Opinion: Mueller tightens the vise

(AP)

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been arrested and indicted on charges that he laundered more than $18 million paid to him by allies of Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine.

Rick Gates, the head of Trump’s inaugural committee and later of a pro-Trump superPAC, has been indicted on related charges. However, as Trump himself helpfully points out this morning, those indictments do not involve allegations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian leadership.

Again, Trump is correct. The indictments against Manafort and Gates do not directly address allegations of collusion. But still, you have to wonder at the judgment of a campaign and candidate that put persons of that background into such high-profile positions. Manafort’s shady history and business alliance with Putin associates were not exactly secret even at the time of his appointment as campaign manager. That concern only increases when you consider that Trump’s first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, also faces legal troubles for not disclosing financial and other ties with top Russian officials.

However, the interesting news break of the day — the one that in time might echo most loudly — was the announcement that a third Trump associate, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulus, had been arrested back in July and has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about secret discussions and negotiations that took place between the Trump campaign and high-ranking Russian officials.

Again, those secret backdoor communications between Russia and the Trump campaign are not merely alleged. As part of his guilty plea, Papadopoulus has confessed to participating in them and later lying about them. He has further told the FBI that he kept his superiors in the Trump campaign well-briefed on those contacts as they took place.¹

According to that guilty plea, Papadopoulus had discussions as far back as March 2016 with an unnamed “overseas professor who defendant Papadopoulus understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials.”  The professor in turn introduced Papadopoulus to “a female Russian national,” which is classic Russian espionage. Papadopoulus was even told that the woman was “a relative of Vladimir Putin with connections to senior Russian officials.” (She was supposedly Putin’s niece, which turned out to be untrue.)

George Papadopoulus, the younger man in the middle on the opposite side of the table, meets during the campaign with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, far left, and Donald Trump, far right.

In April of 2016, according to the guilty plea, the professor met in Moscow with top Russian officials, and those officials gave the professor an interesting message to be communicated to the Trump campaign.

As the guilty plea states:

“The professor told defendant Papadopoulus that on the trip he (the professor) had learned the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton. The professor told defendant Papadopoulus, as defendant Papadopoulus later described to the FBI, that “They (the Russians) ” had ‘dirt’ on her,” “the Russians had emails of Clinton;” “they have thousands of emails.”

That’s pretty important. It is now established fact that as far back as April 2016, the Trump campaign knew, through top Russian sources, that Russia had hacked Clinton; nobody else knew of the hacking until mid-June, two months later, when those emails began to be leaked through Wikileaks.

So when Russians reached out in early June to Donald Trump Jr., offering dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” it wasn’t the first time such information had been communicated, which explains why Trump Jr. and Manafort professed no surprise at the offer being made.

When Trump publicly disputed Russian responsibility for the hacking –“It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” — his own campaign had already been told, by the Russians, that it was the Russians.

When Trump later begged Russia to release additional Clinton emails, his campaign knew, from the Russians themselves, that they had been the source of the previous hacked emails. Furthermore, all of those protestations about no contacts with Russia –“It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign,” said spokesperson Hope Hicks — those had been lies.

So how far do those lies reach? What were those lies attempting to hide?

Stay tuned. I know I will.
————————–

¹The Papadopolous guilty plea documents that through email, he informed an unnamed “High-Ranking Campaign Official,” a “Senior Policy Adviser” and “Campaign Supervisor” of these contacts. Mike Flynn was Trump’s top foreign policy adviser; Jeff Sessions was chair of Trump’s foreign policy advisory committee.

Reader Comments 0

2905 comments
FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Did the world end without my knowledge?

Am I the only one left?

schnirt

(CNN)There is an arrest warrant out for actress Rose McGowan for felony drug possession.

According to a statement from Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department, the warrant was issued in February for an incident alleged to have occurred in January near Washington. DC.

"On February 1, 2017, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for Rose McGowan, an actress from Encino, California, for possession of a controlled substance," the statement read. "The felony charge stems from a police investigation of personal belongings that tested positive for narcotics and were left behind on United flight 653 arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport on January 20, 2017."

Authorities said they have been trying to reach McGowan to get her to court.

"Since obtaining the warrant in February, Airports Authority police have attempted to contact Ms. McGowan so she can appear in a Loudoun County, Virginia, court to respond to the charge," the statement read. "The arrest warrant was also entered into a national law enforcement database."

It's unclear as to when McGowan learned of the warrant, but on Monday she tweeted about it.

"Are they trying to silence me," she tweeted. "There is a warrant out for my arrest in Virginia. What a load of HORSES**T." 

A rose by any other name would not smell so....

victimized?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Free the Hops Day!

Offer thanks to Martin Luther and The Reformation. 

gotalife
gotalife

Revenge for real American patriots.

gotalife
gotalife

Social media are in the hot seat on giving us trump the traitor. Facebook, Twitter and Google are guilty of that fact.

gotalife
gotalife

USDA nominee Clovis was Trump adviser who encouraged Russia meeting: report

Another traitor.

We need to act on treason severely.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.

Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-organized-by-russians-on-facebook 

I wasn't there. 

Were any of the BLM supporters and Trump bashers there?

If so, they've been had by Putin.

gotalife
gotalife

More proof of collusion.

honested
honested

@FIGMO2 

Me neither.

I was involved in local action in opposition of the National Embarrassment that weekend.

The russians bought him.

I guess they might have been smart enough to realize what a terrible mistake they made early.

JKToole
JKToole

@FIGMO2 Keeping score about whose "been had"?

Why does that matter?

I'll take another big ol' helping of irrelevance with a side of rationalization gravy.

The fact of the matter is that dissension among Americans was sewn by a foreign government. I can't understand how that gets lost for some?

#Winning?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@gotalife

As you can see above (my excerpt) it was an Anti-Trump rally.

Collusion with whom?

JKToole
JKToole

White elephant in the room? Reince Priebus. Head of the RNC? WH Chief of Staff until he was Bannon'ed.

Twitter account dead until recently  - to announce he'd joined Michael Best Law - as president of the firm (in DC) and that he's now represented by Washington Speakers Bureau and is ready to hit the lecture trail.

Big domino.

BTC
BTC

www.thedailybeast.com/as-a-cornered-donald-trump-screams-about-witch-hunts-and-evil-politics-time-for-the-real-press-to-step-up?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@TBS 

I don’t even remember who I voted for last November.

No clue 

What IS IT with you boys?

I gave you a list from which to choose. I even gave you a hint.

Here's another...

HIS name started with an "M".

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@FIGMO2 @TBS 

Hi Figmo, please tell me if you can see my 3 paragraph post on the urge to power, which I can see posted immediately after your post, above, but which I suspect you cannot see.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I was just reading about the alleged sexually aggressive and predatory actions of actor Kevin Spacey, then 26, toward then 14 year old male actor Anthony Rapp.

Gen. Kelly is now speaking of how the Civil War occurred because of a lack of ability to compromise. Kelly seems to be both a racist and a misogynist.

So what is the connection here? A brutal sensibility in which power over others is valued more than nurturing others as equal to one's self. In other words, valuing hierarchical power, sexual and societal, must evolve to valuing egalitarianism, on which America was founded. Feminine mythology needs to become more valued in this century and beyond than masculine mythology in which Trump has become the caricatured mascot.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings

The LGBT community has been encouraging Spacey to come out of the closet for years.

Now that he has they want nothing to do with him.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@FIGMO2 @MaryElizabethSings 

It was not Spacey's homosexual behavior to which I was speaking, but to his alleged penchant for predatory sexual behavior based on domination and submission, and sexual domination by force to a vulnerable minor.


In other words, I believe our societal values, of long-standing, that domination is equal to superiority have created the urge to racism and sexism in individuals within our sick society.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2

I know it wasn't MES. 

Assault of a child under any circumstances is wrong.

The incident made me reflect on some things josef said here...older men helping him along his path and the like.

Anyhoo, it would appear the LGBT community wanted Spacey to come out on their terms, not his.

Never a dull moment, eh?

JKToole
JKToole

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2 Spacey's biggest problem is the booze: well documented (and seen first hand).

"Penchant" predicates a strong and habitual behavior.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing pedophilia.

But what is a 14 year old boy, doing at a party in Spacey's apartment, during a school year, sitting in Spacey's bedroom watching TV?

Research for a Broadway role? Getting pointers from a classically-trained actor one of Broadway's biggest stars - at the time?

The whole thing stinks.

JKToole
JKToole

@MaryElizabethSings "Feminine mythology needs to become more valued in this century and beyond than masculine mythology"?

Reverse chauvinism isn't the answer. What happened to the "egalitarianism upon which America was founded" which you champion in the previous sentence?

JKToole
JKToole

@FIGMO2 Now that he has they want nothing to do with him.

Because he used that moment - for which the LGBT community values as a big deal (warranted or not) - as a deflection for his otherwise abhorrent behavior with a minor.

He was trying to save face with a valued demographic.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Feminine mythology has more in common with egalitarianism than does the masculine mythology. You are erroneously projecting your own thoughts of chauvinism to my mind. My thoughts were not based on female superiority but the fact that the world must move toward greater egalitarianism if it is to survive. We must start to see that we are all one in our common future on this planet. All people have both masculine mythology and feminine mythology within their individual personaes, in various degrees.

JKToole
JKToole

@MaryElizabethSings Horsefeathers. My thoughts have nothing to do with it - non-sequiter.

Chauvinism is an excessive or prejudiced loyalty or support for one's own cause, group, or gender.

Egalitarianism relates to the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

"Feminine mythology needs to become more valued in this century and beyond than masculine mythology"

Your words, not mine.


bendedknee
bendedknee

Has Jared already gotten his pardon for himself and his father?

LilRichie
LilRichie

I've always wanted Alcatraz reopened. We should reopen it and call it Trumpatraz.

bendedknee
bendedknee

And how many indictments and convictions under Obama??????

bendedknee
bendedknee

Trump administration  off to a good start   to beat   Ws record  record of  16 convictions . Maybe match Ronnie's record of 26.

Kamchak
Kamchak

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/30/jeff-sessions-indictment-bad-news-for-attorney-general/

But unlike Trump, Sessions’s claims about such meetings came in sworn testimony to the Senate. During his confirmation process, Sessions was asked a key question by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions responded. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

The question, however, was about Sessions’s knowledge of such communications, and we now know he was in a meeting in which they were discussed.

Sworn testimony.

Ruh, roh....

honested
honested

@Kamchak 

I predict the "Ernest T. Bass Dance", a rock through the window then a disappearance.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Kamchak When called out later, Sessions changed his tune saying something like: 

"When you asked me that question, you asked about a very specific set of circumstances. I was not aware of Russian meetings that met those set of circumstances even though Russian meetings occured." 


Or some such deflection. 

Paul42
Paul42

New motto of anyone in the Trump Administration:

"Flip first, flip fast but don't flip last."

honested
honested

@Paul42 

(unless you always wanted to spend some time in prison).

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@gotalife  Has Pat said yet that Trump is God's punishment on the USA for turning their backs on truth and justice?

TBS
TBS

I remember when Bush sent a Navy ship off the coast of Liberia because of the unrest at the time. Robertson threw a fit saying that a regime change could mean an Islamic government. What he failed to mention was the fact he was invested in diamond mines and a government change might impact his money.

He is a charlatan.

Total fraud. His org might help some folks but behind it is a total fake money monger

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS  Yep.  There is an excellent charitable organization up here in Portsmouth called "Operation Blessing".  MrsPaulinNH and I have done a few things with them.  They will tell you without bidding that they have no connection whatsoever with "Operation Blessing International" - Robertson's organization involved in blood diamonds.