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Robert Mueller indicts Paul Manafort a second time for things having nothing to do with Trump or Russian meddling

Robert Mueller indicts Paul Manafort a second time for things having nothing to do with Trump or Russian meddling

Unless Manafort sings about Trump, Mueller is going to make him regret ever working for Trump campaign

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/compressed-trump-s-new-convention-manager-sanders-de-blasio-662927427673

Paul Manafort made a tragic life decision when he agreed to serve as Trump’s campaign manager during the primaries, mostly because of his expertise in working delegates in floor fights. He just didn’t know it at the time.

Because Manafort was associated with the Trump campaign, he has come under the watch of Robert Mueller.

If that had not happened, Manafort likely would have lived his life as an ordinary civilian. Instead, Manafort’s life has come under intense prosecutorial scrutiny.

There allegedly was a dirty underside to Manafort’s business practices having nothing to do with Mueller’s charge to investigate Russian meddling in the election and alleged Trump campaign collusion.

Manafort and Richard Gates were indicted last October, and now Mueller has obtained a Superseding Indictment.

The NY Times reports:

The special counsel unsealed new charges on Thursday against President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, accusing him of hiding income and defrauding banks.

Many of the charges are similar to ones he was charged with in October. According to the new 32-count indictment, Mr. Manafort provided false information about his income to banks when he applied for mortgages. Seven of the counts relate to Mr. Manafort’s failure to properly file reports on his foreign bank accounts.

The indictment also revealed similar charges against Mr. Manafort’s longtime business associate and campaign deputy, Rick Gates. He was indicted along with Mr. Manafort in October.

The new charges were expected. The original indictment did not explicitly bring tax charges, an omission that experts predicted that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, would ultimately correct. The first indictment also relied heavily on accusations that Mr. Manafort violated foreign lobbying laws, which have not been used at trial. The new indictment gives prosecutors more options.

The charges do not involve Mr. Trump or his campaign and involve accusations that predate either man’s involvement with the president.

Why is Mueller out for Manafort’s hide? The Times writes:

Mr. Manafort’s friends have said that Mr. Mueller’s indictment is an effort to pressure him into providing information about Mr. Trump and his campaign. If so, Thursday’s indictment adds to that pressure. But White House lawyers and Mr. Manafort’s associates have been adamant that he does not have any information that could hurt Mr. Trump.

If Manafort doesn’t have any incriminating information about Trump, he’s in the worst of all positions. He can’t cut a deal to give up something he doesn’t have, and he’s being targeted by a huge and aggressive Mueller team because he was in the wrong place (the Trump campaign) at the wrong time (during part of the 2016 election cycle).

None of this should be within Mueller’s purview because none of it has anything to do with Russian meddling or alleged collusion. I made this point in an earlier post with regard to the guilty plea of Michael Flynn for lying with regard to post-election transition matters, Why is Robert Mueller even investigating the presidential transition?

That’s why Manafort has sued in an attempt to reign in Mueller.

There’s little chance of Manafort’s lawsuit actually forcing Mueller to stick to the scope of his Order of appointment. So Manafort’s life now is an open book for prosecutors to peruse in search of a crime, and so are the lives of anyone connected to the Trump campaign.

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USA v Manafort and Gates – Superseding Indictment 2-22-2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

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Comments

Paul In Sweden | February 22, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Heck, it was a lot safer for Manafort to work with the Podesta brothers with the actual Russians…

Colonel Travis | February 22, 2018 at 8:46 pm

“None of this should be within Mueller’s purview because none of it has anything to do with Russian meddling or alleged collusion. ”

Understood, agree 100% in principle. But the special counsel order states that Mueller can investigate not just suspected Russia links/coordination with the Trump campaign but “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

To me, that seems about as stupidly vague as you can get, which is why these special counsel/prosecutor appointments are wrong no matter who has unleashed one.

    DIRECTLY

    The operative word in that sentence is: DIRECTLY

    Business transactions prior to his being hired by Trump for his campaign, which have absolutely nothing to do with the campaign, are clearly NOT in Mueller’s purview.

    This is precisely why Manafort’s lawyer has already sued to get the initial batch of charges tossed out. The entire investigation was outside of Mueller’s specifically defined mandate.

      Colonel Travis in reply to Aarradin. | February 23, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      The word “directly” is part of the problem here. Your definition isn’t being followed, correct? That’s the point. It’s too vague.

      “Directly” to Mueller doesn’t mean what you says it means. To him it means that he found out about Manafort’s issues directly from Mueller’s investigation into the campaign.

    At what point does this shade over into harassment?

I don’t see how Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainians several years before the campaign can possibly arise “directly from the investigation” into Russian meddling or alleged collusion during the campaign.

Believing, as I do, that in fact there was no “collusion” between the campaign or Trump himself and Russia, this is dirty, dirty work Mueller is doing.

    Colonel Travis in reply to tarheelkate. | February 22, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    I didn’t downvote you and think this Mueller investigation is a farce based on absolute BS. But the reason Manafort can be indicted on things unrelated to the campaign from years ago is precisely because the order says he can – or, at least, that’s how Mueller interprets it. Unless a judge or the AG stops him or Trump fire him, who else will? It’s evident Mueller doesn’t believe in boundaries.

    Manafort made a lot of massive transactions over the years, it’s impossible to hide all that from investigators once they start looking. And when they looked, they said things like – you spent $5.4 million on renovating one house, now how did that happen? When you have the U.S. federal government investigating you, an individual has finite resources to defend himself. The government has unlimited resources to look under every rock you ever had.

    I can’t say if all the charges against him will hold up, I have no idea. All I’m saying is that Mueller essentially has carte blanche to go where he wants to, which can also lead to more head-scratching: how come Mueller did not indict those 13 Russians with a specific charge of meddling in U.S. elections? To me, that makes zero sense but it sure seems like Mueller is going out of his way to not have to spring that charge on Steele and anyone else who truly did interfere with an election. Gee, that carte blanche power is pretty nice thing to have.

    So much about this whole thing stinks. So angry this great country has so many tyrants in charge.

      Then he should testify that during the time period he was working for Podesta and the Democrats, and offer to plead guilty and testify against them.

      I agree with you that Mueller and his “team” have extended the definition of “arise directly from the investigation” to mean anything we decide to look at from any century (a bit of hyperbole) is directly involved in our investigation of the 2016 election. Mueller has at least one or two attorneys who have a track record of stretching the law and process beyond the point that the Appeals court system will allow, so this isn’t exactly surprising that they would be investigating business activity of years before Trump apparently had decided to run, much less have a campaign organization. It is wrong, but not surprising.

No sympathy for Manafort and his crookedness here.

Mueller’s probe needs a head and they will settle for his, but doing the things he is accused of doing (if found guilty) was enough to put him on the chopping block.

    Aarradin in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 23, 2018 at 1:53 am

    Manafort’s lawyer has already sued to get the initial set of charges tossed – because the entire investigation is outside Mueller’s mandate.

    If that succeeds, as it should, then Manafort will get a free pass on any crimes he may have committed prior to working for Trump – fruit of the poisonous tree.

    Mueller may be handing him a free pass, for life, for everything he’s dug up.

    That’s assuming any of it was actually illegal, which is very much in doubt.

      I tried to reply directly to you but it didn’t work. My post at 4:06am is intended to reply to your point. Manafort’s lawsuit must fail because the mandate is whatever the deputy AG wanted the mandate to be, and nothing in the actual regulations mandates the DAG to make that mandate public to warn defendants of its exact scope.

regulus arcturus | February 22, 2018 at 9:55 pm

If Mueller’s goal is to build consensus that Special/Independent Counsel rules are ineffective and unwarranted, he’s doing an outstanding job.

I heard if he indicts Manafort 1 more time, Russia magically appears in the indictment…

“If Manafort doesn’t have any incriminating information about Trump, he’s in the worst of all positions. He can’t cut a deal to give up something he doesn’t have, and he’s being targeted by a huge and aggressive Mueller team because he was in the wrong place (the Trump campaign) at the wrong time (during part of the 2016 election cycle).”

I don’t believe that for a minute. Well, the second part, not the first. Even if Manafort is clean as the wind-driven snow with respect to the Trump campaign, there is nothing standing in Mueller’s way to keep the IC from writing out a fake list of testimony and bribing… I mean *encouraging* Manafort to testify to it in return for calling off the dogs.

It’s his choice: Bankruptcy and thirty years in jail, or following the testimony he is given by Mueller’s team. Of course, it won’t be given to him in those words, but the meaning will be crystal clear.

    Unlikely from a trial standpoint.

    If Mueller is going to go after someone in the Trump inner circle or President Trump himself, he’s going to need something corroborating Manafort’s “manufactured” testimony to make this scenario stick. What President Trump’s legal team does on the other side is bring in all the people who would have first-hand knowledge that Manafort is speaking a non-truth, and the whole Mueller narrative will collapse at that point. Also, President Trump’s legal defense team will be well withing their bounds to question the Hell out of Manafort’s “testimony” on the stand. Adage: Motive of the witness is ALWAYS a proper topic for cross-examination.

    Mind you, this is predicated upon the idea that Mueller is going for a “conviction.” If Mueller is simply trying to muddy the waters to give Democrat operatives talking points for the next 8 months until the midterm elections, then it’s not relevant if it will hold water later.

      “Mind you, this is predicated upon the idea that Mueller is going for a “conviction.” If Mueller is simply trying to muddy the waters to give Democrat operatives talking points for the next 8 months until the midterm elections, then it’s not relevant if it will hold water later.”

      Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Whatever Mueller comes up with doesn’t even have to hold water now. If the Dems can flog whatever muddy dregs come out of the investigation into a +1 vote majority in the House, they win. The impeachment trial will start the next day, every single item on the Republican agenda will die in the House, and the stock market will tank. Of course, the Dems will blame Trump instead of themselves, and will ride this wave of mud right into the White House in 2020.

With the lib’ss, FBI’s, and Mueller’s low bar threshold for so-called evidence; they probably want Manafort to write his own dossier which they can spend the next 2.5 years investigating Trump since, “It must be true because an insider wrote it.”

A special investigation in search of a crime they can pin on Trump. Mueller needs to go. He is wasting tons of our money in an effort to effect a coup of a. duly elected President.

    You bring up an interesting point. Part of the complaint about special counsels is that they are so open ended. Why can’t they be given limits? You have X dollars and Y months. If either runs out, you’re done.

    It’s a half measure – not the same as ending special counsels entirely – but better than no measure at all.

      Colonel Travis in reply to irv. | February 22, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      I’m asking because I don’t know – but if the AG is the one who writes the order, starting a special counsel investigation, why can’t the AG just limit the scope right there in the order itself? Does he have to say – you can investigate X, specifically, but if you find out Y and Z, which are 100% unrelated to what I specifically ordered you to investigate, you cannot prosecute them as federal crimes?

        Colonel Travis in reply to Colonel Travis. | February 22, 2018 at 11:08 pm

        Sorry, not “does he have to say…” but “can’t he just say…”

        While the statute stipulates that criminal activity which arises directly from the investigation may be pursued by the Special Counsel, the AG can write the charge much, much tighter than this one was written. IIRC, the process is supposed to be knowledge of a crime leads to appointing a Special Counsel for whatever reason the DoJ can’t take on the investigation. In this case there was no knowledge of any crime/criminal activity with which Mueller was charged with investigating. He was sent on the classic “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” Stalinesque “investigation”.

    To be fair, they tried the Kiev-style coup at the inauguration, full of violence and intimidation, but that only motivated a backlash against the DNC-aligned Antifa faction. It could have been done on the cheap. The progressive expense is due to American resistance to the Obama/Clinton/DNC-lead domestic and foreign subterfuge.

Mueller is going to make him regret ever working for Trump campaign

Extraordinary, and, in fact, progressive (i.e. monotonic) corruption.

There is, however, speculation around what was discussed during the lengthy meeting that Trump had with Mueller just before Mueller was selected as the Special Counsel. Many say it was related to an offer to head the FBI, but I believe that wasn’t possible due to Meuller’s earlier term limit. More recent speculation also suggests that Manafort and Gates involvement in the Trump campaign may have had more clandestine motives.

So quite possibly, the conventional wisdom of what Mueller is up to may prove to be something quite unexpected. Could make for an interesting next several months!

Reminder: The FBI executed a raid on Manafort’s home, at night, with a no-knock warrant, terrifying his children and groping his wife in her nightgown.

I don’t know what they claimed to be looking for in their application for a warrant to commit this abomination, but it seems crystal clear at this point that they found NOTHING related to the Trump/Russia ‘collusion’ that they were supposed to be investigating.

Crap like this makes my blood boil.

Shocking abuse of power.

This was the Chairman of Trump’s campaign for President. They had NOTHING on him, yet did this. Think about all the scandals surrounding Hillary, and the mountains of evidence publicly available that felonies were committed – have they raided her homes to seize computers and files? Have they raided Podesta? Or Huma Abedin?? No, of course not.

Democrats that far up the food chain are above the law. Meanwhile, Republicans of the same stature have a huge target on their backs for this sort of Lawfare.

Manafort should, eventually, be cleared of all of this. But, the process will have been the punishment.

Sends a powerful message to anyone on the Right that’s even thinking about entering public life – they can do this to any of us, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.

No. Mueller has 2 children. We can stop this political intimidation, we simply dont have the will to play hardball.

I’ve written occasionally to this effect, but Mueller’s mandate is whatever Deputy AG Rosenstein told him it is. Not what Rosenstein told us, the public, it is – what he privately told Mr. Mueller that it is.

Rather than present a written document to this effect, the Mueller team has directed the judge’s attention to public testimony by DAG Rosenstein to the effect that he’s happy with how it’s going. If he’s happy, everyone’s happy.

This just underlines that the DoJ’s regulations on special counsels are ripe for abuse, providing all of the raw power of the Attorney General without the need for cabinet level oversight of that power. If they were not “intended” to be used in this manner, well shucks – lawyers find new and inventive ways to use the written word to their advantage. That doesn’t make it the slightest bit illegal. Wrong, perhaps; certainly unwise – but not illegal.

Does everything that comes from the Trump Dossier become fruit of the posion tree?

Jonathan Cohen | February 23, 2018 at 9:55 am

When a society is riddled through with laws and regulations to a degree that people must violate them to lead normal lives, then the person who can make exceptions is the most powerful. Hillary Clinton was allowed to avoid prosecution for her felonies with her server. Manafort is being punished because he worked for Trump.

If Mueller only goes after Trump associated people and leaves Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS alone, then we will know that the investigation was a witch hunt. Nothing that has come out so far indicates to me that the Mueller is anything but a continuation of the Obama administration’s practice of using the federal government to target his enemies.

I think it will be fun watching when the “right” side of the aisle has an ultra/uber partisan hack investigative unit descend upon every wild rumor and innuendo as truth against the “left” side of the aisle. 🙂 Get your ducks in a row left-side but it’s not gonna help.

The Dumb-o-crats and the Left (aided by a water-carrying media, of course) have conspired to hype the Russian “collusion” narrative to such ridiculously histrionic levels, and, Mueller’s pride drawing from a potent mix of G-man aggressiveness plus run-of-the-mill prosecutorial arrogance, he is compelled to produce indictments in order to justify the amount of time and money that he and his team have spent on this charade, no matter how superficial the underlying accusations of wrongdoing or how tenuous/non-existent the links to the Trump team, or, to the original collusion narrative.

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