The Mueller Russian Probe Thread

Jamie

I hate to start a new thread - but one thread that went into detail about the Mueller investigation has a very misleading thread title "Who colluded more" - this thread should solely address the thread topic and another is "Dear Vlad" which mainly addresses the Russian indictments.  So let's use the thread to solely discuss the Mueller investigation - facts - speculation - latest news, etc.  Here's a starting point:

Indictments/charges:

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman
Committed bank fraud not addressed by the indictment last October in which he was charged with money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent.

Rick Gates, one of Manafort's business partners
Gates was a campaign aide to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.  In October, Gates was indicted along with Manafort on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US, making false statements, and failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.  He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser
On the same day Mueller's office announced the indictments of Manafort and Gates, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old former Trump adviser, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser
Flynn, who has reportedly been at the center of Mueller's investigation for months, is perhaps the most high-profile person to be indicted to date. On December 1, 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations last December with Russia's ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak.

13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies
On February 16, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russian citizens and three companies allegedly involved in meddling in the US political system.
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/16/text-full-mueller-indictment-on-russian-election-case-415670

Alex Van Der Zwaan, who is expected to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon, is also accused of lying about the failure to turn over an email communication to the special counsel's office. He was speaking with investigators about his work with international law firm Skadden Arps in 2012, when Manafort arranged for the firm to be hired by the Ukrainian Minister of Justice to prepare a report on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko.



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South

FAKE NEWS!!!!

Sorry about that, just wanted to be first. 

Thanks for trying to herd the cats. 


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LOST

Should Mueller ask Trump to ask Putin to extradite the indicted Russians?


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Jamie

Ask? sure - but it'll never happen:

Russia has long been one of the countries where extradition has been most difficult for the United States. Russia has no extradition treaty with the U.S. and the country’s constitution forbids any extradition of its citizens to stand trial abroad. Russia has also recently been increasingly active in seeking to block U.S. extraditions of Russians seized abroad.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/russians-indicted-special-counsel-face-extradition-hold-breath/story?id=53198448


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paulsurovell

I understand Jamie's motivation to start a new thread. However, because Mueller's mandate is to investigate collusion (officially "cooperation") between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and everything he does must be measured against that mandate, I'll continue to direct my posts on the recent indictments and related developments in the Russia story to the collusion thread, until the collusion issue is resolved.

This will be my last post on this thread.  Good luck.


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Jamie


paulsurovell said:

I understand Jamie's motivation to start a new thread. However, because Mueller's mandate is to investigate collusion (officially "cooperation") between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and everything he does must be measured against that mandate, I'll continue to direct my posts on the recent indictments and related developments in the Russia story to the collusion thread, until the collusion issue is resolved.

Mueller's mandate is not about Hillary either.


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LOST

The "collusion thread" is titled "Who Colluded More"? It's about collusion. 

Paul, your opinion is that there was nothing with which to collude. If you want to continue that thread why not change the title to something like "Did Russia interfere in the Election"?


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dave23


paulsurovell said:

I understand Jamie's motivation to start a new thread. However, because Mueller's mandate is to investigate collusion (officially "cooperation") between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and everything he does must be measured against that mandate, I'll continue to direct my posts on the recent indictments and related developments in the Russia story to the collusion thread, until the collusion issue is resolved.

This will be my last post on this thread.  Good luck.

The mandate is "a full and thorough investigation of theRussian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election," including "any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."



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DaveSchmidt


LOST said:

This can go in either thread. Two opposing views

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/18/confessions-of-a-russiagate-skeptic-217024

That’s how to lay out a skeptic’s case.


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Jamie

Here's a good breakdown of the Russian indictments from 7 legal experts:

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/21/17031774/mueller-indictments-russia-trump


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yahooyahoo

Here is the text from Rod Rosenstein's official letter appointing Mueller as Special Counsel:

________________________________________________

By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C.
§§ 509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility to provide supervision and
management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the
Russian govemment's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as
follows:

(a) Robert S. Mueller III is appointed to serve as Special Counsel for the United States
Department of Justice.

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI
Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals
associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is
authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

(d) Sections 600.4 through 600.10 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations are
applicable to the Special Counsel.  

___________________________________________________

"Collusion" is not mentioned in this letter.  Mueller is authorized to investigate "any links and/or coordination...."


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cramer

"As Josh Gerstein noted, the new charges might be related to new evidence obtained relating to some bank fraud."

Last week, prosecutors told the court they’d received new evidence that Manafort took part in “a series of bank frauds and bank fraud conspiracies” in connection with a loan he sought in 2016. Mueller’s team said Manafort obtained the loan using “doctored profit and loss statements” that overstated “by millions of dollars” the income of his consulting business.
The bank fraud allegations were disclosed in a bail-related court filing made public on Friday that did not contain any indication of what action, if any, Mueller’s team planned to take over the alleged fraud.

