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

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#68

Special counsel Robert Mueller appeared to be locked in a subpoena battle with a recalcitrant witness Friday in a sealed federal appeals courtroom, the latest development in a mystery case that has piqued the curiosity of Mueller-obsessives and scoop-hungry journalists.

Oral arguments in the highly secretive fight played out behind closed doors under tight security. Officials at the U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C. even took the extraordinary measure of shutting down to the public the entire fifth floor, where the hearing was taking place.

More than a dozen reporters who had been staked out in the hallway adjacent to the courtroom — in the hopes of eyeballing attorneys for Mueller or the mystery appellant’s lawyers — were kicked off the floor and lost their best chance to spot anyone involved in the months-long legal dispute as they were entering or exiting the chambers.

Journalists relocated to other stakeout spots, but few new details emerged after several hours of waiting.

:popcorn:


#69

Butina’s connection to the NRA was solidified by a signed agreement, pulling in both into the den of legal trouble.

Maria Butina Claimed to Have a “Signed Cooperation Agreement” With the National Rifle Association – Mother Jones

Confessed Russian agent Maria Butina claimed more than five years ago that her gun rights group had entered into a “signed cooperation agreement” with the National Rifle Association, according to a contemporaneous account of a talk Butina gave to an Israeli organization.

Butina, who pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday for her role in a wide-ranging conspiracy to covertly influence American politics, founded the Right to Bear Arms in Moscow in 2010 with support from high-ranking Russian official Alexander Torshin. Prosecutors detailed how Butina used her profile as a gun rights advocate to build a relationship with NRA officials and other influential political figures in the run-up to the 2016 election.


#70

This is a very big deal because it reveals that David Pecker’s value as a cooperating witness may be far greater than previously known.

A couple days ago the news broke that Pecker, Trump’s long-time friend who publishes the National Enquirer, has become a cooperating witness for prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. (BTW, although Pecker was flipped by the SDNY, I’m posting this in the Mueller thread because I’m confident that Mueller will now also be interviewing this cooperating witness – if he hasn’t already.)

The focus so far has been on Pecker’s corroboration of Michael Cohen’s testimony regarding the hush money payments made by Cohen, allegedly at Trump’s direction and allegedly done so with Trump’s full knowledge that the payments were a violation of campaign finance laws (this is one of the crimes for which Cohen himself will be serving prison time). So Pecker’s cooperation is already big news. However, this breaking story from The Daily Beast shows that Pecker may have knowledge that is far more damaging to the Trump administration and Jared Kushner in particular. No specific allegations have been made. However, the fact that Pecker was in close contact with Kushner during the early days of Trump’s presidency and is now spilling everything he knows, has got to be devastating news for Kushner and the Administration.

Another angle here is that we now have reason to believe that Mueller is expanding his investigation into the shady (to say the least) ties between Trump and the Middle East. Kushner is Trump’s point man there and Pecker has close ties there as well, especially with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Kashoogi – Pecker even facilitated a massive publicity blitz for the prince.

Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was handed a task considered critical to the president’s operations. In addition to serving as a senior adviser in the White House, he would also be playing the role of the main conduit between Trump and his friend David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher and chief executive of AMI, who prosecutors said on Wednesday admitted to making a $150,000 hush-money payment “in concert with” the Trump campaign.

During the early months of the Trump era, Kushner performed the task admirably, discussing with Pecker various issues over the phone, including everything from international relations to media gossip, according to four sources familiar with the situation. Pecker, for his part, bragged to people that he was speaking to the president’s son-in-law and, more generally, about the level of access he had to the upper echelons of the West Wing, two sources with knowledge of the relationship recounted…

Pecker, after all, was no bit player. He has been a valuable asset within Trump’s orbit, at least until federal investigators came knocking. His ties to Trump began well before the president was elected to office. But before Kushner was his main conduit, that role was played by Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer…

Pecker had banked on Cohen remaining in Trump’s political inner sanctum after the election. But during the presidential transition, it became clear that Trump’s then-fixer wouldn’t be landing a plum job in the administration…

But Cohen’s slow-burning troubles and exile from Trumpworld nevertheless meant that Pecker needed a new point person in the White House. And according to four sources, he settled on Kushner.

