Mueller Drops a Clue

Trump Maladministration

This just in:

Paul Manafort shared Trump campaign polling data with an associate tied to Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign, prosecutors alleged, according to a court filing unsealed on Tuesday.

The accusations came to light in a document filed by Mr. Manafort’s defense lawyers that was supposed to be partly blacked out but contained a formatting error that accidentally revealed the information.

Accidently, you say? Right.

In one portion of the filing that Mr. Manafort’s lawyers tried to redact, they instead also revealed that Mr. Manafort “may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan” with the Russian associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, “on more than one occasion.”

Investigators have been questioning witnesses about whether Russia tried to influence the Trump administration to broker a resolution to hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. Various “peace plans” were proposed, including at least one that called for the lifting of American sanctions against Russia. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kilimnik had worked closely together for years on behalf of Russia-aligned Ukrainian interests.

Prosecutors have also accused Mr. Manafort of misleading them about his contacts with senior administration officials, about a payment from a pro-Trump political action committee made to cover his legal expenses, and about how he and Mr. Kilimnik tried to influence the testimony of witnesses to ward off criminal charges.

Manafort’s lawyers blame a faulty memory.

Meanwhile, remember Natalia V. Veselnitskaya? She was the Russian lawyers with ties to the Kremlin at the infamous Trump Tower meeting? She’s back in the news.

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who in 2016 met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, was charged on Tuesday in a separate case that showed her close ties to the Kremlin.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, a pivotal figure in the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, was charged by federal prosecutors in New York with seeking to thwart an earlier Justice Department investigation into money laundering that involved an influential Russian businessman and his investment firm.

The money-laundering case was not directly related to the Trump Tower meeting. But a federal indictment returned in Manhattan seemed to confirm that Ms. Veselnitskaya had deep ties to senior Russian government officials and rekindled questions about whether the Kremlin tried to use her as an intermediary to Donald J. Trump’s campaign.

Also, too: Let’s all not watch the speech tonight. Boycott! Drive down the ratings! Teach the networks a lesson!

Stuff to read:

Paul Waldman, No one in the Trump administration has any credibility left.

Greg Sargent, The real national emergency is the threat of Trump’s collapse.

Eric Levitz, Why Tucker Carlson Plays a Critic of Capitalism on TV.

Dahlia Lithwick, Why Men Find the New Congresswomen So Frightening

David Atkins, Republicans are Selling Their Future on the Whim of a Tyrant

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 8, 2019 @6:03 pm

    It sure looks like the poo-poo is fast approaching the fan's blades!

    I hadn't planned on watching tRUMP tonight, but I'll DVR it.

    Ya never know!

    He might go off script, pull out some metal balls to twirl around in his hand, and accuse "illegal" aliens of stealing his frozen strawberries.

    Or he might sit at the desk, and at some point yell out, "You want the truth?  YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!!"

     

     

  2. Mike G  •  Jan 8, 2019 @8:51 pm

    More Russian connections than Aeroflot.

  3. doug  •  Jan 8, 2019 @8:51 pm

    I'm uncertain how the speech tonight will go. Having the government shut down by the president to demand from Democrats what the Republican Congress never tried to give Trump is an emergency. The situation at the border is not.

    The networks have had time to consider their obligation to the public. IMO, that should include fact-checking in real time. Trump repeats the same lies – this should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Trump's base will react with blind enthusism. Screw them. The rest of the country isn't impressed with the wall or Trump's tactics. A prolonged shutdown costs whichever side gets the blame. Declaring Imperial powers to build the wall will drive down Trump support. Backing down will also cost Trump. He's between a rock and a hard place with no place to go.

    CNN, at least has promised equal time for Pelosi/Schumer. That might be devastating if they emphasize they are trying to open government and they aren't asking for any concessions. (They just aren't granting Trump's demands under duress.)

    I see the speech as Trump in gladiatorial splendor against the lions. My money is on the cats.

  4. Aj  •  Jan 8, 2019 @11:52 pm

    Trump's speech was rehash campaign speech with fundraising emails before and after the speech. The networks fell for it.

    Thank goodness he didn't try to hijack the military troops and money.

  5. doug  •  Jan 9, 2019 @1:37 am

    Looks like the speech was a campaign speech for the base, coupled with fundraisers before and after – emails to the base asking for money.

    This might be the excuse the networks will use to not give Trump any live coverage in prime time. I'd love it if the networks make Trump pay for air time outside the regular news. And carefully meter the time alloted to Trump campaign coverage relative to what is alotted to Democratic candidates. 

  6. Swami  •  Jan 9, 2019 @1:38 am

    I watched snippets of Trump speech tonight..And I came to realize that he's an absolutely brilliant and shrewd negotiator. Here he claims that through his new USMCA trade agreement that Mexico will actually be paying for the wall, but in reality he's making Canada pay for the wall without their even knowing that he stuck it to them. I guess that's why us Americans are credited with American exceptionalism.. We get the job of building a great, big, beautiful wall done while having somebody else pay for it. Yep, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull the wool over the eyes of us Americans.

  7. Lit3Bolt  •  Jan 9, 2019 @7:00 am

    *sings*

    It's beginning to look a lot like TREASON…

    EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK…

  8. csm  •  Jan 9, 2019 @10:22 am

    Trump is bragging about how Mexico is paying for the wall through the trade agreement, which we know is BS.  But I sure wish someone would ask Trump, Sanders or Conway: if Mexico "is" paying for the wall as you insist, then why are you still asking the voters for money for it?  And, if they are paying for it why not just agree to the deal democrats put back on the table Trump and senate republicans previously agreed to prior to Rush and Coulter overruling them?

  9. Bernie  •  Jan 9, 2019 @12:29 pm

    More Russian connections than Aeroflot should get a nomination for metaphor of the week.  

    One of the talking heads on a Sunday morning discussion just after the election made an insightful statement regarding Trump.  She noted his repertoire was quite small, a bit of a one trick pony so to speak, and was just going to keep on doing what he always does because that is all he knows how to do.  It rang true at the time and the ring gets louder and clearer every day.    

  10. Swami  •  Jan 9, 2019 @1:16 pm

    Bernie.. The bible expresses that very same concept describing Trump's repertoire with the saying…."And the dog returns to his vomit"

  11. Bernie  •  Jan 9, 2019 @2:02 pm

    Ah yes Swami, old Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his vomit, So a fool repeats his folly. 

    Other translations seem quite similar.  

  12. doug  •  Jan 9, 2019 @7:38 pm

    We're going to break the record of 21 days for a shutdown. That ensures the first full pay period of work with no wages – just an IOU. That's hitting TSA workers, but also IRS, and my favorite, DHS. Border Patrol isn't getting paid. How many pay periods without greenbacks do you think the border cop with a family can survive? A relatively high percentage of those border workers are out in the sticks – I'm guessing BP pays the expenses of working the desert 50 miles from Bumflock. That's going to get doubly expensive, no income AND the out of pocket in a remote part of Texas. My point: the bubble will burst at some point and it may be Trump's Gestapo who throws in the towel.

    The polls say 51% blame Trump and 32% blame Democrats. By the end of the week, I predict Trump will be 20 points down in the blame game. That's not a strong negotiating hand.

    I don't think McConnell will 'let' Trump do the 'National Emergency' thing. Not because it might fail, but because it might work. If you grant the POTUS Imperial powers by uttering the magic words 'National Emergency' and the courts allow it, the precedent stands when there's a Democrat in the White House who views climate change a 'National Emergency.'  McConnell hasn't used the nuclear option to kill the fillibuster for the same reason. 

    If the previous opinion is true, and Trump can't use 'National Emergency' to build the wall, McConnell has to provide a veto-proof majority and pass the House legislation to end the standoff. Trump will be defeated but he can save face if he's beaten by McConnell and not Pelosi. Either way, he's toast on the central promise of his presidency.

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