Two Trump Associates in Court Today, as Part of Russia Probe

Two Trump Associates in Court Today, as Part of Russia Probe January 25, 2019

Well, it has been a busy day for special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing Russia probe.

Right off the bat, the pre-dawn hours of Friday saw armed federal agents descend on Trump pal and former campaign advisor, Roger Stone’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida home.

I covered that bit of drama over at my other gig with The Resurgent.

I have to mention several points of interest with this early morning raid.

CNN was on the scene with dramatic video of the arrest, leading many across social media to speculate that the FBI had tipped off the network.

That’s not the case.

A clever CNN reporter took notice of what he felt was “unusual activity” with the grand jury involved with the Russia probe.

Also, Stone, himself, has been dropping hints about his pending arrest. CNN simply put it together and the reporter was staked outside of Stone’s home when federal agents arrived.

Not for nothing, but those agents on the job today are doing so with no pay, due to the government shutdown.

The indictment against Stone includes one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, one count of witness tampering, and five counts of giving false statements.

In other words, like so many other Trump campaign aides swept up in all this, he’s in trouble for his misleading statements.

My question is why are so many associated with Team Trump lying?

No, lying is not the elusive “collusion” as MAGA defenders are pointing out, but certainly, the sheer volume of individuals lying in the investigation should raise a lot of questions.

Why are you lying?

People with nothing to hide don’t lie. Just saying…

Stone was arraigned and released on a $250,000 bond.

Once outside the courthouse, he insisted that his arrest, as well as the investigation was politically motivated.

Trump associate Roger Stone told a crowd of reporters outside his arraignment Friday that he will plead not guilty to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, and that he will never testify against President Trump, who he called one of his “oldest friends.”

“As I have said previously, there is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.”

Yeah. You keep holding on to that.

While everyone was watching that bit of drama play out, over in Washington a hearing involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and whether he lied to special counsel after making a cooperation deal played out.

Andrew Weissmann, a deputy with special counsel’s office pressed that their office no longer feels Manafort is deserving of special considerations for cooperating with the investigation.

They will not seek further charges for lying.

Manafort’s lawyers have argued that he did not intentionally mislead investigators.

“We believe that whether there was a breach contends on whether or not he intentionally lied,” said defense attorney Richard Westling. “He did not intentionally lie.”

Mueller’s prosecutors said Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” that were not instances of “mere memory lapses.”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the case, says she’s not ready to move on with sentencing until the two sides settle the dispute.

On February 4 the two sides will meet in a closed door session to hash it out, with a redacted transcript to follow. On February 8, Manafort will be sentenced in his case out of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Manafort was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud in August after a weeks-long trial in Virginia federal court, and a month later agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation by pleading guilty to two counts from his D.C. case and admitting his guilt to the remaining counts in his Virginia case.

The Mueller team has said Manafort has lied about a $125,000 payment he received in 2017, his conversations with a former associate who’s been accused of being a Russian intelligence operative, contacts with administration officials, and an unspecified ongoing investigation.

In poorly redacted court papers, Manafort’s lawyers accidentally revealed that he shared campaign polling data with his associate,Konstantin Kilimnik — who law enforcement say was connected to Russian intelligence — and then lied about it to federal investigators.

Manafort, walking with a cane and allegedly suffering from gout, appeared in the courtroom today, dressed in a suit, at his request.

So what do Manafort and Stone have in common, other than their devotion to Trump and Russian connections?

Judge Jackson will be overseeing both of their cases.

It’s a busy time with the Russia probe, but don’t think this is the end.

There will be more.

 

 

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  • captcrisis

    Why Trump seems to admire such an outrageous misogynist as Stone tells us all we need to know about his attitude toward women.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Now the fun starts:

    Trump is very likely to hit new levels of crazy in his attempts to throw Stone under the bus, denying any knowledge of him or his actions, denying that Stone played any part in his campaign, more accusations of “witch hunt”, etc…..

    We should see additional federal crises initiated by Trump as a distraction from the news of Stone’s arrest. With all the back-and-forth, I expect to see renewed talk of a Presidential pardon for Stone (which by now should be taken as further obstruction of justice), but once that peters out (and I think it will (because the Democrats in Congress will threaten immediate impeachment should Trump even CONSIDER such a pardon), I think Stone will wind up cooperating with Mueller to some extent for a reduced sentence. However, I think that Stone (like Manafort) will be unable to resist his true nature and will ‘cheat’ on his cooperation – possibly updating the Trump lawyers on Mueller’s info / possibly informing other Russian agents (even WikiLeaks) about on-going Mueller activities in an attempt to sabotage Mueller’s investigation. I would not underestimate Mueller & his team and would not be surprised if they “accidentally” gave Stone disinformation to disseminate just to see who he winds up talking to….

    All-in-all, this is a great move on Mueller’s part and should net him a LOT of dirt on a LOT of crooked Trump associates ( as well as other crooked politicians in DC that have been protecting Trump either voluntarily or by intimidation [threats] from Roger Stone ) by way of any documents or other statements or connections they ferret out from Stone.

    Now the question is who follows Stone ? I think Trump is still too well protected, so my vote goes to the Mueller team indicting Trump Jr for his lying abut the Trump Tower meeting or indicting Jared Kushner (possibly Ivanka) for using their presidential appointments and access to US Top Secret intelligence briefings as well as their diplomatic contacts and meetings to further their own business interests and to bolster their personal and family fortunes.

    Investigating the personal finances of Trump’s direct family would pay two dividends that may make it worth the cost in time, money and effort for Mueller: First, most of what I mentioned above are likely outside state jurisdiction, so must be done by federal prosecutors finding crimes that CAN be prosecuted by state prosecutors in order to void the potential for Trump pardons. In other words, if Mueller does not investigate and indict, the Trumps could get away with their self-serving crimes with the “out of state jurisdiction” dodge. Second, going after Trump family members is probably an easier way to get access to Trump’s own personal finances since Trump can be expected to raise the protection of “Executive Privilege” (whether or not it actually applies) and “Presidential seal” to try to block any document requests from Mueller. Trump’s family cannot make those claims as they are simply private citizens acting as in staff positions and their records would therefore be less protected than those of a sitting president. If Mueller can start cracking the corporate veil of the Trump Organization or the Kushner Organization based on the suspected illegal international activities of Jared/Ivanka/Trump Jr/Eric, he could well find himself in possession of documents that directly implicate Trump as well.

    Mueller recently had his Grand Jury extended for 6 months. I suspect that he COULD have done the Stone indictment earlier or asked for a 2 or 3 month extension if that had been his end-game. That he asked for 6 months indicates that he is not done and leaves the door open for another extension if his probe continues to escalate closer and close to the Oval Office.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    … and toward the Laws of the US and common decency as well.

  • cindy blandin

    Wasn’t it untangling all the lying and cover-up that finally led to understanding Nixon’s role in the Watergate Scandal? Seems like there is a lot of sticky webbing to get through to reach the spider Trump. Trump can yell “no collusion” all he wants but bit by bit his web is being taken down.