Thursday, February 21, 2019
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION
The Mueller Report
- “Merely the End of Chapter One”: The Mueller Report, Rumored to Drop next Week, Is Only the Beginning of Trump’s Hell
- Congress to Subpoena Full Mueller Report if AG Barr Withholds Parts, Blumenthal Says
- Mueller Report: Democrats May Try to Subpoena If It’s Not Public
- Mueller’s Team Prepares Return To Old Jobs In Sign That Probe Really Is Ending
- No excuses. Only full disclosure of Mueller’s findings will do.
- Why Mueller could ask AG Barr to indict Trump in office
- Scott Stedman: Mueller’s mandate was a fact-finding mission.
Mueller’s mandate was a fact-finding mission. If he is indeed wrapping up soon, it’s because he has a clear idea of what happened in 2016. After the fact-finding is complete, the necessity of a Special Counsel almost goes away. Federal prosecutors can handle any future charges.
Which is why I emphasize again, Mueller finishing up his work is not synonymous with the Russia investigation ending. Quite the contrary.
A Democratic House ensured that matters that Mueller didn’t investigate (Russian money laundering into Trump properties, reportedly) will be run to ground by Congress.
This began with Trump firing Comey because the FBI was investigating Russia. It will end with local, state, federal and Congressional authorities picking up where Mueller leaves off.
- Greg Olear: A reading of the tea-leaves indicates impending movement on the Mueller front. Let’s take stock of the Trump/Russia situation. [THREAD]
- Thread by @gregolear: “A reading of the tea-leaves indicates impending movement on the Mueller front. Let’s take stock of the Trump/Russia situation. [THREAD] 1/ M […]” #TheThreat
- The Hoarse Whisperer: The Mueller Report
Okay, I’ve been thinking about possible explanations for Mueller wrapping up and delivering a report as soon as next week. Here’s the most plausible take I have come up with… …and it’s more positive than negative. 1/
Mueller, as we know, is a Special Counsel not a Special Prosecutor. He was appointed as a specific result of Comey being fired and was effectively tasked with playing a role closer to a head of the FBI than a federal prosecutor. His role is primarily investigatory. 2/
We all see Mueller as more of a prosecutor than a head of the FBI though… even though his primary credential for the Special Counsel role post-Comey was his tenure as the Director of the FBI BEFORE Comey. When you view Mueller’s work through that lens it makes more sense. 3/
Mueller has been tasked with unraveling Russian election interference and any involvement by the Trump campaign. That is, overseeing the investigation right up to the point of potentially recommending charges and prosecutions… and then handing over the findings. 4/
That’s less toothless than it sounds. While it doesn’t feel like a route to justice, it is no different than how the FBI typically works. The FBI doesn’t prosecute per se. They unravel crimes and then engage prosecutors to seek indictments and pursue prosecutions. 5/
In a way, we’ve all been conditioned to see Mueller as a one-stop investigator/prosecutor. We’ve seen his work produce a long list of high-profile indictments and, naturally, played that forward to expect he’d drop indictments all the way to the Oval Office. 6/
However, if you look at those indictments through the above lens (Mueller as investigator not prosecutor) it seems clear he has primarily targeted valuable sources of further information. He hasn’t indicted any dead ends. He has targeted people with something to offer. 7/
It started with Flynn and Papadopoulos. Then Gates and Manafort. Then Cohen. Now Stone. He has targeted people with info and significant incentive to give it up. He has skipped people who will likely never roll over on Trump – like Junior. 8/
In other words, he has been pursuing indictments as INVESTIGATIVE TOOL first rather than as prosecution end points. Mueller’s explicit task was to unravel the full story of Russia’s election meddling and the Trump camp’s involvement. That’s what he has been doing. 9/
His task was never to oversee both the unraveling of the story AND the prosecutions of all identified law-breakers because again, he’s a proxy for Comey… not the Attoeney General. Which brings us to the news reports that he’s wrapping up his work and drafting a report… 10/
Following the above line of thinking, Mueller’s work would be completed when he felt he had satisfactorily completed the investigation. That is, when he had unraveled the story to the point of being able to lay it out in detail supported by evidence. 11/
If Mueller has reached the point of writing a report, it means he feels he has gathered all the evidence he needs to lay out the full Trump-Russia narrative. That is not only not a bad thing; it represents an inflection point that will be nerve-racking but likely positive. 12/
