Josh Marshall pf TPM says “the fix is in” for Manafort’s plea, and the pardon from Trump is being “locked in’.
We’ll see on Friday, but Ryan Goodman reminds us that some things do need to remain in front of us, especially if Manafort pleads without cooperating.
The public record, absent a trial still provides the larger Mueller investigation with some key elements that will get prosecuted as Mueller goes farther up the chain.
Simply put, any fair reading of the public record would surely come to the conclusion that there is significant evidence of collusion–or, to put it more precisely, evidence of a conspiracy with Russians and violations of federal campaign finance law.
1. Manafort proposes to Putin-linked, Russian oligarch a plan to “greatly benefit Putin,” and they get to work (2005-)
2. Manafort joins Trump Campaign and stays in frequent contact with a Kiev-based operative with active ties to Russian military intelligence (March 2016-)
3. Manafort remains an unregistered foreign agent of Kremlin-linked Ukraine political forces
4. Trump Campaign is told Russia has damaging information against Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” and Manafort and Campaign then continue to try to set up meeting with Campaign representatives and senior Russian officials (April 2016 -)
5. Manafort and two senior Campaign officials meet with Russian government emissaries offering damaging information on Clinton (June 2016)
6. Manafort offers “private briefings” on the campaign to Putin-linked Russian oligarch (July 2016)
7. Manafort oversees Campaign when it intervenes to defeat a call for Republican Party platform to include a provision for arming Ukraine to defend itself against Russian incursions
8. Russian operatives reportedly discuss Russia’s efforts to coordinate with Manafort on the election and Manafort’s encouraging help from the Kremlin
9. Manafort officially resigns from the campaign, but reportedly continues to be involved up through the transition (August 2016-).
Manafort’s activities during the campaign are only one thread among others. Whether or not there will ever be “proof of collusion” established in a courtroom for example, there is significant evidence of collusion already in the public record.
Mariotti’s thread is very important to understand where the Manafort plea will stand. It appears that he’s counting on a pardon and my not have given up Trump.
Mueller gets the certainty of a guilty verdict—trials always have risks associated with them—and Manafort gets the minor benefits discussed in the thread:
1/ Today multiple outlets reported that Manafort is close to a plea deal with Mueller as to his upcoming trial in Washington D.C.
2/ @abcnews has gone further, reporting that a deal has been reached between Manafort and Mueller, although the details of the deal remain unknown.
I sure would like to know what the Manafort and Trump lawyers have been discussing through their joint defense agreement. If we see him plea without cooperating, it’s probably because he got a better deal from Trump. https://t.co/fTx42AV2hy
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) September 13, 2018
Giuliani also confirmed that Trump’s lawyers and Manafort’s have been in regular contact and that they are part of a joint defense agreement that allows confidential information sharing.
“All during the investigation we have an open communication with them,” he said. “Defense lawyers talk to each other all the time where as long as our clients authorize it therefore we have a better idea of what’s going to happen. That’s very common.”
This diversionary Trump tweet does suggest that some firewalling is going on relative to FARA.
Maybe Manafort IS flipping in the face of losing $30M under FARA. https://t.co/5wFMxGbI26
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 14, 2018
There may be an emerging back-story to the Trump tweet that involves some bot-activity, but that has been absorbed by other disinformation matters like Salisbury Cathedral and Russian tourists.
Trump suggested that it was “illegal” for Kerry to meet with Iran and tell them “to wait out the Trump Administration!”
Trump then misunderstood or misrepresented the law by stating that Kerry should have been registered as a foreign agent for giving a foreign nation advice as a citizen.