The Mueller investigations thread


#1

Because it’s time.

Background: this Mueller guy is ostensibly digging into Russian interference in the US election, but a guy named Nunes is actually finding stuff out about that. Meanwhile, Mueller has indicted Manafort, ostensibly for something vaguely related to Russian interference in the US election - but that’s quite a reach, to be honest.

Why the indictment? Because it’s late October. That’s the only explanation that makes any sense. Why does that matter? Here’s why:

It would have had much more impact in late October 2018, or even 2020, but things were going so badly he probably figured he had to use what little he had before it went stale in him.

And what are Mueller’s motives? Unclear, but he has enough connections that many called for him to recuse himself.

Yes, this sort of phony indictment happens a lot. It’s called an October Surprise.

Come to think of it, it could also be intended as a counter to what Devin Nunes has been doing to public opinion. Either way, it’s all about manipulating public opinion, and thus election results.

(What, you thought it was about something else?)


#2

So you’re saying Manafort and friend are innocent of all charges? Fascinating.


#3

They’re very likely guilty. The point is that all charges are based on a time frame well before he joined Trump’s team (from which he was fired after few months for the same reasons), and it appears as if the ties were not exactly with Russia, but rather with Ukraine.
Yet, the vast majority of media outlets point out the fact that the guy was part of Trump’s team and that he had something to do with Russia.
We’re way past the stage of beating a dead horse, but as long as the clickbait works we won’t get rid of the Russia/taxes/Twitter nonsense.


#4

Sincere (non-ironic) non-partisan query here.

The way the charges read in the media (I know), they look to pretty much amount to actual treason, is that accurate, or are they just being reported with a maximum of hysteria?


#5

While I don’t necessarily think Trump himself is guilty of anything in this particular case, the media are just reporting facts. And I feel the fact that he had such a short tenure with Trump works to Trump’s advantage. I don’t think it’s gone unnoticed as even CNN and friends have picked up on that.

But he was still hired in the first place when his positions were fairly well known at the time. You’re still able to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here, I think. Hiring someone with pro-Russian views isn’t in and of itself a bad thing, and firing someone you don’t think shares your vision is also not a bad thing.

I don’t think Manafort’s ties were with the Ukraine exactly, he just represented pro-Russian interests in that region. There could be pieces missing, but that’s what I’ve seen.

Rocket: looks like treason is on the cards but they could be overcharging just to get a conviction on lesser charges or to make the little piggies squeal.


#6

It doesn’t matter what the charges are, because they’re not after a conviction. This isn’t a sincere criminal investigation. It’s purely and transcendentally political.

The only verdict they’re after is in the court of public opinion. And Nunes is complicating that for them.

Yes, Nunes is also playing politics. The only difference is he didn’t start it - he’s defending by counterattacking. And these days, calling for recusal is just cheap rhetoric. Nobody is going to recuse himself, and everyone knows that.

JB seems to think this is another Watergate. There was no Nunes in Watergate. And The Donald is free of those silly Quaker hangups. His only real religion is Do What Works. That’s a god who rarely lets us down.

Also, we don’t idolize those intrepid reporters so much these days.

They try to impeach this one and he’ll do what Andrew Johnson did - play the martyr card and take down what’s left of the establishment with him. Tricky Dick conspired behind closed doors - old-fashioned even then. This guy pulls a different sort of tricks from a whole new bag.


#7

So, again, you’re saying they’re innocent? Fascinating.


#8

My point is it doesn’t matter. The investigators don’t care. The prosecutors won’t care. The judge may not even care much. The criminal justice aspect is pure pretense.

No one is completely innocent, especially in Washington. But it’s very unlikely they’re guilty as charged. And it doesn’t matter anyway.


#9

Ah, so they’re innocent. Fascinating.

Did you happen to read the indictment? It’s online.


#10

I read the indictment and didn’t see the words “Putin” or “Russia” anywhere, Isn’t this supposed to be the smoking gun that proves the commies stole the election?.And “former president Yulia Tymoshenko?” Somebody didn’t do their homework there.

And in a country like the U.S. where everything is illegal to one degree or another, putting any U.S. citizen in jail at any time is no big deal. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. For example, what U.S. citizen hasn’t committed this felony by throwing away junk mail addressed to a previous occupant?

18 U.S. Code § 1702 - Obstruction of correspondence

Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

That’s five years right there just waiting to happen. You could be next.


#11

Russia’s mentioned a few times. Ukraine is mentioned more but in the context there’s no major difference between the Ukraine and Russia.

The indictment is against Manfort and Gates. I don’t know what exactly you expected.


#12

If you insist, are you sure your own residential mailbox an “authorized depository” within the meaning of the law? Just asking.


#13

“Authorized depository” means a mailbox, post office box or rural box used by postal customers to deposit outgoing mail or used by the Postal Service to deliver incoming mail.


#14

Jizz socks don’t count then??


#15

They only count if you can show a written agreement with the postman, where you both explicitly state that the postman is willing to pickup and deliver your mail directly from/to your jizz sock(s).


#16

I’ll take that at face value. Now show us a case where someone actually received a custodial sentence for throwing out junk mail.


#17

Show me where someone actually received a custodial sentence for not registering as a foreign agent in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), counts ten and eleven of the indictment against Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin:

COUNT TEN

(Unregistered Agent Of A Foreign Principal)

  1. Paragraphs 1 through 36 are incorporated here.

  2. From in or about and between 2008 and 2014, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., and RICHARD W. GATES III knowingly and willfully, without registering with the Attorney General as required by law, acted as agents of a foreign principal, to wit, the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, and Yanukovych.

COUNT ELEVEN

(False and Misleading FARA Statements)

  1. Paragraphs 1 through 36 are incorporated here.

  2. On or about November 23, 2016 and February 10, 2017, within the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., and RICHARD W. GATES III knowingly and willfully caused to be made a false statement of a material fact, and omitted a material fact necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, in a document filed with and furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of PARA, to wit the underlined statements:

  1. Foreign Agents Registration Act Enforcement

The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq. (FARA or the Act) is a disclosure statute aimed at “agents of foreign principals” (agents) as defined, who are engaged in covered activities, on behalf of their foreign principal(s), unless exempt. . . .

In 1966, FARA was significantly amended to focus on the integrity of the United States Government decision-making process, and to emphasize agents seeking economic or political advantage for their clients. The amendments were prompted by the excesses of lobbyists struggling over their share of the “sugar quotas” legislatively determined after trade with Cuba, the principal sugar producer, was prohibited. It required any person engaged in “political activities”, as defined, as an agent on behalf of a foreign principal, to register. This is substantially narrower than the original act, which did not require that the activities be “for or on behalf of” the foreign principal.

This increase in the Government’s burden of proof, along with the addition of a civil injunctive remedy similar to that in the securities laws (See Section 8(f) of the Act), and the “Rule 2” advisory opinion mechanism, wherein the Department provides statements of its enforcement intentions regarding proposed activities which may require registration under the Act (See 28 C.F.R. § 5.2), drastically reduced the incidence of criminal FARA prosecutions and increased civil and administrative resolution of FARA questions. Since 1966 there have been no successful criminal prosecutions under FARA and only 3 indictments returned or informations filed charging FARA violations.


#18

I wasn’t making a comparison, just trying to figure out how your postal law (which was clearly intended to stop people from stealing proper mail and just protects junk mail as a side effect (and if it’s really junk mail and therefore unregistered, it would be awfully difficult to prove it was stolen anyway)) was tyrannizing people.


#19

Tampering with mail needs to be a Federal offense. Without stiff penalties, the mail system just can’t operate as efficiently as it does because we’d have everybody opening everybody else’s mail.

I can’t say for sure what the entire law says, but I assume it’s hard to write a tough law on “obstruction of correspondence” while still allowing for people to throw out junk mail (does junk mail even count as “correspondence”?). That’s how loopholes get created.

Thankfully, the law isn’t written and enforced by just one person, there are people who are able to use common sense to see the difference between my neighbor opening my new credit card and me throwing away a 10% coupon addressed to a dead aunt.

I just realized something, though: None of this is mentioned in the indictment, nor do the words “former president Yulia Tymoshenko”, so it looks like you’re 0 for 2. This is what they’re looking at, as per the indictment: 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371, 981 (a)(l)©, 982, 1001(a:), 1956(h), and 3551 et~.; 22 U.S.C. §§ 612(a), 618(a)(l), and 618(a)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 2461©; 31 U.S.C. §§ 5314 and 5322(b).

If I get time I’ll look them up but I’m pretty sure it was outlined in the indictment itself.


#20

Yulia Tymoshenko is the former prime minister of Ukraine, not the president. Look it up.

  1. At the direction of MANAFORT and GATES, Company A and Company B engaged in
    extensive lobbying. Among other things, they lobbied multiple Members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of
    Yanukovych’s imprisoning his presidential rival, Yulia Tymoshenko (who had served as Ukraine President prior to Yanukovych).** MANAFORT and GATES also lobbied in connection with the roll out of a report concerning the Tymoshenko trial commissioned by the Government ofUkraine. MANAFORT and GATES used one oftheir offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay secretly for the report.