WTF Community

Day 603

Updated 9/14/2018 10:54 AM PDT

1/ Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to fully cooperate with Robert Mueller. While the details about what kind of information Manafort agreed to provide the special counsel remain unclear, a judge asked Manafort, "You understand that you are agreeing to cooperate fully and truly" in the agreement? To which Manafort replied, "I do." Manafort also agreed to forfeit multiple properties and bank accounts, participate in interviews, provide documents, and testify. (ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Legal experts are trying to figure out next steps for Mueller for his written report that would be delivered to the DOJ’s Rod Rosenstein, and what parts of it may come to light, if the President/Giuliani decide to place Executive Privilege as a way to keep the report confidential.

@charlie_savage (NYt)

Breaking: Three prominent legal analysts ask judge to unseal a long-secret Watergate grand jury report to Congress, saying it offers a model for what Mueller can do if and when he complete his collusion/obstruction investigation.

WASHINGTON — A question has loomed over Washington: What will the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, do when he wraps up his investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia and whether President Trump obstructed justice?

The leading theory is that Mr. Mueller will write a report for his supervisor at the Justice Department. That could lead to a new fight: Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has suggested that the White House may then invoke executive privilege and order the Justice Department to keep portions of such a report confidential from Congress.

But there is historical precedent for another model. Echoing a move by the Watergate prosecutor in March 1974, the grand jury with which Mr. Mueller has been working could try to send a report about the evidence it has gathered directly to the House Judiciary Committee. And on Friday, seeking to draw more attention to that option, three prominent legal analysts asked a court to lift a veil of secrecy that has long kept that Watergate-era report hidden.

Specifically, the petition asks a judge to unseal a report that Leon Jaworski, the Watergate prosecutor, used to send Congress the evidence he had gathered about President Richard M. Nixon’s misconduct.


ooops…meant to put this here!

BOOM :boom:

By Quinta Jurecic
Friday, September 14, 2018, 9:32 AM

The special counsel’s office has filed a superseding criminal information in the case against Paul Manafort. The document is available here and below. The plea agreement and statement of offense are also available below.

Our prior coverage of the Manafort case is available here.


Another indictment potential which is against a former Obama WH counsel Greg Craig.

Federal prosecutors in New York are weighing criminal charges against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig as part of an investigation into whether he failed to register as a foreign agent in a probe that is linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In addition, these sources said, prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are considering taking action against powerhouse law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where Craig was a partner during the activity under examination. Prosecutors are considering a civil settlement with the firm or a deferred prosecution agreement with Skadden, these sources said.

An attorney for Craig, who left the Skadden firm in April and who was White House counsel under President Barack Obama during the first year of that administration, said his client “was not required to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.” A spokeswoman for Skadden didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A deferred prosecution agreement is an agreement not to prosecute an entity as long as the defendant complies with the conditions of the agreement, and in many cases it dictates that the defendant must commit no new crimes for its duration. The charges in the agreement are then dropped at the end of the period.


Some revelatory information regarding time period that Manafort pleaded guilty to…

@DavidCornDC Mother Jones

David Corn Retweeted Mark Warner

Remember, while Manafort was running Trump’s campaign, he was working w/ his longtime partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer who still had ties to Russian intel, and using KK as a go-between with Oleg Deripaska to whom Manafort owed tens of millions.


Today’s admission of criminal guilt by Paul Manafort clearly demonstrates that the President’s 2016 campaign manager conducted illegal activity in conspiracy with Russian-backed entities and was beholden to Kremlin-linked officials.


Where’s Pence in all this…?

@tribelaw Laurence Tribe (Law Professor)

Anyone recall who hand-picked Pence as Trump’s VP? Paul Manafort. And recall who led the squirrely transition? Mike Pence. Watch what unfolds as Manafort tells Mueller all he knows!
1:16 PM - 14 Sep 2018

Jennifer Rubin
@JRubinBlogger (Jennifer Rubin - Wapo)
3h3 hours ago
Replying to @tribelaw

Who carried fake cover story on Comey firing? Pence. Who carried misinformation about Flynn’s convers with Russians? Same


The Superseding Criminal Information is absolutely riveting – really, I’m not kidding. It’s about a 30-minute read and, if you have the time, I would highly recommend you peruse it – or at least pop it open and dive in at a few points. (Don’t be turned off by the length: The first 38 pages (all triple-spaced) are the juicy part – you can skip the whole second half which is comprised of attachments – you’ll only want to wade through those if you’re a super sleuth).

The title alone pulls you in, right? Superseding Criminal Information – I say, “Bring it on!” And the opening line is indeed ominous – you can almost hear the Law and Order “dun dun” soundtrack in the background: “The Special Counsel Informs the Court:” [munch on fistful of popcorn before proceeding].

Here are some highlights:

MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work.

In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT funneled millions of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by him and his underlings in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including Cyprus, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (Grenadines), and the United Kingdom.

I love that prhase “In furtherance of the scheme” – it’s repeated several times to introduce additional nefarious acts.

In furtherance of the scheme, MANAFORT used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. MANAFORT, without reporting the income to his bookkeeper or tax preparers or to the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to United States vendors.

Manafort laundered more than $30 million to buy property, goods, and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. MANAFORT cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes.

THE SCHEME: . . . Between in or around 2006 and 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, MANAFORT and others devised and intended to devise, and executed and attempted to execute, a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises from the United States, banks, and other financial institutions.

“Artifice to defraud” – now that’s downright poetic. And note that the crimes extend into 2017!

From 2008 to 2014, MANAFORT caused the following wires, totaling over $12,000,000, to be sent to the vendors listed below for personal items. MANAFORT did not pay taxes on this income, which was used to make the purchases.

Then follows 9 pages detailing millions of dollars illegal wire transfers made as part of Manafort’s money laundering and tax evasion schemes. Here’s a sample page. BTW, I’m planning a kitchen remodel and my entire budget is in the ballpark of what Manafort spent on just one day of shopping for designer suits at Alan Couture with his dirty money. (I guess one consolation for Manafort is that while he’s a guest of the Federal Government he’ll be getting his suits for free.)

The filing goes on to describe Manafort’s dirty tricks perpetrated during his time as an unregistered lobbyist – plus, his bumbling foray into ineffectual witness tampering. I’ve cherry picked from these sections some samples of Manafort’s more colorful language: “push[ed] [w]ith no fingerprints” – “[m]y goal is to plant some stink on Tymo” – “[O]bama jews” – “a fig leaf on a fig leaf” – "It’s like Alice in Wonderland."

Next come the two charges to which Manafort is pleading guilty:

  • Count One: Conspiracy Against the United States - which includes charges of money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR), violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and just plain lying to the Feds.

  • Count Two: Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice (Witness Tampering) - the crime Manafort committed along with Kilimnik before his first trial.

[Note to Trump: As you like to so smugly remind us, “collusion” is not technically a crime, but it can be part of a “conspiracy” which is a crime – just ask Manafort.]

The document concludes with the satisfying “Forfeiture” section:

PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, involved in such offense, and any property traceable to such property, and any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offense . . .

This is followed by a detailed accounting of all said properties and assets. I can’t imagine Manafort’s going to be left with much of anything since he’s forfeiting all his ill-gotten gains and that’s pretty much everything since 2006 (listed in the first paragraph as the start date of these crimes). I’ll bet he’s regretting not accepting a pay check for his time as Campaign Chairman – maybe Trump will pay him retroactively. :wink:


@dragonfly9, I should admit that was less of an evaluation and more of a “fluff post” – I think I was just giddy that the plea deal really happened and, most importantly, included a cooperation agreement. I was pretty much just gleefully zooming through the document and recommending the same “high” to everybody else.

Leave it to Rachel Maddow to step in and do the heavy lifting. You may have seen her show this evening – it was very encouraging because she laid out the substantive reasons why this plea deal will have far reaching ramifications – and it may turn out to be more than we had even hoped for. So, with apologies to Maddow, here’s a sampling of the points she made:

1/ The cooperation agreement that is part of the deal is remarkably far reaching (I didn’t appreciate this until Maddow spelled it out). Rachel called it a “Full Monty.” :smile: She’s referring to the fact that Manafort really is required to “bare it all” when it comes to Mueller’s investigation – and any other investigation for which he may be called upon to cooperate. Notably:

  • Manafort’s lawyer cannot be present when he is called in to provide information unless a written request is submitted in advance – and Maddow made it sound as if this request could be denied. This is a big deal – Manafort may be all alone while answering investigators’ questions with no one to shore him up or counsel him. This makes it much more likely that he will be truthful because he’ll be feeling vulnerable while sweating possible perjury charges that could negate his entire deal.

  • Manafort was returned to jail after appearing in court and he will remain there until he has cooperated in all of the investigations in which he is called upon to assist. Maddow wondered if this might take years. And only then will he be sentenced – and even after that, he’s still on the hook to be called back to testify anytime in the future he’s needed.

2/ There’s also some intrigue mixed in with a dash of foreshadowing. Among Manafort’s unregistered lobbying projects in the U.S. in 2012 was a smear campaign against a “senior Cabinet official” – this campaign was designed to benefit the pro-Russian Ukrainians who were paying Manafort (see p. 22 of the filing for details). Maddow identifies that Cabinet official as Hillary Clinton! Wow – it’s a small world. Could this be a portent of charges Mueller may file in the future against another, more highly placed “person of interest” in his investigation? – Charges that also involve secret schemes to smear Hillary Clinton for the benefit of Russian interests?

Maddow concludes with these words:

This is the eighth person convicted or pleading guilty in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the election. Robert Mueller is now batting a thousand in terms of convictions and guilty pleas from everybody who he has pursued in court. He’s also now batting a thousand in securing cooperation from every single American who has been charged in this case, including, the President’s National Security Advisor, the President’s Deputy Campaign Chair, and now the President’s Campaign Chairman who himself has decades worth of links to the former Soviet Union and whose business partner is believed by the FBI to be himself linked to Russian Intelligence agencies.

That has got to be a sobering status report for Trump’s legal team to absorb.

Footnote: One of the properties Manafort has forfeited is his condo in Trump Tower. I’ll admit to a touch of schadenfreude here. It makes me smile to consider that this may be just the first slice of the Tower that Mueller will be reclaiming for the American people. And can you imagine how Trump feels knowing the Feds are now “staked out” (so to speak) somewhere in his building? There’s a small gem of cosmic justice here. :gem:


Just wow.

The New Yorker and The Atlantic both have good insight pieces on the implications of Manafort’s plea deal. Here’s the one from The Atlantic.


Speculative observations and what kind of critical witness that Manafort would be in light of Manafort’s taking a plea to cooperate with Mueller.

Would Manafort ever be pardoned? Yes, but very difficult to unring this bell with T’s pardon powers. But all agree that T should have pardoned Manafort sooner… but it would not help T on obstruction charges.

Could prez pardon power be constitutional/legal…? If T does try to pardon, and stop Manafort from testifying…it may be both witness tampering, or obstruction.

Jimmy Carter did pardon everyone who protested the Vietnam War.

Could the plea agreement be ‘trumped’ by a presidential pardon? Yes, it could happen…but it would be an unambiguous impeachable offense. (all agreed)

They think that if anyone would get a pardon, it would be Don Junior…

Complex legal discussion…about 50 mins.


Wide divisions within the spectrum of Whites of who is supporting T, and a lot depends on education level.

@AlecMacGillis (ProPublica)

One of the starkest graphs I’ve seen showing the education gap among white voters (via Economist):


1 Like

Poised to help the Nation…T and back-up man, Pence ready for disaster.
Check out the photos the WH distributed.

Keeping on a Presidential message footing.


