Cooperating Witnesses

Cooperating Witnesses are people that help investigators by providing information against others that committed crimes, often times crimes that the witness either took part in directly or personally witnessed.  Usually, they’re cooperating with the prosecution and investigators for consideration of leniency in their own sentencing.

Just as with most other criminal cases, in the Mueller Investigation, a cooperating witness has to be able to offer something more than themselves.  They have to be able to provide evidence on someone or something more important than them.  For example, if a witness robbed a bank, and they can only provide evidence against someone committing petty vandalism, the prosecutor won’t work with them.  However, if the bank robber can implicate the rest of their crew, or provide evidence against the crime boss that ordered and planned the robbery, the prosecution might be willing to make a deal for testimony.  This deal could include a reduced prison sentence, immunity against certain crimes, or other considerations like serving a sentence in a specific prison or getting extra privileges.

This article, which will be updated over time, lists the confirmed, rumored, and disproven cooperating witnesses, and will be updated over time.

 

CONFIRMED

George Papadopoulos

George Nader

Richard Pinedo

Rick Gates

Mike Flynn

 

 

RUMORED

Steve Bannon

 

 

DISPROVEN

Alex Van Der Zwan

 

 

UPDATE HISTORY

April 15th: Began article and listed names.

No One Plans The Cover-Up

“The Cover-up is Worse than the Crime.”

We’ve all heard that cliche at least once in our lives.  It’s always comes after someone gets caught after committing a crime, and they seemingly got away with it.

And it’s complete and total horseshit.

Lying to the cops isn’t worse than murder, or rape, or robbery, or espionage.  Not even close.  Not on any possible metric.

So, why do we hear this cliche each time someone gets caught after the crime?  Why does someone always mutter this cliche each and every time?

Because the cover-up gets little to no planning ahead of the actual crime.  The cover-up is an afterthought.  The original crime gets all of the planning, but getting away with it is merely an afterthought.

Think back to every heist movie and television series that has come out in the last 20-30 years.  They mostly follow the same pattern…

  • Normal person facing extraordinary stress makes choice to commit a crime to get out of their problems.
  • Every detail of the crime is planned, from the tiniest detail to the second by second execution of the crime itself.
  • Person performs the crime, but something goes wrong after the crime.  Usually, a coconspirator does something stupid.
  • Crazy things happen because they didn’t plan getting away with the crime.
  • The better movies have the person getting caught, or losing more than they gained.  The bad ones have the person living happily ever after.

Every fucking time.  EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.  Now, what do bad movie tropes have to do with Trump-Russia?  Why does it feel like we’re in the middle of a heist movie?

Because like every heist movie, the criminals didn’t plan the getaway.  They’re winging it.  They didn’t think they would win in the first place, so why plan on getting away with it?  The bad guys planned on losing the election and creating a media outlet to spread their message afterward.  Now, they have to govern, and they’re winging it.

Winging it is how they get caught.

So, it’s not that the cover-up is worse than the crime, but the execution of the cover-up is worse than the execution of the crime.

Voter Rolls – The Easy Target

One element of the Russian Investigation that has drawn a lot of attention is what the Russians hacked and why.

We know they hacked email accounts from the Democratic National Committee, and we’ve heard reports that they hacked the Republican National Committee as well.  They were hacked for compromising information.We know that they have hacked the emails of several journalists, and  they exploited Social Engineering techniques to manipulate people on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites.  We’ve seen reports about how the state voter rolls were compromised, and how chaos was created at the polling places through DDoS’s and other methods.

But one thing we haven’t heard any reports about were the voting totals themselves. There have been rumors, reports, and analyses from the edges of the spectrum, but no reports from any official, semi-official, or under-the-table sources.

Why is that?

The fringes will say that this is because the real evidence of the scope of the corruption is being hidden and obfuscated from the public, because this would cause a complete and total collapse in the fabric of democratic society.  The official sources say that there was no evidence of vote totals being changed.  Then the fringes will say that the totals were changed without a trail, and talk about how easy it is to hack a voting machine, the official sources say that this isn’t how it works, then they start arguing with each other and calling each other names.

So, two groups people argue about whether or not the vote totals themselves were changed, while completely ignoring everything else that took place.

What do I think?

From what I’ve seen, there is not enough evidence to suggest that vote totals were changed.  Not only that, but they wouldn’t need to be changed, and the amount of effort needed to change them wouldn’t be worth the return on investment.  Instead, hacking the voter rolls would be more effective, require minimal effort, and would slide under the radar, not being detected until someone went digging.

 

THE HACKER MENTALITY

Before I go into details about how the American Voting System works, let me describe how a hacking a little bit, and what a hacker thinks.

When most people think of hackers, they think of some neckbeard sitting behind a keyboard punching out obscure code to bring down a secure server while sipping energy drinks and talking about how corruption of “The Man”.  Okay, that’s part of it, but there’s more to hacking than bad hygiene and a caffeine addiction.

Hacking is about exploring a system, finding the weakness inherit in the system. That weakness could be a code exploit, a network weakness, or a PEBKAC* weakness.  What they do with that information depends on the hacker.  Good hackers, or White Hats, will inform the system owner of the exploit and seek to get it fixed.  Evil hackers, or Black Hats, will use that information for nefarious means.  The morally ambiguous Grey Hats fall somewhere in the middle.

How do I know so much about this?  I’ve been in IT most of my life, and, when I was younger, many years ago, may or may not…

Look, I’m pretty sure EVERYTHING I might have done is beyond the Statute of Limitations, but I’m still not going to go into details.  Just in case.  Needless to say, I know the hacker mentality.

 

FINDING THE EXPLOIT

Any system designed by man or used by man can be defeated or compromised by man.  Whether it’s a security system, a computer network, or the mail server at a Fortune 500 company, anything can be broken into.

The questions that a hacker asks are “What is the end goal?”, “Is it worth the effort?”, “What’s the risk?”, and “Is there an easier way into the system?”

What is the end goal?

Most hackers go into a system with an end goal in mind.  It could be exploration, curiosity, trying to find incriminating evidence, grabbing information for personal gain, or getting access for future use.  Sometimes, it’s just to say “I did it.”

Is it worth the effort?

This part varies from hacker to hacker.  Sometimes, it’s an easy job, like a brute-force attack* to get into an email account when most of the password is known.  Other times, the hack could require months of work and weeks of meticulous planning, but the reward is amazing.

What’s the risk?

Once again, this varies from hacker to hacker, and job to job.  Getting access to a secured laptop containing a rival company’s secrets might carry some significant legal risk if caught, but is nothing compared to trying to get into the NSA’s database from the outside.  The biggest reason I greatly scaled down when I did was the penalties involved jumped up from a couple weeks in Juvi to several years in Federal prison.

Is there an easier way into the system?

This is a question that every decent hacker asks.  Is there an easier way to get what I need than what’s given.  Is there an easier way into the database than trying to hack it from an outside connection?  Can I get into the mail server from any computer in the company, or only some of them?  Could I get someone else to get me in to the building by pretending that I’m lost and on my way to an interview or presentation?

This is called finding the exploit.  Finding and researching the easiest way into the system.  IT Professionals, Disaster Recovery Specialists, Security Specialists, Mechanics, and Engineers do this all of the time.  They’ll study all of the aspects of a system, whether it’s a computer network, a data center, a shopping mall, a car, or a bridge, and look for ways to break it.  They’ll go out of their way to find new and exciting ways of destroying things, then redesign them to stand up to that weakness.

Hackers do the same thing.  They study a system, and look for the weakest part of it.  They’ll find the easiest way to do the most amount of work, or damage.  Sometimes, that easiest part is an open wireless network, or a known code exploit, or it’s person who doesn’t know how to use their computer.

 

DOING THE JOB

Now that the hacker has studied the system for an exploit, they have to find a way to pull it off.  An exploit can have multiple ways of being, well, exploited.

Let’s say that a hacker wants access to a corporate mail server so that they can read the mail of the board members, and while researching the system found that there’s a code exploit that allows for a program to sit on the server, hidden from the world, and silently forward all mail sent to selected people and groups to a dummy mailbox for future collection.  Anything that gets sent to Bill@Microsoft.com would get forwarded to some random and obscure mail account hosted in Azerbaijan.

But how does the hacker get the program on the server?

There’s a few different ways they could do this.  They could go phishing* for an employee or contractor to get them to run the program.  Similarly, they could go spear-phishing* to one of the board members directly, and get their login information so then the hacker could login as the board member and install the code themselves.  They could set the program up in some other file to run as a trojan* once it gets downloaded onto a computer.  They could execute a bit of social engineering* and get their way into the building with direct physical access to the computers.  They could set up a man-in-the-middle attack and pretend to be the help desk, after causing someone to call in a help ticket.  Or, they could brute force* their way in with Systems Administrator credentials.

How they go about doing the hack is up to their own personal interest and skills.  It only matters that it works.

 

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH VOTER ROLLS?

Let’s say you’re Hacker Hackovsky, the famous Eastern European hacker, and you’ve been approached by a shady Mr. NOT-RUSSIAN speaking with a terrible American accent, to find a way to influence the American Presidential Election.  At first, you say no, but Mr. NOT-RUSSISAN drive a truckload of bitcoin up to your house, and says “We don’t need a win, we need chaos.  A win for our guy would be good, but chaos is better.”  After doing the math and realizing that this much bitcoin could be turned into real money somewhere, you accept the job.

You have a month to do research before deciding on the methods and targets.  During this month, you discover the following:

  • The American Voting System is ugly.  The voting machines change from state to state, and county by county.
  • Some machines are brand new with a paper trail, while others are more than 15 years old, and not connected to any network.
  • Vote totals are meticulously scrutinized.  A deviation of a couple votes in a polling place out of 1,000 could trigger a full-scale investigation.
  • Most towns and communities have individual polling places.
  • Several states have laws that require new voters to show ID before voting.
  • American Media is ugly, with multiple “sides” reporting the same story to the delight of their audiences.
  • The higher the population density, the more likely the populace is liberal.
  • Older white people love “our guy”, but the young and minorities don’t.
  • Social Media allows people to share ideas, regardless of the truth behind the claims.
  • There are a lot of Americans who do not use critical thinking skills, and therefore don’t ask if the person on the other side is even a person, let alone where they come from.
  • While each county has control over their individual voting machines, the states have control over the voter rolls, the list of who gets to vote where.
  • This list is stored on government databases maintained by each state.
  • While some states have caught up to modern times with security features and real-time change tracking, most of them are on old systems with no change tracking at all.
  • The couple months before the election are the busiest time for these voter rolls to be changed, and there’s little to no way to slow down access to them.
  • “Our Guy” has access to multiple national databases, including a health care company that can access all Americans based on address.  One of these databases includes all voters in America.
  • “Our Guy” also has access to a data analysis firm that can crunch all of this down to specific areas of the country to minimize the amount of work needed, allowing for microtargeting of people.
  • “Our Guy” is very divisive.  Violent extremists and racists love him.
  • “Our Guy” is running against “Her”, a woman that will make life miserable for your benefactor, should she be elected.
  • Two other minor candidates are running, and one of them, “The Other Woman”, is an asset and ally of the cause, and friendly to your benefactor.
  • “Our Guy” is a sore loser, and likely to whine about his loss for years.
  • You also have access to one of the most sophisticated propaganda machines in the world, and several friendly Americans that are willing to spread it, whether they know it or not.

Give the above, what’s the best course of action to cause chaos, and possibly get “Our Guy” elected?

Changing the vote totals at the machine level is out.  There are too many machines, and many of them require physical access.  That means having someone walk into a polling place, knowing the machine ahead of time, plug a USB drive in to the machine or connect an even older peripheral to it, and upload data to corrupt the vote totals.  All while standing in wide view of dozens of people, without drawing any attention.  Then, having to do this for multiple machines, per polling precinct, across the country.  Let’s say there’s 100,000 places to vote in the United States, and an average of 6 machines.  To affect half, this would require 300,000 people with direct access to the voting machines.  Then, those 300,000 would have to stay silent and execute the job perfectly.  Not gonna happen.

Changing the vote totals at the county or state levels are out, too.  There’s a very short window in which to operate, and these systems will be protected, monitored, checked, and double checked throughout the night.  The results have to be hand delivered to the county office under police guard, and once they’re certified, that paper trail will be used to show what it’s supposed to be.

So if you can’t change the vote totals, you can change who votes and how they vote.

How?  Alter the voter rolls, and target specific groups with the propaganda you want.

The voter rolls are different from state to state, but all have basic information like name, date of birth, address, precinct, party, and how often or last time they voted.  They likely also have a social security number, which is used as an ID number in a lot of systems, even though it shouldn’t be used that way.

What else uses SSN’s in their database?  Health care databases.  You could take data from the voter roll database, search for a matching SSN, then see if the information is up to date.  If it’s not, no need to worry, the person doesn’t live there and won’t vote.  If it does match, you could take that data, then see what their party is, how often they vote, and compare that to any active social media profiles that match, and compare that to known demographics and stats, like the likelihood that a Democrat who votes every year and follows progressive causes on FaceBook would vote for Trump.

Once this data is collected, you could determine whether propaganda or voter suppression is the best weapon for certain areas.

The propagandists can craft the messages that will get the best outcome to the right location.  You could buy advertising on Social Media to target largely white areas of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio with ads that show “Her” supporting the boogeyman of the day, whether it’s Muslims, Blacks, or Mexicans.  You could also have the propagandists craft a message showing “Her” attacking minorities and have it run in inner cities.  You could have them buy ads promoting “The Other Woman” as a protest vote, knowing that it would not affect “Our Guy.”

Meanwhile, you edit the voter rolls in states and cities where your work will have the greatest impact.  Choose states that require active checking of the voter rolls, like Texas, or have new Voter ID laws like Wisconsin or North Carolina.  Change some entries on the voter rolls, like middle initials, or street addresses, or zip codes.  Add or remove a Jr. suffix in the database.  Flip party affiliations.  Change the spelling of the last name.  Something small, innocuous, but devastating.  Remember, if the information on the ID doesn’t match what the voter rolls say it should be, they can’t vote.

One of these by themselves will create chaos, but all of it together has a small chance of electing “Our Guy”, but only if everything and everyone works.  It’s a stretch, but can be done with the resources available.  Meanwhile, changing the vote totals would require a small army and/or time travel to pull off, and if your plan requires time travel, it’s a bad plan.

 

THE HOUSE WITHOUT LOCKS

Any system made by man can be defeated by man.

When it comes to breaking into a house, or a computer, or a system, it’s not always about whether or not security is used, but whether the security is worth the hassle.

Think of a burglar looking for a house to rob.  They look at the security that each house has in place.  One has a fence, another an alarm system, another several REALLY BIG FUCKING DOGS, and another has absolutely nothing.  No deadbolt, no locks, no “Beware of Dog” sign, no alarm, no random gun crap lying around, nothing.  Each house has about the same stuff, but this one has no security.

Were the vote totals changed?  Highly unlikely.  The amount of time, effort, energy, and resources needed to pull that off would be astronomical, and would be outed faster closeted Bible-thumping politician.  The vote totals are the house with 10 locks, big dogs, and an alarm with camera controlled machine guns.

The voter rolls, on the other hand, are relatively unsecured.  They were easy to access, easy to change, and easy to manipulate.  They were the house with no locks, the windows are open, and the big screen TV is visible from the street.

So, that’s why there are no credible reports about the vote totals being hacked, but several confirmed reports of voter rolls being attacked.  Why change the vote totals themselves when suppressing those who can vote can be done for 1/100th the cost?

 

TERMINOLOGY

PEBKAC: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.  An IT acronym used to describe the location of an error.  Also called a PBKC error, it is used by IT technicians to describe a problem or issue created by a user.  If you’re IT person ever says this you, they’re a dick.

Brute Force Attack:  Repeatedly attempting to force ones way into a system, usually by attempting different passwords over and over again.  This is very effective on older systems without failed user login lockouts on a few attempts, or if most of the name and/or password are known.

Phishing:  A method of gaining access to a system by sending out bait and getting the user give over the required information, all while pretending to be a legitimate source.

Spear Phishing:  A focused phishing attack, targeting one member or small group, often including personalized information in the attack.

Trojan:  A piece of software, usually malware*, hidden in another piece of software to get it past security.

Man In The Middle:  A type of hacker attack where the user is tricked into communicating with a malicious third party, often while trying to contact a legitimate person.

Social Engineering:  The art of hacking people, businesses, and society.  Exploiting people and their weaknesses for personal benefit.  This could be done through researching the target and/or taking advantage of existing societal norms.

Malware:  Malicious Software.

The Justice League

ROBERT MUELLER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE

When Robert Mueller was appointed the Special Counselor for the Russia Investigation by the Deputy Attorney General back in May 2017, one of the first things that he did was assemble a team to help him with the day to day activities.  Not only would these team members do the heavy lifting in the courtroom, but their expertise would shape the investigation.  These hires also tell us who and what they know.

What do we know about this team?

They are some of the best prosecutors in the world, specializing in everything from white-collar crimes to cybersecurity to terrorism.  Many of them gave up 6, 7, possibly 8 figure salaries and partnerships to work on the Russian Investigation at base government pay.

What does this mean?

This means that there is more than enough evidence to convince some of the greatest lawyers on Earth to leave their private practices representing the wealthiest clients in the world to take part in the largest case in history.  At the least, they will take part in the prosecution of the President of the United States.  At the most, their roles will be pivotal in securing the fate of Democracy as we know it.

Who’s on the team, and what do they do?

Robert Mueller, Special Counselor

Former FBI Director, Mueller took over the position one week before the 9/11 terror attacks.  He became the longest serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover.  After his time there, he became a partner at WilmerHale law firm in Washington, D.C.

James Quarles, member of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force

James Quarles was a young man in the 1970’s, but already a skilled lawyer.  He served as an Assistant Special Prosecutor in the Watergate scandal.

Andrew Weissmann, Fraud and Corruption

Weissmann headed up the Enron Task Force between 2002 and 2005.  Before that he was a federal prosecutor in New York.  He took down Enron Chariman Kenneth Lay, CEO Jeffery Skilling, and members and bosses in the Genovese, Colombo, and Gambino crime families.

Greg Andres, White-Collar Crimes

Andres brings foreign bribery experience to the team.  He took down an $8 Billion Ponzi scheme in Texas.

Andrew D. Goldstein, Assistant US Attorney from Southern District New York

Goldstein worked for Preet Bharara in SDNY where he led the public corruption unit.  He has experience in money laundering, fraud, and corruption cases.  Before his boss was fired by Donald Trump, Goldstein and Preet were supposedly working on a RICO case against the Trump Organization.  Rumor has it that he took the evidence against Trump with him down to Washington.

Elizabeth Prelogar, The Russian Expert

Prelogar is fluent in Russian, and clerked for Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

Rush Atkinson, Criminal Fraud

Atkinson is a prosecutor in the Criminal Division Securities & Financial Fraud Unit.  He took down a mother and son team that orchestrated a $16 million medicare fraud scheme.

Aaron Zebley, former Chief of Staff to FBI Director Mueller

Zebley has expertise in Counterterrorism and National Security cases.  He was prosecuting Al Qaeda before prosecuting Al Qaeda was cool.  In recent years at WilmerHale, he focused on Cybersecurity cases.

Michael Dreeben, Supreme Court Expert

Less than 10 attorneys in history have argued more than 100 cases before the United States Supreme Court.  Michael Dreeben is one of them.

Adam Jed, Civil Appeals Expert

Jed is an appellate lawyer in the civil division, not the criminal division.  This implies that they’re preparing for civil cases, and expecting them them to challenged on appeal.  His most famous case is United States v. Windsor, where he helped overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and brought about the legalization of gay marriage across the land.

Aaron Zelinsky, U.S. Attorney from Maryland

Zelinsky has worked for Rod Rosenstein, and was a hostage negotiator in the State Department under President Obama.

Kyle Freeny, Money Laundering and Asset Recovery

Freeny just wrapped up work on the “Wolf of Wall Street” money laundering case when she got the call to join the Mueller team.

Zainab Ahmad, Counterterrorism and Witness Flipping

Ahmad has singlehandedly crippled Al Qaeda in the United States.  She has more convictions against terrorists in the United States than anyone else.  How?  She’s THE expert in flipping witnesses. If she can flip hardened terrorists against each other, what chance does a member of the Trump Family have against her?

Jeanie Rhee, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General

Rhee has two years of DOJ experience, and worked with Robert teller at WilmerHale.  She represented the Clinton Foundation in a racketeering lawsuit in 2015.

Brandon Van Grack, National Security Division Prosecutor

Van Grack is an expert in espionage, national security, and International Crime cases.

Ryan Dickey, Cybercrime Expert  

Ryan K. Dickey is a United States Attorney who specializes in cyber crimes. He was the prosecutor who convicted the original Guccifer, and is the man behind the shutdown of MegaUpload. He is one of the best attorneys in the world for prosecuting computer crimes.

Scott Meisler, Appellate Lawyer

Scott has represented the government in appeals involving search warrants, seizures, motions to suppress wiretap evidence, mail fraud, wire fraud, as well as structuring financial transactions and money laundering.  In other words, he knows how to “defend the technicalities.”

Brian Richardson, The New Guy

Richardson clerked for Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer in October 2016 before joining the Mueller team in July 2017.  He’s also worked in multiple district courts.

What can we infer?

We have multiple experts in money laundering, fraud, bribery, mafia crimes, cyber crimes, espionage, counterterrorism, asset recovery, witness flipping, international crimes, and Russian culture.  By the way, they also have one of the few people alive that prosecuted a White House for criminal charges.

Mueller is not fucking around.

So far, we’ve got two arrests on white-collar crimes, and two convictions on plea deals for lying to the FBI regarding contacts with Russians.  Plus, there’s a ton of stuff still under seal.

Without hyperbole, this is one of the greatest collection of lawyers ever pulled together.  They’ve been working on this case since May 2017, and the investigation began a year before that.  Any one of these prosecutors coming after a person would cause sleepless nights and panic inducing anxiety.  All of them coming after a person would cause them to seriously contemplate suicide.

They are not fucking around.  People are going to jail, or worse.

Thanks to Reddit user PoppinKREAM and this post for making this post a lot easier to put together.

 

UPDATED FEBRUARY 25, 2018:  From some new information from CNN, I made a few changes:

Kyle Freeney is a she, not a he.  I also added Brian Richardson and Scott Meisler.

UPDATED APRIL 6, 2018:  Corrected spelling of Elena Kagan.

Flipping Flynn

This past Thursday, while most of America was eating turkey or trying to get a jump start on their Holiday shopping, The New York Times released a whopper of a story about Mike Flynn, the former head of the DIA, and short tenured National Security Advisor to Donald Trump.

The story released by The Grey Lady contained some juicy details, but the crux of the story is that Flynn’s legal team is no longer sharing information about Mueller’s investigation with Donald Trump’s legal team.