It was an easy choice, given that the two men had a pre-existing relationship. Two people with direct knowledge of their acquaintance say that Kushner and Pecker got to know each other years before Trump’s election, when Pecker was thinking about forging a business relationship with Kushner, who at the time owned The New York Observer…

AMI [Pecker’s media company], like Kushner, cozied up to the despotic Saudi government, which included the production of a glossy propaganda magazine boosting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In July 2017 … Pecker visited both Trump and Kushner at the White House, bringing along with him Kacy Grine, a French businessman with ties to the Saudi business elite and royal family, as The New York Times reported early this year…

This is beyond the scope of David Pecker’s collusion or cooperation in snuffing out bad stories,” said Jerry George, a former Enquirer Los Angeles bureau chief and assistant managing editor of all the AMI titles. “It goes to the core of Trumpworld."


#71

Flynn lied to a lot of people…but Mueller’s faith in what Flynn was able to help the investigation with must be very great.

Sentencing Memo


#72

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/in-filing-intended-to-be-under-seal-us-prosecutors-ask-to-transport-maria-butina-possibly-to-testify-at-grand-jury/2018/12/14/6c3d22e2-ffe9-11e8-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html?utm_term=.efdd228b5cf5

Oops – we’re not supposed to know this, but it looks like Maria Butina will be testifying before a Grand Jury within a month. Could that be Mueller’s Grand Jury?

U.S. prosecutors on Friday asked a federal judge for permission to move Maria Butina to and from jail for ongoing interviews, including potentially to testify before a grand jury, in a filing intended to be sealed that appeared on the public docket for her case.

Butina, 30, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the wider conservative movement to set up back-channel communications with leading Republicans around the time of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As part of her plea deal, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

In a seven-page document filed Friday afternoon to a judge, prosecutors said they were making their travel request under seal because disclosing Butina’s movements from Alexandria City Jail, where she has been held since July, “may jeopardize defendant’s safety and may jeopardize the ongoing investigation.”

“The proposed order references defendant Butina’s possible transportation to a grand jury,” which is a confidential proceeding under federal criminal rules, they added.

The request asks to cover movements through Jan. 17…

Although the request stated it was being filed under seal, and included a proposed order allowing it to be filed under seal, it was posted shortly before 5 p.m. on the court’s public docket. It remained viewable only briefly, before the online link to the filing was disabled.

:eyes:


#73

Here’s more from what Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller must have revealed, leading to this indictment. It was part of some of the sealed indictments which are slowly surfacing.

@jamditis just posted in the recap as well.:grin:

A former business partner of Michael T. Flynn has been charged with conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign government for his efforts to have Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.

Bijan Kian made his first appearance in Alexandria federal court Monday morning. According to the indictment, Kian, who ran a lobbying firm with Flynn, conspired with a Turkish businessman to illegally influence government officials and public opinion in the United States against Gulen.

The indictment demonstrates the extent to which Flynn was secretly working to advance the interests of his Turkish clients while publicly serving as a key surrogate to Donald Trump and auditioning for a role in his administration. According to the newly unsealed court document, Flynn was texting and emailing frequently about how to advance the Turkish agenda throughout the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/michael-flynns-business-partner-charged-with-illegally-lobbying-for-turkey/2018/12/17/46fb3762-020a-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html?utm_term=.5c12286a0d0d


Day 789
#74

To me, the real question now becomes, “As head of the Transition Team that vetted Flynn, what did Pence know and when did he know it?” Since Flynn and many others are cooperating with Mueller, this question has undoubtedly already been answered – now it’s just a matter of time until we find out, too. :hourglass_flowing_sand: :balance_scale:


#75

Yes, perplexing…and very important for us to know to not have this Elf-on-the-Shelf not be our president.