"Meanwhile, NBC reports that Mueller’s team has been focusing on loans Manafort obtained in the wake of leaving the campaign that might be that newly identified fraud; they suggest Manafort may have promised the banker who made the loans a position in the Trump White House."

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons.
The banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank, was announced as a member of candidate Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 after the millions he had earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine drew media scrutiny. Calk did not receive a job in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/02/21/speaking-of-manaforts-efforts-to-make-bail-doing-him-in/

Interesting comments: 

mister bunnysays:February 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

A lot closer to flipping. Yes, but that also means Trump will be a lot closer to pardoning him, using the Strzok nonsense as thinly veiled cover. Trump isn’t worried about Manafort because (in my reading of things) they’ve already got an agreement established. If that’s correct, then in order to get info out of Manafort, Mueller will need to offer a better deal than Trump can, or diminish Trump’s political ability to use his pardoning power.

Reply

  • Tripsays:February 21, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Manafort has exposure in NYC, too. Schneiderman will be on it. Manafort is more afraid of not being pardoned by “Black Caviar” than Trump, I think.

    Rock-Manafort-Hard Place

mister bunnysays:February 21, 2018 at 4:21 pm

The possibility of state charges do help mitigate the pardon side of things.

But with the Black Caviar reference, are you saying you think Manafort may rather go to jail than rat on some Russian oligarch who would kill him? Perhaps that is the basis of Trump’s confidence Manafort won’t flip.

Reply

  • earlofhuntingdonsays:February 21, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I think that Manafort has more than the Russians to worry about.  He has a stable of prior clients decades in the making who might be aggrieved were Manafort to flip or be rumored to have cooperated with Bob Mueller.

    Manafort spent decades working for people who should be in the dock in the Hague.  I don’t know if Bob Mueller has the resources to insulate him against that, which means Manafort may enjoy an extended stay at Club Fed.



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cramer
Mueller et. al are totally toying with them. As I have said before, from the start, there is a formal process for this, if and when the Govt wants to invoke it, called a Bail  Source Determination, often referred to as a Nebbia determination. There is not a chance in hell Manafort and Gates assets can withstand that. Instead they are just letting these fockersflail about and seeing what comes of them backing themselves into a corner. It is really fairly amusing.

"I noticed that the burden of proof in a Nebbia hearing is on the defendant to show that bail funds are clean, but Team Mueller has decided to avoid that direct confrontation and just decided to have Manafort repeatedly empty his pockets. The FSB loans (oh, what a fun collision of abbreviations) were already flagged as fishy through public records, as was the bridging loan from Spruce Capital that was set up with Summerbreeze LLC as soon as he left the campaign."

In other words, no bail for Manafort. No get out of jail card. 

eta: 

"Earlier this afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected the bail package offered by Paul Manafort as the property offered as collateral wasn’t free and clear.

From reports about this rejection there were hints another shoe would drop soon.

Bingo — multiple counts of bank and tax fraud levied against each and both Manafort and his partner, Rick Gates." 

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/02/22/so-whats-new-rick-paul-fresh-indictments-today-on-bank-tax-fraud/




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Steve

remember, if he's pardoned, he loses his Fifth Amendright right to testify as he will no longer be subject to federal prosecution (though he couldn't be compelled to testify about things that would constitute criminal activity under state law). 


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Jamie

New charges against former Donald Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

In the 37-page indictment in Virginia, prosecutors describe a "scheme" in which the two longtime business partners allegedly laundered $30 million, failed to pay taxes for almost 10 years and used real estate they owned to fraudulently secure more than $20 million in loans.

The indictments show increasing pressure from Mueller on the former top Trump campaign officials and highlight his aggressive effort to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and any related matters uncovered during the investigation.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/new-charges-manafort-and-gates/index.html

(Sorry for the dupe reporting of this story)


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Dave

At some point these guys won't want to risk to go to jail with those Mexican rapists Trump keeps talking about.


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cramer

The WP is reporting that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch indicted last week, who financed and ran Internet Research Agency, was in touch with Syrian and Russian officials before his mercenaries attacked U.S. troops and their allies in Syria earlier this month. 

"In intercepted communications in late January, the oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, told a senior Syrian official that he had “secured permission” from an unspecified Russian minister to move forward with a “fast and strong” initiative that would take place in early February."

"He is known to have close ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, forged when he was a restaurateur in St. Petersburg and expanded through what became Prigozhin’s wide-ranging business empire, including extensive contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry."

"Among his various enterprises, U.S. intelligence believes that Prigozhin also “almost certainly” controls Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. The mercenaries, employed by a company called Wagner, comprise ultra­nationalist Russians and military veterans, some of whom also fought in the Ukraine conflict, according to Russian news reports."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/putin-ally-said-to-be-in-touch-with-kremlin-assad-before-his-mercenaries-attacked-us-troops/2018/02/22/f4ef050c-1781-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_usrussia-725pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.32aabdabd487




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marylago

NY Times: Breaking News: Rick Gates, a top Trump campaign aide who was indicted by the Russia special counsel, is expected to plead guilty -- a sign he's cooperating

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/23/us/politics/rick-gates-guilty-plea-mueller-investigation.html?emc=edit_na_20180223&nl=breaking-news&nlid=6913803&ref=headline


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cramer

Rick Gates entered a guilty plea to two charges - conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false statements. 