This might not sound like a big deal, and a little bit too much of insider gossip, but this could be the beginning of the end for Donald Trump’s presidency.

Let me break this down, point by point.

Before I get lost down a rabbit hole, there’s this little matter of sharing information between legal teams.  Depending on who gets asked, there could be some laws getting bent, but the general consensus is that if two or more parties are targets of the same investigation, and they have legal counsel, they can share information between them.  This becomes vital in cases where the investigators keep everything under wraps, and every sliver of information is worth its weight in gold.  If Trump’s lawyers hear something about the investigation, or get asked questions about Flynn, or Kushner, Donnie, or Mike Pence, it would be considered a courtesy to give those legal teams a heads up, so they know what kind of questions to expect.

So, what does it mean when one legal team stops sharing information?  And what can we glean from this story?

Normally, there are three reasons why a legal team might stop sharing information.  First, what they’re sharing is illegal and/or unethical and could place their clients in jeopardy, or they are no longer on the same side of the investigation.  Considering they were previously sharing info, and that they aren’t exactly the pillars of ethical behavior, the likely answer is that Flynn is no longer on the same side of the investigation as Trump.

Well, what does that mean?

That means exactly what I said.  They’re no longer on the same side.  Either one of their investigations took a turn down a dark path, or one of them isn’t being investigated anymore.  Let me work both of those scenarios.

In the first case, where an investigation into one party takes a turn, then it wouldn’t make sense for the teams to share information, as that could cause more legal problems than it would solve.  Let’s say, during Flynn’s questioning, the FBI asked him about a bunch of missing Russians that disappeared after visiting one of Trump’s properties.  People kept disappearing, until one day, a bunch of bodies washed up along the Atlantic City coast.  They ask Flynn what he knew, but all of this is a shock, and has nothing to do with the previous investigation, it’s just something that washed up.  If Flynn tells Trump about this line of questioning, he could be considered an accessory after the fact.  Telling Trump would be a very bad idea for Flynn.

The second case is that one of them isn’t being investigated anymore.  While this is a slight possibility, it’s as slight as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl, after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  Sure, there are some technicalities, and if a few teams died in plane crashes, then they might be given a pass to the playoffs, but it’s not happening.

There are two sides to the Mueller Probe; those that worked with Trump, and those investigating the Trump Team.  If Flynn is no longer on the Trump Team, the only team left is the Investigators.

But does that necessarily mean that Flynn is working with Mueller?  Not really, but it’s very likely.

Back in the Spring, when Russia was just starting to hit the Main Stream Media, Mike Flynn offered to testify before the Senate, the House, and the FBI, in exchange for immunity.  All three of them said no.

Over the past several months, more and more information has come out about Mike Flynn, and all of the shady business he’s involved with.  He’s been caught in multiple phone calls with the Russian Ambassador, received money from Russia and Turkey for lobbying on their behalf, was in a meeting in December 2016 in Trump Tower working on a back channel connection to Russia using their diplomatic connections, he lobbied on behalf of Kaspersky AFTER working as the head of the DIA when they announced to the rest of the IC that Kaspersky is an arm of Russian Intelligence, he lied on his security clearance background check and renewal, solicited stolen emails from the HRC campaign, and asked others to do the same, didn’t register as a foreign agent under FARA, he shot down a program to arm Kurdish rebels against ISIS because Turkey didn’t like it, and he’s been connected to several meetings with Turkish officials discussing the release of a known money launder, attempted to negotiate several deals to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East on behalf of Russian companies, and the kidnapping and extradition of a political opponent of the Turkish President.  There’s also rumors that he leaked classified information to Erdogan which allowed him to circumvent the attempted coup against him.

This doesn’t include him “lying to the Vice President”, which was the excuse used to fire him 18 days after the White House was informed of his likely compromised position.

That gigantic pile of accusations includes the following crimes:

  • Corruption
  • Abuse of Power
  • Perjury
  • Money Laundering
  • Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping
  • Violations of the Logan Act
  • Failure to Register as a Foreign Agent
  • Violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  • Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud
  • Conspiracy Against the United States
  • Conspiracy to Benefit from Hacking
  • Accepting Campaign Gifts and Donations from a Foreign Power
  • Bribery
  • Conspiracy to Commit Espionage
  • Espionage
  • Conspiracy to Commit Sedition
  • Sedition
  • Recruiting for Service Against the United States
  • Conspiracy to Commit Treason
  • Misprision of Treason
  • Treason

The crimes in italics carry a penalty of life in prison.  Those in bold are capital offenses, and in the United States, carry the death penalty.

Did I mention that his son, Michael Flynn, Jr., was involved in almost all of those alleged crimes as well?

