usembassytallinn / Flickr FBI Director Robert Mueller Visit to...
usembassytallinn / Flickr

Russia Russia Russia!

The Russia probe has entered Phase 2

 We have now entered the second phase of the Russia probe. In the first, special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, starting from scratch, gathered sufficient evidence to file felony charges against Paul Manafort, Rick Gatesand George Papadopoulos.

Phase 1 has given Mueller leverage against higher-level targets, who must be wondering how much the special counsel already knows, and how much he’s about to learn. Careful work may, eventually, enable him to secure evidence against the greatest target of them all: the president. In this second round, Mueller is holding all the cards and has the latitude to play them when and as he chooses.

The initial charges sent a message to the White House and former Trump campaign officials, who had tried to whistle their way past the graveyard, portraying the probe as lacking in substance and likely to be short-lived. The Oct. 30 flurry demonstrated that 1) people will be going to jail for a long time and 2) the probe is unlikely to stop short of the Oval Office. 

The sophisticated charges against Manafort and Gates, in particular, also revealed to veteran observers the meticulous professionalism and industry of Mueller’s squad, which is among the most formidable prosecutorial teams ever assembled. Further bad news for Team Trump.

For these targets, Mueller can credibly warn that if they don’t talk first, others will, and their opportunity to receive a sharply reduced sentence will disappear. They are in effect playing an excruciating game of musical chairs in which the last defendants standing will be stuck with nothing but mammoth legal fees and lifelong disrepute.

Senate Judiciary Committee: Kushner forwarded emails about a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite’

  • Jared Kushner has evidently failed to produce documents to lawmakers that they say “are known to exist” about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” and communications with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian.
  • It had not been reported that a “Russian backdoor overture” was discussed in emails that Kushner forwarded, the senators say, or that anyone on the campaign had communicated with Millian.
  • Reports emerged earlier this year that Millian was “Source E” in the dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.

In other words: Kushner had contacts about WikiLeaks, Russian overtures he did not disclose to the Senate Judiciary panel

Y’all this is going to end with Kushner in jail.  He (and Jr) are criminal *and* morons.  Not a great combo.  

Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell on Thursday charging that Kushner has failed to disclose several documents, records and transcripts in response to multiple inquiries from committee investigators.

Grassley and Feinstein also wrote that Kushner’s team “should produce” his SF-86 security clearance forms, which Kushner had to update on more than one occasion because he left out contacts with foreign individuals. Kushner’s team has argued that the forms are confidential — an argument the committee leaders do not accept.

Of particular interest, seems like he was deliberately hiding outreach from Putin ally to Trump campaign

 President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia’s central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016, the sources said. The email also suggests Torshin was seeking to meet with a high-level Trump campaign official during the convention, and that he may have had a message for Trump from Putin, the sources said.

Did you get that part about “a message to Trump from Putin”????  And Kushner HID this.  Very damaging.

Torshin was seated with the candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr., during a private dinner on the sidelines of a May 2016 NRA event during the convention in Louisville, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg. Congressional investigators have no clear explanation for how that came to be, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Spanish anti-corruption officials have identified Torshin as a “godfather” in the Russian mafia — something Torshin has denied.

The disclosure is the latest example of a senior Russian official seeking to make high-level contacts with the Trump campaign

One source familiar with Kushner’s testimony before congressional intelligence committees said he specifically denied, under oath, that he was familiar with any attempts by WikiLeaks to contact the campaign. But, according to the source, Kushner was sent an email by Trump Jr. about his conversations on Twitter with WikiLeaks, which were first disclosed by the Atlantic this week. Kushner forwarded an email about the WikiLeaks conversations to communications director Hope Hicks, the source said. A second source familiar with Kushner’s testimony did not dispute that account

Wow.  Kushner is toast.  And the other Trumps are likely to come falling down with him!

Sending a message that he is not here to play: Mueller subpoenas Trump campaign for Russia documents

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has issued a subpoena to the Trump campaign asking multiple campaign officials to produce Russia-related documents, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the matter.

The source said the campaign has already turned over some 20,000 documents voluntarily, so it’s not clear why the subpoena was issued. A subpoena ratchets up the stakes for noncompliance.

The Journal reported that the Trump campaign had been caught by surprise by the subpoena.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee said that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had failed to turn over all the documents it had requested. 


A judge sided with special counsel Robert Mueller Thursday in refusing to release an indicted aide of Donald Trump from house arrest so he could leave his home for Christmas—or take his children to school.

In the court filing, Mueller says the aide, Richard Gates, is a flight risk and shouldn’t be allowed to leave his home, at least not yet.

Is singing like a canary sounding any better there Gates?

Rob Goldstone ready to come to U.S. and talk to Mueller

The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller’s office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone.

Goldstone’s New York lawyer, G. Robert Gage, declined to comment other than to say, “nothing is presently scheduled.”

However, sources close to Goldstone and familiar with the investigation say they expect he will travel to the United States at some point “in the near future,” as one put it.

Also, it is possible that the feds might have flipped a man who could bring down Flynn

A man who may be part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged misdoings by President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration was secretly removed from a federal prison this month.

Mueller is reportedly looking at a December meeting blocks from Trump Tower where Michael Flynn—shortly before Trump became president and named him national security adviser—was reportedly offered upward of $15 million if he could help Turkey win the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen as well as the release of gold trader Reza Zarrab.

Now it appears Zarrab, whose trial for allegedly cheating U.S. sanctions by facilitating gold-for-gas deals between Turkey and Iran is scheduled to begin in just days, may be working with federal prosecutors.

You guys, this Russia stuff is getting really hot.  And this isn’t from unverified tweets of people guessing about what is happening.  These are multiply sourced articles from places like NBC.  These are not going to be happy holidays for the Trumps.  

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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