Mueller having a comprehensive story to tell is the tipping point. It’s the moment when we go from a slow drip-drip-drip of indictments to a firehose of information on the whole sordid affair. 13/
Before going further, let’s take one quick side trip to something Andrew McCabe revealed this week… In multiple interviews, McCabe explained that his primary focus in the days before Mueller joined was on Trump-proofing the evidence and investigations. 14/
Meaning, making it impossible for Trump or his allies to bury or destroy evidence or kill the investigation in one fell swoop. McCabe hasn’t explained what steps the FBI took but we can make an educated guess. 15/
The most logical way IMHO would be to both federate and matrix the work. Meaning: 1) Federate – distribute portions of the investigations to multiple teams in multiple places 2) Matrix – interlace the work across those teams so each was working as a leader and contributor 16/
By both distributing investigative work to multiple groups and having those multiple groups working collaboratively, investigations and evidence couldn’t be “disappeared” without essentially shutting down everyone and everything. Firing one person wouldn’t help… 17/
Bringing it back around to Mueller… Again, he was the former Director of the FBI. It is absolutely impossible to believe that McCabe didn’t both brief him on those safeguards and work with him to strengthen them over the past 21 months. 18/
A logical way to do that? Distribute the myriad cases resulting from Mueller’s work back down into the FBI. Federate and matrix. Doing so would eliminate the risk that justice could be thwarted by merely burying Mueller’s report. 19/
If Mueller’s report died in William Barr’s bottom drawer, Justice would die along with it. If each chargeable offense was independently being pushed forward by the FBI / DOJ prosecutors, Barr would have to thwart case after case after case one by one. Too public to stand. 20/
This is already too long, so I’ll wrap it up… If Mueller is truly writing his report, we can anxiously await its arrival with eagerness rather than dread. It will likely be comprehensive, damning and obstruction-proof. It isn’t an endpoint. It’s the turbo moment. 21/
Trump sees the Mueller report as the final chapter. A retrospective summary. A backward-looking document. Instead, it’ll likely be an analysis and roadmap. It’ll lay out the myriad cases against myriad actors… …and it’ll make clear those cases are already en route. 22/
Don’t lose sleep worrying about the Mueller investigation or report. The train can’t be stopped at this point. One big reason: it isn’t one train. It’s myriad trains on myriad tracks overseen by engineers far smarter than the orange-faced doofus in a conductor’s hat. 23/23
- Thread by @HoarseWisperer: “Okay, I’ve been thinking about possible explanations for Mueller wrapping up and delivering a report as soon as next week. Here’s the most p […]”
- Benjamin Wittes: This is certainly correct. If Mueller were being shut down against his will, he would say something. This clearly reflects his professional judgment, not a nefarious conspiracy by Barr, Whitaker, or anyone else. As such, it is good news.
As I discussed a little yesterday Daily Check-In 02/20/2019, but it looks like we’re hearing more and more about how this report might be the real deal. This will not be the end of the chaos, but will accelerate it.
Roger Stone’s Gag Order
- Judge bars Roger Stone from speaking about criminal case
- Roger Stone back in court after Instagram post
- Roger Stone faces judge after posting her image with crosshairs
- Roger Stone handed gag order for posting judge photo with crosshairs: “You apparently need clear boundaries”
- Roger Stone Muzzled, But Still Walking Free
- Roger Stone Threatened Political Violence and Civil War Prior to Instagram Post Aimed at Judge
- Trump advisor and friend Roger Stone could go to jail as a judge is set to rule on whether he violated bond by posting Instagram crosshairs photo
- Roger Stone will testify in D.C. court to explain Instagram post showing judge next to rifle crosshair
- Britain Eakin: [Live Tweet Thread about Roger Stone] Judge ABJ makes it clear that this is his second chance. “This is not baseball. There will not be a third chance,” she says. ABJ is clear that she will detain Stone ahead of trial if he violates the new gag order. And that’s a wrap folks.
- Kaz Weida: Spoiler alert: Roger Stone has never known when to shut up. I give him 48 hours before his bail is revoked.
- Shimon Prokupecz: Roger Stone is gagged Judge Amy Berman Jackson changes the terms and gags Roger Stone completely. From this moment on, Stone may not speak publicly about the investigation or the case or any participants in the investigation or the case.
