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

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#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.


#149

Read a condensed version of 100 plus tweets via Jennifer Taub, law professor. She discusses ALL the big indictments and what we know so far.

Here are the first few tweets…

1> / 🧵Thread

1/We Have Seen the Mueller Report –– And It’s Spectacular

2/Special Counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the end of his 20-month probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When the investigation closes he must provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining his prosecutorial decisions.
3/In anticipation, some pundits warn us to dial down the enthusiasm. It’ll be anti-climactic, they caution. Don’t expect a public report, some say. Ignore them. Pay attention to documents already filed. Through them, we/ve seen much of the Mueller Report. And it is spectacular

Last entry/ The special counsel investigation has already delivered the evidence we need to take action to remove from office a corruptly compromised president who, in the word of veteran reporter Carl Bernstein, “helped Putin destabilize the United States.”


#150

Just announced…Mueller’s report is close to being ready.

:boom::boom::boom:

The Washington Post: Mueller investigation is ‘close to being completed,’ acting attorney general says
Mueller investigation is ‘close to being completed,’ acting attorney general says

Acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker said Monday that he has been “fully briefed” on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and that, “right now, the investigation is close to being completed.”
This is a developing story. It will be updated.


#151

More evidence to explore…what could be on the electronics of Roger Stone. Takes some time to get at all of it, so the question of the end of Mueller’s investigation may be premature.

The clear implication is that any truly incriminating communications would have been conducted in encrypted form — and thus could be obtained only directly from Mr. Stone’s own phones and laptops. And while Mr. Stone likely has limited value as a cooperating witness — it’s hard to put someone on the stand after charging them with lying to obstruct justice — the charges against him provide leverage in the event his cooperation is needed to unlock those devices by supplying a cryptographic passphrase.

Of course, Mr. Mueller is likely interested in his communications with Trump campaign officials, but the detailed charges filed against the Russian hackers alleged to have broken into the Democratic National Committee’s servers also show the special counsel’s keen interest in Mr. Stone’s communications with the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” an identity said to have been used as a front for the Russian intruders. By Mr. Stone’s own admission, he had a brief exchange with “Guccifer” via private Twitter messages. On Mr. Stone’s account, Guccifer enthusiastically offered his assistance — at the same time we now know Mr. Stone was vigorously pursuing advance knowledge of what other embarrassing material stolen from Mr. Trump’s opponents might soon be released — and Mr. Stone failed to even dignify the offer with a reply. With no easy way of getting hold of “Guccifer’s” cellphone, searching Mr. Stone’s devices might be the only reliable way for the special counsel to discover whether the conversation in fact continued on a more “secure line.”

Yet if Mr. Mueller is indeed less interested in Mr. Stone than the potential evidence on his phones and computers, the conventional wisdom that the special counsel probe is wrapping up — and could issue a final report as soon as next month — seems awfully implausible. Digital forensics takes time, and a single device could easily hold many thousands of messages to sift through. And if this really is the first time Mr. Mueller’s office is seeing the most sensitive communications from a key figure like Mr. Stone, it’s likely they’ll come away with new leads to follow and new questions to pose to other witnesses.

We may ultimately look back on Mr. Stone’s arrest not as the beginning of the special counsel’s endgame, but the point when the investigation began to really heat up


#152

If this is true, it’s hard to imagine the investigation is “close to being completed.”

A defense attorney for Andrew Miller, who’s fighting a subpoena from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, learned Monday afternoon that the special counsel still wants witness testimony for a federal grand jury.

Paul Kamenar, the defense attorney, says the assertion from Mueller’s team made clear to him that Mueller and the Justice Department are considering an additional indictment of Roger Stone or have plans to charge others.


#153

Anyone who lied before Congress last year is now looking at the very real possibility of being indicted. Trump Jr. is a case in point as Senator Blumenthal of the Senate Judiciary Committee makes abundantly clear (see 6:35).

And here Congressman Mike Quigley of the House Judiciary Committee calls out Erik Prince and Trump Jr. – he’s careful with his language, but there’s no doubt he is convinced they both lied while testifying (see 4:00).


#154

Here’s a succinct snapshot of the investigations involving Trump. Sometimes my mind boggles with all the investigative threads I’m trying to keep track of – a piece like this helps clear my head as it maps out the big picture clearly and simply.


#155

The emails between Felix Sater and Michael Cohen are so damning…I keep looking for the most consequential evidence that nails T…and while these are behind-the-scenes chattering, these two are obviously linked to T, and it seems this could be ‘it.’

The NYT’s was on this story a couple of years ago.

The associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin. He predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would highlight Mr. Trump’s savvy negotiating skills and be a political boon to his candidacy.

Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

and the Buzzfeed drop of the actual emails (see WTF entry -Day 733 )


#156

Breaking…

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.

Wait for further analysis…it is a LONG document.


#157

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! :mag: :eyes:

BTW, I would have loved to be the proverbial fly on the wall during the wholly redacted bench discussion on p. 94.


#158

HA! yes…all veeeeeerrrry mysterious, isn’t it.

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.


#159

Profile on Mueller from USA Today -

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:

“Nope."

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.’

"And I mean that in a good way," Chertoff said.


#160

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.”