Who would know? Flynn, Trump, Gates (2 of the 3 have plea bargains…) So the odds are in our favor, that this truth will be coughed up. :zipper_mouth_face:


#76

At the very least Pence should have known what was going on during the transition. It was his responsibility. Wasn’t Pence handpicked by Manafort for VP?


#77

What makes it all the more confounding is that it is hard to have any assumptions about Pence…

Pence appears God-fearing and squeaky clean (first clue of trouble ahead perhaps)

Pence should have known all the transition information…but there were some built-in’s already. People knew that Flynn and T got along really well, talked politics a LOT (or Flynn mentored T)…

Yes, Pence was picked by Manafort, and that might harken back to Manafort’s R strategist side, where he knows Conservative Right politics and not necessarily any connection with Manafort’s allegiences to autocrat’s and Russians.

Gates also took a role in the transition, so he might have known the ‘dirtier’ elements perhaps.

Pence could have been intentionally lied to by Flynn etc. A lot of MSM is still sticking by this point, Alibi…until proven differently.

Does Pence have an air of quiltiness on him? What is it called, suspicion of guilt. He says nothing, rocks no boat…AND he acts Presidential when necessary to show up T.


#78

Agreed, he’s not covered the same way Trump is covered by the press. However I believe theory #5 applies to Pence as head of the Trump transition team. He either knew about the corruption or he should have known.

I guess we’ll find out in the next few months…


#79

Live updates from Flynn sentencing happening now…

Flynn stands firm on guilty plea under judge’s questioning

“I do not” seek to withdraw the plea, Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn just told the judge overing seeing his sentencing for lying to the FBI.

Flynn said he is satisfied by his attorney representation, does not want extra time to speak with them, and does not want to speak with another, different attorney before this proceeds.
Are you continuing to accept responsibility for his false statements?” Judge Emmet Sullivan asked. "I am, you’re honor," Flynn loudly responded.

Sullivan asks Flynn if he would like to postpone the sentencing, and Flynn says no.

What this means: He is standing firm on his decision to plead guilty to this crime.


#80

Adam Schiff
@RepAdamSchiff
Dec 16

Today, the President’s current lawyer said this of his last lawyer:

He lies to fit the situation he’s in;

He talked to a dozen reporters and lied and deceived them;

He’s changed his story three or four times;

He’s a serial liar.

What about the guy that hired them both?


#81

Pre sentencing talk… from Judge Sullivan

@RGOODLAW
Truth from Judge Sullivan to Flynn:

“You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country will serving” the president
“Arguably this undermines everything this flag over here stands for”
Arguably, you sold your country out"
“I’m not hiding…my distain for this criminal offense”


#82

Does this :boom: to you?

Me…yes it does

Trump signed letter of intent for Trump Tower in Moscow, Giuliani incorrectly claimed he didn’t - CNNPolitics


#83

Excellent time line detailing Trump’s secret business negotiations with the Russians during the campaign – alongside the lies he was telling the public. This was put together before the signed letter of intent surfaced – I’m sure that will be added here soon.


#84

Linking to this podcast…called MuellerSheWrote.

Just made some comments on day 699 here WTFJHT Day 699


#85

Here’s Giuliani’s roundup of where the President is NOT involved with any Collusion, Obstruction (Prof Dershowitz cleared that up), hacking (I was with the Prez 24/7 for the last days of campaign) etc.

See 1:40 where destruction of evidence must have happened.

See 4:32 where he discusses there is absolutely no way there was any contacting of Wikileaks…

And also see the claim that Mueller actually messed with evidence (because Peter Stzrok was someone who did not want T to win, and would do anything in his power to see that T didn’t)

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/423001-president-trumps-attorney-rudy-giuliani-accuses-mueller-of-destroying-evidence

And more about why T will not answer any more questions


#86

Follow the money.