- Rick Wilson: Roger Stone is already in violation of the “comment indirectly via surrogates.” ALREADY.
- Ming: Stone is a groveling pussy when its his ass on the line but not give shit about others when he willfully harm them. Remand the bitch to custody.
Following the little stunt Roger pulled earlier this week (Daily Check-In 02/18/2019,Daily Check-In 02/19/2019), this is the best case scenario for him. By all rights, he should be in jail. Instead, he’s under a VERY strict gag order. If he says shit about the case, Mueller, or anyone involved, he goes to jail.
I’ve got $20 that says he doesn’t last a week without doing something stupid.
- Andrew McCabe Said He Was ‘Very Clear’ With Congress That The FBI Was Investigating Trump
- McCabe: ‘Undeniable’ That FBI Had ‘Impact’ on 2016 Election
- The Trump administration wants to sell nuclear technology to the Saudis — without a nuclear agreement. That’s alarming.
- Jared Kushner Is Preparing for Another Face-to-Face Meeting with M.B.S.
Really? In the middle of all of this, he’s having ANOTHER sit down with MBS?
COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS
- Trump Inaugural Committee Challenged Vendor Requests and Budgeting, Documents Show
- Tea Pain: Looks like Trump may have been payin’ vendors off the books. What is Russian for “kick-backs?”
- Tea Pain: Folks, if Cohen’s been cleared by the DOJ to talk about all this, Trump’s in a world of trouble.
This could get interesting. The hearing is scheduled for next week.
TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1
- Trump stays silent on media-hating Coast Guard officer
- The Impossible Job of Speaking Truth to Trump ; How do you offer intelligence to a president who’s not interested—and keep your job?
- Trump biographer says the president, “wittingly or not,” is a Kremlin agent
- Trump demands quick rollout of “6G” wireless tech, which doesn’t exist
- Trump is losing
- Trump isn’t colluding with Russians he’s conspiring with Putin
- Trump White House Is Forcing Interns to Sign NDAs and Threatening Them With Financial Ruin
- Trump’s Presidency Is Getting Weaker
- We Need Trump’s Tax Returns
- Alexander Acosta, Trump’s Labor Secretary, Broke the Law in Jeffrey Epstein Case: Judge
- John Schindler: Epstein, finally Lot of bad people won’t sleep well tonight.
- Judge rules federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case
- Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules
- Jeffery Epstein Sex Trafficked Underage Girls And Trump’s Secretary Of Labor Illegally Covered It Up, Federal Judge Says
- It’s Time for Alexander Acosta to Resign
- Judge: Alexander Acosta, Now a Trump Official, Broke Federal Law in Brokering Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 Plea Deal
Finally some good news on the Epstein case. The plea deal that let this serial pedophile rapist get away with his crimes was done illegally. The victims and government will have 15 days to reach an agreement on the immunity deal.
There’s a good chance that at least part of this case gets reopened. Especially if one of the new women was moved across state or international lines for sex. That’s trafficking, and there’s currently no statute of limitations on that at the federal level.
- Aaron Rupar: Wow. Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director when FBI opened counterintelligence investigation into Trump in May 2017, refuses to answer questions about if he knew about it. Bizarrely, he ends his non-answer by referring further questions to Vladimir Putin.
- Jared Kushner Is Preparing for Another Face-to-Face Meeting with M.B.S.
- In Leaked Tape, Nunes Says Protecting Trump More Important Than Defending US
- Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight
- Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues
- Schiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly
- Mitch McConnell’s Misuse of Power
EMERGENCIES, SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION
- All Members Encouraged to Cosponsor Congressman Castro’s Privileged Resolution to Terminate President Trump’s Emergency Declaration
- At least 245 children have been separated at border since June, Trump admin says
- Donald Trump’s real target is not illegal immigration but diversity
- ICE facility in the middle of chickenpox outbreak has one doctor to treat 1,500 detainees, congressman says
RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM
- US Coast Guard Lieutenant Accused of Planning Large-Scale Killings of Civilians
- The Department of Justice Loves Publicizing Arrests of Alleged Terrorists — but Not the White Nationalist Coast Guard Officer
- Trump stays silent on media-hating Coast Guard officer
- The Foiled ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Plot Is Chilling in Detail and Scope
- Coast Guard Officer Accused of Wanting to Kill Democrats and Journalists Was Inspired by Norwegian Mass Shooting, Feds Say
- As Hate Crimes Soar Under Trump, White Nationalist Allegedly Had Plan to Kill ‘Innocent Civilians on Scale Rarely Seen’ in US
- The white supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant used tropes and language of the online far-right – The lieutenant was allegedly plotting a mass shooting and had researched prominent liberal politicians.
