DonkeyHotey / Flickr Donald Trump Caricature...
DonkeyHotey / Flickr

#TrumpRussia has never been about “smoking guns” as it’s been about smoldering arsenals and the ammo dump may be ready to go up.

What has been missing thus far were meetings between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange. Such contacts facilitated by Roger Stone fit in the Manafort-Stone-Atwater playbook. The reality may have other IC elements considering the role of the Russians in providing the purloined details.

However, the scenarios are clearer now that Mueller has the goods and waited until Trump provided written responses that may now be shown as contradictions. And we don’t even have those new indictments yet.

Mark Sumner points out the lacunae about which we’ve been speculating these past months.

The March 2016 meeting wasn’t Manafort’s first visit with Assange. The use of both stolen emails and social media campaigns was something Manafort relied on heavily in his actions in Ukraine.

Why did Paul Manafort lie? Because it increasingly looks like the origin of the plan to attack the United States through stolen emails, false media accounts, and social media pressure didn’t originate with Moscow, it came from Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

Manafort did for Trump what he did for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. And with the same assist from Moscow. That’s worth lying about.

And based on how Robert Mueller waited until Trump turned in his written responses before calling Manafort on the carpet, it’s going to be interesting to see how many of his lies Trump repeated.

What’s that word?  Boom.…

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has voided his cooperation agreement with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, accusing Manafort of violating it by lying.

The episode appears to be a setback for Mueller’s efforts to glean information from a key player in the Russia investigation. But it may double as an opportunity for disclosure — even a chance for Mueller to enter key events into the public record. That’s especially the case if he’s worried about what new acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker might do to the investigation and if the whole thing is indeed winding down. The episode could give us one of the best senses to date of exactly what Mueller is probing and how much trouble President Trump and his campaign might be in.

That is, if Mueller wants to spill.…

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.

It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.…

An interesting sideshow element would be Trump pardoning George Papadopoulos as a signal to Manafort and Stone.

George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was one of the first dominos to fall, helping kick off the investigation into the Russia scandal. Yesterday, after having been convicted of lying to the FBI about his Russian interactions, Papadopoulos reported to a federal penitentiary to begin serving his sentence.…

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


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