Junior's TOO DUMB To Be Indicted. Mueller Report Liveblog, Part Two!
HERE WE GO AGAIN. You ready? When we last left off, we were about to dive into the part of the Mueller report about how Donald Trump Jr. is too stupid to be indicted. And we ... kinda agree with Bob Mueller? But we kinda don't? And we think it's real fuckin' interesting that Mueller didn't interview Donald Trump or his son or anybody else in the family? But we're also curious about all those cases Mueller referred to other jurisdictions, especially the 12 of them that are REDACTED, and wonder what shoes are still gonna drop for people?
And mostly, we are just like WOW HOLY SHIT, this report says absolutely nothing AG Bill Barr says it says. Like, fucker just stood up there yesterday and lied. Mueller didn't leave obstruction as an open question, he basically said Trump committed a lot of crimes, but he's not going to say it because he accepts DoJ guidance that you can't indict a sitting president. Likewise ... there's a lot of collusion. And we think there's some conspiracy, whether or not Mueller was able to indict based on US code.
Anyway, Donald Trump is still just real happy that the cover-up is working and everybody believes he's been fully exonerated and
Or the opposite of that.
This morning, we're going to finish the section on Junior and the rest of the NO COLLUSION, then we'll have a second liveblog a little later for the obstruction part of the investigation. We got a lot of ground to cover, so let's hit it.
9:23: The tick-tock on the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, starting on page 110, is basically everything you already know. They came promising Hillary dirt "as part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump" and the idiot said "If it's what you say, I love it!" (Junior.)
9:25: You'll remember, of course, that Michael Cohen says he's pretty sure Trump was told about it beforehand. You'll also remember that Cohen says Trump thinks Junior is just really stupid. Trump, in his written answers to Mueller, said he didn't remember hearing about it, but as we'll see today, Trump's answers were ALL "I don't recall." But we thought he had a legendary memory!
9:27: That meeting, of course, turned into a discussion of BOUNCY RUSSIAN BABIES, which is code for lifting the Magnitsky Act sanctions, because everyfuckingthing comes back to lifting sanctions. Junior told Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya that they could look at the issue again if and when Daddy is in power.
9:30: Gotta say, there are a lot of grand jury redactions in this section. Seems like something Bill Barr should go to court to get released, because FUCKING GIVE IT.
9:35: Remember also that in the set-up for this meeting -- which Daddy supposedly knew nothing about, uh huh -- Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner were also in attendance, and in the set-up for the meeting, they received emails with the subject line "Russia -- Clinton -- private and confidential." They knew what they were doing.
9:38: There was also a morning staff meeting in the days before the big Russian collusion meeting where Junior gave everybody a bit of a preview of dirty Hillary dirt coming. Rick Gates said he thought it was coming from people from Kyrgyzstan. Anyway, on top of Gates and Junior, that meeting featured Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks. But nobody told Daddy. Nope.
9:41: More about Trump's written answers to Mueller about this meeting! Remember how Trump had been saying he was going to do a big speech about the dirtiness of Hillary Clinton that week, but then suddenly after the meeting was over, Trump changed his mind and gave a speech on national security instead? He says the change had nothing to do with the meeting, but rather with the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Which ... we actually think that's plausible. We seem to remember Trump capitalizing on the murder of all those gay people for his own benefit in a really disgusting, Trump-ian way. But maybe it was also partially because Junior's meeting went to fuck.
9:44: Regarding Junior not being interviewed by the Special Counsel, Mueller says he "declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office," because he is a dumb shitstain. Why no subpoena, though, BOB? We are just curious. (For real, we are curious. Either Mueller wimped out, or -- and this is possible -- he decided it would be best to let a different entity, like the SDNY, bring the pain down on Junior. Guess we'll just have to see.)
9:52: ALWAYS READ THE FOOTNOTES: Ike Kaveladze is an American citizen who attended the meeting as a representative of the oligarch Aras Agalarov, who with his son made the approach to set up the meeting. A few days after the meeting, he texted with his teenage daughter, who asked how the meeting had gone:
"Meeting was boring. The Russians did not have any bad info on Hilary. [sic]"
Everybody knew what this meeting was about.
9:56: Don Jr. might have been too stupid to know this was a bad idea, because he's stupid, but he sure did tell Congress he thought he should hear anybody out if they said they had bad info on Hillary that might help Daddy. We just finished reading the tick-tock, and would only note that MAN, everybody (including the Russians) was lying their asses off when this meeting became public information.
It's like they were trying to hide something!
