the DNC?

GIULIANI: No, he didn’t.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not at all?

GIULIANI: No. I don’t believe so. But again, if Roger Stone gave anybody a heads-up about WikiLeaks’ leaks, that’s not a crime. It would be like giving him a heads-up that the Times is going to print something. One the — the crime — this is why this thing is so weird, strange — the crime is conspiracy to hack; collusion is not a crime, it doesn’t exist.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No. Conspiracy to defraud the government, you’re right, conspiracy to hack that is the crime. We don’t know whether …

GIULIANI: Yes. Did Donald Trump engage in a conspiracy to hack with the Russians? They’ve been going at it. The counterintelligence investigation came to the conclusion no evidence.

Rudy seems to take wholly unjustified comfort in what I can only guess is that GRU indictment describing his client and Stone prominently, without charging them. Hell, Julian Assange hasn’t even been charged yet; why does Rudy think the counterintelligence investigation is done?

From there, Rudy admits he was in discussions with Cohen’s lawyers about pardons!!!! He then suggests that Cohen “double-crossed” — that is, told the truth — because of that discussion about pardons.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they’re also looking at obstruction. Did anyone connected to the president ever suggest in any way to Michael Cohen that he would get a pardon if he stayed on the team?

GIULIANI: I had this specific conversation with his lawyers and that liar can say what he wants, I told his lawyers there will be no discussion of a pardon. That doesn’t mean the president doesn’t have the — nobody’s giving away any power, but do not consider it in your thinking now. It has nothing about what you should decide about yourself. I think that’s one of the reasons why he double-crossed.

All this ends with Rudy stating, quite confidently, that Mueller is done, after having just said that conversations were ongoing about whether Trump might sit for an interview.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do know that from my time in the White House. Final question: Mueller almost done?

GIULIANI: He is done. I don’t know what else — I told you. No, the only thing left are the parking tickets and jaywalking.

Maybe Rudy’s right. Maybe Mueller has told him they didn’t find any evidence against his client.

But even if that’s (improbably) true, if I’m Mueller I might be reopening things in light of this appearance by Rudy.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

Trump Boasts of His Imaginary 87-Page Rebuttal Without Noticing Mueller Has Already Released 127 Pages

This is off-topic, but I wanted to share that I was on KPFA in the last few days and the host talked about how great this site is (!!), paying particular attention to the quality of the commenters. He’s right: you guys rock.

Yesterday, the Atlantic captured Rudy Giuliani’s despair, in fairly inexcusable language for a purported defense attorney, of being able to rebut an eventual Mueller report. Rudy himself ascribed his inability to prepare for a Mueller report to the difficulties he faced even getting the President to answer a few questions.

Giuliani said it’s been difficult in the past few months to even consider drafting response plans, or devote time to the “counter-report” he claimed they were working on this summer as he and Trump confronted Mueller’s written questions about the 2016 campaign.

“Answering those questions was a nightmare,” he told me. “It took him about three weeks to do what would normally take two days.”

He blames that difficulty not on the fact that his client is a compulsive liar, but on what looks like a staged interruption from John Kelly, who oh by the way is not in his office this morning, amid reporting that Mueller has already interviewed him.

There was the sheer problem of finding time—Giuliani recalled one instance when they were working on the list and Chief of Staff John Kelly broke in to tell Trump about the migrant caravan, which grabbed the president’s attention immediately. And there was the specificity of the questions themselves: “He’s got a great memory,” Giuliani said. “However, basically we were answering questions about 2016, the busiest year of his life. It’s a real job to remember.”

He also comes perilously close to admitting how uncontrollable this client is.

Giuliani initially pushed back on the prediction that Trump would take center stage after the report drops. “I don’t think following his lead is the right thing. He’s the client,” he told me. “The more controlled a person is, the more intelligent they are, the more they can make the decision. But he’s just like every other client. He’s not more … you know, controlled than any other client. In fact, he’s a little less.”

For Giuliani, letting Trump guide the response post-report may not be ideal, but “I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that can stop Donald Trump from tweeting,” he acknowledged. “I’ve tried.”

That may be necessary to excuse some of the more obvious explanations for Trump’s complaints about his epically corrupt campaign manager being held in protective custody.

The president has also devoted much of his energy to following Paul Manafort’s case rather than prepping for the full report. “The thing that upsets potus the most is the treatment of Manafort,” Giuliani said. When Trump learned that the former campaign chairman was in solitary confinement, Giuliani said, “he said to me, ‘Don’t they realize we’re America?’”

I mean, maybe Trump wants his former campaign manager to meet an untimely death in jail?

Rudy repeated some of the same comments to the WaPo.

Giuliani pronounced himself “disgusted” by the Mueller team’s tactics, complained about the length of time it took to complete written answers to questions from the special counsel’s team and said Mueller’s probe was essentially out of control.

“I think he crossed the line a while ago. I think it’s a situation badly in need of supervision,” Giuliani said. He’s “the special prosecutor of false statements.”

As Jonathan Chait (yes, I am linking Chait, it’s Pearl Harbor Day if you want to mark the date) noted, this despair from Rudy comes as his boasts about progress on a the report have dwindled from an almost-finished report to 58 pages to 45 to not started yet.

So we’ve gone from the first half alone being 58 pages, to the entire report being 45 pages, to “it’s difficult to even consider drafting” the report at all. This is like an episode of Matlock that lasts all season long and where the client is actually guilty and Matlock is going through early-stage dementia.

Meanwhile, others in the Atlantic article describe the problem posed by responding to a “report” that might include real allegations of impeachable offenses.

There have also been few frank conversations within the White House about the potential costs of Mueller’s findings, which could include impeachment of the president or the incrimination of his inner circle. Those close to Trump have either doubled down on the “witch hunt” narrative, they said—refusing to entertain the possibility of wrongdoing—or decided to focus on other issues entirely.

[snip]

Attempting to plan “would mean you would have to have an honest conversation about what might be coming,” a former senior White House official, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told me.

So the White House is just going to follow the lead of the Tweeter-in-Chief.

“We would always put together plans with the knowledge that he wouldn’t use them or they’d go off the rails,” one recently departed official told me. “And at this point, with Mueller, they’ve decided they’re not even going to do that.”

“It’s like, ‘Jesus, take the wheel,’” the source added, “but scarier.”

Speaking of the Tweeter-in-Chief, very early this morning, Trump started wailing about the Mueller report, in what even for him is a long string of unthreaded (grr) tweets.

That rant was followed a few hours later by a specific denial of Rudy’s comments, followed by a boast (take that, Chait!) that he’s got 87 pages written.

A remarkably chastened Rudy followed up on Trump’s denial to complain that the media was misrepresenting his comments about how difficult answering a few questions was.

This morning at WaPo, I reprised an argument you’re all familiar with: that as Rudy and Trump focus their entire strategy on responding to a final Mueller report, he continues to produce his report in snippets in one after another “speaking indictment.”

Mueller has already been submitting his report, piece by piece, in “speaking indictments” and other charging documents. He has left parts of it hiding in plain sight in court dockets of individuals and organizations he has prosecuted.

Click through for my latest summary of what we’ve seen.

We may (or may not, given the Flynn precedent) see far more before the day is out, with Cohen reports and one Manafort report.

In any case, if you’re counting just the fragments we’re already seeing, Mueller has released the following details beyond what was legally required:

How Paul Manafort runs campaigns for his Russian paymasters: 38 pages (Manafort plea exhibits)

How Russians dangled a Trump Tower to entice Trump: 9 pages (legally superfluous Cohen plea)

How Russian assets dangled stolen emails to entice Trump: 14 pages (Papadopoulos plea)

How Russians hacked — and continued to hack, literally in response to Trump’s request — Hillary: 29 pages (GRU indictment)

How Russians magnified attacks on Hillary and fed disinformation: 37 pages (IRA indictment)

So Mueller has released 127 pages of reporting, much of it legally superfluous, even before charging anyone in the case in chief.

All that’s before Jerome Corsi leaked his 6-page draft statement of the offense, revealing how Roger Stone tried to cover up their advance knowledge of the timing and content of the stolen John Podesta emails. And before whatever we get in the Michael Cohen (which is unlikely to be very detailed) and Paul Manafort (which is) filings today.

Since I first started pointing out how much reporting Mueller was doing in these filings, a whole slew of people in the media have adopted the observation. And now I’ve stolen it myself for the WaPo (note, I didn’t write the headline; I in no way think Mueller has released “most” of his report).

But even with all that reporting, it seems half the Trump strategy still lies in plotting feebly in fearful anticipation of what Mueller might one day report, without noticing what he has already reported.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

Flynn’s Category C (or B iii) Cooperation: Mueller’s Expanded Investigation

Yesterday, I argued that the structure of the addendum describing Flynn’s cooperation looks like this.

The section on cooperation describes Flynn’s assistance in three investigations. The Mueller investigation is actually the second thing listed, which I take to suggest that the the Mueller investigation is just the second most important. My wildarse guess is that these consist of A) a criminal national security investigation (the Turkish investigation tied to Reza Zarrab could be one possibility), B) the Mueller investigation, and C) a counterintelligence investigation into the Russians. But obviously the first and third are just a guess.

Between the three investigations, Flynn sat for 19 interviews with prosecutors.

Here’s the structure of how the body of the cooperation section describes the three investigations:

A Criminal Investigation:

11+ line paragraph

6.5 line paragraph

2 line paragraph

B Mueller investigation:

Introductory paragraph (9 lines)

i) Interactions between Transition Team and Russia (12 lines, just one or two sentences redacted)

ii) Topic two

10 line paragraph

9 line paragraph

C Entirely redacted investigation:

4.5 line paragraph

On Twitter, Elizabeth de la Vega argued that the ordering of the addendum doesn’t necessarily mean Category A is any more important than Mueller’s investigation, but that Category C was instead something under Mueller’s supervision.

That would mean the structure of the addendum looks like this:

A Criminal Investigation:

11+ line paragraph

6.5 line paragraph

2 line paragraph

B Mueller investigation:

Introductory paragraph (9 lines)

i) Interactions between Transition Team and Russia (12 lines, just one or two sentences redacted)

ii)Mueller investigation into something else:

10 line paragraph

9 line paragraph

iii) Mueller investigation into something else:

4.5 line paragraph

The description of SCO’s investigation covering “a range of issues” would be consistent with more than two topics.

If that’s right, we might learn the subject of that B iii cooperation by looking at more recent descriptions of the scope of Mueller’s investigation that show up in Jerome Corsi’s draft statement of the offense. As that describes, one of the things Mueller’s office told Corsi they were investigating pertained to any ties between Trump’s campaign, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks.

the nature of any connections between individuals associated with the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and the Russian government or Organization 1.

That roughly correlates to the unredacted description of the parts of Mueller’s investigation in the addendum (though Wikileaks got added somewhere along the way).

the Special Counsel’s Office’s (“SCO”) investigation concerning any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald J. Trump.

But there were two other categories Mueller was investigating by September 6 when they interviewed Corsi: GRU’s theft of the Democrats’ emails, and GRU’s provision of them to WikiLeaks.

the theft of campaign-related emails and other documents by the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”);

the GRU’s provision of certain of those documents to an organization (“Organization 1”) for public release in order to expand the GRU’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign;

Even if one of those two categories describes the area on which Flynn provided cooperation (it’s possible, after all, that these are just the aspects of the Mueller scope that were pertinent to Corsi’s testimony, and there are other categories, like the Middle Eastern graft, that have also been included), it doesn’t necessarily tell us anything. Though — particularly given Corsi’s own ties to the Peter Smith effort — that could be one possible area of cooperation.

Still, I agree her reading may be the correct one (which would also explain why there’s not an introductory paragraph for what I had labeled Category C).

Update: In this post I lay out that we don’t yet know what extradition expert and Arabic speaker Zainab Ahmad has been working on. She has only shown up in Flynn’s docket thus far. She would be a likely candidate to oversee an investigation into the Middle Eastern graft that Flynn was involved with (in which the Seychelles meeting is key). So it may be that B(i) is the transition, B(ii) is the Middle Eastern graft, and B(iii) is another part of the investigation.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi’s Matryoshka Cover-Up

I want to reverse engineer the serial cover-ups that Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone have attempted, at least as disclosed by Corsi’s leaked statement of the offense.

I will assume, for this post’s purposes, that Corsi and Stone not only learned that John Podesta’s emails were going to be released, but also at least some information about what they would contain, as laid out in these two posts. Given the elaborate cover-up I’m about to lay out, it seems likely that where and how they learned that is quite sensitive.

The immediate cover story (probably for knowledge that Joule Holding documents would be released)

The first cover-up, at least according to Corsi, came within a month of the time whatever they’re trying to cover-up happened. Nine days after Stone tweeted that it would soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel, he called Corsi and asked him to invent an alternate explanation for it.

He said in an interview Tuesday that Mr. Stone called him on Aug. 30, 2016—nine days after the tweet—and asked Mr. Corsi for help in creating an “alternative explanation” for it.