The White House distributed this image to reporters on purpose earlier this evening:

The name of the woman who revealed that Kavanaugh tried to assault her - attempted rape has come forward. Glad she decided to do this…Although Kavanaugh (and WH) continues to deny that the event took place, glad she is putting a face to this situation.

It could stall the nomination process, if not derail it. But not holding my breath. :expressionless:

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.

Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.

Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.

In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, the White House sent The Post a statement Kavanaugh issued last week, when the outlines of Ford’s account first became public: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Through a White House spokesman, Kavanaugh declined to comment further on Ford’s allegation and did not respond to questions about whether he knew her during high school. The White House had no additional comment.

Reached by email Sunday, Judge declined to comment. In an interview Friday with The Weekly Standard, before Ford’s name was known, he denied that any such incident occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge said. He told the New York Times that Kavanaugh was a “brilliant student” who loved sports and was not “into anything crazy or illegal.”

As the story snowballed, Ford said, she heard people repeating inaccuracies about her and, with the visits from reporters, felt her privacy being chipped away. Her calculation changed.

These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she said, explaining her decision to come forward. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”

Katz said she believes Feinstein honored Ford’s request to keep her allegation confidential, but “regrettably others did not.”

“Victims must have the right to decide whether to come forward, especially in a political environment that is as ruthless as this one,” Katz said. “She will now face vicious attacks by those who support this nominee.”


Good thought! And I admire her courage – she will face bitter attacks – and she’s probably thinking of her family whose lives will be up-ended as well. Her bravery may make a real difference – the coming days will tell.


WOW - Two R’s asking for a delay in the nomination vote - Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen Bob Corker (R-TN). Grassley wants to go full steam ahead.

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court hit a serious roadblock Sunday night, as GOP Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake said he is uncomfortable voting to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination later this week after the nominee’s sexual assault accuser went public.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is not a member of the committee but whose vote is critical to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, similarly said late Sunday that the committee should pause.


This just in…Murkowski indicates she thinks a delay on the vote would be good.:+1:

1 Like

More R traction, and especially from Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) who along w/ Murkowski are pivotal votes.


Joyce Alene Retweeted Sen. Susan Collins

I hope her GOP brethren hear her & agree. But this can’t be a weaponized process that repeats the disrespect & dismissal of Anita Hill’s testimony.


Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee.
9:03 AM - 17 Sep 2018


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Great job @Keaton_James pouring through the ‘document,’ good analysis and with sound effects…dun, dun…dun. :joy:

Quite honestly, I was hoping you’d evaluate it…I just go for the more jarring points - See Manafort caught with all his ill-gotten purchases, his role as a treason-weasel and heading for real jail time. See Manafort’s need to flip (not trusting anything T no more.) See Manafort plead thru many proffers what kinds of deals he can get. (MSNBC Ari Melber’s show mentioned this.) . See Manafort getting what he can. See another witch get hunted down. And WTF - See T being quiet…super quiet. Dun, dun…dun.

I had fixated onto the expenditures alone, and had all sorts of WTFing head shaking moments. I do see that ‘artifice to defraud’ is actually quite poetic, and give high praise to the Andrew Weissmann team who tore through Manafort’s artifice, and flipped him.

In one of the beginning chapters of ‘Fear’, Manafort is described as wearing a Sea Captain’s type suit with ascot I believe at the Bedford Golf club, when meeting up with Bannon and T in the initial meeting. And on pg 20, Bannon is described as having forgotten that Twitter was a public space, and he should get rid of his “following” the midtown swingers and bondgage club Decadence. WTF.

Big :boom: day.

Read more on how terrifying Andrew Weissmann is and particularly with the ‘no knock.’ raid

They arrived before dawn, forced the front door lock and burst in with a no-knock warrant, tactics typically used in a major drug bust. The agents seized Manafort’s tax, banking and real estate records, photographed his expensive antiques and tailored suits, and hauled away a trove of material.

"If there’s something wrong, Andrew Weissmann is the type of person who won’t freakin’ give up,’’ said Mary Flood, a lawyer who tracked the Enron cases as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle.