ZOMG DUDES INDICTMENTS

Of Paul Manafort and Rich Gates. Those of you who had them first in the indictment pool, come claim your prizes.

I’m not a legal expert and I don’t know anything else about these but what I read in the news, but I do expect two things:

1. These are just the beginning;

2. If you thought Trump was angry and unhinged before, well. Just you wait.

Also “Conspiracy Against the United States” is a hell of an impressive-sounding thing to be charged with, even if it probably mostly just means you’re trying to hide money from the IRS.

Anyway: Happy Monday! I suspect it’s gonna be a hell of a week.

118 thoughts on “ZOMG DUDES INDICTMENTS

  1. None of the current charges implicate Trump in any way, but they do indicate that Manafort has been a bad, bad, bad boy for money and foreign interests for quite a long time.

    My money’s on a plea deal that’ll let Mueller nail someone higher up. Either that, or proving Manafort’s malfeasance is the stepping stone he needs to start making his case against the rest of the Trump camp.

  2. Hmph.

    I expect this will hobble the current administration. But not bring it down. And it won’t do a thing to affect the 27% of the country that supports the current administration (i.e., the crazification factor).

    But I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised.

  3. My only worry is that this isn’t just the beginning but just this (you know, like in the movie JFK which I never saw but read every spoiler). I dearly hope I am wrong.

  4. This is the beginning of the beginning. The charges are severe–in a “we might hang you” kind of way, and are overkill. They are an intimidation tactic, and a troll for Trump. If he pardons such serious charges, the next round gets harder for him. All this is meant as a preliminary strike for Mueller to walk his way up the food chain. Expect the next round to include Page, possibly Flynn, Jr., or Jarred.

    Get your popcorn ready, guys…

  5. My primary worry is that Trump starts issuing pardons (like he did for Arpaio) to make sure none of his supporters end up having to do time, and making it harder for Mueller to use plea deals as a carrot to get Manafort and others to roll over.

  6. Alexander Case:

    Mueller and the NY AG are cooperating with each other and Trump can’t issue pardons for state-level charges, so that particular loophole is likely to be covered in a number of cases.

  7. You lay the Ace of Trump to flush the Ten so you can Play the Nine to draw the Left Bower out. Bob Mueller knows his Euchre strategy (and he’s sitting on the Right Bower).

  8. MAGA = “Manafort arrested, Gates also.” (I can’t claim credit for this; Skatha Stone wrote it in a tweet to the Orange Shitgibbon. But it’s still wonderful.)

    I’m not keen to see Trump strutting around like the proverbial pigeon on the chessboard about this, but the noose would appear to be tightening. I think we’d all hoped that, on the indictment list, Trump would be #1 with a bullet, but that’s not usually how indictments work. Her Honor suggested that you start by indicting the people who’ll flip fastest and strengthen the case against the guy you’re most interested in.

    This is definitely a good start. :)

  9. You missed an even greater bit:George Papadopoulos’s sealed indictment from Oct 5th explicitly says he pled guilty in order to get consideration during sentencing. Papadopoulos, former Trump foreign advisor during campaign. has turned. Time for the rollup to begin — if in fact it hasn’t already to begun.

    See this bit of the indictment in particular. https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/925017735855185920

  10. I’m old enough to remember Watergate. Trump seems not to have learned the real lesson for Presidents of that scandal: don’t try to protect your minions from justice. Nixon almost certainly did not know his thugs were gonna break into the DNC headquarters, but he did know his people well enough that when the burglars were caught he instantly suspected some of his aides had to have known. Including his Attorney General. The burglary didn’t bring down Nixon’s Presidency. Trying to protect the guilty did.

  11. Me thinks the Left will be seriously disappointed in the final outcome of the investigation for a couple of reasons. 1. If Mueller has indicted Manafort for the crime of playing a shell game with foreign money and acting as an unregistered foreign agent and doesn’t indict Tony Podesta or players within the Podesta Group for the same crime, it will lead to charges of selective prosecution because both Podesta Group and Manafort were working as lobbyists for the Pro-Russian Ukrainian faction that got kicked out and exiled to Russia in 2014. 2. Suppose that Manafort has or claims to have documentation of shenanigans/illegalities conducting by the Trump campaign during the election. Great, how do you verify this and how can it be used? You can’t get Manafort to testify to it without independent verification. Otherwise, he’s saying stuff to save his own skin. Any competent defense attorney will shred him on the stand without anything else to back it up.

    The only way I see this going further up the food chain is possibly Flynn and his son for basically the same crime as Manafort (unregistered foreign agent and failing to disclose foreign income). Anything against Page is probably going to be predicated on the PeePee dossier, which is full of unverified crap and provably false information.

  12. Nothing can prevent the court of public opinion from looking at the facts as revealed, so possible pardon or the firing of Muller will cause fur to fly no matter which.

    I am surprised the dudes surrendered. They could have taken their ill gotten gains and hightailed it for the USSR. Or an embassy nearby. Maybe this shows that they have already worked a deal in “high places.”
    But if we can count on things to run true to form, Trump will throw anyone under the bus but family….at least so far.

    And we learn once again that “expertise” ( or blind, dumb luck) in one arena of life does not predict that transfer of experience to other areas. A professional politician surely would have steered clear of Russia…or covered their tracks better.

  13. It is certainly true that (1) Mueller has been talking to the NY State AG, (2) only the NY Governor can pardon people caught breaking NY State Law, and (3) neither the NY AG nor the NY Governor has much affection for Trump (to put it mildly). If Trump tries to pardon Manafort, or to fire Mueller, I would expect to see a flurry of indictments at the State level very shortly thereafter. Neither Mueller nor the NY State AG was born yesterday.

  14. Matthew Healy: What exactly could NY AG charge Trump with if he fired Mueller beside being an asshole? Which isn’t exactly spelled out as a state level criminal charge, otherwise the whole NY political establishment would be in Rikers Island, permanently…..

  15. It is the beginning of a long process. And Mueller is going to be watching Buttercup very closely. Mueller has a strategy and is being very careful. My only real concern is that we are closer to the possibility of martial law than ever before. (We are borderline already, the shenanigans have proven that). Even if it is an undeclared ‘martial law’ (I know Congress is supposed to declare an emergency..but) . Going offline because I’m so nervous right now. Its going to be a crazy week.