Shortly after that conversation, Mr. Corsi said he began writing a memo for Mr. Stone about Mr. Podesta’s business dealings. In the following months, both Mr. Stone and Mr. Corsi said the memo was the inspiration for his tweet, even though it was in fact written afterward, Mr. Corsi said.

“What I construct, and what I testified to the grand jury, was I believed I was creating a cover story for Roger, because Roger wanted to explain this tweet,” Mr. Corsi said. “By the way, the special counsel knew this. They can virtually tell my keystrokes on that computer.”

In the version of the story Corsi told Chuck Ross, he seems to have forgotten the parts of the phone call where he and Stone explained why it was so important he have a cover story.

Corsi writes that his alleged cover up plan with Stone began on Aug. 30, 2016, when Stone emailed him asking to speak on the phone.

“I have no precise recollection of that phone call,” writes Corsi, adding, “But from what happened next, I have reconstructed that in the phone call Stone told me he was getting heat for his tweet and needed some cover.”

Corsi claimed he had begun researching John Podesta’s business links to Russia and believed the research “would make an excellent cover-story for Stone’s unfortunate Tweet.”

Corsi writes that in his phone call later that evening, “I suggested Stone could use me as an excuse, claiming my research on Podesta and Russia was the basis for Stone’s prediction that Podesta would soon be in the pickle barrel.”

“I knew this was a cover-story, in effect not true, since I recalled telling Stone earlier in August that Assange had Podesta emails that he planned to drop as the ‘October Surprise,’ calculated by Assange to deliver a knock-out blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.”

Corsi emailed the nine-page memo to Stone the following day.

“So you knew this was a lie when you wrote the Podesta email,” Zelinsky asked Corsi during one question-and-answer session, he writes.

“Yes, I did,” Corsi responded. “In politics, it’s not unusual to create alternative explanations to deflect the attacks of your political opponents.”

Corsi’s report — as I detailed here — made no sense and makes even less now that we know that Paul Manafort ordered Tony Podesta to hide his Ukrainian consulting, but it distracted from a focus on Joule Holdings that Stone and Corsi had been focused on earlier that month and would return to after the Podesta emails were released in October.

When SSCI announces its investigation, Corsi attempts to destroy evidence of (probably Joule Holding) knowledge prior to October 11

According to Corsi’s draft statement of the offense, he deleted all of his email from before October 11 sometime after January 13, 2017.

Between approximately January 13, 2017 and March 1, 2017, CORSI deleted from his computer all email correspondence that predated October 11, 2016, including Person 1’s email instructing CORSI to “get to [the founder of Organization 1]” and CORSI’s subsequent forwarding of that email to the overseas individual.

There are several things that might explain that date. It was the day after Guccifer 2.0 returned to WordPress to insist he wasn’t a GRU persona. It was days after Obama’s top spooks talked about the Intelligence Community Assessment of the Russian attack, which found that Guccifer 2.0 was a GRU operation. It was the day that the Senate Intelligence Committee announced its investigation.

And January 19 was the day the NYT reported that Stone was under investigation.

Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said.

[snip]

Mr. Stone, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, said in a speech in Florida last summer that he had communicated with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that published the hacked Democratic emails. During the speech, Mr. Stone predicted further leaks of documents, a prediction that came true within weeks.

In a brief interview on Thursday, Mr. Stone said he had never visited Russia and had no Russian clients. He said that he had worked in Ukraine for a pro-Western party, but that any assertion that he had ties to Russian intelligence was “nonsense” and “totally false.”

Stone falsely claims that the story said he himself was wiretapped (it said Manafort was); he dates it to January 20, when it appeared in the dead tree NYT.

According to the New York Times, I was under surveillance by the Obama administration in 2016. They wrote that on January 20, 2017.

In any case, as I’ve noted, October 11 is the date when the Peter Smith crowd discussed their pleasure with the Podesta emails in coded language.

“[A]n email in the ‘Robert Tyler’ [foldering] account [showing] Mr. Smith obtained $100,000 from at least four financiers as well as a $50,000 contribution from Mr. Smith himself.” The email was dated October 11, 2016 and has the subject line, “Wire Instructions—Clinton Email Reconnaissance Initiative.” It came from someone calling himself “ROB,” describing the funding as supporting “the Washington Scholarship Fund for the Russian students.” The email also notes, “The students are very pleased with the email releases they have seen, and are thrilled with their educational advancement opportunities.” The WSJ states that Ortel is not among the funders named in the email, which means they know who the other four funders are (if one or more were a source for the story, it might explain why WSJ is not revealing that really critical piece of news).

And it’s the date when WikiLeaks released the Podesta emails that had Joule Holdings documents attached.

Thus, it seems likely that Corsi, at least, was trying hide that he had foreknowledge of what WikiLeaks ended up dropping on that day.

Corsi packages up the past August’s cover story publicly

Then, on March 23, 2017, Corsi packaged up the cover story he had laid the groundwork for the previous year. In doing so, however, he acknowledges the common thread of Joule starting on August 1.

Having reviewed my records, I am now confident that I am the source behind Stone’s tweet.

Here is the timeline showing how I got Roger Stone on the track of following the real story – that Podesta played a key role in the Clintons’ plan to get paid by Putin.

On July 31, 2016, the New York Post reported that Peter Schweizer’s Washington-based Government Accountability Institute had published a report entitled, “From Russia with Money: Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset, and Cronyism.”

That report detailed cash payments from Russia to the Clintons via the Clinton Foundation which included a Putin-connected Russian government fund that transferred $35 million to a small company that included Podesta and several senior Russian officials on its executive board.

“Russian government officials and American corporations participated in the technology transfer project overseen by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation,” the report noted in the executive summary.

“John Podesta failed to reveal, as required by law on his federal financial disclosures, his membership on the board of this offshore company,” the executive summary continued.  “Podesta also headed up a think tank which wrote favorably about the Russian reset while apparently receiving millions from Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs via an offshore LLC.”

Reading Schweizer’s report, I began conducting extensive research into Secretary Clinton’s “reset” policy with Russia, Podesta’s membership on the board of Joule Global Holdings, N.V. – a shell company in the Netherlands that Russians close to Putin used to launder money – as well as Podesta’s ties to a foundation run by one of the investors in Joule Energy, Hans-Jorg Wyss, a major contributor to the Clinton Foundation.

Note how carefully he postdates the report — which he has testified before the grand jury he wrote very quickly on August 30 — to August 14.

On Aug. 14, 2016, the New York Times reported that a secret ledger in Ukraine listed cash payments for Paul Manafort, a consultant to the Ukraine’s former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

When this article was published, I suggested to Roger Stone that the attack over Manafort’s ties to Russia needed to be countered.

My plan was to publicize the Government Accountability Institute’s report, “From Russia With Money,” that documented how Putin paid substantial sums of money to both Hillary Clinton and John Podesta.

Putin must have wanted Hillary to win in 2016, if only because Russian under-the-table cash payments to the Clintons and to Podesta would have made blackmailing her as president easy.

On Aug. 14, 2016, I began researching for Roger Stone a memo that I entitled “Podesta.”

Making a cover story about the Credico cover story

On September 26, 2017, Stone testified to HPSCI. He gave no name for his go-between with WikiLeaks. But later that fall, he privately gave them Randy Credico’s name and then released it publicly, claiming that Credico had accurately predicted what would come when.

Randy Credico is a good man. He’s extraordinarily talented. He’s come back from personal adversity .He often using Street theater and satire to illustrate the hypocrisy of our current drug laws and in his fight for Prison reform. He is a fighter for Justice.The Committee is wasting their time. He merely confirmed what Assange had said publicly. He was correct. Wikileaks did have the goods on Hillary and they did release them.

Credico’s three interviews of Julian Assange on WBAI are an example of excellent radio journalism.

Credico merelyconfirmed for Mr. Stone the accuracy of Julian Assange’s interview of June 12, 2016 with the British ITV network, where Assange said he had “e-mails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,”

. [sic] Credico never said he knew or had any information as to source or content of the material. Mr. Credico never said he confirmed this information with Mr. Assange himself. Mr. Stone knew Credico had his own sources within Wikileaks and is credible. Credico turned out to be 100 % accurate.

I initially declined to identify Randy for the Committee fearing that exposure would be used to hurt his professional career and because our conversation was off-the-record and he is journalist. Indeed when his name surfaced in this he was fired at WBAI Radio where he had the highest rated show.

I want to reiterate there is nothing illegal or improper communicating with Julian Assange or Wikileaks. There is no proof Assange or Wikleaks are Russian assets.The CIA’s “assesment” is bullshit.Credico has done nothing wrong.

Then HPSCI subpoenaed Credico, meaning they would check Stone’s cover story (as Mueller has been doing for nine months). Stone apparently told Credico to invoke the Fifth rather than admit that he really wasn’t that go-between.

At that point, Stone asked Corsi to start backing that cover story.

After the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”), the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (“SSCI”), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) began inquiring in 2017 about Person 1’s connections with Organization 1, CORSI communicated with Person 1 about developments in those investigations. For example, on or about November 28, 2017, after Person 1 had identified to HPSCI a certain individual (“Person 2”) as his “source” or “intermediary” to Organization 1, Person 2 received a subpoena compelling his testimony before HPSCI, and Person 1 learned of the subpoena. On or about November 30, 2017, Person 1 asked CORSI to write publicly about Person 2. CORSI responded: “Are you sure you want to make something out of this now? Why not wait to see what [Person 2] does? You may be defending yourself too much – raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.” Person 1 responded by telling CORSI that the other individual “will take the 5th—but let’s hold a day.”

Pressuring Credico to sustain the cover story

Finally, sometimes this spring — as Mueller started systematically working through Stone’s associates — Stone pressured Credico not to contest his public claim that he was Stone’s go-between, going so far as threatening him.

“I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die cock sucker,” Stone messaged Credico on April 9. Stone was responding to a message from Credico that indicated Credico would release information contradicting Stone’s claims about the 2016 election and that “all will come out.”

Corsi’s lies to prosecutors

As bad luck would have it for Corsi, Mueller’s team interviewed him, not Stone. That meant he was the first person to have to sustain this cover story with the FBI (though of course Stone already did with HPSCI).

When asked on September 6 and (apparently) on September 10, Corsi claimed not to have remembered that he was Stone’s journalist cut-out all this time.

CORSI said he declined the request from Person 1 and made clear to Person 1 that trying to contact Organization 1 could be subject to investigation. CORSI also stated that Person 1 never asked CORSI to have another person try to get in contact with Organization 1, and that CORSI told Person 1 that they should just wait until Organization 1 released any materials.

CORSI further stated that after that initial request from Person 1, CORSI did not know what Person 1 did with respect to Organization 1, and he never provided Person 1 with any information regarding Organization 1, including what materials Organization 1 possessed or what Organization 1 might do with those materials.

He arranged that — the outer layer of the Matryoshka cover story — with his lawyer even before he got asked any questions. Which is going to make his currently operative cover story — that he didn’t remember crafting a multi-level cover story with Stone over the course of over a year — because he had deleted some of the emails reflecting that (but not, apparently, the ones from fall 2017).

It’s fairly clear, this Matryoshka cover-up has become part of Mueller’s investigation. It all suggests that whatever lies inside that last little doll is something so damning that the guy with the Nixon tattoo allowed the cover-up to become a second crime.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

 

The Illogical Core of “Chain Migration” Sponsor and Grifter Jerome Corsi’s Complaint against Robert Mueller

Amid much fanfare and Twitter blocking, Jerome Corsi has released his “complaint” against Robert Mueller and his team (including even Peter Carr for his serial no comments, which Corsi alleges amounts to leaking grand jury material). The complaint ticks all the boxes you’d expect:

  • Cut and pasted complaints about the bias of Mueller’s team — complete with original and now inaccurate date — that already failed in a Larry Klayman appeal to the DC Circuit
  • Reliance on Judicial Watch’s FOIA of Peter Carr’s serial no-comment answers to claim that Mueller has been leaking grand jury information (citing a number of stories clearly sourced to Trump’s lawyers, with whom Corsi is in a Joint Defense Agreement)
  • A litany of crimes Corsi claims Mueller’s team have committed, up to and including treason; several of the crimes include those that Mueller’s team has said Corsi may be charged with, including subornation of perjury
  • A request to liberate information — his own 302s and grand jury testimony — that would disclose to his co-conspirators the kinds of questions Mueller is asking
  • Gratuitous mention of Uranium One and complaints that Mueller’s team didn’t want to hear about it

In a particularly nice bit of timing, the complaint was released just before Trump committed some of the crimes Corsi claims Mueller’s team committed, including witness tampering.

Grifters gotta grift

Some of the supporting documentation that Corsi includes reveals two of the undisclosed reasons Corsi didn’t accept a plea agreement. First, he worried it would prevent him from being a (as Stephen Miller would call it) “chain migration” sponsor for his wife’s cousin.

More tellingly, perhaps, Corsi claimed he would go bankrupt if he were not able to grift off of accusing Robert Mueller of abuse.

