Daily Check-In 02/21/2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

The Mueller Report

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.

 

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

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

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.

 

McCabe

 

Saudi Arabia

Really?  In the middle of all of this, he’s having ANOTHER sit down with MBS?

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

Inauguration

 

Cohen

This could get interesting.  The hearing is scheduled for next week.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET A.K.A. INDIVIDUAL-1

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Epstein

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.

 

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

CONGRESS

 

EMERGENCIES, SHUTDOWN & IMMIGRATION

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR, HEALTH CARE, AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT ISSUES

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

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.

PRIESTS & RELIGION

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTIONS

 

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

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.

 

 

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

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