- ‘This Isn’t a Game’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Reports on Her Home After Coast Guard Officer Arrested With Alleged Politician Hit List
- O’Rourke on hit list of 22 Democrats, journalists neo-Nazi planned to kill, FBI says
- Shomari Stone: Prosecutors say Christopher Hasson made a hit list: Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer Tim Kaine Elizabeth Warren Cory Booker Richard Blumenthal Kirsten Gillibrand Kamala Harris Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Beto O’Rourke MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Joe Scarborough Don Lemon
- ‘Trump is encouraging’ domestic terrorists, Joe Scarborough says after landing on media hit list
- Joe Scarborough Directly Blames Donald Trump For Domestic Terror Threat: It’s All His Fault
- Joe Scarborough Directly Blames Donald Trump For Domestic Terror Threat: It’s All His Fault
- Joe Walsh: Instead of being a white nationalist, if Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Hasson was a Muslim, do you think Trump would have tweeted about him by now? Hell yea.
COLD WAR 2.0
- China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise
- Netanyahu’s election rivals merge as Israeli leader makes pact with extreme right
- Shannon Watts: “They want to bring winners to campus. The problem is, the Yale Politics Initiative brings in lots of losers. Besides a master class with the @NRA’s Dana Loesch, they’re hosting Rep. Matt Gaetz, who believes migrant caravans are funded by George Soros.”
- SCHRADER: The problem with ‘winners’
- Christopher Titus: Guys are arguing. “It’s not assault weapon, it’s assault rifle.” Semantics is a word the kids at Sandy hook didn’t have a chance to learn.
- David Hogg: If you actually want to make our schools safer start off by reducing class size and paying our teachers a living wage. Militarizing our schools will do 2 things -Grow the school to prison pipeline -Get more students killed
- Shannon Watts: Gun saleswoman from the @NRA still hasn’t mentioned the Trump supporter who acquired an arsenal and bulk ammo to murder “poca warren” and “sen blumen jew.”
THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE
TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, AND ECONOMY
- Opinion: Medicare for All isn’t ‘radical,’ it’s popular
- So How’s Your Tax Refund? Thanks to GOP Tax Scam, Big Banks Made Extra $28 Billion Last Year
- The Latest on the Oakland Teachers’ Strike
- The tech boom and gentrification are pushing teachers out of Oakland
- Gov. Evers vetoes Republican tax cut plan
- U.S. Is a Rich Country With Symptoms of a Developing Nation
GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD
- George F. Will: Republicans who abide Trump’s trashing of the Constitution should be expelled from public life
- Republicans Will Smear Democrats No Matter What “The Left” Does
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
This is from Florida, so the story gets even more screwed up.
The SWAT showed up to arrest the mayor of the town for performing black market medical procedures and surgeries out of his house. One of his patients had to go to a hospital to fix the mayor’s mistakes. He was a doctor, but hasn’t had a medical license since 1992.
- Caroline Orr: omfg. Chicago PD say they have the actual check that Jussie Smollett used to pay the people he reportedly hired to stage an attack on him. He paid them $3,500, per Chicago PD.
- Man sentenced to over two years in jail for laundering money from NFL players
PRIESTS & RELIGION
- A Class Action Lawsuit Has Been Filed Against Syracuse (NY) Catholic Priests
- Pope Francis calls for ‘concrete and effective measures’ against clerical sexual abuse as historic Vatican summit gets underway
ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE
- Teeny T. rex relative discovered in US
- California lawmakers propose phasing out plastic products that aren’t recyclable
- Senators Not Backing Green New Deal Received On Average 7 Times As Much Fossil Fuel Cash
- Candidate says new congressional election warranted in North Carolina
- Candidate’s son warned father of N.C. political operative’s alleged tactics
- Mark Harris’ son on Bladen absentee ballot operation: I thought it was illegal, and I was right
- North Carolina Board Orders New Election in Tainted House Race
- Republican Mark Harris says a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District is warranted after allegations of ballot tampering
- North Carolina elections board orders new House election after ballot tampering scandal
- Kaz Weida: Now that his son presented irrefutable evidence & testimony that he repeatedly warned his father he was engaged in illegal activity, Mark Harris has decided he wants a new election. It’s sad when you have to be publicly shamed by your own son to have your come to Jesus moment.
