All Things Trump/Russia! (Resources)


Putting this Opinion piece from NYT on what is going on with Manafort here, since he is one of the key players in this Mueller investigation. WHy was Manafort double-dealing with Mueller, going back and forth with T’s shared lawyers.

Some possible hypotheses

Now we learn that his cooperation was squirrelly and incomplete, a series of prevarications that obviously infuriated the prosecutors, who gave him one final 10-day chance to play it straight. But he did not heed the warning and now is unlikely to ever leave prison absent a pardon from President Trump. Which leads us to:

Hypothesis No. 1: The Pardon Promise

Did the president secretly promise to rescue Mr. Manafort, so long as he resisted Mr. Mueller? That would make sense of his otherwise confounding conduct. But the chain of implausibilities is long.

The prospect of a pardon was always in the mix, including when Mr. Manafort made his initial decision to cooperate. For it to suffice to change his mind now, it would have to have become all the more certain. But that would entail some communication, from the president, through two intermediaries (one in the Trump camp and one in the Manafort camp) and on to Mr. Manafort in prison, where all his conversations are monitored.

The perils for all those participants in such a crass scheme would be enormous. If discovered, it would mean assured conviction for witness tampering and, if any of the intermediaries was a lawyer, disbarment. For the president, it most likely would trigger impeachment, and even conviction in the Senate could not be counted out. Finally, for Mr. Manafort, it would require a measure of Mr. Trump’s good faith that nobody acquainted with the president’s track record could comfortably have. And it would still not shield him from near-certain prosecution for related state crimes.

Hypothesis No. 2: The Assassination Fixation

Some commentators have suggested that Mr. Manafort’s lifetime of shady dealings with the Russian government have left him more afraid of life on the outside, where he could be vulnerable to a poison needle anytime, than of the safe confines of a federal prison.

This scenario was always out of the most imaginative Le Carré novel, and it is the sheer unlikelihood of the other alternatives, combined with Mr. Manafort’s intransigence, that makes it a contender at all. The problem with it at this point is that there’s no reason to think that any of the cloak-and-dagger circumstances would have changed. If Mr. Manafort most feared the spy’s comeuppance, he wouldn’t have agreed to cooperate, and earn a much reduced sentence, in the first place. So that hypothesis doesn’t help explain Mr. Manafort’s decision to double-cross Mr. Mueller.

Hypothesis No. 3: The Bad Gambler

Perhaps Mr. Manafort, who has enjoyed a lifelong reputation as a swashbuckling big-time gambler, is simply a lousy poker player. He blinked when the pot got too big and opted to fold, forfeiting what he’d already spent. But then some combination of unsettled resolve and a lifetime of lying as an M.O. made him hope that he could eat his cake and have it too — that he could lie his way out of the situation. This is not exactly irrational, but it is colossally stupid, particularly when playing across the table from Mr. Mueller and not knowing the cards the special counsel was holding.

Those cards will now be revealed as a consequence of Mr. Manafort’s dithering. He will proceed directly to sentencing, in connection with which Mr. Mueller will provide the court with detailed proof of Mr. Manafort’s lies during the aborted cooperation period.

That means evidence of the truthful answers to the questions lied about. Considering that Mr. Manafort’s cooperation almost certainly had to involve the highest targets and most important evidence, that memorandum will be a treasure trove of as-yet-unknown fruits of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, particularly into the possible connection of the campaign with Russian meddling in the election. It could conceivably contain Mr. Mueller’s understanding of Tuesday’s report, in The Guardian, that Mr. Manafort met with Julian Assange multiple times, including in March 2016, just before he took the helm of the Trump campaign, a job he was so desperate to have that he agreed to work free.

For that reason, the memorandum may be filed under seal, but even so, it operates as a hedge against the possibility that Mr. Mueller’s report might eventually be bottled up at the Department of Justice, for example under the order of Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. It will ultimately be for the court, not Mr. Whitaker, to unseal the document.

As for the formerly high-flying Mr. Manafort, he has nothing left to wager with. He is, permanently, a luckless wretch, out of options and tapped out. He has become a gambler’s worst nightmare.


It’s very telling to scroll through this info-graphic. Trump just can’t get his lies straight. :lying_face:


Here is another excellent compilation of the lies Trump told about his relationship with Russia. Fact check reporter for the NYT, Linda Qiu, neatly summarizes the dozens of times Trump flat out lied about his Russian connections. Each occurrence is backed up by solid documentation.


Analysis of where we are vis-a-vis The Steele Dossier…done by the folks at Lawfareblog. Thorough analysis…and nuanced detail from what we know publicly and what has happened.


…there is also a good deal in the dossier that has not been corroborated in the official record and perhaps never will be—whether because it’s untrue, unimportant or too sensitive. As a raw intelligence document, the Steele dossier, we believe, holds up well so far. But surely there is more to come from Mueller’s team. We will return to it as the public record develops.


Of course Putin is pleased…


Oh good golly, what the fork is this now?!!

US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

In an astonishing departure from protocol, documents show that at the same time the requests were being made, Treasury officials were using their government email accounts to send messages back and forth with a network of private Hotmail and Gmail accounts set up by the Russians, rather than communicating through the secure network usually used to exchange information with other countries.