Here's the plea document:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/23/politics/rick-gates-plea-document/index.html

eta - The Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. charge looks to be what Mueller is going to use in any future indictments. It was used in the Internet Research Agency indictments. 


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Nancy

Martha Gesson, a Russian-American journalist on Russiagate.  Video and transcript:

Masha Gessen: Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/23/masha_gessen_russiagate_has_become_a



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bub

Yes, we sheep all have tunnel vision.  We can't think about more than one issue.  You've noticed that on MOL right Nan?  Nobody has any time to criticize Trump about tax policy, healthcare, race bating and on and on because we are myopically and exclusively focused on Russiagate (actually, that describes Paul, not the rest of us).

 nan said:

Martha Gesson, a Russian-American journalist on Russiagate.  Video and transcript:

Masha Gessen: Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/23/masha_gessen_russiagate_has_become_a



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Nancy


bub said:

Yes, we sheep all have tunnel vision.  We can't think about more than one issue.  You've noticed that on MOL right Nan?  Nobody has any time to criticize Trump about tax policy, healthcare, race bating and on and on because we are myopically and exclusively focused on Russiagate (actually, that describes Paul, not the rest of us).

 nan said:

Martha Gesson, a Russian-American journalist on Russiagate.  Video and transcript:

Masha Gessen: Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/23/masha_gessen_russiagate_has_become_a

Is this not the thread that Jamie set up specifically to discuss Russiagate?  Why are you attacking me and not everyone else in this thread who commented on the topic?  Why not go after Jamie since he set it up? Martha Gesson is neither Paul, nor I.  She is an award winning Russian-American journalist who is a huge critic of Putin.  Democracy Now is also a good source for reliable information.  So, you might want to rethink the sheep with tunnel vision comment. Seems it's only people who disagree with the obession who get personally attacked.  Everyone else is free to be as tunnel-visioned as they like.


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dave23

I think the point is that one is able to be concerned about Russia, Trump, etc. while also being able to recognize the damage he's wrought elsewhere and, in fact, has been demonstrated here and elsewhere.


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DaveSchmidt


nan said:

bub said:

Yes, we sheep all have tunnel vision.  We can't think about more than one issue.  You've noticed that on MOL right Nan?  Nobody has any time to criticize Trump about tax policy, healthcare, race bating and on and on because we are myopically and exclusively focused on Russiagate (actually, that describes Paul, not the rest of us).
Is this not the thread that Jamie set up specifically to discuss Russiagate?  Why are you attacking me and not everyone else in this thread who commented on the topic?  Why not go after Jamie since he set it up? Martha Gesson is neither Paul, nor I.

You may be taking bub’s comment the wrong way. I haven’t watched the video, but the title suggests the gist is that the Russian investigation is taking attention away from more important matters. The fact that you posted it suggests you may feel the same way. Since no one else here is making that argument, there’s no reason for bub to respond to anyone else with the rebuttal that people are able to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.

There have been exceptions that could give anyone a hair trigger, but attacks aren’t lurking in every pointed reply.

ETA: Cross-daved.


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Dennis


nan said:



bub said:

Yes, we sheep all have tunnel vision.  We can't think about more than one issue.  You've noticed that on MOL right Nan?  Nobody has any time to criticize Trump about tax policy, healthcare, race bating and on and on because we are myopically and exclusively focused on Russiagate (actually, that describes Paul, not the rest of us).

 nan said:

Martha Gesson, a Russian-American journalist on Russiagate.  Video and transcript:

Masha Gessen: Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/23/masha_gessen_russiagate_has_become_a

Is this not the thread that Jamie set up specifically to discuss Russiagate?  Why are you attacking me and not everyone else in this thread who commented on the topic?  Why not go after Jamie since he set it up? Martha Gesson is neither Paul, nor I.  She is an award winning Russian-American journalist who is a huge critic of Putin.  Democracy Now is also a good source for reliable information.  So, you might want to rethink the sheep with tunnel vision comment. Seems it's only people who disagree with the obession who get personally attacked.  Everyone else is free to be as tunnel-visioned as they like.

Lighten up Louis...Not everyone arguing a point of view different from yours is guilty of "personal attacks". You dish it out...you should learn to take the criticism too.


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BCC

The Manafort and Gates indictments have nothing to do with Trump other than to squeeze them to turn on him.

Zwann is involved with Manafort, not Trump.

One of the investigators of Flynn is reported to believe Flynn did not lie. The theory is that he was broken financially and emotionally and was  concerned about his son being indicted. That's why he copped to a minor offense.

The indictment of the Russians was more a defense of Trump than an accusation.

The interference of the Russians in the election is pretty well accepted, except for Trump who is still dithering.



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