The document coming for a closed-door hearing on what Manafort had lied about…here are some of the keys to where investigation is going.
A lot of corroborating information from cooperating witness, Rick Gates is providing more about collusion, obstruction…Gate is dishing on a LOT of things that Manafort had done, and letting be known that there is polling data.
There is mention of Kilimnik and a quid pro quo scenario for trading influence for sanctions removial.
143 pages - yikes! I’m grateful for our free press – at this moment there are surely a host of highly qualified eyes doing their best to peer behind the redactions. They will soon be reporting their analyses to us. Rachel Maddow’s show tonight should be most intriguing!
BTW, I would have loved to be the proverbial fly on the wall during the wholly redacted bench discussion on p. 94.
Yes, wait for some legal-eagles to come through…but I do like the cat-and-mouse aspect of it, with the Judge asking Manafort’s lawyers ever so tactful with Mr. Westling (Manafort’s lawyer…)
pg 48 re: Manafort lying about Kilimnik
Judge: Well, and I think I detailed, at one hearing or another, all the various ways, if he made false statements, it could bear on sentencing.
Uh, yes it would…
and then Mueller’s group…pg 50 in a hammerhead way…
Mr. Weissman: The other is that if you look at what the defendant said, this is not the defendant saying - you know, I have to just intuit what is in his head, and, you know, he got it wrong… In one instance he was, like: Okay, yes. And now I remember, having gone through it with counsel, why is it that I believed he knew.
We know that Mueller does not seek the limelight or seek anyone’s approval. His diligence, lack of ego, and his nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic may make some feel disappointed once the Russian Investigation is finalized that Mueller may not make a statement. Pundits are saying that his indictments do tell the story, and to read those for the direction of the probe.
“A public narrative has built an expectation that the special counsel will explain his conclusions, but I think that expectation may be seriously misplaced,” said John Pistole, Mueller’s longtime top deputy at the FBI. "That’s not what the rules provide, and I really don’t see him straying from the mission. That’s not who he is."
People who know Mueller say that unless his bosses tried to derail his work, they would be surprised if the former FBI director did more than issue a brief statement indicating that a report had been submitted to the attorney general before quietly departing.
Just as the FBI, maligned in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, was transformed into his own image as a meticulous investigator, the Russia investigation has come to embody Mueller’s unflagging, buttoned-up personality.
“He’s not a warm and lovable guy,” Swecker said. “If you work for him, you are never going to feel appreciated. Things move too fast for that. He believes that you signed up to do a job. And it’s your mission to get it done. He doesn’t like drama.”
Mueller’s team embraced that approach.
His prosecutors have brought charges against 34 people and three companies, including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; his first national security adviser, Mike Flynn; and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Outside of court filings, prosecutors have had nothing to say about any of them.
When the team won a jury verdict after a three-week trial against Manafort, prosecutors retreated to their offices rather than appear at a clutch of microphones outside the courthouse. Asked by email if they had any comment, Mueller’s spokesman responded with a single word:
Pistole, who served for six years as Mueller’s deputy at the FBI, describes his former boss as “totally apolitical,” with an unmatched work ethic.
“For him, it was about what is right for the country,” Pistole said. “Nothing else.”
Mueller exited the FBI in 2013 as the longest-serving director since J. Edgar Hoover – amassing a legacy best defined by a grind-it-out style that kept the FBI intact.
Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of Homeland Security, described Mueller in an interview with USA TODAY marking the FBI chief’s departure as “the most transformative director in the history of the FBI since Hoover.’’
In Manafort’s closed hearing last Monday, the 143 pgs of commentary between Manafort’s lawyers and the Mueller lawyers, particularly Andrew Weissmann contained more clues as to where the investigation is going.
Seems that Weissmann is leaving the door open on whether election meddling (conspiracy to alter the election) did take place with any of T’s people and a foreign entity - Russia and/or Assange.
All the back and forth between Manafort and Kilimnik and all the lies that Manafort is making makes for a very questionable defense. Weissmann, who is one of the most aggressive lawyers that Mueller has worked with is taking them to task for what they are stating and what those lies mean.
This is getting some airtime. Ari Melber’s done a segment on it today on The Beat, discussing Andrew’s work with Mueller on Enron, and his tactics as has Nicolle Wallace on her Deadline White House today.
Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, a Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CBS News on Thursday that, based on the evidence they have seen so far, the committee’s investigators “don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.”
But Mr. Weissmann’s remarks seem to suggest that for the special counsel, at least, that avenue of inquiry is still alive.
The transcript suggests that Mr. Manafort claims that he wanted only public data transferred. But Mr. Weissmann told the judge that the question of whether any American, wittingly or unwittingly, engaged with Russians who were interfering in the election relates to “the core” of the special counsel’s inquiry.
But Judge Amy Berman Jackson seemed to agree with prosecutors that whether Mr. Manafort lied about his contacts with Mr. Kilimnik was important, saying at one point, “I am, actually, particularly concerned about this particular alleged false statement.”
During the hearing, prosecutors suggested that Mr. Manafort was to be a spokesman in the United States, apparently for Mr. Kilimnik’s plan to divide Ukraine.
“If he were the spokesperson, and denominated as such within the United States,” Mr. Weissmann said, “he would also have access to senior people.” He then broke off, saying, “That’s as far as I can go.”
My brain hurt after reading this. Without being able to sort out all the implications, my main take away is that Mueller is assuredly hot on the trail of connections between Trumpworld and foreign entities that attacked our 2016 election. The company profiled here, Salix Services, is yet another pin in Mueller’s investigation board with strings of yarn connecting it to Psy Group (alleged to have interfered in our election) and Joel Zamel (the company’s supposed owner who has links to Israeli intelligence) and George Nader (an international influence-peddler representing Saudi Arabia and U.A.E., who, for some mysterious reason, paid Zamel $2 million after the election and is now a cooperating witness in the Mueller Probe). Phew!
Not mentioned in this article is Nader’s business partner, Eliott Broidy, a self-confessed financial criminal who was a fund raising vice-chair for Trump’s campaign, as well as a Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman, as well as vice-chair of Trump’s Inaugural Committee – and who was engaged in many other nefarious Trump-related activities.
Good find and deciphering @Keaton_James …we’ve all been tasked to become spy masters in the game of who met with whom, why, and why so many weirdly configured connections.
Interesting wrinkle within that article…
Rule #1 in setting up OPS (read about from C Steele’s Dossier) is ALWAYS SET UPPLAUSABLE DENIABILITY.
By setting up how the company is layered into Trusts and just out of the way of too much financial scrutiny, the 'plausible deniability" is there.
Rule #2 (mine) - Does it pass the smell test???
NO, not at all.
… documents reviewed by The Daily Beast and interviews with individuals familiar with Psy Group’s financial structure lay bare a complex web of companies with connections to Zamel that point to Salix.
“It’s how Joel holds his shares,” one former Psy Group employee told The Daily Beast. “They set up trusts and provide nominee services to… shield beneficial owners from their holdings. It’s completely legal.”
Psy Group, registered as Invop in Israel, has its ownership obscured by a series of offshore companies.
Washington Post reports today that there was a secret meeting in NYC, in early August 2016, a couple months before the election with Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Kilimnik. The report says that this is where Polling Data was given to Kilimnik.
This could be the big bombshell that Burr is countering, which does smell like collusion or treason.
This could be a smoking gun or perhaps not.
The questions about it just keep cropping up though…Why would Russia need Polling data?
See Lawrence O’Donnell’s The Last Word, MSNBC to look for transcript on it…
The two Americans met with an overseas guest, a longtime employee of their international consulting business who had flown to the United States for the gathering: a Russian political operative named Konstantin Kilimnik.
The Aug. 2, 2016, encounter between the senior Trump campaign officials and Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties to Russian intelligence, has emerged in recent days as a potential fulcrum in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.
It was at that meeting that prosecutors believe Manafort and Kilimnik may have exchanged key information relevant to Russia and Trump’s presidential bid. The encounter goes “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told a federal judge in a sealed hearing last week.
During the hearing, the judge also appeared to allude to another possible interaction at the Havana Room gathering: a handoff by Manafort of internal polling data from Trump’s presidential campaign to his Russian associate.
Kilimnik, whom prosecutors have charged with working with Manafort to obstruct the investigation, did not respond to a request for comment.
In a 2017 statement to The Washington Post, he denied any connection to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik said the Grand Havana Room meeting had nothing to do with politics or the presidential campaign. Instead, he called the session a “private” visit, during which he and Manafort gossiped about “bills unpaid by our clients” and the political scene in Ukraine, where Manafort had worked as a political consultant for a decade before joining Trump’s campaign.
Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a new court filing that search warrants have uncovered communications that connect longtime GOP operative Roger Stone to "Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1,” which is widely believed to be WikiLeaks.
Mueller made the disclosure in a filing Friday arguing that Stone’s case is related to the one involving Russian military hackers who are alleged to have breached the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
The communications were uncovered in search warrants executed on accounts in the investigation into Russian hackers, Mueller said.
Stone’s attorneys have objected to his case being labeled as “related” to the Russian hacking case, arguing that it should be randomly assigned to a new judge. …
“Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1,” the filing states. …
Last July’s indictment against the Russian hackers cited communications between Guccifer 2.0, who is identified as a Russian GRU officer, and “a person who was in regular contact with senior members” of Trump’s campaign. Stone has acknowledged that he is likely the person referred to in the indictment.
Great development…seeing that Stone is dancing around whether he did or did not have discussions with wikileaks is important.
Natasha Bertand of Atlanta wrote this last year…Feb 2018 about the same thing…we knew he’s been communicating. But what was said is not known or was there more.
The correspondence raises questions about whether Stone—who served as Trump’s lobbyist in Washington in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and had been encouraging him to run for president for over a decade—has kept secret any interactions that may be of interest to congressional investigators examining Russia’s election interference.
Stone also exchanged private Twitter messages in August and September of 2016 with a user known as Guccifer 2.0. Guccifer claimed in a posting on their Wordpress site to have “penetrated Hillary Clinton’s and other Democrats’ mail servers,” but the self-described hacker was later characterized by U.S. officials as a front for Russian military intelligence. Stone only published that exchange after it was revealed by The Smoking Gun, a website that publishes mugshots and other public documents.
Here’s her response today as well…
Thanks for pointing this out @Keaton_James! I agree we should prepare for and as with all these disclosures, it seems to continue to emit smoke, which leads up to fire and alarm bells…see
And Roger’s been gagged…so no commentary from his mouth to spin it. A bit of poetic justice I’d say!
Investigation is looking at Brittany Kaiser, a director at Cambridge Analytica and Mueller subpoena’s her. I had not realized that Sam Patten worked for Cambridge Analytica as well, and he’s already been indicted (and subpoenaed) because he created a strawman set up to get an Oligarch into the Inauguration.
These breadcrumbs along the way that we’re getting now: polling data to Kliminik/Deripaska; confirmed Wikileaks communiques with Roger Stone; and checking into the backgrounds/actions of Cambridge Analytica sets up a conspiratorial/collusion-ary set of facts.
Wait, and “a new Netflix documentary, The Great Hack,” too - coming soon to Netflix, which unveiled this…
Waiting for shoes to drop, but the trail has never gone cold for Mueller methinks.
We are closer, ever closer.
A director of the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica, who appeared with Arron Banks at the launch of the Leave.EU campaign, has been subpoenaed by the US investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
A spokesman for Brittany Kaiser, former business development director for Cambridge Analytica – which collapsed after the Observer revealed details of its misuse of Facebook data – confirmed that she had been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller, and was cooperating fully with his investigation.
He added that she was assisting other US congressional and legal investigations into the company’s activities and had voluntarily turned over documents and data.
Kaiser, who gave evidence to the UK parliament last April in which she claimed Cambridge Analytica had carried out in-depth work for Leave.EU, is the second individual connected to the firm subpoenaed by the special counsel.
In August, Sam Patten, a US political consultant who had worked for Cambridge Analytica on campaigns in the US and abroad, struck a plea deal with Mueller after admitting he had failed to register as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian oligarch.
He became a subject of the special counsel’s inquiry because of work done with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, in Ukraine. He had also set up a business with Konstantin Kilimnik, a key figure who Mueller has alleged has ties to Russian intelligence and who is facing charges of obstruction of justice. In a 2017 statement to the Washington Post, Kilimnik denied any connection to intelligence services. Kaiser, however, is the first person connected directly to both the Brexit and Trump campaigns known to have been questioned by Mueller.
The news came to light in a new Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, which premiered at the Sundance film festival last month and is expected to be released later this spring. Film-makers followed Kaiser for months after she approached the Guardian, including moments after she received the subpoena. She claims the summons came after the Guardian revealed she had visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while still a Cambridge Analytica employee in February 2017, three months after the US election.
Bertrand: Shifting gears now to the special-counsel investigation, legal experts have often observed that Mueller seems to be investigating Trump and his campaign like he would a Mafia family. You spent a decade going after the Russian mob in New York. Do you think, given what we’ve seen from Mueller so far, that Trump is still a target?
McCabe: There are a lot of patterns in what Director Mueller is doing that are very familiar to me. Those patterns of targeting and investigating people who may have had more of a hands-on role, albeit at a lower level, and using those investigations to develop information and informants and cooperators—I mean, it is really the classic enterprise investigation that Director Mueller and his team have pursued. So do I think the case into Trump is open or closed? There’s absolutely no reason for me to believe that it’s closed. And you can certainly look at what Mueller’s done so far to say he is doing exactly what we would do with the investigation of a cartel or an organized-crime family.
A lot of focus over time of T’s need to get Sessions out, get others out…
and here’s an example to get a better lawyer presiding in SDNY for Cohen’s case.
Another attorney general takes office
As the prosecutors closed in, Mr. Trump felt a more urgent need to gain control of the investigation.
He made the call to Mr. Whitaker to see if he could put Mr. Berman in charge of the New York investigation. The inquiry is run by Robert Khuzami, a career prosecutor who took over after Mr. Berman, whom Mr. Trump appointed, recused himself because of a routine conflict of interest.
What exactly Mr. Whitaker did after the call is unclear, but there is no evidence that he took any direct steps to intervene in the Manhattan investigation. He did, however, tell some associates at the Justice Department that the prosecutors in New York required “adult supervision.”
WASHINGTON — As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to “jump on a grenade” for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge because Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.
Trying to install a perceived loyalist atop a widening inquiry is a familiar tactic for Mr. Trump, who has been struggling to beat back the investigations that have consumed his presidency. His efforts have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice as Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finishes his work investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel “rats.” His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative news media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to subvert a democratically elected president.
The story of Mr. Trump’s attempts to defang the investigations has been voluminously covered in the news media, to such a degree that many Americans have lost track of how unusual his behavior is. But fusing the strands reveals an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history, and who has turned the effort into an obsession. Mr. Trump has done it with the same tactics he once used in his business empire: demanding fierce loyalty from employees, applying pressure tactics to keep people in line and protecting the brand — himself — at all costs.
It is a public relations strategy as much as a legal strategy — a campaign to create a narrative of a president hounded by his “deep state” foes. The new Democratic majority in the House, and the prospect of a wave of investigations on Capitol Hill this year, will test whether the strategy shores up Mr. Trump’s political support or puts his presidency in greater peril. The president has spent much of his time venting publicly about there being “no collusion” with Russia before the 2016 election, which has diverted attention from a growing body of evidence that he has tried to impede the various investigations.
Or is this AG Bill Barr’s first move to get this whole Mueller “deal” done.
Washington (CNN)Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.
The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation.
The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change.
The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.
Per: Mueller’s Report
as discussed by CNN and NBC.
I am checking all sorts of areas for verification, and what could it be, is Mueller really closing up shop, having passed along a LOT of his work to SDNY, etc.
While I remain incredulous about the circumstances with which Mueller could have finished up his report, aka finalized the whole investigation, it could be true.
I am most interested in his recommendations as to who is still on the burner (so to speak) and may be indicted (so many, right? )- T immediate family - Junior, Kushner, and then the big kahuna T.
Would this be a time that Mueller needs to take a big break to consult with DOJ, and see what needed to be done should there be Treason involved? This would subject the country to a potentially huge destabilization. Maniac that T is, could this destabilize him…(further?)
Spitballing for sure…so I looked for the what if’s -
First, I checked twitter
These guys think that it could well be that Mueller is in essence wrapped up…and awaiting the next phase of it. Could that be handing over sealed indictments?
She believes that what Mueller is doing is giving a “partial report” now
A report talking about “collusion” is coming this week
But maybe NBC’s sources are speaking metaphorically, and mean something else that isn’t the conclusory report but that will more closely resemble what everyone thinks of when they talk about The Report.
That’s likely to happen, but if it does, it’ll just be a partial report.
Any overarching conspiracy indictment will not be coming this week
It’s possible Mueller is close to charging an overarching conspiracy indictment, laying out how Trump and his spawn entered into a quid quo pro with various representatives of the Russian government, getting dirt on Hillary and either a Trump Tower or maybe a bailout for the very same building in which Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik on August 2, 2016. In exchange for all that, Trump agreed to — and took steps to deliver on, with some success in the case of election plot participant Deripaska — reversing the sanctions that were such a headache to Russia’s oligarchs.
Mueller could ensure a report gets delivered to Jerry Nadler next week … but that’s unlikely
There’s one other possibility that would make Williams’ prediction true: if Mueller deliberately triggered the one other way to deliver a report, by asking to take an action William Barr is unlikely to approve, and if Mueller was willing to close up shop as a result, then a report would go to Congress and — if Barr thought it in the public interest — to the public.
Point 4 (and hold on…perhaps indict the president)
The only thing that Mueller might try to do that Barr would not approve (though who knows? maybe what Mueller has is so egregious Barr will surprise us?) is to indict the President.
What are your thoughts?..it has been a monumental task to get where Mueller has brought us today. We’re at some pivotal point here, and the nation is looking for those long sought after answers. What did he know, and when did he know it?
I’m so glad you’ve been digging into this – you’ve made some excellent points and provided links to informative resources and analyses.
My questions and concerns are basically the same as yours. The thing that really gives me a knot in my stomach is that we haven’t seen some indictments of bigger fish (Trump Jr., Kushner, etc.), yet now we’re being told Mueller is wrapping up. As you point out, maybe those indictments do exist and are sealed, awaiting release on the heels of the report – or maybe we’ll wake up to another “Felony Friday” in the near future. Who knows?! The suspense is killing me. What a ride this has been since Nov. 8, 2016.
Hard not to have major expectations to get these guys…and I want the ‘sheriff’ to round them up as well.
Mueller is by the book. He will have researched, flipped, collaborated with all Intel intercepts, and triple verified all the facts. But I do believe they (FBI and Mueller) knew going in that T was ‘dirty.’ They must have.
And from what we are learning more and more from McCabe’s reveals EVEN today on MSNBC show, particularly Nicolle Wallace’s interview. It was a blockbuster interview today.
Listen to the aftermath, of Frank Figliuzzi’s talk on how McCabe carefully attached T’s name to an ongoing FBI investigation…This means, according to Figliuzzi, who used to work in CounterIntelligence that McCabe had some serious goods on T.
One part of Nicolle’s interview…McCabe discussing a draft letter T wrote, which is incriminating. (starts off with T defiling McCabe’s character…natch)
And this is my own way of seeking comic relief in all this, bear with me. In the same way, during the OJ trial, experts would just say that OJ was guilty b/c of “Bruno Magli” shoes. (They left a certain imprint on the ground, and were incriminating evidence)
Is there one word or description of T that clearly shows he’s done wrong?
Over and over again, he lies.
Over and over again, he rids himself of his legal adversaries.
Over and over again, he has consciousness of guilt.
Maybe we’ll leave it as - judge a man’s character by the company he keeps.
But even with all this knowledge, that T is in fact guilty, can there be a coming together of the best legal minds, and a congress who does believe in the rule of law, and the sanctity of the democratic institutions to get T out, even if it does not fit their ideology, purse strings?