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Thread: The Trump Presidency

  1. #2206
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Irony is dead and buried, it's with Spanky in the grave............


    CROOKED IVANKA ... WAPO'S CAROL LEONNIG and JOSH DAWSEY: "Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year":"Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.


    "White House ethics officials learned of Trump's repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.


    "The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter's practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her 'Crooked Hillary' for using a personal email account as secretary of state." WaPo


    -- FLASHBACK: JOSH DAWSEY in POLITICO on Sept. 24, 2017: "Kushner used private email to conduct White House business"
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  2. #2207
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    -- "Trump to give Mueller written answers by Thanksgiving," by Eliana Johnson and Darren Samuelsohn: "President Donald Trump will give special counsel Robert Mueller written responses to a slate of questions as early as Tuesday. Trump's lawyers set an informal Thanksgiving deadline for the president to finalize his responses on topics surrounding the Russian hacking of the 2016 election, and he's almost ready to submit them, according to two sources familiar with the conversations." POLITICO



    -- DARREN SAMUELSOHN: "Mueller says powers still intact amid DOJ overhaul": "Robert Mueller's top attorney said Monday that the special counsel's investigative powers remain fully intact despite the recent change atop the Justice Department that gives Mueller's team a new supervisor. Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who represents Mueller, told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker taking charge of the Russia probe 'neither alters the special counsel's authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue.'" POLITICO
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  3. #2208
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    An early confirmation of the dictum that "elections have consequences".

    WaPo......

    House panel to investigate whether Ivanka Trump violated federal law by using personal email account for government business
    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Tuesday that the committee launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials' use of private email accounts, but the White House never provided the requested information. Cummings said Congress needs the information to ensure Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and other officials are complying with federal record laws. "My goal is to prevent this from happening again — not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton," Cummings said.
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  4. #2209
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    THE INVESTIGATIONS ...
    -- DARREN SAMUELSOHN: "Mueller got some answers, but he's not done with Trump,": "President Donald Trump on Tuesday finally submitted a set of written responses to Robert Mueller, signaling that he was done for good with the special counsel's questions. But Mueller is far from done with him.


    "The special counsel still wants to question the president over his actions while in the White House — Tuesday's answers only covered Russian hacking during the 2016 election. It's a fight that could result in a historic subpoena and eventual Supreme Court ruling, pulling a defiant Trump into a legal squabble that could set groundbreaking precedent for presidential investigations for years to come. Depending on how the battle plays out, House Democrats may even try and pounce and launch impeachment proceedings.


    "Things could get explosive fast. Next comes the perilous round of negotiations between Trump's lawyers and Mueller's prosecutors covering topics like Trump's intentions when firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. That line of questioning — which Trump says he shouldn't have to answer — is tied to Mueller's ongoing obstruction of justice investigation." POLITICO



    THE INVESTIGATIONS ... JOSH GERSTEIN: "Mueller says Manafort breached plea deal by lying": "Special counsel Robert Mueller is accusing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of violating the plea deal he agreed to earlier this year by repeatedly lying to prosecutors and FBI agents during recent debriefing sessions.


    "In a report filed with a federal judge Monday evening,
    Mueller's office alleged that Manafort 'committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters.' Prosecutors said the alleged lies leave Manafort exposed to the possibility of a more severe prison sentence under federal guidelines, but they did not elaborate on what exactly he allegedly lied about." POLITICO





    Absent pardon, Manafort could spend life in prison
    Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort continued to repeatedly lie after his plea agreement, special counsel Robert Mueller said in a stunning filing last evening.

    • "Prosecutors ... said Mr. Manafort’s 'crimes and lies' ... relieve them of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. But under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Manafort cannot withdraw his guilty plea," per the N.Y. Times.
    • Why it matters, from WashPost: "Mueller’s team may have lost its potentially most valuable witness."

    MSNBC's Chris Hayes said this "sure looks like a last-minute play to be pardoned."

    • Ron Klain added later on MSNBC that we're "one step closer to a constitutional crisis": If Trump pardons Manafort, "that really is smack dab in the middle of a president essentially pardoning himself for cooperating with a foreign power in the presidential campaign."
    • "The crescendo is building. The music is rising here. We're headed to something very significant here in the next few days."

    P.S. ... N.Y. Times, 45 years ago today: "President Nixon's personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, testified in Federal District Court in Washington that through some 'terrible mistake' she had pressed the wrong button on her tape recorder and thus caused an 18‐minute 'gap' on one of the subpoenaed Watergate tape recordings."
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  5. #2210
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    Having observed tradition and stayed silent prior to the mid-terms the Mueller operation is making headlines again.




    THE INVESTIGATIONS ...
    -- "Manafort's Lawyer Said to Brief Trump Attorneys on What He Told Mueller," by NYT's Michael Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere and Maggie Haberman: "A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, repeatedly briefed President Trump's lawyers on his client's discussions with federal investigators after Mr. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, according to one of Mr. Trump's lawyers and two other people familiar with the conversations.



    "The arrangement was highly unusual and inflamed tensions with the special counsel's office when prosecutors discovered it after Mr. Manafort began cooperating two months ago, the people said.



    "Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid by Mr. Manafort for a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in hopes of a lighter sentence. Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president's personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on Tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insights into the special counsel's inquiry and where it was headed. Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Mr. Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations campaign against Mr. Mueller's office." NYT



    -- DARREN SAMUELSOHN foreshadowed this in an Oct. 8 story: "Trump team's contact with Mueller targets could taint findings"



    -- CNN'S SARA MURRAY and KATELYN POLANTZ: "Stone's efforts to seek WikiLeaks documents detailed in draft Mueller document": "Draft court filings obtained by CNN outline significant insights into what special counsel Robert Mueller may know about Roger Stone's efforts to seek documents from WikiLeaks in 2016.



    "Mueller's office was preparing to tell a federal court that Stone pushed an associate to get documents from WikiLeaks -- information that is now known to be stolen from the Democrats by Russian hackers -- that could help the Trump campaign, according to a draft of a court filing and other documents shared with CNN by Stone associate and conservative author Jerome Corsi." CNN




    Evidence is mounting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving toward further indictments — and perhaps some big ones, with an end-of-year flurry of activity, Garrett M. Graff reports for Axios.



    Graff — one of the most astute Mueller-watchers, and author of a bookfocused on his dozen years as FBI director — sees six signs that a Mueller climax may be accelerating:

    1. Mueller is tightening the screws on Jerome Corsi, a friend of former Trump adviser Roger Stone. A plea deal — or charges — appear imminent.
    2. Ecuador may be moving toward turning over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The government removed its Assange-backing U.K. ambassador last week, and has prohibited his lawyers from meeting with him. The report yesterday by The Guardian that Assange and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may have met repeatedly — denied by Manafort and Assange — raises the stakes dramatically.
    3. Russian spy and NRA superfan Maria Butina is reported to be in talks for a plea deal.
    4. A number of Mueller’s prosecutors were hard at work on Veterans Day —when Michael Cohen took the train to Washington to talk to Mueller's team.
    5. ABC News reported an "unusually high" number — nearly three dozen, in fact — of sealed indictments filed over the course of the year in D.C. Fourteen of those have been added since August, a period when Mueller’s investigation was publicly quiet.
    6. And this big one: President Trump last week finally turned inlong-awaited written answers to Mueller’s investigators. His story — or at least a version of it — is now locked in. By doing so, Trump tacitly acknowledged Mueller's authority, despite tweeting last night: "The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace."

    Since Mueller laid low while waiting for Trump’s responses, the special counsel may have wanted to avoid taking any action that might spook the president.

    • Mueller appears to have been thinking this through carefully — not rocking the boat while he waited out Trump. His team delayed a mid-November hearing, where prosecutors were supposed to discuss Paul Manafort’s "lack of cooperation." They made that accusation Monday, after Trump’s answers were in hand.

    So the timeline looks like it's speeding up, after four months of near-silence from Mueller. Manafort's lack of cooperation might be the opening needed to file Mueller's most explosive findings in public shortly.

    • That could include new information about that mysterious 2016 Trump Tower meeting, or details about a possible Assange connection.
    • Based on Monday's court filing, Mueller apparently hopes to quickly issue a "report" on Manafort’s activities to the court, one that — if it’s anything like other documents Mueller has filed thus far — will be more informed, more knowledgeable, and more detailed than we can imagine.

    Be smart: We've been surprised at every turn by how much Mueller knows.

    • Go deeper: Garrett M. Graff for WIRED, "Robert Mueller's endgame may be in sight."

    Mueller has lots of unrevealed email
    "Conservative author Jerome Corsi alerted longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone in early August 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to release material damaging to ... Hillary Clinton, including documents related to her campaign chairman John Podesta, according to a draft court filing," the WashPost reports.

    • "Corsi emailed Stone about WikiLeaks’s plans nearly 10 weeks before the group published Podesta’s hacked emails in October, according to the document, which was prepared by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as part of plea negotiations with Corsi that have collapsed."
    • Why it matters: This shows Mueller has lots of email we don't know about.

    What's coming, per WashPost: "Mueller has so far charged 32 people in connection with the probe, extracting guilty pleas from several, delving deeply into Russian influence and hacking operations, and compiling reams of unrevealed evidence through a grand jury."
    P.S. The special counsel's office issued a rare public statement, saying Mueller will continue to operate even if there's a government shutdown over Trump's wall:

    • "All employees with the Special Counsel’s Office are considered exempt and will continue their operations in the case of a lapse in appropriations."
    • The Justice Department tells me that's correct: "SCO is funded from a permanent indefinite appropriation and would be unaffected in the event of a shutdown. The appropriation bills before Congress do not touch the SCO."

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  6. #2211
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    THE INVESTIGATIONS ...

    -- WAPO'S MANUEL ROIG-FRANZIA, CAROL LEONNIG, ROS HELDERMAN
    and JOSH DAWSEY: "Trump's night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe": "The calls almost always came deep into the night. Caller ID labeled them 'unknown,' but Roger Stone said he knew to pick up quickly during those harried months of the 2016 presidential campaign. There would be a good chance that the voice on the other end of the line would belong to his decades-long friend — the restless, insomniac candidate Donald Trump — dialing from a blocked phone number.


    "Those nocturnal chats and other contacts
    between the man who now occupies the Oval Office and an infamous political trickster have come under intensifying scrutiny as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation bores into whether Stone served as a bridge between Trump and WikiLeaks as the group was publishing hacked Democratic emails.


    "Mueller's keen interest in their relationship
    was laid out in a draft court document revealed this week in which prosecutors drew a direct line between the two men — referring to Stone as someone understood to be in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials, 'including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.'" WaPo


    -- "Manafort Lied About Business Dealings, Mueller's Team Believes,"
    by WSJ's Aruna Viswanatha and Rebecca Ballhaus: "Paul Manafort's alleged misstatements to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators include comments about his personal business dealings and about his contacts with a former associate in Ukraine, say people familiar with the matter." WSJ


    -- "Trump says pardon for Paul Manafort still a possibility,"
    by the New York Post's Marisa Schultz and Nikki Schwab: "'It was never discussed, but I wouldn't take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?' the president said during an Oval Office interview. He ripped special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and charged that Manafort, former political adviser Roger Stone and Stone's associate Jerome Corsi were all asked to lie by the special counsel. 'If you told the truth, you go to jail,' Trump said." NYP


    -- "Key Mueller witness: I lied and I'm ready to die in jail" -- MSNBC:
    "In a blockbuster interview, key Mueller witness and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi admits to MSNBC's Ari Melber that he lied to Congress, that he tried to get stolen Clinton emails back to the Trump campaign in 2016, that he 'absolutely' intended to help the Trump campaign by doing so, that he told Roger Stone about John Podesta's emails and that his lawyers are still communicating with Trump's legal team 'as if' there is a joint legal defense." MSNBC


    THE SEASON PREMIERE ... STORMY VS. AVENATTI ... "Stormy Daniels: Michael Avenatti Sued Trump For Defamation Against My Wishes,"
    by The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff and Kate Briquelet: "Michael Avenatti sued Donald Trump for defaming Stormy Daniels against her wishes, Daniels told The Daily Beast in a statement on Wednesday. Avenatti also started a new fundraising site to raise money for her legal defense fund without telling her, Daniels said. She said she is not sure whether or not she will keep Avenatti on as her lawyer." Daily Beast


    THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION -- GABBY ORR
    and ELIANA JOHNSON: "U.N. ambassador hunt drags on as top candidate fades": "The hunt for a new United Nations ambassador — a job for which State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was once considered a lock but is now out of contention — has faced repeated delays and is running up against Nikki Haley's end-of-year departure date. Meanwhile, a raft of new candidates has emerged, but no one has grabbed the front-runner mantel, raising the possibility that President Donald Trump could tap someone at the 11th hour who has already been passed over.


    "The White House Counsel's office has not yet been asked to vet
    anyone for the role, further indicating the president may not have settled on a finalist. 'It seems like this has been the position they could never quite find someone to fill,' said a Republican close to the White House, who added that Trump has mostly struggled to find someone who shares his disruptive foreign policy impulses." POLITICO




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  7. #2212
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    WaPo.......


    Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, pleads guilty to lying to Congress about Trump real estate project in Russia, AP reports
    Cohen pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations related to payments before the election to two women who alleged they had affairs with Donald Trump years ago. That case was brought by federal prosecutors in New York.
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  8. #2213
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    The Cohen confessions



    A November surprise: Michael Cohen pleads guilty for lying to Congress about the plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, shining a freshly uncomfortable spotlight on President Trump.
    Why it matters: "The new guilty plea firmly — and dramatically — shifts the narrative and timeline of the Russia investigation," journalist Garrett Graff writes for WIRED:

    • "While pursuing the White House, Donald Trump was also pursuing personal business deals with a foreign adversary that, according to Mueller’s earlier indictments, engaged in a multifaceted, complex, expensive, and long-running criminal conspiracy to help deliver Trump to the presidency."

    Between the lines: The former Trump lawyer reportedly said in court that his three lies were out of loyalty to the president, per NBC News' Tom Winter.
    The lies, listed:

    • Lie #1: The Moscow Project ended in January 2016 and was not discussed extensively with others in the Trump Organization.
    • Lie #2: Cohen never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project and "never considered" asking President Trump to travel for the project.
    • Lie #3: Cohen did not recall any Russian government response or contact about the Moscow Project.

    What they're saying: Trump told reporters today that Cohen is "a weak person" for pleading guilty, adding he thinks Cohen is "lying to get a reduced sentence."

    • In his written responses to Mueller, Trump acknowledged that he discussed plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow with Cohen before the deal fell through, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the New York Times.

    The bottom line: "The potential innocent explanations for Trump's behavior over the last two years are being steadily stripped away," Graff tweeted.

    • "Mueller has identified two separate criminal conspiracies that aided Trump in 2016: Russian cyber ops & Cohen's campaign finance violations. Today, we learned that the central figure in one (Cohen) was trying to contact and get help from the central figure in the other (Putin)."

    Go deeper:




    POTUS is now "Individual 1



    Until this week, public revelations about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation focused on characters who had been around President Trump.

    • For the first time, the special counsel's narrative has suddenly come alive with pre-presidential actions and entanglements by Trump himself.
    • "Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign," the WashPost reports.
    • Why it matters: This week's disclosures show that "Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities."

    The WashPost's Devlin Barrett tweeted: "In both of his guilty plea hearings, [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen has gone beyond the court filings to make clear his criminal actions were specifically on Trump's behalf."

    • And ABC News reported that Cohen, with years of visibility into Trump's financial and political dealings, "has spent more than 70 hours in interviews with Mueller's team."

    The president of the United States was labeled "Individual 1" in yesterday's court filing by Mueller.

    • The filing, which spelled out the facts that led to Cohen to plead guilty to lying to Congress, began to tie together the New York and Washington branches of the investigation.

    Cohen made it plain that Trump "was more involved in discussions over a potential Russian business deal during the presidential campaign than previously known," as the N.Y. Times put it.

    • "Trump’s participation in discussions about building a grand skyscraper in Moscow," The Times reports, "showed how the interests of his business empire were enmeshed with his political ambitions as he was closing in on the Republican nomination for president."
    • The backdrop: "Trump for decades dreamed of building a Trump Tower in the heart of Moscow, a plan that flared and fizzled several times over the years." (AP)

    Be smart: That suggests a profit motive for Trump's persistent and unexplained affinity for Russia.

    • Trump said as he left the White House yesterday for Argentina: "I was running my business while I was campaigning. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?"

    Trump tweets from Argentina this morning:

    • "Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail..."
    • "....Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!"

    P.S. ... Statement by Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump:

    • "BREAKING NEWS ALERT: Michael Cohen is a liar. It's no surprise that Cohen lied to Congress. He's a proven liar who is doing everything he can to get out of a long-term prison sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud that had nothing to do with the Trump Organization."
    • "It is important to understand that documents that the Special Counsel's Office is using to show that Cohen lied to Congress were voluntarily disclosed by the Trump Organization because there was nothing to hide."
    • "It is hardly coincidental that the Special Counsel once again files a charge just as the President is leaving for a meeting with world leaders at the G20 Summit in Argentina. The Special Counsel did the very same thing as the President was leaving for a world summit in Helsinki."
    • "With regard to the hotel proposal in Moscow, the President has been completely open and transparent."



    Mueller's coming attractions


    Garrett M. Graff — author of a book focused on Mueller, and one of the investigation's best narrators — writes for Axios that we now have a host of new clues to Mueller coming attractions:

    • Michael Cohen's lies to Congress fit an odd pattern: Multiple people in Trump's orbit have outright lied or "forgotten" about a whole variety of contacts with Russian officials, developers, oligarchs, and emissaries. It's a uniquely consistent problem, across many top aides, that only seems to occur when the subject is Russia.
    • Remember Michael Cohen's two major revelations so far have come in just two, fairly limited, specific episodes, both of which investigative reporters have unearthed ahead of time: Stormy Daniels' hush money payments and the Moscow Trump Tower project. Cohen, though, worked with Trump — on his most sensitive messes — for a decade. What other episodes does he know about that we haven't unearthed yet?
    • Prosecutors ethically can't let a witness testify or plea to things they don't believe are true. So remember that everything Michael Cohen is saying in court, or pleading guilty to doing on paper, has been combed over for corroboration.
    • If Cohen is standing up in court and saying Donald Trump ordered him to do something, prosecutors aren't going just off his word. They have independent corroboration. Remember all those emails and telephones seized in the April raid on Cohen's office? We haven't seen any of that come out yet.

    Every twist of the investigation shows that Mueller knows far more than we thought he did:

    • Cohen's plea deal shows he has phone records (hence the 20-minute telephone call to Moscow).
    • The aborted Jerome Corsi plea agreement shows Mueller has a host of emails.
    • The fact that Mueller knows Paul Manafort was lying to him likely indicates heretofore unseen corroborating witnesses, documents, and more

    Be smart: There's a lot more behind the curtain.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  9. #2214
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    Trump: Cohen should go to prison
    President Trump on Monday said Michael Cohen does not deserve leniency for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, arguing that his former personal lawyer should serve a “full and complete” prison sentence.
    Read the full story here







    Mueller's breadcrumbs




    Everyone's waiting for the "Mueller Report." But it turns out that special counsel Robert Mueller is writing a "report" in real time, before our eyes, through his cinematic indictments and plea agreements, Garrett M. Graffreports for Axios:

    • One of the least-noticed elements of the special counsel's approach is that all along, he has been making his case bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing.
    • With his major court filings so far, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the "Mueller Report."
    • And there are still lots of loose ends in those documents — breadcrumbs Mueller is apparently leaving for later.

    Perhaps the best example is Mueller's oddly specific reference to the Russian hackers targeting Hillary Clinton "for the first time" after candidate Trump's still-unexplained "Russia, if you're listening" commenton July 27, 2016.

    • Trump said: "I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Clinton] emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press." (He also said: "I have nothing to do with Russia.")
    • A Mueller indictment in July said that the next day, "the Conspirators ... attempted after hours to spear-phish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office."
    • That shows Mueller has access to much more intelligence than is publicly known. Remember, these are Russian government employees. So Mueller has remarkable and thus far unexplained visibility.

    By making such detailed filings, Mueller is actually increasing his burden of proof — suggesting a supreme confidence that he has the goods.

    • And by making so much public as he goes along, Mueller is also insuring against his probe being shut down or otherwise curtailed by the White House.

    Some of his deeply detailed filings raise questions that suggest more is coming:

    • In a February indictment of officials of the Russian ***** factory, he announced that three Internet Research Agency employees traveled to the U.S. in 2014. He indicted two of them, but left unindicted someone from the IRA who evidently traveled to Atlanta as part of the operation for four days in 2014.
    • Mueller makes clear in the indictment that he knows the precise IRA official to whom this unnamed male traveler filed his Atlanta expenses after the trip.
    • The information could have come from U.S. intelligence or another country. But Mueller leaves the impression he may have a cooperator inside the ***** factory.

    Other hints at coming attractions:

    • Mueller said in last week's Michael Cohen plea agreement that a "Moscow Project" meeting about a Trump-branded building in Russia was called off, by Cohen, on the same day that the DNC hack became public.
    • Based on a court filing last week, Mueller apparently hopes to quickly issue a "report" on Manafort’s activities to the court.

    Be smart: If it’s anything like every other document Mueller has filed thus far, it'll be more informed, more knowledgeable, and more detailed than we can imagine.


    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  10. #2215
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    A theory is developing that there will be little new in the Mueller report whenever its written, because it's actually being written now in real time via court filings.


    In previous court filings Mueller has revealed that he knows much more than has been previously disclosed. Some believe this is a deliberate tactic to counter the possibility the the investigation gets shut down by Spanky or his minions and factotums.



    We'll learn more soon as to whether there is much substance to the real time theory because Mueller has three court memo filing deadlines this week. One today on Michael Flynn, and two on Friday for Manafort and Cohen.

    Watch this space.



    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  11. #2216
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    Republican National Congressional Committee says it was hacked during this year's election cycle
    It wasn’t known if a foreign government was behind the cyberattack against the campaign organization for House Republicans, which discovered the breach in April, a person familiar with the case said. But the intruder was “sophisticated, based on their tactics and methods” and the intrusion “was clearly designed to hide the tracks of who it was,” this person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the intrusion is under investigation.
    Read more »



    MORE ON THE INVESTIGATIONS FRONT: "Stone pleads the Fifth to snub Senate document request," by Kyle Cheney: "President Donald Trump's longtime political ally Roger Stone invoked his Fifth Amendment protection as he declined to share documents and testimony with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a letter posted Tuesday by the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein." POLITICO


    -- BUT, BUT, BUT: DARREN SAMUELSOHN: "Roger Stone won't shut up"


    -- "Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg to meet with Senate Intelligence Committee in January," by WaPo's Bob Costa

    The number that scares Trump
    Mueller's sentencing memo for Flynn
    A number scaring the hell out of the Trumps: 119.

    • 70 hours of Michael Cohen interviews with Mueller's team + 30 hours of interviews with former White House counsel Don McGahn + 19 Michael Flynn interviews with prosecutors.

    Jonathan Swan's smart brevity on last night's 13-page sentencing memofor former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in which Robert Mueller recommends no jail time because Flynn was so helpful:

    • First: The good stuff is all redacted!
    • Second: Flynn has helped the Justice Department on threeseparate investigations: Mystery Criminal Investigation #1, the special counsel's probe, and Mystery Investigation #2. It's possible the second probe is a counterintelligence investigation rather than a criminal investigation, in which case its results will never see the light of day. Solving the mystery of Investigation #1 is going to be job numero uno for everyone today.
    • Third: Flynn appears to have set an important example. Mueller writes that his early cooperation "likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate." Who are those witnesses? What are they saying? Ahhhhh!

    "14 questions Bob Mueller knows the answer to," by Garrett M. Graff for WIRED:

    • "How closely related is the investigation of the 2016 election related to the Trump Organization’s financial scandals? The Michael Cohen plea agreement highlighted ... how little we know about the business holdings, income, business partners, or investors in Donald Trump’s business empire."
    • "The first rule of any scandal is always the Watergate maxim: Follow the money. Who were (or are) Trump’s business partners and what part of the 2016 election attack was played by any of them?"
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  12. #2217
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Both SDNY's and Mueller's court filings on Cohen and Manafort on Friday were heavily redacted, leading to speculation that the investigations are still ongoing and not yet ready to finish up. The existence of a hitherto unknown investigation was revealed. So time for a what do we actually know catchup.





    Even before Robert Mueller reports his findings in the Russia probe, what we already now know is highly damning and highly detailed.


    We now know several Russian officials reached out to a half dozen Republicans very close to Trump and his campaign, including his eldest son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. We now know they took the meetings, often enthusiastically, during and after the campaign.
    We now know Russia offered in those chats campaign assistance — “synergy,” they called it. We know now of no one around Trump who alerted the FBI of this effort to subvert our elections.
    We now know that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking the DNC and systematically releasing material for the purpose of hurting the Clinton campaign via WikiLeaks.
    We know that Trump associates Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi attempted — successfully, in some instances — to get in touch with WikiLeaks and that they are under investigation for whether they had advance knowledge about the email dumps.
    We now know Donald Trump, Jr and others took a meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. We now know Don, Jr., when approached with the promise of dirt, wrote: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
    We now know Trump was negotiating a Trump property in Moscow during the presidential campaign — and hid this from the public and lied about it. We now know Mueller believes, based on his court filing, the “Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
    We now know every arm of the US intelligence community concluded Russia sought to systematically influence the election outcome. We now know this was an unanimous conclusion, save one dissent: Trump.
    We now know Trump officials continued talking with the Russians during the post-election transition. We now know Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions failed to initially disclose any contacts with Russians on their government forms.
    We now know Jared Kushner suggested a secret backchannel with the Russians, which had it happened, would have been free of US eavesdropping.
    We now know Trump soured on FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and White House counsel Don McGahn in part over their handling of the probe.
    We now know Paul Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, lied about his Russia contacts, was indicted, and is going to jail.
    We now know Flynn lied about his Russian contacts, was fired and indicted, and then flipped to become a key witness in the investigation.
    We now know Cohen lied about his Russian contacts, was indicted, and then flipped to become a key witness against Trump.
    Be smart: The scary thing for Trump — Mueller knows a helluva lot more than we now know.


    Go deeper: Every big move in the Mueller investigation








    Catch up quick on Mueller
    "Mueller’s investigation ... has been remarkably focused and consistent straight through — zeroing in on five distinct investigative avenues," Garrett M. Graff writes in WIRED:

    1. "[M]oney laundering and Russian-linked business deals."
    2. The "Russian government’s cyberattack on the DNC, other entities, and state-level voting systems."
    3. Russia's "related online information influence operations, by the Internet Research Agency."
    4. "[T]he sketchy contacts by Trump campaign and transition officials with Russia."
    5. The "question of whether Trump himself, or others, actively tried to obstruct justice by impeding the investigation of the above."

    "A sixth investigative avenue was opened this spring by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, where Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and others — which he says occurred at Trump’s instruction."






    • Telling stat: Donald Trump carried 2,584 counties to Hillary Clinton’s 472. But the counties she carried accounted for nearly two-thirds of U.S. economic output, per the Brookings Institution.
    • Telling stat 2: Orange County flipping to blue marks the end of the last Republican urban area in America, per Felix.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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