  16. It’s starting to look like the Manafort/Gates bit, while substantial in its own right, is not as potentially devastating to Trump as the Papadopoulos plea and the news that he’s turned. What truly remains to be seen is if any GOP members of Congress are going to follow McCain, Corker et. al. and re-discover some integrity.

  17. @Adam, I admit I haven’t played Euchre in decades, but surely you finesse from the dummy by playing a low card to drive out the ten, then grabbing it with the ace (or, indeed, the lowest card) in your hand? And why would you bother finessing for the ten, anyway?

    The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board called for a blanket pardon last night, which perceived as a bellwether for the Establishment Republican does not give me happy warm thoughts. Noted that the President can’t pardon a State crime, it’s still a bad position to take.

  18. John Appel: Not necessarily with regards to Padadopoulos; he plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI about when and how he came in contact with people with ties to the Russian government after he became a policy advisor to the Trump Campaign. The irony is that Papadopoulos was trying to set up meetings with shady Russian sources, only to have them ignored or quashed by Manafort….

  19. Suppose that Manafort has or claims to have documentation of shenanigans/illegalities conducting by the Trump campaign during the election. Great, how do you verify this and how can it be used?

    You indict and flip other people. This is Prosecution 101.

    What exactly could NY AG charge Trump with if he fired Mueller beside being an asshole

    The NY AG can indict folks for the same things that Mueller would have, except at the state level.

  20. @mknelson101 Seriously, would YOU trust Pooty-Poot to have your back and provide a soft landing and a safe nest for you, if you had information about the extent of his involvement with hinky maneuvers in the US?

    Because if it was me, I’d be thinking more about just how far he can reach with a polonium cocktail, and the merits of Danbury vs Terra Haute in terms of my quality of life as well as life expectancy.

    This is just the appetizer, I think. Investigations of this sort tend to be serial processes. Start at the outer rings with the less important/less protected targets, use the tough stuff to get them to flip on a target or two in the next ring inward. Get them to turn over data that may open up additional lines of inquiry and/or add evidence to the lines of inquiry already being pursued.

    Rinse, repeat.

    Until you get as far in as you can get, with the best possible prosecutorial outcome based on your ‘man in the middle’ target(s). In the case of [Redacted] that’s unlikely to be an actual prosecution, as the protections of his office keep him somewhat insulated.

    My expectation is that Mueller & Co. is focused less on [Redacted] himself, and more on piling up the most odoriferous stack of greed-popping, sleazy, disgusting evidence about the whole pack of treasonweasels, regardless of party. In the long run, the idea is simply how long can the Congressional leadership hold out, hoping to pull one more election in control of the machine out of the bag, and one more census to gerrymander themselves into safe districts?

    They (House/Senate) GOP have control of pulling the plug. They know, however, if they DO pull it, their smash-and-grab raid on democracy grinds to a halt. What they’re not sure of is how well they can consolidate their gains and insulate themselves from the inevitable backlash. They know there’s no chance of getting anything remotely resembling a “win” out of this, but they’re arguing among themselves about the nature and extent of the losses they’ll have to take, and what strategies will minimize them.

    It’s only the beginning. I doubt we’ll see the end any time soon. This one may outlive many of us who had front-row seats for Watergate.

  21. > . This one may outlive many of us who had front-row seats for Watergate.
    Hey, I’m only 58, don’t jinx me.

    I highly recommend watching your favorite reporters on Twitter. Many educated eyes are picking out juicy bits from the Papadopolous plea. One of the latest is that Popadopolous was referred to the Trump Campaign Supervisor who “is running point” [on Russia] in June 2016. https://twitter.com/davidwchen/status/925020891569905664

  22. I think the news on Padadopoulos is just as important as the Manafort/Gates indictments.

    I also think, though I admit I also hope, that this is not the ultimate conclusion of this investigation. I don’t know where it will all lead, but “full blown constitutional crisis” is definitely on the list of possibilities.

    I fear for the Republic, because (as has been the case for some time now), Right wing Americans experience a completely different reality than the rest of us (with a largely disengaged mushy middle who trust no one/nothing* being the swing vote). In the RW bubble, up is down, blue is red, etc. No matter what Trump or his associates did, the answer will be well, what about Hillary/some other Dem (details relating to delusional “scandal” that has been spun up by Breitbart or NewsMax or some other fever swamp publication, and then promoted to Fox, from where it can seem into the “MSM,” gaining perceived legitimacy with each step).

    * ironically, this kind of cynicism makes people quite gullible. It’s easy on the ego, though, to imagine that you are the world-weary type who “knows” that everyone is corrupt and all those partisans are the dupes.

  23. John Appel wrote: “What truly remains to be seen is if any GOP members of Congress are going to follow McCain, Corker et. al. and re-discover some integrity.”

    Actually, they are following news reports like the rest of us and are calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Uranium One deal. They also want DNC and Clinton campaign officials to testify about what they know about the GPS Fusion dossier.

    Oh, and GPS Fusion has finally agreed to give its bank records to the House Intell Committee. That should help get to the bottom of things.

    CygnusAnalogMan: Good points all. There are also very serious questions whether the FBI/Comey and the CIA/Brennan got played by the Russians via GPS/Christopher Steele. If it turns out that the FBI used the GPS Fusion dossier as the sole basis to persuade the FISA court to authorize wiretaps, Comey is going to become the center of attention. Which is why various right-wing legal pundits and newspapers are calling for Mueller’s resignation. (Because conflict of interest, i.e., Mueller was Comey’s boss.)

    This scandal dwarfs Watergate in its complexity and reach. If the Podesta brothers get caught up in it, like some expect, then the Great Mallet of Justice could eventually fall on Hillary “it’s my turn to President” Clinton.

  24. Rob it CT wrote, “Right wing Americans experience a completely different reality than the rest of us . . .”

    It may come as a shock, but RWA say the same thing about LWA.

  25. “They also want DNC and Clinton campaign officials to testify about what they know about the GPS Fusion dossier”

    Why? What does it matter that a right-wing group began the financing of this document, the Dems took it over? The funding of oppo research is not a crime. Now, much of what was revealed about [Redacted] (I like that) in them *is* a crime. Crimes *he* committed. Like when he raped a 13-year-old girl. But that doesn’t matter to the [Redacted]-bots.

    “If it turns out that the FBI used the GPS Fusion dossier as the sole basis to persuade the FISA court to authorize wiretaps, Comey is going to become the center of attention. ”

    Again… why? If the claims had been verified (and much of them have already) using such evidence is *always* grounds for further investigation. It always has been… outside of, you know, [Redacted’s] sphere of influence.

    “This scandal dwarfs Watergate in its complexity and reach.”

    Someone’s got the vapors, oh my! Also… not even close. Not even the Uranium One deal is much of an issue. No uranium left US control (or even North America) as a result of the deal. Try harder…

  26. I think “in truth and in fact” must be a legal doublet, like “cease and desist” and “aid and abet”.

    [LEGAL DOUBLET: a garment worn by English barristers in court, underneath the robe. A requirement since 1589, when then-Lord Chancellor Lord Burleigh imposed the rule to end the practice, then common, of pleading a case during summer while wearing merely a skimpy legal singlet. This was more comfortable but left the lawyer vulnerable to accusations of vested interest.]

  27. In Reply to Rob in CT: In the RW bubble, up is down, blue is red, etc. No matter what Trump or his associates did, the answer will be well, what about Hillary/some other Dem (details relating to delusional “scandal” that has been spun up by Breitbart or NewsMax or some other fever swamp publication, and then promoted to Fox, from where it can seem into the “MSM,” gaining perceived legitimacy with each step).

    Absolutely. RW SIL thinks HIllary is getting arrested today. Not even kidding. I’m too exhausted by this stuff to discuss the details with her, but I’m sure it’s all about Uranium One and/or Emailz and/or The Satanic Hillary Emoji. They are really that far down the hole.

  28. Clancyweeksblog: My eyes are rolling like a pinball machine with your rape accusation slander. Seriously? If there was even a shred of evidence substantiating that claim, the whole left/right/center of the political world would come down hard on Trump. She dropped the claim. Seriously dude, look in the mirror when you say RW thinks down is up, etc.

  29. CygnusAnalogMan: ‘What exactly could NY AG charge Trump with if he fired Mueller beside being an asshole?’

    NY state tax evasion for a starter. That would perhaps be for income and perhaps property taxes. Perhaps money laundering as it involved residents in the state or businesses run there.

  30. If there was even a shred of evidence substantiating that claim,

    Given how society treats women accusing powerful (or even favored men) men of sexual assault, this is probably not the best phrasing you could be using.

    This accusation may or may not be true, but this is not a position to defend.

  31. It just occurred to me that I am *cheering* the news that a major political party’s nominee and President of the United States appears to have colluded with the Russian government.

    I’m cheering it. My God.
    Also, I’m listening to Paul Simon’s “American Tune” and crying, as always.

  32. Alexander Case: If someone accepts a pardon, then they cannot plead the 5th. Presidents have tried to use this before to force people to testify, which led to the courts finding that a pardon has to be positively accepted, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burdick_v._United_States

    To our fine friends bringing up the dossier: the wiretaps in question, Mueller’s time as director of the FBI, etc., predate the creation of the dossier and therefore cannot even theoretically be tainted by the dossier. In addition, nothing in the dossier has been refuterd and some of it has been verified since the FBI was already investigating the topic before the creation of the dossier.

    To our fine friends bringing up Uranium One: 1) Hillary Clinton did not represent State at the CFIUS meeting in question. 2) State cannot veto CFIUS reporting, only participate in the process. 3) CFIUS cannot veto the Presidents decision only give a recommendation, and CFIUS has stated that they would still give the same recommendation. 4) There is exactly one person who was on the board of Uranium one who also donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but at the time of the donation this person was not not he board and Hillary Clinton was no longer at State. 5) Uranium One does not have an export license, so none of the uranium could be taken to Russia. 6) The uranium sample that Mueller took to Russia was from uranium seized on the Republic of Georgia and part of a legal investigation by both the US and Russia years before the sale of Uranium One which has never operated in the Republic of Georgia.

  33. Clancyweeksblog: “Why? What does it matter that a right-wing group began the financing of this document, the Dems took it over? The funding of oppo research is not a crime.”

    Howdy.

    Opposition research is definitely not a crime, which is beside the point. The unproven allegation is that Comey used the dossier—opposition research—as the sole basis to initiate a Full Investigation, which is absolutely necessary, according to AG guidelines, to seek wiretap permission from the FISA court.

    The relevant congressional committees will likely subpoena him to testify under oath about all of this. But first things first: determining the chain of custody and sources concerning the dossier needs to occur.

    “[Pedro originally said] If it turns out that the FBI used the GPS Fusion dossier as the sole basis to persuade the FISA court to authorize wiretaps, Comey is going to become the center of attention.”

    Clancyweeksblog: “Again… why? If the claims had been verified (and much of them have already) using such evidence is *always* grounds for further investigation. It always has been… outside of, you know, [Redacted’s] sphere of influence.”

    First, which claims? You assert, but do not prove

    Second, the dossier is the product of GPS Fusion, not a duly empowered law enforcement organization like the FBI. And that document is based on what Russians told Steele. Hearsay in other words. Which brings up the possibility that the DNC may have funded the very vehicle through which the Russians ultimately tried to rat-fuck the 2016 election.

    Third, if the dossier was the SOLE basis that Comey used to seek those FISA warrants (and I’m not saying he did because we don’t know), then Comey pulled a fast one the FISA court.

    Finally, if Comey really did pull a fast one, then we are looking at the illegal use of government surveillance to spy on a political candidate.

    That’s what police states do. And then the question becomes what did former AG Loretta Lynch know, say, or do in the matter.

    Caution is indicated, Clancyweeksblog. There are simply too many unanswered questions at this point, and Mueller’s investigation isn’t the only one that matters as far as getting to the truth of the matter.

    Oh, and if Lynch and Comey played dirty, then you will have no trouble understanding the point about the complexity and scope being greater than Watergate.