We'll get to the part about how Mueller thinks Junior is a fucking idiot, just like his Daddy does, in a bit when we read Mueller's official prosecution and declination decisions. Onward to next thing!
10:04: Moving on to the Republican convention, the Ukraine platform change, and the thing about how Trump adviser J.D. Gordon has some REALLY WEIRD connections with Eastern Europe. (Remember that weird and interesting story about the Budapest Bridge, that none of us could really independently verify, but it's interesting nonetheless? Gordon figures A LOT in that.) The investigation "did not establish" Trump had Gordon change the RNC platform to make it li'l more friendly to Putin, li'l less friendly to Ukraine, but that doesn't mean he didn't.
10:11: This might be a good time to remind everyone that all these Russian contacts were happening WHILE RUSSIA WAS INTERVENING IN THE ELECTION ON TRUMP'S BEHALF, AND THE TRUMPERS KNEW IT, AND THEY LIKED IT. Also a good time to note again that PAUL MANAFORT WAS PASSING POLLING DATA TO A RUSSIAN SPY WHO WORKED FOR OLIGARCH OLEG DERIPASKA, PUTIN'S "FAVORITE OLIGARCH," AND SPECIFICALLY DISCUSSED RUST BELT STATES WITH THAT SPY. AND THAT THE TRUMP PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT WIKILEAKS RELEASES BEFORE THEY HAPPENED.
10:13: Oh, it was definitely a good time! Because we just hit the big section on Paul Manafort on page 129!
10:21: Manafort SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED Rick Gates to give the Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik "updates" on the campaign, throughout, including polling data. (p. 129)
And then oh yes, there was the August 2, 2016, meeting with Kilimnik. As Mueller reports, Kilimnik asked for the meeting so he could bring a "peace plan" for Ukraine from Viktor Yanukovych (SANCTIONS RELIEF FOR RUSSIA). Manafort "acknowledged" this was a "back door" to give Eastern Ukraine to Russia. Mueller "did not find" that Manafort gave these plans to Trump, but of course notes that he couldn't get all of Manafort's communications, because many of them were encrypted. Oh yeah, and that fucker lied. About everything, but especially about all his contacts with Kilimnik.
Therefore, Mueller "could not reliably determine" why Manafort was passing Trump campaign polling data to Kilimnik who most likely gave it to Deripaska, if we are just guessing. (p. 130)
10:23: Hey, remember how out of all the cases he brought, Mueller kept Manafort the closest and wouldn't let go? This is almost certainly why. This is where the smoking gun is. And Mueller's language here is extremely careful, full of "did not establish" and "did not identify." Also, remember how just recently, one of Mueller's prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, said in court that the Manafort-Kilimnik connection "goes to the heart" of what Mueller was investigating? We are just reminding you.
This is what Manafort lied about. This is why Trump thinks Manafort is just a really great guy.
10:29: OH MY GOD, PAUL MANAFORT. Read this. This was Paul Manafort's JOB for Oleg Deripaska. Which he was apparently still trying to do while he worked on the Trump campaign for free (p. 131):
"Gates described the work Manafort did for Deripaska as "political risk insurance," and explained that Deripaska used Manafort to install friendly political officials in countries where Deripaska had business interests."
INSTALL FRIENDLY POLITICAL OFFICIALS IN COUNTRIES WHERE DERIPASKA HAD BUSINESS INTERESTS. (Business interests like these, maybe?)
Remember how Manafort was trying to use his role in the Trump campaign to "get whole" with Deripaska, because they were having a tiff? Uh huh.
Lock him the fuck up, oh wait he is already locked up, LOCK HIM UP HARDER.
10:37: Lest you think we are being overly assumptive in always calling Konstantin Kilimnik a spy, Rick Gates testified (p. 134) that he thought Kilimnik might be a spy, and that Manafort agreed with him. Alex van der Zwaan, the Manafort-associated lawyer Mueller locked up for a few minutes, also concurred. SO THERE IS THAT.
10:45: Interesting that Manafort, in an April 2016 email to Gates, asks if the "OVD [Oleg Deripaska] operation" has seen what he's doing with the Trump campaign. Might just be a random word, but "operation" sounds curious to us. Could be nothing. (p. 135.)
Oh, and according to testimony from Rick Gates, it was just generally understood that when Manafort gave Kilimnik polling data that it would be passed to Deripaska -- which was somehow part of his "getting whole" with Deripaska and getting the oligarch to drop a lawsuit. WEIRD?
Also weird how Manafort ordered Gates to send the polling data encrypted on WhatsApp and Gates deleted the comms daily. HUH. (p. 136)
10:52: Oh yeah, and Manafort didn't want to join the Trump administration. He wanted to use Trump's victory to get back in with Deripaska, and then use his connections to "advance Deripaska's interests" with the Trump administration and elsewhere. And if they're Deripaska's interests, then they are Putin's interests, because that is how it works when you are Putin's favorite oligarch.
10:57: Just SUPER WEIRD, yet again, that Manafort and the Russian spy were talking Rust Belt states on August 2, 2016. You know, the ones where Trump got his "win." And that he was passing polling data to the Russian spy and literally everybody knew this meant it was being passed to Putin's favorite oligarch. HUH. (p. 140)
11:02: Even though he had left the campaign, Paul Manafort was just really worried the week before the election that if Hillary lost, she would say it was because Russia interfered with the election. (p. 141) That would be mighty unfair of her.
11:06: LOTTA GRAND JURY REDACTIONS in this section about Manafort's meetings with his Russian spy just before and after Trump's inauguration, meetings he lied about to Mueller. (p. 143)
FUCKING GO TO COURT AND GET IT RELEASED, BILL BARR.
11:09: Moving on! We now begin the section about Russian outreach to the Trump campaign during the transition. You know, like to JARED. And to MICHAEL FLYNN. And how it seems as if Putin tried to call Hope Hicks at 3 AM on election night to say LOVE YA, we guess. (p. 145)
11:13: But first, let's talk about Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, and his reacharounds to Team Trump. He got George Nader (Mueller's cooperating witness) to organize that meeting for him with Erik Prince in Seychelles. The national security adviser of the United Arab Emirates intro'd Dmitriev to Rick Gerson, a hedge fund buddy of Jared Kushner's. Kirill 'n' Rick wrote a "reconciliation plan" for the US and Russia together and gave it to Jared! Jared gave it to Steve Bannon and Rex Tillerson at the State Department, like you do!
11:18: Oh, this is interesting. In noting that George Nader talked to the special counsel as part of multiple Queen for a Day interviews -- a proffer agreement, i.e. your words won't get used against you -- Mueller also notes that Erik Prince and Steve Bannon did the same. If those fuckers have immunity, it is going to make us MAD. (p. 147, footnote)
(But how did Erik Prince get through an interview with Mueller without LYING? Because if you're cooperating, you kinda can't lie.)
11:23: George Nader referred to Dmitriev as "Putin's interlocutor" in the Gulf states. In case you were wondering if his outreach to Prince et al. was sanctioned by Putin. (p. 148)
11:31: SOMEBODY texted Kirill Dmitriev the day after the election and said "PUTIN HAS WON." (p. 149)
11:34: Hey, remember how Erik Prince told Congress he JUST RANDOMLY met Kirill Dmitriev in that hotel bar in Seychelles, because one of the Emirati guys was like "Hey go meet this guy" all random-like? That's weird, because Nader told the grand jury (REDACTED, BUT OBVIOUS) that he and Prince had dinner on January 3, 2017, a week before the meeting, and that they talked about him meeting with Dmitriev. (p. 151)
And why was Dmitriev in Seychelles that night? Because Nader told him to go there to meet with Prince. (p. 152)
11:40: Hey, remember how Erik Prince told Congress he only saw Dmitriev for a few minutes after dinner that night? NOPE. According to the report, their first meeting was the afternoon of January 11, 2017, in the villa where George Nader was staying, for 30 or 45 minutes. (p. 153)
ERIK PRINCE LIED TO CONGRESS. A LOT.
We'd really like to know what's redacted in this section, because there's a shitload of grand jury redactions in here.
11:44: Also apparently Dmitriev wasn't very happy with his meetings (plural) with Prince in Seychelles, and also Prince said REDACTED, which Dmitriev found very insulting. What a fucking cock, that Erik Prince. What a LOSER FUCKING COCK. (p. 155)
11:46: Prince says he briefed Steve Bannon on his meetings with Dmitriev when he got home. Bannon says he didn't. SOMEBODY'S LYIN'. (p. 156)
Mueller could have figured this out except for how all Erik Prince's texts before March 2017 were mysteriously gone, though his cell phone provider records showed he was texting Bannon a lot during then. Same with Bannon's cell phone. All the messages just went POOF! But they deny deleting messages. But yet POOF!
OH HOW WEIRD.
12:03: Barreling toward the end of this section! Jared Kushner! Transition meetings with Russians! (Did we mention that Dimitri Simes, the head of the Center for National Interest, tried to bring Jared dirty Russian hillary dirt during the campaign, but Jared thought it was "old news"? That happened.)
Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn met with the Russian ambassador on November 30, 2016, at Trump Tower, but they REALLY wanted to meet with this Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov, because they were told he was a more important direct line to Putin. This appears to be when Jared started asking for back-channels to Putin. It was Kislyak's idea for Russian generals to brief Trump people on Syria, but they didn't have any back channels at Trump Tower, so Jared (idiot) was like "DURRRR MAYBE WE CAN USE BACK CHANNEL AT RUSSIAN EMBASSY?" (p. 160)
December 12, 2016. Russian ambassador Kislyak mets with Jared's deputy in Trump Tower. Has found good direct line to Putin for Jared! It is Sergey Gorkov, head of sanctioned Russian state-owned VneshEconomBank (VEB)! Jared meets with him the next day. Does not remember talking about sanctions! (IT'S ALWAYS "I CAN'T REMEMBER TALKING ABOUT SANCTIONS!")
Jared says their meeting was diplomatic and they definitely did not talk about Jared hitting Gorkov up for money. VEB later said it was much more about business. The investigation "did not resolve" who was lying. (pp. 161-163)
12:15: Meanwhile, Petr Aven, the head of Alfa-Bank, was also trying to set up secret back-channels between Putin and the Trump transition, because they were all freaked out about ... well you know (sanctions, it is sanctions). (p. 165)
12:29: Brief section on Carter Page going to Moscow and Paul Manafort's Russian spy being like "um Carter Page is in Russia acting like he is a representative of the Trump team." But let's move on to Michael Flynn. (p. 167)
The investigation "did not identify" evidence that Trump asked Michael Flynn to ask Sergey Kislyak to ask Putin to cool his jets about the new Obama sanctions in retaliation for election interference in 2017. This, despite how Flynn, who was on vacay in the Dominican Republic sunning his nipple parts, chatted wtih his deputy K.T. McFarland before his call with Kislyak, and McFarland was at Mar-a-Lago at the time, probably sitting next to Trump.
Also despite how Flynn told Mueller that he specifically did not talk to Kislyak about the sanctions until he heard word from Team Mar-a-Lago, which included Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer Michael Ledeen (husband of Barbara Ledeen, one of the AMATEUR HILLARY EMAIL INVESTIGATORS we learned about in the first section of the Mueller Report), and others. (p. 171)
But whatever, Russia did what the Trump transition asked! And then he lied about it to Mueller, fucking REPEATEDLY!
Also there is a bunch of shit about Flynn's machinations behind the scenes trying to get Russia to delay or vote against a resolution condemning Israel for its illegal settlements. So that all happened. (p. 168)
12:31: During the Mar-a-Lago meetings about the sanctions in late December 2016, Trump asked K.T. McFarland if the Russians did "it" (the election meddling) and she was like "yup" and dipshit was like "NUH UH." McFarland said maybe somebody told Trump that Flynn was going to talk to Kislyak and tell him to tell Putin to cool his jets on responding to the new sanctions. (p. 171)
The next day, Trump tweeted how happy he was that Putin did what his transition had secretly asked them to do, and Flynn texted everybody to tell them about what he talked about with Kislyak (but not about the sanctions part, because he was already lying, we guess). Regardless, on December 31, 2016, K.T. McFarland told Flynn GOOD JOB BUDDY on undermining Obama foreign policy and getting Putin to cool his jets about the sanctions. (p. 172)
These. People. Are. Criminals.
12:34: But despite how they are criminals (all of them), the investigation determined that, though Russians were up Trump's ass the entire election, they could not prove they "coordinated or conspired" with Russia's election interference, which, if you will remember from yesterday, is limited to the Russian active measures deployed against the 2016 election.
It's vile, disgusting behavior, but Mueller couldn't find that it rose to the level of a prosecutable offense.
And on that note, we move quickly on to his prosecutions and declinations, which shouldn't take long. (Beginning page 174)
12:48: You know about all the prosecutions -- at least the ones we know about so far! Let's talk about the declinations.
1. No prosecutions of any American involved in the IRA troll farm stuff, because no evidence that anybody knowingly conspired wtih them. Mueller did send Richard Pinedo to prison, though, for helping IRA people do financial crimes in the US.
2. Mueller is prosecuting all those Russians on the hacking and the WikiLeaks dumping, and also HARM TO ONGOING MATTER's trial is coming up in the fall, because he was indicted for crimes related to HARM TO ONGOING MATTER.
(THAT IS ROGER STONE.)
12:49: Interestingly, in a footnote (p. 176) Mueller cites case law as to why he could not prosecute people for trafficking the stolen Hillary/DNC emails after they were hacked. He seems to subtly suggest that Congress needs to update the laws. After that, there are two pages of HARM TO ONGOING MATTER. This could all be Stone, or it could involve Assange and WikiLeaks, or SOMETHING ELSE.
3. There is a largely redacted (personal privacy reasons) section about how Mueller chose not to prosecute somebody for a Section 1030 violation, which involves computer fraud and abuse,
12:55: Mueller explains in this section (p. 180) that NO COLLUSION is a meaningless term, despite how Trump and Bill Barr love it so very fucking much. What he was looking for was CONSPIRACY, which requires knowledge on both sides that they are doing a CONSPIRACY. Mueller was not able to find charges that specifically rose to the level of conspiracy, as disgusting as everything he found was.
Mueller did, of course, find many FARA violations for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates (duh). They found foreign agent stuff on Michael Flynn, related to his work for Turkey. (He admitted it, in his plea deal.) He did not find, though, that people like Paul Manafort, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos were literally acting as agents under the control of Russia. (You can't prosecute what people feel in their hearts, you guys.)
There is also an interesting personal privacy redaction (p. 183) about some Trump campaign person who did something but ultimately could not be charged as a foreign agent. Sure would like to know WHO THE FUCK THAT IS. Have we not noted that none of these people have reputations worth saving?
1:03: Oh, and may we note (p. 183) that a footnote explains that four FISA warrants were obtained on Carter Page based on probable cause, but that Mueller ultimately didn't charge him because that requires a higher standard of "admissible evidence" to prove Carter Page was a literal agent for Russia? There's your "witch hunt," Carter Page, you fucking loon.
1:05: Oh yeah, and WHY JUNIOR TOO STUPID TO BE PROSECUTED? (p. 184)
Mueller looked at the Trump Tower meeting and also another thing (HARM TO ONGOING MATTER) through the lens of campaign finance violations. He determined that Junior was too stupid to know what he was doing was wrong (seriously) and notes that in these sorts of cases, mens rea is necessary. (That's fancy Latin for knowing you are doing a bad thing.) He just couldn't get there with Junior being smart enough.
He also ... strangely ... determined that it would be hard to prosecute the idea of Russian offering Hillary dirt as a campaign finance violation, because how can you put a price on hot delicious Hillary Clinton dirts from Russia? We say ... strangely ... because it's illegal to accept any help (including money and also "anything of value") from foreigns in an American political campaign, whether it is five pennies worth of help or an entire Russian active measures campaign worth of it. The law also says it's illegal to solicit that help ("if it's what you say, I love it!") You can also charge for conspiracy, as he explains, because of how Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort knew about the meeting and attended it.
So, in short, Mueller says he judged the government couldn't show admissible evidence proving they knew what they were doing was wrong, and that they couldn't prove the value of what was offered. To which we, a non-lawyer, say PFFFFFFFT.
Bob Mueller, we love you, but you wimped out on this one.
1:18: However, we'll say that Mueller's description of the law on pp. 185-186 on campaign contributions is basically a roadmap for the next Democratic Congress and Democratic administration to make some new fucking laws.
1:20: This section is followed by pages and pages of HARM TO ONGOING MATTER, related to how Mueller is declining to prosecute these specific things related to HARM TO ONGOING MATTER. Guess we'll just have to wait to find out what those are.
1:28: Now, the ones for lying and obstructing justice in the investigation! Mueller explains all of George Papadopoulos's lies (pp. 192-194), explains why he didn't prosecute PERSONAL PRIVACY (uggggggggggh!) because of what they said to GRAND JURY. After that, there are Michael Flynn's lies and Michael Cohen's lies, which we all know about by now. There are HARM TO ONGOING MATTER's lies, also, which are HARM TO ONGOING MATTER.
Mueller declined to prosecute Jeff Sessions for all his lying, because he determined that it couldn't be proven 100 percent that Sessions was willfully lying. (It could have been that Kamala Harris was talking too fast and confused him.)
And finally (FINALLY), there is a whole redacted personal privacy section (UGGGGGGGGH) about somebody that made fucked up statements to the grand jury (REDACTED) and we don't get to know about that because Bill Barr is a fucking justice-obstructing piece of shit who views his job as covering up for these motherfuckers.
Roy Cohn, indeed.
AND THAT, CHILDREN IS THE END OF VOLUME ONE!
See us back here (in a new post) for VOLUME TWO, which is about all of Donald Trump's obstruction of justice. Is he fucked? Oh yes he is.
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