See, Mike Flynn brought his son along with him everywhere after he was fired from his job at the DIA.  Both Mike Flynn’s started the Flynn Intelligence Group, a lobbying firm to take advantage of his previous experience.  There, he worked with many people across the world, including Russians, Iranians, Syrians, and Turks.  Both Flynn’s were involved in everything from accepting bribes to giving away state secrets.

Junior is in a world of hurt, and will receive the same punishment as his father.

And that is how Mueller flipped, or will flip, Flynn.  By using his son as leverage, Mueller will get Mike Flynn to spill his guts on everyone and everything.  If Flynn cooperates, then Junior doesn’t die a traitors death.  Senior is still screwed, but if he hand delivers Trump and Pence, he might get life in prison instead of the death penalty.

According to the rumors that I’ve heard for the last few months, a deal has been on and off a few times, but has been pulled by Mueller’s team when Junior goes and does something stupid.  Senior then has to beg harder and give up more.

As big of a fish as Mike Flynn is, there are a few more that are bigger that he worked with throughout the campaign, transition, and into the White House.  Flynn worked with Manafort on several money deals.  He worked with Jared Kushner, and likely Ivanka Trump, on setting up the December 2016 Trump Tower meeting.  He worked with Steve Bannon and the Mercers on Cambridge Analytica.  Flynn worked with Mike Pence on the Transition Team.

And, don’t forget, but Mike Flynn was on the “Very Short List” to be Donald Trump’s Vice President.  Yep, the man that Donald Trump asked the FBI Director to “let him go” was originally considered for the position of Vice President.  Even with all of his various ties to Russia and Turkey.

By the way, the reason Flynn ended up as National Security Advisor in the White House is funny.  Trump originally wanted him to head the CIA, but that position would require Senate confirmation, which they felt Flynn wouldn’t get.

Flynn can take down everyone, but if I were a betting man, my guess is that he is used to take down Jared Kushner next.  Flynn WAS in Trump’s inner circle.  Jared IS Trump’s inner circle.

Flynn can take down Mike Pence, Jared can take down Donald Trump.

Indictment Eve

I’m writing this on Sunday, October 29th, 2017, at around 8pm EST.

On a Sunday Night.

Normally, on Sunday Night, I would write about one of the hundred or so ideas I’ve got on the list, like about the red herring of voter fraud or life in the echo chamber, but tonight is different.

On Friday, just as I was wrapping up the Daily Check-In 10/27/2017, news came that indictments were coming in from Mueller’s team, and could be executed as early as Monday.

That’s tomorrow.

Tonight is the night before indictments could be served.  Indictment Eve.

Quick refresher:  an indictment is when a Grand Jury returns a recommendation that there is probable cause that a crime was committed.  This recommendation is then given to the prosecutor of the case, usually a District Attorney or Assistant DA, and they’ll coordinate either with Law Enforcement to arrest the target of the indictment, or work with the target themselves to broker a deal, like a plea bargain or become a witness in a larger crime.

There are indictments, as a direct result of the Russian Investigation.

But what’s going to happen?  Let me run through a few ideas, about what I think will happen, what won’t happen, and why things are about to get really fucking weird.

OPTION 1: NOTHING HAPPENS TOMORROW

I don’t think this will actually be the case, but I’ve gotten used to disappointment in my life.  When my hopes get raised, they have a bad habit of getting crushed.

I’m afraid that this could be a repeat of the Dan Rather Disinformation Op that ended his career at CBS.  He had a sure-fire story about how George W. Bush abused the system to avoid going to combat in Vietnam, but it turned out that the story he ran with was a fake.  That fake killed any and all chances of anyone else reporting on W’s Vietnam history, even though there was a legit story there.

OPTION 2: ONE OR TWO KNOWN NAMES GET TAGGED

There’s been talk for months about Paul Manafort being indicted, and Mike Flynn was the first name to get everything going with his Turkish and Russian connections.  Roger Stone completely lost his shit on Twitter this weekend, resulting in a ban, and Carter Page is the Sheldon Cooper of treason.

In a traditional investigation, arrests would be made of the small fish, and they would be turned to get the bigger fish.  While those names are some pretty big fish, they are bass.  Mueller wants a whale.

OPTION 3: TRICKLE-DOWN INDICTMENTS

Notice what I said in that last paragraph, “In a traditional investigation.”  This is nowhere near traditional.  There is a good chance that Donald Trump will try to pardon those around him, try to pardon himself, and fire the team bringing the indictments.

One way to prevent those from happening is to indict Donald Trump right off the bat for Obstruction of Justice.  Multiple indictments can be unsealed at different times, but there’s more than enough evidence, just from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT, think the press and what can be Googled), to bring Obstruction charges against him.

