Abramson: "Tonight’s news inculpates Donald Trump"; impeachment coming

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Michael Vadon / Flickr donald trump tired...
Michael Vadon / Flickr

Another prescient twitter thread from the strikingly accurate crystal ball of law professor Seth Abramson, regarding tonight’s New York Times story on the Paul Manafort warrants and impending indictment. If you haven’t read the NYT story, the key points are:   

  • The FBI had a FISA warrant on Paul Manafort (i.e., they tapped his phone) during the campaign period.
  • They got the FISA warrant renewed (implying that they learned something about illegal activity).
  • And, to top it off, Mueller has subpeonaed Manafort’s lawyer — a highly unusual move.

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS via THE NEW YORK TIMES: Special Counsel Mueller Will Indict Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort https://t.co/BfCW5yfbvX

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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3/ Reasons for this sort of notice include telling suspect to stay in jurisdiction; initiating CI talks; preventing destruction of evidence.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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5/ This would (a) explain why the FISA warrant story involving Manafort leaked today, and (b) seem to answer "Who will be indicted first?"

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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6/ I'm here embedding my earlier thread on CNN's breaking news (on Manafort) into this longer more important thread: https://t.co/gzTSusYuik

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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And I’m embedding that same brief thread here, blockquoted — so note the change in tweet numbers.

BREAKING NEWS (and pretty damn *big* news, too, given that we're talking about the President's Campaign Manager for *six months* in 2016): https://t.co/ozW1mI1vdu

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 18, 2017

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NOTE #2: That transcript may well prove that Manafort, Kushner, and Don Jr. *did* tell Trump about their 2016 meeting with Kremlin agents.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 18, 2017

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NOTE #4: *This* could be the FISA warrant that establishes the "smoking gun" on Russia. The feds now think Manafort was encouraging Russia.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 18, 2017

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NOTE #5: It's telling the FBI was able to get this secret warrant. Telling that word of it leaked. Trump staffers' reported terror? Telling.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 18, 2017

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And now back to the main thread.

8/ What we know of the Manafort investigation suggests Mueller has the charges to possibly put Manafort away for life. And that will be key.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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Read that again: “possibly put Manafort away for life.” Wow.

10/ I said in my recent AMA that Mueller will need two or more flips to get Trump. Carl Bernstein implied tonight Rick Dearborn could flip.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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12/ Kushner would be a top flip target but he's family; turning on Trump would end his marriage. And he may be *willing* to do a brief bid.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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14/ Carter Page was interviewed by the FBI more hours (10) than anyone. But he appears to be a Russophile ideologue—so, less likely to flip.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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16/ But understand that federal prosecutors don't bluster. If Mueller's agents told Manafort he will be indicted, Manafort will be indicted.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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18/ Carl Bernstein is wrong to say the indictment could be a FARA charge. A prosecutor would wait to threaten indictment until he had more.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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FARA is the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Which requires you to register with the federal government if you’re in the US and acting on behalf of a foreign government in any capacity. 

20/ That said, when prosecutors indict, they indict on *all* they have at the time. So Manafort will face FARA and likely other charges too.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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22/ So any criminal lawyer will say, don't expect rinky-dink charges on Manafort. He'll be hammered—and Mueller will add more as he gets it.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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24/ There's no doubt Mueller is being aggressive. And no doubt we've seen only a fraction of what *he* has—so he must have seen *bad stuff*.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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26/ Any experienced criminal attorney will say you don't see this much smoke without fire—and the pace the fire is unfolding is anticipated.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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28/ Trump WILL be impeached. I say that not as a Dem but an experienced criminal lawyer and someone who's researched this case for 9 months.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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FYI, Keith Olbermann is predicting that Trump will pull a Nixon and resign before it gets that far. Either one works for me.

30/ So we now know that the Trump-Russia scandal will go to DEFCON 1 either this month or next. It'd be a *shock* if it takes till November.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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32/ Why? The moment any flip leaks, destruction of evidence and possible flight and secret witness-tampering plots go into *overdrive* ASAP.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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34/ So Mueller must balance the chance of unanticipated gains coming from a high-profile flip and dangers/resource drains stemming from it.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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36/ Details of a flipped witness' proffer leak about the same time as the leak of the flip—giving others tips on how to change their story.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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38/ That's why I say Mueller has to have all his ducks in a row on the day that he signs any sort of deal with a witness like Paul Manafort.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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40/ What I'm saying is, even though we're pre-indictment, tonight's news changes everything in the probe from a legal/strategic standpoint.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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42/ What we *do* know is that tonight's news means a slew of new Trump campaign-Russia contacts we didn't know about until earlier tonight.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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44/ Today's news Sen. Grassley (R) still plans a bill preventing Trump from firing Mueller (despite Trump's denials he's considering it)…

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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46/ Remember: we already know Manafort spoke to Priebus about anti-Clinton kompromat in January; Priebus blocked him from getting to Trump.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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48/ Don't forget Trump only fired Manafort because he had to—and Manafort continued living in Trump Tower and speaking to Trump thereafter.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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50/ So why did Mueller seek a *no-knock, pre-dawn warrant* on Manafort? Usually only done in cases where destruction of evidence is likely?

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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52/ It's often possible to get financial records from various sources, and usually there isn't a single toilet-flushable, "smoking gun" doc.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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54/ So the *manner* of the Manafort raid is more likely about *Trump* than just getting one more doc in a mountain of money-laundering docs.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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56/ But do you also *subpoena a man's attorneys* in a money-laundering case? No—unless the real case is POTUS *or* that man gives you POTUS.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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58/ As I saw in countless cases, *bad* criminal defense attorneys (usually highly paid ones) have a tell: telling clients they'll be *fine*.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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60/ If or when Trump gets competent counsel—he doesn't have it now—he'll *finally* be told he's a goner and he'll react quickly and rashly.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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62/ And don't be shocked if the shake-up leads to Trump learning the truth of his situation and starting to threaten Mueller publicly again.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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64/ I know it's hard to accept investigations take this long; they do. I know it's hard to keep feeling Trump will be impeached; he will be.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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PS/ And remember: *legal* actions—like pardons or firing the FBI director—become *illegal* if done for an illegal purpose. Like Obstruction.

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2017

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Just for fun, go back and read #28 again. Over and over. 🙂

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