Though as I read his plea, it doesn’t include such restrictions, and if it it did, it would only apply to the subject of his testimony.

The September 13, 2016 release Corsi cites to explain his August 15, 2016 foreknowledge

All that said, I’m quite interested in how Corsi formulates what happened, not least because of the way it fits into the rest of Corsi and Stone’s joint cover story.

First, Corsi situates his actions from 2016 in context of Hillary’s 2015 announcement about her server, not the election.

In a March 10, 2015 press conference, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that as Secretary of State she had conducted U.S. Government business through a nongovernment, private email server. Secretary Clinton stated that she had turned over 30,490 emails but deleted nearly 32,000 others.

Immediately after March 10, 2015, people experienced in foreign affairs and national security instantly recognized to a virtual certainty that Clinton’s emails had already been acquired by the espionage services of every major nation and perhaps passed on to terrorist organizations, because (a) the server was not secure and (b) communications of the U.S. Secretary of State would be a high priority for spy agencies.

There are numerous reasons why Corsi might want to frame this complaint this way, not least that he couldn’t claim that Jeannie Rhee has a conflict without making everything about the Clinton Foundation. But we also know that Corsi (though allegedly not Stone) was part of the Peter Smith effort to find the emails Hillary deleted, so it’s rich he complains that the server made her vulnerable to the very spies the Smith effort was soliciting the emails from.

From there he transitions seamlessly (this is the following paragraph) into the DNC leaks.

Ultimately, this story led to further, but different, revelations that Wikileaks was releasing emails from the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) on Friday, July 22, 2016.1 “On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds . . . No Internet service provider . . . was capable of downloading data at this speed.” 2

1 Tim Hamburger and Karen Tumulty, “WikiLeaks releases thousands of documents about Clinton and internal deliberations,” The Washington Post, July 22, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/22/on-eve-of-democraticconvention-wikileaks-releases-thousands-of-documents-about-clinton-the-campaign-and-internaldeliberations/.

2 Patrick Lawrence, “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack,” The Nation, August 9, 2017; https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questionsabout-last-years-dnc-hack/.

Notably, Corsi focuses on the NGP/Van story in its most breathless form as told in The Nation, one that was subsequently corrected. That’s remarkable for a lot of reasons, not least because the NGP/Van story has been treated by its proponents as a release from Guccifer 2.0, not Wikileaks (Guccifer 2.0 linked to it but did not actually release the file on the WordPress site). If that’s what Corsi wants to claim was the source of his knowledge, then he’s saying he based his deductions on Guccifer 2.0, not anything Wikileaks did. But even that doesn’t help, because that file was not released publicly until September 13, well after the August comments that pose such a legal problem for Corsi and Roger Stone.

To substantiate his divine inspiration story that he deducted that Podesta’s emails would come out, he points to just one story.

Wikileaks actually announced before July 22, 2016, that it would release DNC documents and do so in several batches, which was widely reported ahead of time, including in The New York Times. See Exhibit B, attached.

Corsi’s claim he deducted anything is — as Charlie Savage complains about his own article himself — problematic, as his article only addressed the DNC documents. There actually could be ways to claim you could deduce Podeta’s emails were coming by August 2, 2016, but Savage’s story is not one of them.

This passage makes explicit what was already clear elsewhere: the time period Mueller is interested in is August 2016. And, Corsi says, Mueller accuses him and Stone of “acquiring” foreknowledge, which I find striking given the evidence they acquired not just foreknowledge that the emails would be leaked, but of the specific content of at least some of those emails.

Readers of The New York Times and other news received the same foreknowledge from mid to late July of which the Special Counsel’s office now accuses Dr. Corsi and Roger Stone of supposedly acquiring in August 2016.

Dr. Corsi – as he has stated publicly – noticed that emails to and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta were conspicuously missing from the July 22, 2016 public-release of DNC emails. Employing his professional skills and considerable experience as an analyst and investigative journalist, Dr. Corsi logically concluded that Wikileaks would release Podesta’s emails soon in a second round “data dump” from the same group of DNC emails stolen on July 5, 2016.

Note, too, the claim that Corsi predicted a “second” data dump of Podesta’s emails is inconsistent with his own email (cited in his criminal information) that said there would be, “2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct.” That is, even in his own complaint, he obfuscates between the DCCC or Clinton Foundation emails WikiLeaks was peddling literally days after he returned to the US and the Podesta emails that eventually came out in October.

Special Counsel Mueller and his prosecutorial staff, however, have misrepresented the investigative research of hundreds of journalists into a false narrative that Dr. Corsi and/or Roger Stone “colluded” with Russian intelligence services.

Finally, Corsi describes that Mueller claims this amounts to him and Stone “colluding” with “Russian intelligence services.” Either he’s full of shit, he’s extrapolating from a Mueller allegation shared in proffers that WikiLeaks is tied to RIS, or he’s revealing a more direct accusation than publicly made thus far. All three of those are possibly, with Corsi the most likely guess is always “full of shit,” but the other two are worth noting.

Why Have Roger Stone and Trump Hidden Their Ongoing Joint Defense “Collusion”?

Donald Trump is happy to admit that he’s a potential criminal co-defendant with a whole slew of (37!!) shady characters, up to and including (perhaps especially) the guy who worked for his campaign for “free” while apparently being handled by a current-or-former GRU officer. He even recently added the far right’s greatest serial fabulist Jerome Corsi to his omertà. But his lifelong political advisor, Roger Stone, is allegedly not in it.

Stone recently told WaPo he’s not in a JDA with Corsi or anyone else in this investigation, which would seem to necessarily include Trump.

Stone, who recently brought a new defense attorney onto his legal team, said he does not have a joint defense agreement with Corsi or anyone else who is involved in the investigation.

Nevertheless, Stone was on ABC yesterday (in a horrible — for him — appearance that I’ll return to) denying that he has or would ever ask Trump for a pardon, the kind of pardon comment that people who have been floated pardons keep invoking.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you’re always going to be loyal to President Trump. If you’re indicted or convicted, do you expect that he’ll pardon you?

STONE: First of all, generally speaking in politics, you avoid hypothetical questions. That said, there’s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president because I’d have to bear false witness against him. I’d have to make things up and I’m not going to do that. I’ve had no discussion regarding a pardon.

That comment may or many not have been one of the things (as well as detail of Cohen’s cooperation against Trump) that set Trump off this morning.

A number of smart lawyers (including George Conway and Neal Katyal) argue that this Tweet, even beyond Trump’s normal efforts, may constitute witness tampering.

So to sum up: unlike Trump’s 37 other potential co-conspirators, he — Trump’s longtime political advisor and a lifelong ratfucker — Stone claims that he’s not in a JDA, but won’t testify against Trump out of the goodness of his own heart.

I find that all very interesting against the context of a recent WaPo article about how (and how frequently) Stone and Trump spoke during the campaign.

In recent months, the Trump Organization turned over to Mueller’s team phone and contact logs that show multiple calls between the then-candidate and Stone in 2016, according to people familiar with the material.

The records are not a complete log of their contacts — Stone told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Trump at times called him from other people’s phones.

Stone said he never discussed WikiLeaks with Trump and diminished the importance of any phone records, saying “unless Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls, what would that prove?”

Stone and WikiLeaks have denied collaborating with each other, and Stone has decried the Mueller investigation as a “political witch hunt” to punish him for supporting Trump.

Trump has told his lawyers — and last week said in written answers to Mueller — that Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks’ upcoming release and that he had no prior knowledge of it, according to people familiar with his responses.

After a period, by Stone’s admission, Stone and Trump communicated via cut-outs.

From January through March 2016, Stone said he had a cellphone number for Trump. But he said the phone number got into too many hands, and Trump’s staff changed it. After that, a pattern developed for their calls, Stone said: Trump would call Stone from a blocked number or from the phones of associates or campaign aides.

“He would initiate the calls,” Stone said. “I didn’t call him.”

Once, Stone said, he answered his iPhone because the caller ID said he was getting a call from Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend who is the CEO of Newsmax, a conservative television network. But the voice on the line was Trump’s.

“I believe there was one time when he asked me to call Roger,” Ruddy said in an interview Wednesday, adding that he did not believe “there was any discussion related to Russians or improper activities.”

The calls from Trump came at odd hours, Stone said, because Trump “gets almost no sleep.” Trump usually wanted to get a sense of how the campaign was going, Stone said, or just to “touch base.” Stone sometimes offered suggestions, but often he could barely get a word in.

Perhaps in response to Stone’s ABC appearance, Rick Wilson tweeted that he had alerted Mueller about an on-going back channel between Stone and Trump.

Stone recently made Bruce Rogow his lead attorney on these matters. Rogow has represented Trump Organization in various disputes over the years (including one that will elicit scrutiny in NY State’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation.

In 1992, Rogow represented former KKK leader David Duke in a case brought by the ACLU to have Duke reinstated on the Florida Republican presidential primary ballot.

Those still traumatized by the 2000 election recount might recall Rogow representingTheresa LePore, the Palm Beach county election official responsible for the area’s butterfly ballots.

[snip]

Rogow began to pick up more cases for the Trump Organization.

[snip]

Rogow represented Trump in a federal complaint that arose from the case, arguing that the town ordinances “unconstitutionally restrict its ability to fly a large American flag at Mar-a-Lago.”

Trump eventually settled the case, agreeing to move the flag inwards on his property and pay $100,000 to an Iraq War veterans’ charity in exchange for the town waiving its fines.

The donation was made, but not by Trump himself or Mar-a-Lago — rather, the Trump Foundation gave the $100,000. That donation has now become one part of a New York State Attorney general’s lawsuit against the charity.

Call me crazy, but all this suggests that Stone and Trump are in as close touch as — say — Manafort and Trump, but for some reason, Stone and Trump are working harder at hiding their ongoing ties.

That would be truly remarkable. It would say an association with Stone — and whatever it is Mueller seems to know he did during the election — is even more toxic than Trump’s ties with a guy apparently being handled by a GRU officer.

 

Did Jerome Corsi (or Roger Stone) Get Podesta Emails from Guccifer 2.0?

Thus far, the public narrative about Jerome Corsi’s travails with Robert Mueller (aside from the fact that he just hired Larry Klayman and is submitting a complaint about Mueller to Matt Whitaker) pertain to how he served as the long-hidden go-between between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.

But I want to lay out a number of data points to suggest that — after he learned information on WikiLeaks via Ted Malloch — he (or Stone) may have obtained actual Podesta emails from Guccifer 2.0.

This post assumes that Corsi and Stone learned not just that GRU and WikiLeaks had Podesta emails but also that the emails included documents pertaining to Joule Holding, as laid out in this post.

Corsi had access to Guccifer 2.0 through his Peter Smith buddies

Roger Stone has said he was not involved in the Peter Smith operation to find the emails Hillary Clinton deleted, but Corsi was. And Smith reached out to Guccifer 2.0.

The activists, the journalist-turned-entrepreneur Charles Johnson and his former business partner Pax Dickinson, agreed to help Smith’s quixotic mission, which failed to track down copies of Clinton’s emails. Johnson is a polarizing figure who was banned from Twitter in 2015 after promoting an effort to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist but maintains ties to White House officials. Smith also reached out to “Guccifer 2.0”—an alias the U.S. intelligence community has linked to Russian state hackers—and was advised to seek the help of a white nationalist hacker who lives in Ukraine.

Smith also appears to have had advance knowledge of the Podesta emails, and was fundraising off of their release in October 2016.

Corsi’s information was sourced to “hackers,” not “friend in embassy”

When Corsi reported information about upcoming releases back to Stone, he first referred to “friend in embassy,” meaning Assange, but then described the “game hackers are now about.”

Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.… Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.

Sure, Assange is himself a hacker, of sorts. But the reference to the hackers, plural, seems to reference a different actor. (Chuck Ross has a screen cap of the email here.) Perhaps he was thinking of GRU itself, or people like Chuck Johnson and Weev (described above).

Guccifer 2.0 was happy to search for specific files

In a number of instances, Guccifer 2.0 sought out and provided files pertinent to a specific interlocutor, as when on August 15, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent files on his opponent to a congressional candidate.

On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.

[I reiterate earlier warnings that I believe this person may be different than the person usually presumed to be the candidate.]

So Guccifer was at times happy to deliver precisely what interlocutors wanted, down to searching on a name.

Corsi’s statement of offense incorporates the GRU investigation

Two parts of Corsi’s statement of the offense reflect that his discussions with prosecutors may extend to the investigation into GRU.

First, there’s the scope laid out (which must reflect an expansion of the investigation from what it was on August 2, 2017, when Rod Rosenstein first memorialized it in detail). In addition to the connections between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, the investigation included GRU (this was four months after the GRU indictment) and how GRU got the documents to WikiLeaks.

At the time of the interview, the Special Counsel’s Office was investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including:

a. the theft of campaign-related emails and other documents by the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”);

b. the GRU’s provision of certain of those documents to an organization (“Organization 1”) for public release in order to expand the GRU’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign; and

c. the nature of any connections between individuals associated with the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and the Russian government or Organization 1.

Then there are the prosecutors who signed off on the draft plea deal.

In addition to Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Goldstein, and Aaron Zelinsky (all of whom we’ve seen in the Andrew Miller proceedings), Rush Atkinson is included. Before this document, Atkinson had only shown up on the Russian side of the investigation — the IRA and GRU indictments.

Corsi refused to name his Podesta email source before the grand jury

Corsi’s so-called cooperation went to hell when he refused to name his real Podesta email source before the grand jury (note, given what was laid out in his draft plea, I think the date of this must be November 2, not November 9).

A source with knowledge of Corsi’s most recent grand jury appearance, which occurred last Friday, told TheDCNF that he was pulled out of the proceeding because prosecutors were frustrated with his testimony.

[snip]

Corsi says that Mueller’s team zeroed in on a trip he took to Italy with his wife in July and August 2016 to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. It was on that trip that Corsi claims his theory about Wikileaks and Podesta finally clicked.

“When I flew to Italy in July and early August 2016 for my 25th wedding anniversary, I really put it together,” he says of Wikileaks having Podesta’s emails.

Corsi says that he came up with his theory after realizing that Wikileaks’ July 22, 2016 release of DNC emails did not contain any from the Clinton campaign chairman.

“I noticed there weren’t any Podesta emails in there. In July, flying over to Italy I thought, ‘I bet Assange has Podesta’s emails,’” Corsi asserts.

Corsi said that prosecutors rejected that explanation.

“They really wanted me to tell the truth, and I did. But they wouldn’t accept that.”

Prosecutors “drilled on and drilled on and drilled on” Corsi’s activities in Italy, including his phone calls and emails, he said.

Admittedly, this could just be Ted Malloch or someone (or, again, someone like Chuck Johnson, who has ties to Assange). But Corsi’s refusal to name his real source would make more sense if it were something even more scandalous.

The date Corsi and Stone are trying to explain away is the same date Stone talked with Guccifer

As I’ve pointed out a couple of times, Stone and Corsi have offered conflicting stories about … something that happened on August 14, 2016. At one level, it’s totally obvious what happened: The NYT published a story that revealed Paul Manafort’s graft and ties to Russia, and they talked about ways to respond by projecting such accusations against someone else. But that doesn’t explain why and how their response focused on Podesta. And Stone and Corsi’s cover stories both appear to struggle to explain what went on between the two of them that day.

For example, in the cover story Corsi did in March 2017 (which he now says he presented to the grand jury in immunized testimony), he claims he started researching his August 31 research report on that day.

On Aug. 14, 2016, I began researching for Roger Stone a memo that I entitled “Podesta.”

In his immunized testimony, Corsi admitted that he didn’t start this research until August 30, and did so as an explicit cover story.

Stone has several times claimed something in Breitbart — perhaps this post — focused their attention. But that doesn’t make any sense at all, because that’s still a focus on Joule, not on the Manafort-related Tony Podesta sleaze Corsi’s report would cover.

We can assume that Corsi and Stone met on or around August 14. He only returned home from Italy on August 12. And Corsi published this interview on August 15. August 15 is also the very first day Stone ever tweeted about John Podesta.

Those two days are also when Stone reached out to Guccifer.

Guccifer is almost certainly talking about the DCCC files dropped on August 12, which because of the amount of personal details leaked were the most sensitive files dumped. But it’s just possible the reference to posted files were to files posted somewhere else.

The emails Corsi deleted match up to both the Joule disclosure and the last Guccifer post

Finally, there’s this from Corsi’s statement of the offense:

Between approximately January 13, 2017 and March 1, 2017, CORSI deleted from his computer all email correspondence that predated October 11, 2016, including Person 1’s email instructing CORSI to “get to [the founder of Organization 1]” and CORSI’s subsequent forwarding of that email to the overseas individual.

The dates here are interesting. The October 11 date is pretty easy to explain. That’s why the Peter Smith foldering email was expressing happiness with the Podesta emails that were then dropping. It’s also the date when Wikileaks released the Joule documents; if Stone and Corsi were discussing Joule before that, it would represent prior knowledge.

There are a great of possible explanations for why, on January 13, Corsi might have decided he wanted to delete all the emails pertaining to his campaign activities, including that that’s the day SSCI announced their investigation [Update: See CJ’s suggestion — that it pertains to how Time Machine does back-ups — here]. It is, however, the day after the last Guccifer post, when he falsely claimed to be unrelated to Russian intelligence again, itself a response to the Intelligence Community Assessment stating with high confidence he was and January 10 testimony from the top spooks reinforcing that point. That same day, Stone associate Lee Stranahan DMed Guccifer and asked if he wanted to do an interview.

In other words, if Stone and Corsi had worked with Guccifer — directly or indirectly — to plan their attacks on Podesta, the stakes for doing so would have gone up right before — according to the government — he may have started thinking about deleting his emails.

As for March 1, that’s the day before Jeff Sessions recused (though it was clear he would have to do so before that); though the end date may also pertain to a preservation order or some investigative explanation — though that would have been remarkably early for such a step, given the timing of known George Papadopoulos steps. It’s particularly remarkable that Corsi had deleted his emails by March 1 given that the cover story he wrote up for Roger Stone was written over three weeks later.

All of this is, mind you, highly speculative, and thus far there’s no hint in anything serial fabulist Corsi has said to indicate that’s the case. But it is a theoretical possibility, one that would explain a lot about what just happened.

Trump’s Two Denials Could Provide Reason for Mueller to Demand an Interview

According to an updated NYT story on this week’s Paul Manafort and Jerome Corsi developments, the delay in Trump’s submission of his open book test came in response to two things: Seeing a reference to Roger Stone’s regular contact with then-candidate Trump in Corsi’s draft statement of the offense and learning that Mueller had informed Manafort he had caught him lying.

Mr. Corsi’s dealings with Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors have caused alarm among the president’s legal team, who were informed of developments by Mr. Corsi’s lawyer. President Trump’s lawyers were especially troubled by a draft statement of offense against Mr. Corsi that was passed on to them, according to people familiar with the situation. In it, prosecutors claimed that Mr. Corsi understood that Mr. Stone was “in regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump” when he asked Mr. Corsi in late July 2016 to “get to” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

The reference to Mr. Trump coincided with other events that so disturbed the president’s lawyers that they delayed turning in his responses to written questions after negotiating over them with the special counsel for nearly a year. At roughly the same time, the Justice Department inadvertently released a secret criminal complaint against Mr. Assange and Mr. Trump’s legal team learned that prosecutors were accusing Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, of lying. Only after Mr. Mueller’s team reassured Mr. Trump’s lawyers that they were not trying to lure the president into a trap did they forward his answers on Nov. 20.

Unsurprisingly, CNN has already confirmed that Trump denied culpability in his answers to the two questions that address those topics.

President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

One source described the President’s answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection.

Remember, the GRU indictment described Stone as “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” so the inclusion of “including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump” reflects language added since July. Recall, too, that Stone at first complained about that description, insisting that “My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials,” only to backtrack to, “I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials,” when he realized the implications of that. As CNN notes, in recent weeks Mueller’s team asked for records of Stone’s calls and visits to Trump Tower. So it’s possible a recent witness — Michael Cohen and Steve Bannon could both be possibilities — suggested that Stone had conveyed WikiLeaks information directly to Trump, leading to the request for more records.

And (as I used as a hypothetical last night on Chris Hayes’ show), we know that Manafort and Trump met on June 7, 2016, just before Trump announced an attack on Hillary Clinton in coming days and two days before the June 9 meeting.

So it is quite likely Mueller has evidence that both of Trump’s claims are lies.

Finally, remember that one excuse Trump has given for refusing to sit for an interview is that none of this really affects him directly, so Mueller has no need to engage in back-and-forth with him. It’s quite likely that a Corsi indictment and a Manafort sentencing report could be public within the next month alleging that both of the claims Trump made are false. While I still doubt Mueller would wait for a Trump interview, any inconsistency between Mueller’s evidence and Trump’s answers would make it far easier to demand an interview.

Jerome Corsi Prepared the Lies He told Special Counsel

I noted several times that Jerome Corsi’s lawyer, David Gray, claimed on the record in an interview with the WaPo that Corsi was offered, but declined, to engage in criminal behavior with Roger Stone.

Gray said he was confident that Corsi has done nothing wrong. “Jerry Corsi made decisions that he would not take actions that would give him criminal liability,” he added, declining to elaborate.

Asked if Corsi had opportunities to take such actions, Gray said, “I wouldn’t say he was offered those opportunities. I would say he had communications with Roger Stone. We’ll supply those communications and be cooperative. My client didn’t act further that would give rise to any criminal liability.”

That story was published on October 5, the day before he his first interview with Mueller’s team. We now know some of what Corsi said at that interview. He admitted that Roger Stone had asked him to reach out to WikiLeaks to find out what it had.

CORSI said that in the summer of 2016 an associate (“Person 1”) who CORSI understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump, asked CORSI to get in touch with Organization 1 about materials it possessed relevant to the presidential campaign that had not already been released.

But, Corsi claimed in an interview the day after his lawyer had told the press he declined to engage in criminal behavior, he had declined Stone’s request.

CORSI said he declined the request from Person 1 and made clear to Person 1 that trying to contact Organization 1 could be subject to investigation. CORSI also stated that Person 1 never asked CORSI to have another person try to get in contact with Organization 1, and that CORSI told Person 1 that they should just wait until Organization 1 released any materials.

That seems to suggest that Corsi denied he had reached out to Ted Malloch, somehow obtained information on what WikiLeaks had planned, and shared that with Stone because he believed it would involve criminal liability — and his lawyer agreed.

But his plea agreement doesn’t include reaching out to WikiLeaks among the crimes it says would be covered if he took the plea deal. That plea deal only envisioned Corsi’s risk to include lying, more lying, and conspiring to lie.

In consideration of your client’s guilty plea to the above offense, your client will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for the conduct set forth in the attached Statement of the Offense; for any other false statements made by him to this Office or to the grand jury between September 6, 2018 and November 2, 2018; and for obstructing, aiding or abetting in the obstruction of, or conspiring to obstruct or commit perjury before congressional or grand jury investigations in connection with the conduct described in the Statement of Offense.

Now, Corsi claims that he told those lies because he didn’t remember what really happened, and because he had deleted all his emails (in a very curiously specific period, January 13 to March 1, which means the government is somehow sure he did it weeks before he first rolled out the public cover story he had worked on with Stone), couldn’t refresh his memory until the FBI obtained the deleted emails from his computer. So it’s possible that Gray really believed Corsi’s claim to have declined Stone’s requests (though it’s unclear why he would have thought that responding to them would involve criminal liability — as I keep saying, speaking to Guccifer 2.0 or WikiLeaks is not, by itself, a crime, and Corsi would have the added protection of being able to claim he was acting as a journalist).

Still, all this seems to suggest that Corsi prepared the lie he told prosecutors, believing that telling the truth would expose him to criminal liability.

That’s going to make it a lot harder to claim this was all an accident brought on by poor memory once he does get charged.

Hillary Clinton Caught Her Stroke from Jerome Corsi

Gotta give Jerome Corsi: For a guy that not even his spouse should believe, he has taken down a series of Democratic presidential candidates. One thing we learn from the plea agreement he didn’t sign, for example, is that a campaign attack claiming that Hillary had had a stroke may have originated with the same guy who invented the Swift Boat Veterans and a Kenyan birth certificate.

On August 2, 2016, having consulted with someone who consulted with Julian Assange, Corsi advised Roger Stone to start setting up a claim that Hillary had had a stroke.

On or about August 2, 2016, CORSI responded to Person 1 by email. CORSI wrote that he was currently in Europe and planned to return in mid-August. CORSI stated: “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging…. Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke — neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.” [my emphasis]

On August 3, by his own accounting, Roger Stone spoke with Trump.

On August 5, Trump started an attack on Hillary that would evolve into claims she had a stroke.

Donald Trump pumped up his attacks on Hillary Clinton’s character Saturday night by suggesting that the former secretary of state is not mentally fit to be president.

“She took a short-circuit in the brain. She’s got problems,” Trump said, seizing on Clinton’s explanation that she “short-circuited” a recent answer about her truthfulness in discussing her email server.

“Honestly, I don’t think she’s all there,” he added.

A perhaps more interesting detail is that when Corsi tried to destroy all evidence he had been conspiring with people working with emails stolen by Russia, he deleted all those before October 11.

Between approximately January 13, 2017 and March 1, 2017, CORSI deleted from his computer all email correspondence that predated October 11, 2016, including Person 1’s email instructing CORSI to “get to [the founder of Organization 1]” and CORSI’s subsequent forwarding of that email to the overseas individual.

October 11 is the day WikiLeaks released the emails including attachments relating to Joule were released. If you wanted to eliminate all evidence of foreknowledge of those emails, you’d start there. And Corsi tried to do just that, eliminate evidence of the period leading up to WikiLeaks’ release of Joule emails, during a period when Stone was working on a cover-up story.