Doing this would not only tie his tiny little hands on using pardons, and give Congress a reason to bring Impeachment charges immediately, but any actions taken to fire Mueller would be immediately seen as criminal.

OPTION 4: THE FLOODGATES OPEN

Louise Mensch has a great write-up on many of the actors involved, and what they’re being investigated for.  And that’s not even a complete list of all the rumors, whispers, and stories that have floated around that I’ve seen over the last several months.  That’s not including staff members who are in hot water like Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, or Wilbur Ross, or half the cabinet members who are up to their necks in their own scandals.

Serving indictments to the President, VP, SecState, SecTreasury, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, two White House staffers that are children of the President, and several staffers and support personnel at once would be completely unprecedented.

Then again, so is a person winning the Presidency with the help of the Russians.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

If anyone takes any unexpected trips or travels this week, Like Jared Kushner taking an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia, should have an eye kept on it.  Might be nothing, but then again, it’s Indictment Eve.  The night of the year when emergency trips are made, passports are frozen, and warrants for arrest are made to people leaving their families behind.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an early morning raid on Monday.  This whole investigation has looked like a crime family going down, not like a bunch of bank executives going down for embezzlement.  @lauferlaw and @Alt_Spicerlies brought this idea up a few moments ago, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.  Scooter Libby didn’t get a perp walk, and most of the people arrested in Watergate were given the chance to turn themselves in.  I doubt that same courtesy will be given to most of the members from Team Trump.

Also, here’s my weirdest prediction for this whole affair.  Someone, I’m not sure but I’m thinking Carter Page or one of Pence’s staffers, will pull an will pull an R. Budd Dwyer at a press conference, and it won’t even be the craziest thing that happens that day.

Don’t be surprised if this whole thing spreads across all of Washington.  People all over the place are going down.  2017 has been pretty fucking weird so far, and the people I mentioned above inferred that others might be implicated that we never heard of, especially some Democrats in power.

Finally, expect Trump to try to fire Mueller in some kind of Hail Mary move to save his ass.  And it expect it to fail.  There are two ways he can try this.  The first would be to fire Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General, Dana Boente, and all the way down to Rachel Brand, or further if she won’t fire Mueller.  The second way would be to fire Jeff Sessions, and immediately try naming a current member of the Cabinet to replace him, bypassing the Senate confirmation process.  I highlighted that here in Lateral Movement, but I don’t think it would work.  Any chance that Trump has of even trying this end around has to be done before the indictments are served.  Any actions taken after Monday Morning will likely be interpreted as criminal.

This is a nation of laws, not of men, or wealth, or personality.  Laws and Justice.  There’s a phrase that I heard a while back, Fiat Justitia Ruat Caellum.  It’s Latin for “Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens Fall.”

Sounds like someone’s yelling “TIMBER!”

 

Good night, sleep tight.  Take a deep breath, things are about to get really fucking weird.

Obstruction of Justice

Welcome back to Crime Time, where I do my best to explain the various crimes involved in the Russian Investigation.

Today’s crime is a bit nebulous, a little vague as to what it covers, but has quite a bite.

Obstruction of Justice

QUICK OVERVIEW

Obstruction of justice is the impedance of an investigation, or other criminal matter, usually by someone who isn’t directly under investigation at the time.

In English, that means screwing with the cops, lawyers, or judges.

Obstruction of Justice is often tacked on to other charges like bribery, witness tampering, or destruction of evidence.

EXAMPLES

Let’s say Tony, a mafia boss, finds out that his lieutenant Mike is under investigation for running an illegal casino out of his house. If Mike gets busted, not only does Tony lose a revenue source, but he could get implicated as well.

Tony decides to call in a favor owed to him by a local politician. Tony gets the politician to get the District Attorney to not prosecute the case against Mike. Just to be on the safe side, Tony gets Mike to destroy some evidence that could implicate him, and also puts some pressure on a few witnesses.

Tony did quite a few illegal things, but they all fall under Obstruction of Justice.

PENALTIES

Depending on the jurisdiction, jail time and fines. If the person was in a position of public trust, they’ll get removed from that.

FAMOUS EXAMPLE

Richard M. Nixon. When he gave the go-ahead for his staff to cover up the Watergate break-in, Nixon committed Obstruction of Justice.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TRUMP?

On multiple occasions, Trump has attempted to kill the Russian Investigation. He has fired attorneys looking into it, he hired an Attorney General specifically to keep it from getting to him, and has tampered with witnesses and press statements regarding the investigation.

Oh, and he fired the Director of the FBI, gave a false reason for it on paper, then said he did it because of the “Russian thing”, and bragged about it the next day to the Russian Ambassador.