- 8 Voting Rights Organizations You Should Know Before 2020
- New Mexico’s House approves automatic voter registration
- NJ Senate passes bill that would keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns
- Sanders taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as campaign co-chair
- MSW Podcast: This election cycle I promise to: Ignore negative hit pieces against dem candidates Do research to verify using only credible sources Focus on platforms and candidates, not GOP & Russian disinformation Vote for the winner of the dem primary #DemPromises
PROGRESS IS PROGRESS
- Ming: wat? Ming smile ❤
- Sara Danner Dukic: (To Greg Olear about Threat) I’m reading it too. I love how he gets straight to the point in the forward: transnational organized crime, Russia, terrorism. Then early on he bluntly says they realized Russian mafia $ could compromise entire American industries (cough *Silicon Valley*). I also learned something new that I think will be helpful in grasping this gigantic mess—enterprise theory. I’m going to do some more research on its applications.
- Enterprise theory – Wikipedia
No, this isn’t the theory that Captain Picard is far superior to Captain Kirk. This is the theory that in a criminal world, people will rise to fill a niche, if that niche is profitable enough and the risk/reward calculation is worth it. It’s just like how a person might go about starting a small business to fill a market need, but with crime instead of something legal.
For example, let’s say John moves to a new town looking for some ass, but can’t find a hooker to save his life. After thinking about it some, he decides that he’ll fix that by becoming a pimp. He gets a few women to work for him while he provides protection, sets up client visits, and other things that prove the phrase “pimping ain’t easy.” He could have done anything else in this town, but since there was a need for prostitution, he filled that void. He may venture into other crime ventures in the future like selling drugs or selling mattresses with the tags ripped off, but for now he’ll stick to selling sex. Since there is no legal alternative for selling sex in this market, John will continue to stay in business.
In this theory, organized crime arises to fill a void left by the market. If people don’t have a legal alternative to acquire a good or service, they’ll resort to illegal methods. Conversely, if there is no legal entity providing a service, the criminal organization will fill that void.
Need some real life examples? Okay. Remember the late 90’s and early 2000’s and the early days of the MP3? Well, I’m old enough to remember. In the pre-iTunes days, getting music on the internet was either a legal pain in the ass or illegal and easy. No one figured out how to sell music without screwing things up. Each label had their own way of selling music, and they all sucked. They were either tied down with enough DRM to make the music nearly unusable, or the selection was terrible. If you wanted any decent music, it was either buying a Compact Disc and ripping it, borrow it from a friend or the library, or go to Napster, Bearshare, or Limewire to download some sketchy files. It wasn’t until iTunes came along and made purchasing music easier and better than stealing it.
During the collapse of the Soviet Union, things went to shit. Businesses still needed their deliveries, but the cops weren’t getting paid and said Poshol nahuj, or Fuck off. Products still needed to move and need protecting. That’s where the mafia stepped up. For a fee, they’d make sure that the trains ran and the food got delivered. Over time, the Russian mafia would filter in to every aspect of Russian life, until the criminals and the government could no longer be separated.
- Could Russia have kompromat on John Bolton? | Spectator USA
- Ming: Has NC election fraud been tied to National GOP yet?
- Tim Hogan: Another sealed case was just filed in DC. 19-cr-67. 😎
That’s it for Thursday. Almost time for the weekend.
Rachel Maddow had a great episode on the history of the decision making behind the OLC’s memo on whether or not a President can be indicted. It’s definitely worth a look. The main crux of the show, and the argument that I’ve made for a while, is that there is no clear and concise decision on whether a President can or cannot be indicted while in office. I’m firmly in the indict camp since the decision is very flimsy.
A spoiler for Friday: Robert Kraft was busted for soliciting a prostitute in Florida. He’s the owner of the New England Patriots. I guess fucking the rest of the NFL for the past twenty years wasn’t enough for him.
Thank you, and have a good one.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur