Sad news, Wonkers! It seems that Rudy Giuliani might be BAD AT LAW. Womp womp!

Remember last month when EDVA Judge Ellis put the Special Counsel attorneys through the wringer over their authority to prosecute Paul Manafort for bank fraud going back years before the campaign?

You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud, [...] You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.

After which Giuliani blew his wad all over Jeanine Pirro's desk anticipating that Judge Ellis was about to throw Manafort's case out and tell Robert Mueller he was a very bad boy.

The only crimes here have been committed by the government. Which is why the judge, Judge Ellis, is so outraged. Now I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't [sic] dismiss this case.

Giuliani proceeded to shoot his mouth off to George Stephanopoulos and every other very serious news journalist willing to keep up the charade of Rudy the Superlawyer about "Judge Ellis saying that they're out of control and they're not authorized." Donald Trump told the NRA in Dallas,

Judge T.S. Ellis... -- who is really something very special, I hear, from many standpoints, he's a respected person -- suggested the charges before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia were just part of the Mueller team's designs to pressure Mr. Manafort into giving up information on President Donald Trump or others in the campaign. I've been saying that for a long time. It's a witch hunt.

Bigly praise! But Rudy and Donny should have listened to those lawyers who have tried actual criminal cases in the past 30 years.

Yesterday Judge Ellis ruled that Mueller's team is well within its mandate to investigate Manafort's bank fraud and Ukrainian money laundering.

The fact that the Russian government did not make payments to defendant directly is not determinative because the text of the May 17 Appointment Order authorizes investigation of "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."

Robert Mueller, who is making regular reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is hardly the rogue actor imagined by the wankers at the The Federalist. In fact, Judge Ellis -- who is really something very special, I hear, from many standpoints -- used a footnote to stomp out the flames of wingnut hope fanned by Law Professor Stephen Calabresi in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, Professor Steven Calabresi has argued that the appointment of the Special Counsel may run afoul of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution because the Special Counsel is a principal, not an inferior officer, and therefore must be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. [Citations omitted.] Defendant does not argue that the appointment of the Special Counsel violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, so that particular objection need not be addressed in detail here, but it is worth noting that such an objection would likely fail. The Special Counsel appears quite plainly to be an inferior officer. He is required to report to and is directed by the Deputy Attorney General.

Bye, Felicia!

Judge Ellis didn't pull any punches with the Mueller attorneys either. This is ... quite a footnote!

Given the investigation's focus on President Trump's campaign, even a blind person can see that the true target of the Special Counsel's investigation is President Trump, not defendant, and that defendant's prosecution is part of that larger plan. Specifically, the charges against defendant are intended to induce defendant to cooperate with the Special Counsel by providing evidence against the President or other members of the campaign. Although these kinds of high-pressure prosecutorial tactics are neither uncommon nor illegal, they are distasteful.

Well, he ain't wrong!

In April, Judge Amy Berman Jackson tossed this same bullshit about Mueller Gone Rogue! in Manafort's DC case. Although she managed to do it without opining that a Special Counsel "has the potential to disrupt these checks and balances, and to inject a level of toxic partisanship into investigation of matters of public importance." Nor did Berman Jackson suggest that she herself would prefer a different vehicle to root out criminal activity. Unlike Judge Ellis, who has a lot to say about how law enforcement would work if he were running the show:

A better mechanism for addressing concerns about election interference would be the creation of a bipartisan commission with subpoena power and the authority to investigate all issues related to alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election. If crimes were uncovered during the course of the commission's investigation, those crimes could be referred to appropriate existing authorities within the DOJ.


Well, Judge Ellis -- who is really something very special, I hear, from many standpoints -- has many thoughts about the government's case. But none of them involve dismissing it because Robert Mueller is ILLEGAL or ROGUE. So whatever other horrible shit goes down today, we can all take comfort in knowing that Paul Manafort is in jail and likely to stay that way for a good long time. It's something, anyway.

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[U.S. v. Manafort]

Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Yeah, that's definitely a repurposed animatronic Hillary (YouTube)

A whole bunch of protests were held today against the fake "president's" fake "emergency" declaration, with people turning out in cold crappy weather to call attention to the general nastiness of the guy who claims he absolutely had to do that declaration that wasn't necessary. Organizers with said over 250 rallies were planned nationwide. So far, the national State Of Emergency doesn't appear to have caused any of the rallies to be cancelled, despite the very real possibility that terrified Honduran refugees fleeing violence in Central America might suddenly show up and ask for asylum.

Are there still actions taking place in your area? Check at MoveOn!

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Before Manafort pleaded guilty and signed up as a cooperating witness who didn't actually cooperate, we wrote this:

We have always kind of figured that Paul Manafort is the one who knows the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy story. He was the first big fish indicted, and they hit him for A LOT. Also note that just about all the other prosecutions that have come from the Mueller investigation so far have been farmed out by Mueller to different jurisdictions. Manafort, on the other hand, Mueller has kept squarely in his office. There has to be a reason for that.

Perhaps it's because, as this Josh Marshall podcast suggests, Paul Manafort, a foreign agent who worked for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, and who got sideways financially with Deripaska, was literally sent into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin to do its dirty work. Perhaps the Steele Dossier is right when it suggests that the entire Trump-Russia election-stealing conspiracy was run by Manafort on the Trump side, and that others like (perhaps!) Michael Cohen only had to take over when Manafort's shit started to stink and the news media started reporting on his weird-ass Russian connections in the summer of 2016.

If it's possible, we are beginning to suspect it may be even worse than that.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller issued his sentencing recommendations for Manafort, after DC district court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled conclusively that the shady motherfucker very intentionally lied and blew up his cooperating agreement. Because Manafort defaulted, Mueller is no longer bound to recommend that Manafort's sentence be reduced, and is free to throw the book right at Manafort's face. HARD.

And that is what Mueller did! To be clear, the sentencing memo is harsh.

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