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Tag Archives: Paul Manafort

Federal Judge Accuses Mueller of Pursuing Manafort to Get Trump

Yes, that’s right. A prosecutor with unlimited power, time and money to go after anyone to get Trump. That’s a problem.

From the Washington Post:

A federal judge in Virginia on Friday accused the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of pursuing a fraud case against President Trump’s former campaign manager to pressure him to “sing” and provide evidence against the president.

The comments from Judge T.S. Ellis III came during a hearing in Alexandria federal court, where attorneys for Paul Manafort argued that bank- and tax-fraud charges against him are outside the scope of the special counsel’s authority.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis told prosecutors at the morning hearing. “You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Ellis said the government wanted Manafort, “the vernacular is, to sing.” The judge put it another way, saying the special counsel set out to “turn the screws and get the information you really want.”

Trump noticed.

Trump Early on Election Night: “What a Waste of Time and Money”

President Trump initially thought he was going to lose to Hillary Clinton on election night and bemoaned the waste of resources expended to become president, according to “Let Trump be Trump,” a new book by former Trump campaign aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski.

From a Politico article about the book:

“What a waste of time and money,” they say Trump said on election night when it looked like it he was going to lose, before greeting his sudden turnaround with, “Dave, can you believe this? We just started this to have some fun.”

In an interview with Politico, Bossie and Lewandowski refused to say whether Trump would remain in the Republican Party or whether he would stay committed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McCoennell or House Speaker Paul Ryan, noting that Trump has had to fight the GOP establishment as well as Democrats.

The book describes how in August 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort was first demoted when a report appeared saying he had received a multimillion dollar payment from Ukraine and then, a few days later, fired.

From an excerpt from the book in Politico:

“I’ve got a crook running my campaign,” Trump said when he read it.

Trump told Bannon to fire Manafort right away. Steve argued that firing his campaign chairman would cause a shitstorm of bad press. Instead, he argued that Trump should take away his authority and give him a new title, which is what happened. When the campaign announced the new team, Bannon had the title of campaign CEO, Kellyanne Conway was the campaign manager and Manafort remained the title of campaign chairman.

The kill shot for Paul came on Thursday August 18, when Trump was about to go onstage at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. A friend showed him a printout of an AP story written by Jeff Horwitz and Chad Day. Based on emails that the AP had obtained, the story described Manafort running “a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government.” It also said that Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, had “never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.”

“Tell Jared to fire him,” Trump said.

The next morning at a breakfast meeting in Trump Tower, Jared asked Manafort to resign. At first, Paul balked. He was worried about the perception of being forced out of the campaign right after the Ukraine stories broke.

“It will make me look guilty,” he said.

Jared told him there wasn’t much that could be done. A press release was going out in 60 seconds.

The Politico article says Trump derided his current communications director, Hope Hicks, during the transition:

Among the moments served up as classic inside dish is a phone conversation between Lewandowski and Trump during the transition noting how bare bones their initial operation was, when the former campaign manager brings up now-White House communications director Hope Hicks, at the time a 28-year-old political novice:

Trump: “She had about as much experience as a coffee cup.”

Lewandowski: “But she’s good looking.”

Trump: “That always helps.”

Hicks didn’t respond to an email asking how she felt about this being in the book, or another scene in which candidate Trump is described as hearing an argument between Hicks and aide A.J. Delgado on the campaign plane and lowering his newspaper just long enough to yell “Cat fight!”

Breitbart also has an excerpt from the book here.

How the Deep State is Moving to Take Back the White House

Robert Mueller’s indictment of Paul Manafort for alleged crimes unrelated to the Russia investigation demonstrates that the Washington establishment, and Democrats in particular, are on a path to succeed in their effort to reclaim the election from voters by ousting President Trump.

Here’s how it has worked. The Democrats and the press went wild over allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to install Trump in the presidency, even though there is absolutely no evidence this occurred. One of the hoariest members of the Deep State establishment, former FBI Director James Comey, embittered over being fired, leaked his records of conversations with Trump in the hope that it would spur the appointment of a special prosecutor. Soon after, a special prosecutor was appointed.

Now, here’s the problem for Trump, and Americans who voted for him. Mueller’s indictment of Manafort proves what everyone suspected – that Mueller, another honored cog in the Deep State apparatus, will use the Russia probe as a pretext to investigate everything about Trump he can think of. I imagine he will find something that stinks. Nobody running a vast business empire has done absolutely absolutely everything Kosher for Passover, even if by mistake.

Vanity Fair describes the threat concisely:

Until now, Robert Mueller has haunted Donald Trump’s White House as a hovering, mostly unseen menace. But by securing indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and a surprise guilty plea from foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, Mueller announced loudly that the Russia investigation poses an existential threat to the president. “Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization,” said former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. “Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked.”

The first charges in the Mueller probe have kindled talk of what the endgame for Trump looks like, according to conversations with a half-dozen advisers and friends of the president. For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream. According to a source, advisers in the West Wing are on edge and doing whatever they can not to be ensnared. One person close to Dina Powell and Gary Cohn said they’re making sure to leave rooms if the subject of Russia comes up.

According to Vanity Fair, one of the people Trump is blaming for his predicament is Jared Kushner.

According to two sources, Trump has complained to advisers about his legal team for letting the Mueller probe progress this far. Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said.

White House: Manafort Charge, Papadopoulos Plea Have Nothing to Do With Trump

According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the President, has nothing to do with the President’s campaign or campaign activity. The real collusion scandal, as we’ve said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia.

There’s clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the President to influence the election. We’ve been saying from day one there has been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all.

Manafort Indicted, Turns Himself In

Former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has been indicted in connection to the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and will turn himself in to the FBI Monday.

Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, who was also been ordered to turn himself in and did so, are the first people to be arrested in connection with the probe.

But the indictment, which was unsealed Monday morning includes no charges related to the campaign. Nevertheless, the charges against Manafort could be used by Meuller to pressure him into revealing criminal activity committed by others on the campaign, including the president. That assumes there is any criminal activity at all. Manafort could always make some up, of course, to save his skin.

According to the Associated Press:

The indictment lays out 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges that they moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles. In total, more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million, according to the indictment.

The request for Manafort to turn himself in contrasts with the widely criticized pre-dawn raid on Manafort’s home in July, during which agents forced their way into his house with guns drawn.

Here is some video of Manafort surrendering to authorities.

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Manafort Exits the Trump Campaign

Despite all the spin that came out of the Trump campaign about Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway being an “addition” to the operation, it’s clear that this was part of a move to ease Manafort out.

I mean, three competing big personalities at the helm? Talk about unclear lines of authority.

Look, there’s a certain bottom line here. Trump is down in the polls. He is being criticized for everything he does. He seems uncomfortable, talking about maybe not winning. And Manafort is increasingly in the news for his ties to Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs and former leader.

There are less than 90 days left, and whatever Manafort was doing wasn’t making things happen. So, there’s the door.