  34. Argon wrote: CygnusAnalogMan: ‘What exactly could NY AG charge Trump with if he fired Mueller beside being an asshole?’

    In my understanding, it’s not about charging Trump should he fire Mueller, which Trump previously said he would not do, but about bringing Manafort to justice in the state of NY should Trump pardon the guy.

  35. Let me assume that your entire chain of reasoning is correct, @Pedro. (I don’t believe this, but I’m making that assumption.) In that case we have crimes by the Democratic establishment, as well as by the Director of the FBI.

    That is *completely* orthogonal to a Federal indictment for collusion with the Russians by senior Trump campaign officials. Speaking as a mother, my response is “Then both of you messed up.” This is the flaw in whataboutism — it’s “Look, over there!” without considering that a crime committed by B does nothing to mitigate an independent crime by A.

  36. Rob it CT wrote, “Right wing Americans experience a completely different reality than the rest of us . . .”

    Pedro: “It may come as a shock, but RWA say the same thing about LWA.”

    But reality has a liberal bias.

    Climate change is real. Denial is bunk. Evolution is real. Creationism is bunk. Heliocentrism is real. Geocentrism is bunk. A round earth is real. Flat earth is bunk. Renewables are real. Clean coal is bunk. Fighting bigotry is real. Pretending bigotry isnt a problem is bunk. Racism is real. The “race card” is bunk. Taxing corporations is a healthy way to pay for government services. “Lower taxes creates jobs” is bunk.

    Every major hill that conservatives die on is bunk.

    Recent meat world convrsation snippet from a Trump supporter included the phrase “now we just have to get rid of the blacks”.

    Trump told the bigots exactly what they wanted to hear: that they are the real victim. That the only racism in america that is a real problem is “reverse racism”. That their n***r jokes are harmless and the only people who dont like it are the overly sensitive politically correct police. That they are being “oppressed” for being racist. That giving minorities equal footing is an attack on whites, straights, cis, whatever.

    And the bigots ate it up. Trump was their man. And to them, he is the only one who sees the truth. They will never leave him unless he does something to put down their beliefs. And trump wont fo that because he is a bigot too.

    Which brings us to Greg’s Law: as the Trump presidency grows longer, the probability of a remaining Trump supporter having in their personal posession either a swastika or white hood approaches 1.

  37. gwangung: Are we still allowed to have the rule of law and the right to confront our accuser in this country? Weinstein and his filthy shenanigans aside (which he settled and hid), this lady has not provided any proof that what she alleges in her civil suit happened. She filed it first in California, got that thrown out, refiled in NY and then dropped it. As far I can tell by reading the news, etc, none of the eleven (or more? Don’t remember the exact number of claims) who claimed Trump sexually assaulted them have moved forward with their claims. I never want to doubt a claim of sexual assault or harassment from anybody, but when nothing else emerges from the sturm un drang of a press conference, one has to wonder if its a political ploy.

  38. Greg wrote: “But reality has a liberal bias.”

    Reality simply is. Observers, on the other hand . . .

  39. Pedro: “Third, if the dossier was the SOLE basis that Comey used to seek those FISA warrants (and I’m not saying he did because we don’t know), then Comey pulled a fast one the FISA court.”

    When everyone was crying foul that the Russians hacked the DNC and release damaging emails to influence a democratic election, the bog standard trump supporter response was “so? Even if the russians were involved, all they did was reveal what was true but hidden”.

    But now that hidden facts damaging to Trump are being revealed, all of a fucking sudden, those same Trump supporters care about “process” being followed?

    Yeah, no. These are the same people who gobble up news stories about some crook getting off because his miranda rights werent read, and use that to condemn not just process requirements, but the entire government.

    This sudden concern-troll for process is nothing but an opportunistic attempt to change the subject and protect trump by his supporters who have zero respect for process and zero problem with being abject hypocrites.

  40. Greg: In order to legally investigate anybody in the US, due process must be followed; otherwise the whole case gets thrown out. Pesky constitutional rights….Wikileaks was releasing info that they stole. If memory serves, the Left lionized Daniel Ellsberg for generations for doing essentially the same thing with the Pentagon Papers. Karma is a real bitch now, ain’t it?

  41. Greg wrote: “But reality has a liberal bias.”

    Pedro: “Reality simply is. Observers, on the other hand . . .”

    And you are a consumate conservative observer. You ignored the real world laundry list i provided and simply assert what you already believe without evidence, without context.

    Conservatism is by definition, holding onto an existing worldview for no reason other than it is older than any proposed alternatives. Conservatism is by definition opposing change for no other reason than they dont like change.

    CygnusAnalogMan: ”
    the Left lionized Daniel Ellsberg for generations for doing essentially the same thing with the Pentagon Papers. Karma is a real bitch now, ain’t it?”

    Ah, a true trump supporter. I can tell because you invoke the phrase “karma is a bitch”. The more die hard trumpers are driven by keeping score and vengeance. Score keeping is exactly what karma is about, and it brings retribuyion with it.

    The biggest drive for the hard core trump supporter has been, “fuck you its our turn now, and if my vote pisses you off all the better for me”.

    what wrong did Daniel Ellsberg commit that required karma to be a bitch about? What was his misdeed that needed payback? Cause it seems like you talk about “karma” as a way to take your vindictiveness and scorekeeping view of life and pretend its just a natural outcome of a natural universe.

  42. Greg: In keeping with Senor Scalzi’s to keep things on point, I’ll be brief. You label me as a “Diehard Trump supporter”. Nope, sorry, didn’t and couldn’t bring myself to vote for him. Preferred Walker and/or Cruz because they had a track record of legislation and voting for the things they campaigned for. Pleasantly surprised on some things for Trump, exasperated on others. I must be a old fogey (and not even born yet when Ellsberg was in the news! Alas, that’s me, the political history junkie). Ellsberg stole classified material on the Vietnam War that showed the internal assessments of the war were not as rosy and optimistic as what was being said. Hay, as they say, was made on the Left with the theft of these papers. If say, Trump and his campaign had known and ordered the theft of Clinton’s emails, that would be a different story. I don’t care for Wikileaks because they pretend to be fearless advocates of transparency and they were usually being played by various factions of governments.

  43. Let’s just hope Trump doesn’t get so angry that he decides to bomb North Korea as a distraction. That’s the kind of thing that keeps me up at night nowadays.

  44. Well fellas, believe what you want. But in time, your Trump apologetics won’t look so good.

    Still going with No Puppet, No Puppet, You’re the Puppet, even now. As Orangemandias would say, SAD.

  45. So, Dipshit Leader must be raging right now. I hope his tantrum pisses all his minions off.

    My buddy says that the Pappadopoulos plea in particular means that Mueller’s committed to going after Trump up to and including high treason–what are the chances of Dipshit Leader actually getting hit with that?

  46. It’s significant that Podesta is being investigated *because of working with Manafort on Ukraine lobbying*. http://nypost.com/2017/10/30/tony-podesta-steps-down-from-lobbying-firm-after-manafort-indictment/ If Podesta is indeed guilty, big big if, he’s guilty because he didn’t report income from the Ukrainian government, income under the aegis of Manafort. Pointing at the Podesta Group on this one is pointing the finger squarely at Manafort and thus potentiallyTrump.

  47. Greg wrote: “When everyone was crying foul that the Russians hacked the DNC and release damaging emails to influence a democratic election, the bog standard trump supporter response was “so? Even if the russians were involved, all they did was reveal what was true but hidden”.

    How do you know beyond a reasonable doubt the Russians actually hacked the DNC server?

    He who asserts must prove.

  48. Reading into the analyses and PBPs, I’m guessing that Gates was included to expose him to enough risk to get him to flip on Manafort for a more detailed level of evidence.

    He seems to have essentially been acting as Manafort’s flunkey in the Ukraine maneuvers.

    Given Mueller’s success with the first round, and his known preference for operating from positions of strength, he may well succeed with that, too.

  49. Very interesting – I was half right, expected it to be Manafort and Flynn. As mentioned repeatedly above, Papadopoulos is more important – everyone knew Manafort was in it up to his neck with the Russian puppets in Ukraine, already. The Russians were clearly looking for a way in to the campaign, I’m sure P and Manafort won’t be the only ones, so I’d expect more people involved in the campaign to come to light there.

    Next up I’d expect Foreign Corrupt Practices Act indictments for Ivanka over the Azerbaijan hotel deal, plus a boat load of money laundering for [Redacted] and Jared.

    (Uranium One is a nothingburger if ever there was one)

  50. @NotTheRedditChrisS As much as I’d love to see that, I think there are several more layers for them to work through before they get into the inner circle. But Jared is really vulnerable, so you could be right, especially if Mueller decides to offload that particular part of the work to the NY AG’s office (which is really both where it belongs, and where [Redacted] would have a much harder time paddling his short, vulgar fingers in it.)

  51. Back on track with this thread with my first post ever after having lurked for years:

    1. These are just the beginning

    My understanding is that Mueller is a seasoned, thorough prosecutor with a crack team. Sounds to me like he’s closing the net around [REDACTED] (love that) and is doing so with a carefully constructed strategy. Not going to claim any great patriotic fervor on the part of Mueller; just that this is his chance to truly make his mark in the history books.

    2. If you thought Trump was angry and unhinged before, well. Just you wait.

    That thought is both re-assuring and frightening. While the possibility of [REDACTED] completely losing it mentally means not having to look at that smug smirk or read idiotic tweets any more, I am American by birth and he *is* my President, loathsome though that is. At least Pence *looks* Presidential even if his world view is medieval at best.

  52. 1. This is looking ridiculously, ridiculously far ahead in the process.
    2. History does not repeat itself, but chimes.
    3. This is not a prediction.

    The catalyst for Nixon’s, at very long last, resignation was not just the appearance of the “smoking gun” tape. It was Sen. Barry Goldwater, House Minority Leader John Rhodes, and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, coming to Nixon and telling him that the jig was up, that he had to resign.

    If Trump were similarly exposed as a criminal — he hasn’t been yet, this is a thought experiment — , who would he listen to in an equivalent visit? Not the senior Republican leadership, even if that leadership were willing to abandon Trump. None of his inner coterie, because they wouldn’t do it; they exist to tell Trump what he wants to hear. Maaaybe to Jared and Ivanka, but if Trump is in a bad way legally their financial positions are heavily intertwined with him. Seriously, is there anybody outside his circle whose opinion he respects enough to give up the Presidency?

  53. A pardon for any of those does strip their Fifth Amendment protections – they would be compelled to testify truthfully or face perjury charges since they can no longer face criminal consequences for their actions. So one of the most powerful weapons in the presidential arsenal may have some serious consequences for friendly fire.

    Overall the immediate fallout is to make this a good week for schadenfreude.

  54. wow. the trumpers are in full propaganda mode: pop smoke, throw flashbangs, run around screaming while shooting into the air.

    Anyone see FauxNeews website today? Their website headline is a question, which challenges everything without asserting anything and thereby avoid charges of libel. The top of their page is this:

    Mueller’s Ridiculous Claims?

    That is their paraphrase of statements by Manafort’s lawyers.
    The byline is a more direct quote from his lawyer.

    The next two “stories” are Trump says this and Trump says that.

    Right underneath those two is a picture of Hillary and
    “Jarrett: Still no evidence of Trump-Russia ‘collusion’ – but Hillary is a different matter”

    So, right off the bat, Faux Neews says the charges are ridiculous, quotes the accused’s lawyer,
    gives Trump two stories to “blast” these “lies”, and then an opinion piece by faux neews itself
    that Trump is clean but Hillary is dirty.

    It’s like the Flat Earth Society has its own news channel.

    These people are living in underground bunkers wearing tinfoil hats.

  55. The Washington Post has a lovely annotated version of the indictment. Things do not look good for John Podesta, which is presumably why he resigned. Note: things do not look good for Podesta because of actions he took at Manafort’s behest. This does not excuse him; it merely indicates that you can’t finger Podesta as an undocumented Russian/Ukrainian lobbyist without admitting Manafort is also guilty.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/30/the-paul-manafort-and-rick-gates-indictment-annotated/
    22. At the direction of MANAFORT and GATES, Company A and Company B engaged in extensive lobbying. Among other things, they lobbied multiple Members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of Yanukovych’s imprisoning his presidential rival, Yulia Tymoshenko (who had served as Ukraine President prior to Yanukovych). MANAFORT and GATES also lobbied in connection with the roll out of a report concerning the Tymoshenko trial commissioned by the Government of Ukraine. MANAFORT and GATES used one of their offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay secretly for the report.

    Company B is The Podesta Group.

  56. @Madame Hardy
    >> “It just occurred to me that I am *cheering* the news that a major political party’s nominee and President of the United States appears to have colluded with the Russian government.”

    I think the difference is you’re not cheering the collusion but the possibility that the individual in question may actually be held accountable it.

    I’d say I like “[Redacted]”, but it’s jarring for anyone who may have been following Irish news and Twitter for a few years, as #Redacted had an extended trend on Twitter referring to a certain lawsuit-happy Irish news media and telecoms magnate who not only blocked broadcast of stories about him but attempted to suppress and change the parliamentary record.

  57. Madame Hardy said, “The Washington Post has a lovely annotated version of the indictment. Things do not look good for John Podesta, which is presumably why he resigned.”

    Actually it was Tony Podesta, the brother of John, who resigned. Still very significant, but not as earthshaking if John had actually resigned.

  58. @Pedro, whoops, sorry, brain fart. What is your reaction to the point that you can’t finger Podesta for illegal foreign agenting without also fingering Manafort?

    The NYT has an annotation of the Papadopoulos indictment. it’s a great day for nerds!

  59. Trump may get unhinged about this, but from what I’ve read (read, since I won’t watch Fox), Fox has suggested quite a few times today (knowing Trump may be watching), that Trump should just lay low and not tweet about this.

  60. *winks at Host*

    Party is just getting started.

    Some notes:

    1) Mueller is an old Republican (MIC, Stanford, ’60s Remake The Psych, War on Rainbows boy). Watching “liberals” fawn over his antics (anyone remember G.W.Bush and his support of both Iraq and *cough* Other Deals *cough*? No? Ok then) is… well. Rather bemusing.

    Hint: he’s not your friend.

    2) None of you have noticed, but this is a Granddaddy of a Deal being shaped: cull the rot of both Dem / Rep tainted meat, throw it to the base then attempt to continue as usual. A bit of the Podestas for the “Pizza Gate” psychosis, a bit of Russian / Ukrainian corruption for the “Oligarchy infection” psychosis, no actual cleaning of The Big House (Mr). What this means in real terms is that Corporate Money / Influence is untouched.

    Spoilers: this doesn’t work.

    3) This is all about THE LAW and attempting to shore up the illusion that the Republic isn’t functioning as an Oligarchy at this point (*cough* Hello AT&T, I see Mr R. Stone went there about suggesting CNN had ‘house cleaning’ once the new ownership took hold: only about 22 months late for that little observation, Mr Stone). It’s all an illusion, just like Ollie North.

    Hint: No-one goes to Jail. (*cough* If Harvard 90’s deals with Russia and FCC / Cyprus / Panama etc didn’t lead to prosecution, well – don’t be alarmed when the Great and Secret Show doesn’t feature guillotines).

    4) As noted previously (*Waves at nice Soldier Boy*), Trans repeals etc have been stigmied, not going anywhere.

    Spoilers: We Like Your Kind.

    5) As for the meta-analysis, let’s just say: A Great Patron of Theirs Died Recently. NRA is full on frothing, they’re all a froth.

    Hint:
    Humpty Dumpty lay in a beck.
    With all his sinews around his neck;
    Forty Doctors and forty wrights
    Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty to rights

    Anyhow: wouldn’t get too excited. The Fix is In. (Apart from a few of them. Red October? More like Wicker Men)

  61. I feel like this is only the beginning of the indictments, but mainly because the Administration wouldn’t have put so much effort, even going so far as to fire the FBI Director, if it was just one low level guy and a couple of greedy members of their campaign. I am especially interested in what happens when they bring Flynn in.

    However, we don’t know anything about what the prosecutors know. We don’t know if this is a “Hail Mary” throw to intimidate someone into testifying or just bringing the minimum amount they can prove for now and starting to tighten the net so they can force the lower level members into taking a deal to testify.

    What I hate more than anything is that with all of the potential collusion and the attempt to push the blame onto Clinton, we’re never going to get past last year’s election.

  62. And since no-one is asking interesting questions, and that’s what Authors thrive upon:

    1) Deutsche Bank Loans

    2) Singapore & Cyprus

    3) Koch, Mercer and so forth

    4) Who actually got Trump in the White House? (7 hates 8, War in Heaven / Hell if you like your literary references)

    5) Are you sure you want a MIC controlled single party system? For Realz.

    Anyhow Host. TFW an Empire Crumbles all for the sake of rejecting symbiosis.

    Spoilers: The Women inherit the Earth.

  63. My buddy says that the Pappadopoulos plea in particular means that Mueller’s committed to going after Trump up to and including high treason–what are the chances of Dipshit Leader actually getting hit with that?

    Precisely zero. Derp Furor is many things, but (Constitutionally defined) treason isn’t on the list. Look it up. (Hint: it starts with the country being at war.)

  64. In case any of your readers who aren’t masturbating for Republicans or more fervent varieties of Garden Alt-Right Gnome are blinded by the recent fireworks and Great and Secret Show:

    FBI Director Robert Mueller struggled Tuesday to convince skeptical senators that _ despite recent abuses _ the FBI should retain Patriot Act authority to gather telephone, e-mail and financial records without a judge’s approval.

    Mueller Defends Patriot Act Authority WaPo, Mar 28th, 2007

    This is a Man who acted for G.W. Bush, enacted the Patriot Act and then spent quite a lot of effort expanding it.

    Spoilers: He’s the FBI. That’s Domestic, not Foreign Agency.

    He’s responsible for Trump in many many ways.

    ~

    Really. We expected a lot more from the Liberal SF Crowd, we really did. And at the first sign of discomfort you run into the arms of Authoritarians?

    You are Foolish Little Fish in the Great Sea of Our Desires (translation: rough).

  65. Last Spam: this might all have seemed a little self-indulgent, but it has a serious point.

    You need to be able to tell those who will stand aside for the Genocide and those willing to fight, protect and deflect at a personal cost.

    Pro-tip: You ain’t got many in the latter category, which is a hurtful truth to say. And yes, I’m including the Professional Voices here. Quite Shameful.

    Black Sun is quite popular Now. (RIP Bowie)

  66. Madame Hardy said, “@Pedro, whoops, sorry, brain fart. What is your reaction to the point that you can’t finger Podesta for illegal foreign agenting without also fingering Manafort?”

    Tucker Carlson (Fox) ran with a story last week, based on an unnamed source said to be a former longtime employee of the Podesta organization, that the Podesta Brothers and Manafort were working together to “lobby” on behalf of Yanukovych government in Ukraine.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/10/25/tucker_carlson_source_podesta_brothers_and_manafort_not_trump_central_figures_in_mueller_probe.html

    NBC News ran a report last week that Tony failed to file the required declaration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mueller-now-investigating-democratic-lobbyist-tony-podesta-n812776

    My Answer: I took both reports with a grain of salt at the time. Now that Tony Podesta has resigned, I think that he is in Mueller’s cross-hairs. Maybe for the technical violation described in the NBC report. Or maybe for something worse also involving Manafort.

    Stay tuned.

  67. Darky Ink,

    If you’re not Cthulhu, you’re certainly an unworthy heir.

    Please stop spamming us with quasi-sensical crap, in multiple posts. It’s really annoying and not the least bit edifying. For a cephalopod, you consume a hell of a lot of oxygen.

    pax / Ctein

  68. Just a technical note:

    “Conspiracy against the United States” is the technical language in the U.S. Code for any conspiracy (which is an independent criminal offense) whose intended victim is the United States. (Treason would be an extreme example.) It is frequently one of the charges in complex tax-evasion cases involving multiple actors. It is also one of those “difficult to prove on paper, but juries tend to buy it when the defendants are ‘bad men'” charges that are frequently used as part of evidentiary-admission tactics to get evidence into the record that will actually be more valuable at sentencing than for the guilt phase. (Plus it has a nice little enhancement in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, “advisory” though they are.)

    It’s the silences in the indictments that I find most interesting. But then, with a few decades of both reading and writing between the lines under my belt…

  69. Shorter Pedro: But her emails!

    Dude, we get it. No one can say anything negative about Trump, regardless of how minor or regardless of how true, without Match, Skinhead and 3-D, chiming in and talking shit about Lorraine instead.

  70. clancyweeksblog asserted: “As an aside… anyone citing Tucker Carlson as a source of information doesn’t really understand the concept…”

    Does this NBC report meet your definition of information? This report, if true, jives with what Carlson reported last week: That Manafort worked closely with the Podesta brothers to rake in the cash from the Yanukovych government in Ukraine.

    And Tony P. resigned yesterday. Curious development, that.

    Sources: Podesta Group, Mercury Are Companies ‘A’ and ‘B’ in Indictment
    by Julia Ainsley, Tom Winter and Carol E. Lee

    WASHINGTON — The lobbying firms the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs are the unnamed companies in the grand jury indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, according to three sources with knowledge of the investigation.

    The indictment, unsealed Monday, refers to “Company A” and “Company B” as the firms Manafort and Gates solicited in 2012 to lobby on behalf of the Ukranian government. Company A is Mercury Public Affairs and Company B is the Podesta Group, the sources said.

    . . . .

    The Podesta Group previously withheld from disclosing its work under the Foreign Agents Registrant Act (FARA), claiming they believed the group was not affiliated with the Ukrainian government.

    According to the indictment, the lobbying firms were paid $2 million from offshore accounts controlled by Manafort.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/sources-podesta-group-mercury-are-companies-b-indictment-n815721

  71. CygnusAnalogMan:
    Pleasantly surprised on some things for Trump, exasperated on others.

    If it’s not too much of a derail, I’m just curious….which things that the President has done were you pleasantly surprised by?

  72. @Pedro… Wonderful when a story has more than one source. I’m saying Carlson is a shill for the right, and everything he says or writes is suspect unless confirmed. He still may or may not be getting this correct beyond the simple facts. It all depends on his spin, which has an angular momentum of gargantuan proportions…

  73. clancyweeksblog: Like I said earlier in this thread, I first took that Carlson report with a grain salt. Now I take it with three grains. . . . Still waiting on the official confirm that the Podesta Group is Company B.

    Just because a shill says something doesn’t mean the shill is necessarily wrong, only that skepticism is warranted.

    Speaking of which, I dare you to check this out: https://pjmedia.com/trending/honeypot-was-the-trump-camps-meeting-with-russian-lawyer-all-a-clinton-set-up/

  74. “Who is “we”?”

    3 million more people voted for Hilary than for Trump.
    WE outnumber YOU.

    We watched you investigate Hilary for decades and never find anything. We watched you push 8 different investigations into Hilary+Benghazi, also finding nothing. We get it. You guys are obsessed with Hilary.

    I can only assume you all still obsess about her after the election because 3 million more people voted for her, and you have to nullify that somehow.

    Because WE outnumber YOU and it makes you nervous.

    Well, it should.

    Trump may very well instigate the collapse of the GOP as we know it, and whatever fragments remain eats itself.

  75. The resident Generator of Rage, Entropy, and Grievance said: “We watched you investigate Hilary for decades and never find anything. . . “

  76. @clancyweeksblog: We analytical types get our kicks where we can. You should hear how we narrate that Shit out loud in the office.

  77. Pedro: Whenever a Republican is accused of anything bad, their fellows scramble to find anything even remotely similar a Democrat ever did, secure in the knowledge that through the magic of Politics, doing so makes their fellow’s misdeed not only blameless, but praiseworthy. (But the Democrat they found is still evil and should be excoriated for their crimes, of course.)

    I’ll just say, Trump’s DO SOMETHING tweet didn’t seem to me the act of a man secure in his own cleanliness before the law. (It made me think of Dick Dastardly, to be honest.)

    My worst fear in all this is that Mueller is going to unearth solid evidence that Trump really HAS committed impeachment-worthy crimes, and the Republicans are going to collectively say “So what? WE WON. Suck it, libtards.”
    And that will be it for what’s left of the “Rule of Law” in this country.

  78. It’s the Papadapoulos info that’s the real zinger. He’s the solid presence in the Trump campaign connected to the Russian dirt and he’s been “cooperating” since July. Of course Trump is trying to throw him under the bus but he’s pretty clearly wired tightly in his seat and can’t be dislodged.

    Going to be an interesting Year Two for Trump.

  79. Magda said: “It’s the Papadapoulos info that’s the real zinger. He’s the solid presence in the Trump campaign connected to the Russian dirt and he’s been “cooperating” since July.”

    There is something very, very interesting in the recently unsealed indictment on Papadopoulos. See point 14 on pages 6 and 7.

    https://www.justice.gov/file/1007346/download

    It undercuts at least one major aspect of the collusion allegation against the Trump campaign.

    Check it out and see if you can tell what it is.

  80. “I’m not a Republican. I’m a center-right Independent.”

    “Check it out and see if you can tell what it is.”

    Childish games are just really unbecoming.

  81. John, no problem. I’m done with the ankle biter.

    Hey docrocketscience, do read the whole indictment. It’s relatively short and fascinating. And it shows that the Trump campaign was interested in reaching out to Russians for dirt on Hillary. But unlike the HRC campaign, which used GPS Fusion to get dirt on Trump, the Trump people let an amateur overly ambitious low-level foreign policy volunteer F around. That speaks volumes in its own right.

  82. Caspar Weinberger

    I know that the name of former Secretary of Defense who has been dead for over a decade seems like a non sequitur in this discussion, but pause for a moment and think about what happened to him. Short version: he participated in an illegal arms deal with Iran, was indited, and then pardoned by the next president. A number of other lower level operatives went to jail for Iran–Contra, but ultimately the loyalty of higher ups was rewarded with pardons and nice jobs.

    While interesting for what it reveals about the inner workings of this administration’s election campaign it does not matter. Just because an “Oliver North” goes to jail or one member of a conspiracy flips does not mean that the president will be convicted of anything or removed from office. Comparisons to Watergate do not work because at that time in America there was still a generation of politicians who felt more loyalty to country and ideas than to party.

    I doubt that Mueller is playing games with this prosecution or that it is some sort of distraction, but the power is in the ballot box. If the election were run again today I think that most people who voted for the president would do so again. Party ahead of all else. There certainly are Republicans who are personally repulsed by the President, but they still vote for his policies. Even if the Democrats get a majority in both houses there will be no exit by the president. It takes 2/3rds to remove a president and even though it would be far more justified to go after the current president with impeachment it would not be successful. It would also reinforce Republican voter loyalty.

  83. “I’m not a Republican. I’m a center-right Independent.”

    In the words of Calvin’s Dad, “You’re only fooling yourself, kiddo.”

  84. Magda: “Going to be an interesting Year Two for Trump.”

    Wait. Its only been a year?
    Constantine was right.
    Time does slow down in hell.

  85. @Pedro: “Ankle-biter”? That’s the best you can do? I don’t think our host would even bother grading it, just toss it back with a “try to do better next time.”

  86. Hey Andrew, your OT buddy.

    But like I told our esteemed host, I’m done with the resident Generator of Rage, Entropy, and Grievance.

  87. Oooohhhhhh!!!! NOM!!! NOM!! Nom. nom? nom?

    nom??

    (ptewie)

    Man, these cankles taste like they’ve been stewing in the wrong side of history for waaaay too long… and is that a hint of… (nibble nibble)… Old Spice?

    Ugh. Lost my appetite.

  88. I confess, I don’t visit Whatever every day. Most days, yes. So glad I stopped by today, in order to be able to comment here. What a great Monday for news!!

    It is true that as long as Republicans continue to support treason against our nation and way of life, Trump will remain in the White House… unless Mr Mueller III indicts him, he is convicted, and the highest court in the land tells the nation that the President cannot be guilty of treason. Period.

    Sounds good. Hope we win the Congress overwhelmingly, which given the ways the Republicans have corrupted Democracy in this country would take an actual miracle.

    Keep up the good work, Scalzi !!

  89. Please stop spamming us with quasi-sensical crap, in multiple posts. It’s really annoying and not the least bit edifying. For a cephalopod, you consume a hell of a lot of oxygen.

    That’s for Host to Decide, not you. A word of ‘nay, shoo!, Busy don’t bother me today!‘, poof, we disappear. Permanently. (Unlike, say, T. Cruz and every major bill he’s sponsored).

    And trust me, there are many many hidden jokes and knowledge hidden in the threads: not our fault you’re Blind as a Bat.

    We know you’re feeling threatened. It’s ok to bite on us. That’s part of what we are. (Mermaids and Myth-making, now there’s a story). It’s actually all Very Very Pertinent Crap if you know your Bowie and what’s actually going on.

    Here’s a hint: Bank of England believes Brexit could cost 75,000 finance jobs BBC, 31st Oct, 2017. I won’t post you the obvious and utterly over-used film clip from that US film Network, but it’s applicable.

    Large Things in the Inky Depths are Stirring and they’re a bit pissed off.

    p.s.

    Don’t tell people how to think or feel. It leads to bad endings. Trust me: been through a lot worse than your Mind ever has and never caved in to the Easy-Street Non-Thought Mind-Blank stuff you’re peddling.

  90. I also don’t care for spamming with quasisensical crap in multiple posts. If you are trying for the “knowledge of mysteries beyond your mortal ken” or “take the red pill and find out what’s behind the illusions” look, it works better with ONE post. Trying too hard looks anything but mysterious.

    I thought it would take longer for Mueller to come out with indictments. I am pleased to see it beginning already but I still think we are in for a long haul. These things take time and I hope he will do his job properly—or as properly as a Republican can, because whatever else he may be, he is still a Republican and Comey has taught us how that interacts with impartiality.

    But it has started and we will see where it goes from here. Leftover Halloween candy can substitute for popcorn.

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