Manafort owes a lot of money to oligarch Deripaska. Manafort acting as campaign chair for T and working for free, goes through this Putin-affiliated ex-arms dealer, spy Victor Boyarkin to set things right, or ‘get whole,’

Mueller knows this…

Russian ex-spy- connected to a powerful Putin ally- pressured Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort over debts to an oligarch in the height of the campaign:

Russian Ex-Spy Pressured Manafort Over Debts to an Oligarch


#87

The DC Circuit court has tried to block a proceeding which Chief Justice Roberts is giving the go ahead. A legal filing is due on New Year’s Eve.

I do not pretend to understand the legal machinations…but it is getting more intriguing to know that Roberts has been siding with the liberals on the court as well. Chief Justice Roberts also shamed T publicly in a tweet, saying that the Supreme Court was neither Democratically nor Republican led…it needed to remain neutral.

More to come.

A Holiday Mystery: Why Did John Roberts Intervene in the Mueller Probe?

We’re about to find out why the chief justice of the Supreme Court decided to get involved in the special counsel’s investigation.

So now, in abrupt fashion, Mueller’s investigation has suddenly reached the Supreme Court, and with the personal attention of the chief justice, no less.

What does this all mean? Let’s try to unpack it.

This month’s three-page summary D.C. Circuit decision revealed a fairly dry set of legal issues that just might conceal a juicy core. The dry issues involved matters of jurisdiction and statutory interpretation fathomed only by elite appellate lawyers, but the potentially juicier underlying issues hinted of fascination: Somewhere, a corporation (a bank? a communications firm? an energy company?) owned by a foreign state (Russia? Turkey? Ukraine? United Arab Emirates? Saudi Arabia?) had engaged in transactions that had an impact in the United States and on matters involved in the special counsel’s investigation.

Intriguingly, the decision revealed that a regulator from Country A had filed a submission claiming that compliance with the subpoena would cause the Corporation to violate Country A’s law. So whoever Country A is, this matter captured its officials’ attention and prompted them to send filings to a faraway country to block the subpoena. Why does Country A care? And, what is it trying to hide?

So, from the D.C. Circuit’s decision we learned that a foreign government was actively involved in blocking Mueller’s investigation. That fact is intriguing enough. In the ordinary course, that should have been the end of it. The state-owned Corporation filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which receives roughly 7,000 petitions a year but acts in fewer than 200 of them. There was unanimity below — all four judges (the District Court judge and the three Circuit Court judges) had agreed that the Corporation and Country A’s legal claims of sovereign immunity and of contrary foreign law were without merit. There was little reason for judicial watchers to expect anything beyond a quiet return to the grand jury and further proceedings there. We headed off for the holidays.

And then came Roberts’ surprise Sunday decision. He is the “circuit justice” for the D.C. Circuit, meaning he is the justice assigned to receive emergency and other petitions arising from that circuit. Under Supreme Court rules, the circuit justice may act without consulting his or her colleagues to dispose of routine rulings. So, we should not read too much into the fact that it is the chief justice in particular who acted here.

But we can read a good deal into his decision to intervene at all. Although every judge below agreed there was ultimately no merit to the Corporation’s legal claims, Roberts evidently harbors some doubt. Something in the Corporation’s papers caught his attention. So rather than consigning this appeal to the discard pile with thousands of others, he has blocked the lower courts’ decisions until he can receive the government’s briefs defending those decisions. Those papers must be filed no later than New Year’s Eve. Once he receives the full briefing, he can reject the Corporation’s appeal or he can advance the matter to the full court for consideration.

Until then, we can only wonder at the remarkable circumstance that the chief justice of the United States has personally intervened, at the request of a foreign government through its corporate entity, in Mueller’s investigation. Only two days before, court observers noted that in a high-profile asylum decision, Roberts had sided with his four liberal colleagues against the Trump administration. Many observers took that as evidence that Roberts was carefully seeking to preserve the court’s institutional neutrality, integrity and balance.

His other statements on the Supreme Court