Good Brain.


The New York Times has a SCOOPTY-DOO, and it is that back yonder last summer and fall, when special counsel Robert Mueller was getting his investigation going, Trump lead Russia lawyer John Dowd was all up in the business of lawyers for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, just whispering in their ears about how maybe Donald Trump would pardon them, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not plead guilty and become a cooperating witness, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

A lawyer for President Trump broached the idea of Mr. Trump pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

The discussions came as the special counsel was building cases against both men, and they raise questions about whether the lawyer, John Dowd, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.

We repeat our question: WHAT IN THE HELL WAS JOHN DOWD THINKING? Un-fucking-believable. Was Dowd just jealous that everybody he was hanging out with had criminal exposure in Mueller's investigation, and wanted to get some for himself? Because this could be construed as obstruction of justice (experts have differing opinions), but if Mueller wants to charge Donald Trump with obstruction, he surely could enter this into evidence as part of the one million other examples of blatant obstruction of justice he's got on Trump.

Also: HOLYSHITHOLYSHITHOLYSHIT, Donald Trump must be terrified of what Manafort and Flynn might say to Mueller.

NYT goes on to report that Dowd was all chit-chatty with Robert Kelner, Michael Flynn's lawyer, because, according to the words out of Dowd's own mouth, spoken in private, the PRESIDENT thought Mueller didn't have much of a case against Flynn, and would TOTALLY pardon him. So you know, PLEASE DON'T FLIP, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

(Also, what does Donald Trump know about Mueller's case against Michael Flynn, who didn't plead guilty to his one little tiny charge in exchange for flipping until several months later? HM? We have questions.)

According to NYT, Dowd had the same little sex chats with Reginald Brown, who was then Paul Manafort's lawyer, before Manafort was indicted for ALL THE EVERYTHINGS.

For journalistic fairness, we should note that Dowd denies all this:

“There were no discussions. Period,” Mr. Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”

AS FAR AS JOHN DOWD KNOWS. John Dowd did not have sex with that woman, but how could he possibly know, he is after all only John Dowd.

WHAT THE FUCK WITH ALL OF THIS? And who spilled all this business in such a way that it leaked all the way to the New York Times's doorstep? Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has a pretty good guess, and it rhymes with Schmick Schmates.

Reached for comment by NYT, the Cheese Stands Alone lawyers remaining on Trump's team say "nuh uh we are not talking pardons" right now, but curiously did not answer as to whether they were considered during the timeframe NYT was goddamned asking about. In Wednesday's White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "nuh uh" also too, and that everybody should ask White House lawyer Ty Cobb what he thinks, but then again she is paid to lie to our faces about stuff, so fuck whatever she says. As Think Progress notes, Trump, for his own self, has of coursetalked about pardoning Michael Flynn, in public, you know, "we'll see what happens."

Everybody else NYT talked to said, "Oh sure they've talked about pardons a thousand times," or else they noped out on providing comment entirely.

At this moment in time, Michael Flynn is a cooperating witness, while Paul Manafort AKA Ankle Bracelet Jones is as dead-set as ever on the notion that he is being unfairly discriminated against for being a skeevy money laundering foreign agent Russia conspiracy criminal, because don't those have rights to? As such, he is committed to fighting this all the way to the end. Maybe he is pretty sure he will never have to go to White Man Fun Prison, because SOMEBODY HAS WHISPERED IN HIS EAR THAT HE MIGHT GET PARDONED.

Wonk pal Charlie Pierce points to this CBS article about Manafort's current strategy, observing that Manafort is basically daring Trump not to pardon him:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now betting his future on a presidential pardon, legal sources with knowledge of his strategy tell CBS News' Paula Reid. According to the sources, Manafort is not planning to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and will fight the charges through to trial.

It is unlikely that Manafort will escape conviction now that his co-defendant Richard Gates has agreed to work with the special counsel and the charges against him are no longer focused on rarely-prosecuted legal infractions involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). [...]

But Manafort expects that the president would grant him a pardon. Legal sources close to the case -- but not representing Manafort -- believe that is a reasonable expectation.

Get that? Manafort will almost certainly be found guilty on ONE MILLION counts, therefore he is doing Trump a SOLID by not flipping on him and exposing everything he knows about Trump's involvement with conspiracies with Russia, so President Cum Spreader HAD BETTER PARDON HIM, IS THAT CLEAR?

And that might happen!

But for some weird reason, we feel like Mueller has all these fuckers on way more than he's revealed so far, so they'd better hope they're playing Russian Roulette correctly!

Hey, have an open thread. Right now. Unless you're in Indianapolis, in which case go see Editrix and the baby, she's not writing you an extra reminder post.

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[New York Times]

Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.


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