More on Russian techniques going after social media with LA based Your Digital Face…on WSJ (paywall)

Small excerpt WSJ

Russian Operation Targeted U.S. Business Owners
Operatives posed as digital marketing startup to take control of businesses’ social-media accounts

By Shelby Holliday and
Rob Barry
Dec. 20, 2018 3:52 p.m. ET

The Russian operation to influence Americans through social media included an effort to persuade business owners to buy into a marketing campaign and turn over private information, an examination by The Wall Street Journal found.

The effort was fronted by Russian operatives posing as a savvy Los Angeles based start up called Your Digital Face. The group recruited American business owners as customers, and for a monthly fee, promised to post snappy marketing content on the businesss owner’s social media pages and score them thousands.


Good resource on T and Russia - from the producers of and lawyer Steven Harper

Up-to-date articles/sources for all the people held within Mueller’s purview for the Russia Investigation.

Here’s an entry for what T’s file looks like.


Here’s that Manafort doc that if you copy and paste into word processor, the redacted become readable. It’s been kicking around in a tab on my browser but I haven’t tried it. Have fun!


Another good source for overviews on the Russian Investigation

It is supported by liberal groups Center for American Progress…and funded by G. Soros, and many more. So read it as a source with very liberal bent…It links to a lot of MSM news.

It looks to be chock full of information…


:pushpin: Excellent Roger Stone Analysis piece from The NY Times.


NY Times did a phenomenal job putting together an interactive map to give an overview of all the contacts that the Russians had with the Trump campaign and Roger Stone. It is very detailed and easy to read.

Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration


During the 2016 presidential campaign and transition, Donald J. Trump and at least 17 campaign officials and advisers had contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, a New York Times analysis has found. At least 10 other associates were told about interactions but did not have any themselves.

Knowledge of these interactions is based on New York Times reporting, documents submitted to Congress, and court records and accusations related to the special counsel investigating foreign interference in the election.

Benjamin Wittes gives THIS a :boom:


This could serve as a handy reference as the investigations into Trump’s finances ramp up. It’s a very deep dive into the much publicized loans that Trump received from Deutsche bank as well as lesser known loans from Ladder Capital Finance. The suitable-for-framing info-graphic alone makes it worth bookmarking.


It is in Russia’s interest to hound the US Courts and hope to damage the system.
Not only was there the leaked and manipulated evidence from the Concord case, but there have been other situations as well.

Michelle Estlund, a criminal-defense attorney who focuses on international criminal prosecutions and politically motivated prosecutions, told me last year that the problem is that while the U.S. courts operate in good faith to assist Russian authorities, the Russian courts frequently do not. “Our courts act like, and think that, they are operating on the same type of playing field as the Russians,” Estlund said. “But they’re not. The system there is completely different from here. And when the courts are properly responding to what appears to be a legally authorized request for assistance with discovery, often what they’re doing is assisting with an extremely corrupt court proceeding.” Another lawyer who follows this phenomenon closely and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press echoed Estlund’s assessment. “The Russians have figured out how to weaponize this,” he said. “We have this tremendous system of justice here, which isn’t equipped to address nonjudicial questions like ‘Is this litigant seeking to abuse our entire judicial system?’ ”


Informative 3 min. video “explainer” about Grand Juries from the WaPo



Here are some more “legal explainers.”

Lately, I’ve been tossing around the term “money laundering,” but it suddenly occurred to me I only have a vague notion of what that crime actually entails. In looking for answers, I came across these awesome explainers, expertly and engagingly written by Randall Eliason, a law professor at George Washington University specializing in white collar crime. He is also a contributing columnist at The Washington Post and a former federal prosecutor.

While nailing down the legal definition of money laundering, Professor Eliason uses some examples from the Mueller probe – since these pieces were written last year, some of those examples are from the same time frame, but his explanations are as relevant as ever – in fact, you can immediately apply them to the recent Paul Erickson indictment.

Part 1 covers domestic money laundering:

Part 2 focuses on international money laundering:

And here’s a “bonus explainer” on RICO, the body of laws related to racketeering. Writing in January, 2018, Eliason explains that, knowing what we knew at the time, the RICO statutes would probably not apply in the Mueller investigation. However, after reading this, and knowing what we know now, it seems to me that we are much closer to a point where the RICO laws might come into play – especially in regards to David Pecker’s National Enquirer, considering the multiple allegations of extortion and blackmail that have been leveled against it (see @matt’s “The Showdown: Bezos vs A.M.I.” in Day 750).


Thanks for all the legal explainers…very helpful @Keaton_James

Yes, this type of mob-like behavior could fall within the RICO guidelines, since pressure and graft/extortion vrs punishing photos would be the levers to be used to get Bezos to stop investigation on Saudi killings in Wapo (allegedly!)

But looking into RICO more, and hearing it being discussed particularly within the SDNY context, the statute of limitations for this crime is 4 years. So the Stormy/McDougal payment happened with in the final part of the campaign - Oct 2016, and prosecutors would have until Oct 2020 to file RICO charges looks like.

RICO Act itself does not contain a statute of limitations but the Supreme Court has held that civil RICO claims are subject to a four-year statute of limitations.


Thanks for the post that explains money laundering. The more I read, the more I’m finding a lack of common definition of many terms. The textbook definition of socialism, progressivism, conservative, liberal, populism are not adhered to by everyone. How can we have a decent discussion if we don’t even agree what terms mean.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. I get tired of trying to figure out different people, including some of my friends.


from a Russian source


Lol…moving this to humor

'Lil misposting error and in wrong section…am deep in this WTF-ery. :rofl: