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🔍 All things Mueller - What we know he has on Trump 'n Co

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#129

On Chris Hayes, MSNBC - 1/16/19 show speaks with Nick Ackerman, former Watergate prosecutor

Nick Ackerman, believes that even if Mueller’s summary report will be prevented from being seen by William Barr that there are many ways in which the evidence could be found out.

Because Barr was a bit obtuse on his discussion on what he could and could not release, and dependent upon whether the president is indicted. Barr would not have to release any negative information on the President.

Barr (approximate quote) - “I will release whatever I can, depending on the rules and regulations.”

Ackerman says that "Grand Jury info can not be disclosed, via Barr as it requires a federal judge to do that. "

Ackerman -
Mueller has been delivering his report - indictment by indictment. You have three cooperating witnesses - Cohen, Flynn and Gates - all of who will be called in front of Congress, and they will be discussing what they know. (Think John Dean.) You also have a Grand Jury who could issue a report, that could be released via a District Judge. It is ALL coming out.…”

and therefore not contingent on Bill Barr. :+1:


#130

I was referring to the memo Mueller filed yesterday to detail all the lies Manafort told to investigators (thanks @dragonfly9 for the posting).

I made the comment: “Manafort lied through his teeth over and over again – otherwise, Mueller wouldn’t need 157 pages to detail those lies.”

It turns out that the unredacted version of the memo is not just 157 pages, it’s actually over 800 pages!!! We know this because today Manafort’s lawyers filed a motion asking for more time to draft their response – an understandable request since they need to sift through that mountain of lies so they can take a stab at defending the indefensible.

This is a big deal because all of those hundreds and hundreds of pages contain documents that Mueller is using in other investigations (hence, the redactions). Just think about that for a minute – how many indictments are going to be precipitated by all that incriminating evidence? Here’s hoping we find out soon.

A shout out to Rachel Maddow for covering this in her show today. Here’s Manafort’s filing:


#131

Wow! 800 pages! That’s a Tolstoy length volume of crime exhibits— Anna Karenina was 864 pages.


#132

McDonnell and Graham are on the take according to this article from the Dallas Morning Star. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#133

Let’s not forget that Giuliani has his own ties to oligarchs who have become persons of interest in the Mueller investigation.

A Russian Ukrainian mogul who has drawn scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller has a business connection to one of the lead lawyers representing Donald Trump in the Russia investigation: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani told Mother Jones that Pavel Fuks, an oil and real estate magnate, hired his security firm, Giuliani Security & Safety, in 2017 to advise Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million in Ukraine. “He was [a] sponsor of a preliminary study that my firm did of security and emergency management in Kharkiv and some on advice on a planned Holocaust Memorial,” Giuliani said in a text message. However, a Ukrainian magazine, Novoye Vremya, reported last year that Fuks said he retained Giuliani to “create a U.S. office for supporting investment in” Kharkiv. When asked about Fuks’ claim, Giuliani said, “I have no knowledge of that.” He said he did not do any work in the United States for Fuks or Kharkiv.

In November 2017, Giuliani traveled to Kharkiv, located near the Russian border in eastern Ukraine, in connection with the work. That year, he was also photographed with Fuks in New York. But the former mayor minimized their connection, saying that his personal involvement in the project ended in December 2017 and that his firm has no continuing relationship with Fuks.

Giuliani’s work in Ukraine is notable because Fuks and other prominent Ukrainians have recently emerged as figures in the Trump-Russia scandal. The New York Times reported last week that Fuks is among a dozen Ukrainian businessmen and political officials who attended Trump’s inauguration. During their time in Washington, DC, some of the Ukrainians arranged meetings with Republicans and Trump allies to promote peace plans regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict that were aligned with the Kremlin’s interests.

The presence of the Ukrainians, including Fuks, at exclusive inaugural confabs has drawn Mueller’s interest. Tickets to many of these events required donations of tens of thousands of dollars to the inaugural committee, which could not legally accept foreign money. Mueller is reportedly investigating whether Americans helped Ukrainians and other foreign nationals funnel donations to the inaugural committee and to a political action committee run by Trump allies. Peter Carr, a Mueller spokesman, declined to comment.

…critics … say that Giuliani’s access to Trump and other top US officials would make it easy for him to privately push for US policy to reflect his clients’ interests. “Mr. Giuliani communicates in private with the President and his senior staff on a regular basis,” the senators wrote. “Without further review, it is impossible to know whether Mr. Giuliani is lobbying U.S. government officials on behalf of his foreign clients.”


Day 727
#134

Thx. @Keaton_James - always good to see where allegiances lie.

Giuliani is playing it from all sides…but the fact that he goes and gets business with them is evidence enough…they are a cash cow, and worth protecting.

We’ve got him pegged with these other ‘interests.’


#135

Friday Jan 25th…is the day Manafort will be in court to discuss his cooperation efforts with the Mueller team. Initially did not want to show up for the hearing, but the Judge insisted that he does…and Manafort asked the court if he could wear a suit and not the orange prison garb.

Manafort has not been seen publicly since October, when he entered a hearing in a wheelchair because he was suffering from gout. He argued the transportation from Alexandria, Virginia’s jail to Washington, DC’s federal courthouse is too time-consuming.

Jackson said Manafort has skipped too many court hearings in his criminal case and that Friday’s is a particularly important one for him to attend. At that hearing, Jackson plans to discuss how prosecutors allege Manafort broke his plea agreement by lying during cooperation interviews and while he gave grand jury testimony.

"Given the number of court appearances defendant has been permitted to waive, the significance of the issues at stake, and the fact that his being available to consult with counsel may reduce the likelihood that the defense position with respect to the issues discussed will change after the hearing, defendant’s motion is denied," Jackson wrote in the order Wednesday.

Earlier this month, special counsel Robert Mueller said Manafort had lied about topics including "contact with administration officials."


#136

Here’s a primer on how Grand Juries work, even with the government shutdown. There are two ongoing Grand Juries, a group of 12 jurors in each, who are paid a $40 stipend. If they decide what the prosecutors present as valid and correct, they can indict someone. The Grand Juries have done all the deciding on who gets indicted for the SOC - Mueller’s group.

Fun Possible Fact - via twitter, someone is mentioning there is a sealed v sealed indictment which posted on January 22nd, which may (!?) mean it is Mueller’s. Court watchers confirmed it… new sealed case (Case 1:19-cr-0018) showed up in the D.C. court today and take that with a grain of salt.

Worth a read…


What's driving the narrative? Is it fake news, PR stunts, real legal arguments?
#137

:boom: BOOM

Ding, ding, ding…ROGER STONE arrested this am on 7 charges, false statements, witness tampering…from Mueller’s DC Grand Jury.

The Stone indictment marks Mueller’s biggest move yet against a Trump associate on grounds related to the release of stolen emails to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. It also reflects a stunning turn for Stone, a GOP operative and prominent Trump cheerleader whose relationship with the president spans nearly 40 years, making him a prime target for investigators to try to turn into a government witness.

Grant Smith, one of Stone’s attorneys, told POLITICO that he expects his client to be released after his appearance in court Friday with an arraignment likely next week in Washington. There, Stone plans to enter a not guilty plea.

“Roger intends to fight these trumped up baseless charges that have nothing to do with the original intent of the special counsel’s investigation,” Smith said in a brief interview.

Stone has said he would not flip on Trump and in an interview with POLITICO earlier this month insisted on his innocence “because there is no crime.”

Mueller’s 24-page indictment against Stone is replete with examples of alleged lies he told, some of them rather brazen. It contends that around Stone’s late September 2017 testimony before the House committee, he “denied having ever sent or received emails or text messages” from Credico when in fact they’d “exchanged over thirty text messages.”


#138

The indictment also says Stone received an email in early October from “the high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases by” WikiLeaks. That official is Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who was the Trump campaign CEO at the time, a source with direct knowledge of the special counsel’s probe and the indictment told NBC News. According to the source, Bannon is referred to at least one other time in the indictment.

“Bannon cooperated with Mueller and Mueller considers him only a witness,” the source said.


#139

Analysis by Lawfare


What's driving the narrative? Is it fake news, PR stunts, real legal arguments?
#140

Roger Stone’s Indictment


#141

Excellent Video profile of Roger Stone :point_down:


#142

Thanks for this. It made for a fascinating read. Here’s a crib identifying the players:

Organization 1: … Wikileaks. …

Person 1: … Jerome Corsi, a conservative writer and conspiracy theorist…

Person 2: … Randy Credico, a former comedian, political hopeful, and radio show host. …

The reporter: Breitbart’s Washington politics editor, Matthew Boyle…

The high-ranking Trump campaign official: … Steve Bannon, Breitbart News’ co-founder, who left the organization to join the Trump campaign.

Regarding the identification of Bannon: In addition to the references to a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official,” there are also references to “senior Trump campaign officials” (note the use of the plural!) The first of these references appears in point 5 on page 2. I haven’t yet come across any solid reporting on who these officials might be – we shall see.

But, to me, the most explosive reference to an unnamed player appears in point 12 on page 5:

After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign.

Who directed the senior Trump Campaign official to contact Stone? This is classic Mueller “indictment-speak” – he’s letting us know, in the subtlest of ways, that he is privy to far more than he is revealing in this filing.


#143

The real question is why weren’t these transcripts shared with Mueller while the Republicans controlled the committee? I can’t think of any reason other than that they were protecting witnesses who lied to Congress. :lying_face:


#144

Several “takeaway summaries” of the Stone indictment have been published. This came across as one of the best, making several interesting points.

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday unveiled the indictment of Trump ally Roger Stone, opening a new chapter in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. …

Here’s what we learned and how it fits into the bigger picture.

Direction from above to get WikiLeaks intel?

The most damning part of the 24-page indictment directly connects the highest echelon of the Trump campaign to Stone’s alleged effort to glean inside information about future WikiLeaks dumps.

It reads: “After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by (WikiLeaks), a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information (WikiLeaks) had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by (WikiLeaks).”

This paragraph makes it clear that Mueller believes Stone was not engaged in a rogue quest to contact WikiLeaks. Rather, Stone is alleged to have coordinated some of his efforts with the Trump campaign.

Stone’s role with the Trump campaign

…Stone is an exaggerator, but during the campaign, he claimed he spoke with Trump on a near-weekly basis and was in regular contact with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Stone said those conversations continued after Manafort resigned, and that Manafort was “keeping in touch with a lot of friends in the campaign.”

Court filings from Mueller tell a more definitive story. The indictment says Stone “maintained regular contact with … the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election” and described how he communicated with “senior Trump Campaign officials” about upcoming WikiLeaks releases.

They knew Russia was behind the hacks

The first words of the indictment note that Russia’s responsibility for the hacks was well-known before Stone or anyone on the Trump campaign allegedly secretly sought information about WikiLeaks.

Mueller started closing the loop

Mueller has now closed the loop between the Russian government, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

His 2018 indictment of Russian intelligence officers formally established how the Kremlin hacked Democratic targets and facilitated public releases through WikiLeaks. This was done to influence the US presidential election and help Trump win, per US intelligence agencies.

The Stone indictment completed the other half of the equation. It alleges ties between Trump’s campaign to WikiLeaks and the email leaks that severely weakened Clinton’s hand down the stretch.

Mueller clearly doesn’t trust Stone

Stone is not the first Trump associate to face charges in the Russia investigation (he’s the sixth, actually), but he is the first to be arrested by FBI agents raiding his home with guns drawn. The spectacle unfolded in Florida, but the indictment was handed up one day earlier by the special counsel’s grand jury in Washington. Mueller’s team asked a judge to keep it secret until Stone’s arrest.

They wrote: “Law enforcement believes that publicity resulting from disclosure of the Indictment and related materials on the public record prior to arrest will increase the risk of the defendant fleeing and destroying (or tampering with) evidence. It is therefore essential that any information concerning the pending indictment in this district be kept sealed prior to the defendant’s arrest.”

The beginning of the end?

There are a few clues suggesting that this might be the beginning of the end for Mueller.

The Stone indictment offered a new clue. This is the first time where special counsel prosecutors are jointly working with prosecutors from another US attorney’s office to bring a case. That could suggest that Mueller doesn’t intend for his team to see the case through the trial, which could be months away, and instead hand it off to Justice Department colleagues.


#145

I’m posting this because it begins with a great info-graphic laying out the links between Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange, Stone, the Trump Campaign, and potentially Trump himself.

But the main reason I’m posting this is for the following telling paragraph:

F.B.I. agents were also seen carting hard drives and other evidence from Mr. Stone’s apartment in Harlem, and his recording studio in South Florida was also raided.

Some investigation junkies have observed that the New York raid may help “pardon-proof” the charges against Stone. I’m not a lawyer, but to me, it seems they are making a valid point. If the FBI obtains any evidence against Stone from his Harlem apartment, that could make it easier for the Southern District of New York to bring state charges against Stone which Trump would not be able to pardon. When Letitia James, New York’s new Attorney General, took office last month, she declared she will vigorously investigate any crimes Trump or his associates may have committed in her state. Interesting… :thinking:


#146

Pelosi stays out in front. She comes out swinging…
again and again.

Pelosi Statement on Special Counsel Indictment and Arrest of Trump Campaign Advisor Roger Stone

JANUARY 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after Special Counsel Mueller released a seven-count indictment of top Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone, for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction:

The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people. It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.

“In the face of 37 indictments, the President’s continued actions to undermine the Special Counsel investigation raise the questions: what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially? Why has the Trump Administration continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?

Lying to Congress and witness tampering constitute grave crimes. All who commit these illegal acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We cannot allow any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from appearing before Congress.

“The Special Counsel investigation is working, and the House will continue to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibility and ensure that the Special Counsel investigation can continue free from interference from the White House.”


#147

Follow the money…some more information on Kushner’s finances and what Mueller knows.

A German bank reportedly has evidence of “suspicious transactions” related to Jared Kushner’s family accounts and is willing to hand the information over to Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller.

The board chairman of the banking giant Deutsche Bank, Paul Achleitner, called for an internal investigation and found troubling results, German business magazine Manager Magazin reported in its print edition released on Friday.

Deutsche Bank—a major lender to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior White House advisor Kushner, according to Mother Jones—provided the results to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, which is Germany’s bank regulatory agency and referred to as BaFin.

“Achleitner’s internal detectives were embarrassed to deliver their interim report regarding real estate tycoon Kushner to the financial regulator BaFin,” states the Manager Magazin story translated from German to English. “Their finding: There are indications that Donald Trump’s son-in-law or persons or companies close to him could have channeled suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank as part of their business dealings.”

No details on the suspicious money transfer were reported. The bank is worried about what the results will mean for its image, according to Manager Magazin.

“What BaFin will do about [the bank’s findings] is not the bank’s greatest concern,” the German magazine reported. “Rather, it’s the noise that U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller … will make in his pursuit of Trump. For he will likely obtain this information—a giant risk to [the bank’s] reputation.”


#148

Some forecasting as to where Mueller may be heading. This is an opinion piece but does try to forecast the outcome. Was there criminal activity in terms of future evidence that may be revealed, linking the Russian hacking more directly with campaign individuals?

But we still don’t know the criminal implications, if any, for those in the campaign who were involved. Even if Trump himself did direct a senior campaign official to tell Stone to learn more about WikiLeaks’s plans, that alone is not criminal.

The indictment does not allege any kind of agreement or coordination between Stone or the campaign and WikiLeaks. It portrays the campaign as primarily seeking information about actions that WikiLeaks was already planning. If that’s all it was, learning that information and failing to disclose it is deplorable but likely not criminal.

There have always been at least two possible end games for the Mueller investigation. He could uncover evidence of a widespread criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians to influence the election. Or he could conclude that the campaign’s numerous documented interactions with Russians seeking to help Trump win were not criminal, but people close to Trump lied to cover up those interactions because revealing them would have been politically devastating.

Stone’s indictment falls into the coverup category. Mueller may have evidence of the broader conspiracy, and more charges may well be coming. But every case like Stone’s, or those against former campaign manager Paul Manafort, that is filed without charging a conspiracy with the Russians makes it seem more likely that criminal charges brought by the special counsel will end up being primarily about the coverups.

That doesn’t mean the campaign’s behavior wasn’t reprehensible. The best case scenario concerning WikiLeaks is that the Trump campaign, having learned that emails stolen from its opponent by a hostile foreign power were about to be released, did not alert the authorities or disavow that act but eagerly and secretly accepted the help. Even if that ends up not amounting to a criminal conspiracy, it should already be an enormous political scandal.

In a text message quoted in the indictment, Stone allegedly told a witness who was being asked to testify before Congress: “Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan. . . . Richard Nixon.” The reference to the 37th president, who was Stone’s political idol and who was brought down by a criminal coverup, may prove to be more than a little ironic.

Randall D. Eliason
Author

Randall D. Eliason teaches white-collar criminal law at George Washington University Law School. He blogs at Sidebarsblog.com.