Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial

ManafortBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversial statements of the judge presiding over the trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. Judge T.S. Ellis III has raised growing concerns over his comments in court, particularly before the jury.

Here is the column:

“What is a yute?” That famous question from the classic movie “My Cousin Vinny” captured the open animosity between Judge Chamberlain Haller, played by actor Fred Gwynne, and Vinny Gambini, played by actor Joe Pesci. When Haller feigned confusion over a heavy accent, Gambini explained, “Oh, excuse me, your honor … Two youths.”

Judge T.S. Ellis III appears to be racking up such “yute” moments while presiding over the ongoing trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Ellis, who has long had a controversial record for his courtroom outbursts, has repeatedly attacked the federal prosecutors from the Justice Department office of the special counsel.

His actions are creating serious potential problems for the case. Before the trial began, he made highly problematic comments about the motivation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in pursuing Manafort to pressure him to turn on President Trump. Many of us agree with this take on the prosecution, but it is not the domain of a trial judge to opine on prosecution strategy or other extrinsic issues.

During the trial, some of the comments from Ellis have been less comical than cringeworthy. Consider this truly bizarre exchange with prosecutor Greg Andres, reported by Bloomberg News. When he was criticized for openly chastising the prosecutors over their inclusion of details of Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainian sources, Ellis went off on Andres.

Ellis said, “Look at me when you’re talking to me.” Andres replied, “I’m sorry, judge, I was.” Ellis disagreed, “No, you weren’t. You were looking down.” Andres said, “Because I don’t want to get in trouble for some facial expression. I don’t want to get yelled at again by the court for having some facial expression when I’m not doing anything wrong, but trying my case.” Ellis told another prosecutor, “You must be quiet.”

Andres said, “I’m sorry, judge.” Ellis replied, “Well, I understand how frustrated you are. In fact, there’s tears in your eyes right now.’’ Andres told him, “There are not tears in my eyes, judge.” Ellis said, “Well, they’re watery. Look, I want you to focus sharply on what you need to prove the crime, and I don’t understand what a lot of these questions have to do with it.” If you want to score the trial, that would be a two “yute” moment.

It was reminiscent of the movie when Haller asked Gambini if he was on drugs and lambasted his clothes and “attitude” in the courtroom. During the trial, Ellis continued to fire barbs at the prosecutors in front of the jury. The prosecutors finally had enough a few days ago when Ellis, 78, was forced to give a reluctant and belated apology after slamming them for allowing an expert witness to sit through the trial before he testified.

Ellis was irate and criticized the prosecutors for violating his rule barring witnesses from doing so. The problem is that Ellis expressly allowed the witness to listen to testimony in an order on the first day. Rather than bring the prosecutors and defense counsel to the bench to discuss the issue, Ellis railed against the prosecutors in front of the jury. After a filing that demanded a public correction by the judge, Ellis told jurors he “may have” made a mistake and asked them to disregard his prior tirade.

That was a three “yute” moment. An even more serious mistake was committed as the government wrapped up its case this week. Prosecutor Uzo Asonye had spent about 40 minutes questioning a bank employee about Manafort’s attempt to get a $5.5 million construction loan on a Brooklyn brownstone. That is not an unusual length of time, but the judge, yet again in front of the jury, lashed out at Asonye and declared, “You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted.”

The clear import for the jury was that this effort was not worth even a half hour of testimony because nothing came from it. However, the problem is that an attempted loan is a charged count in the indictment, and the judge seemed to suggest that it was a worthless pursuit. It also fundamentally misrepresents the law because if Manafort made false representations to try to secure loans, that amounts to a federal crime.

That is a four “yute” moment that could create an appellate issue or even a demand for the recusal of Ellis. For the prosecutors, however, the priority is securing a conviction to continue to drill down on Manafort. The testimony of Rick Gates was not as good as the government may have hoped, but it was good enough. Gates came across as a jetsetting cad who stole from Manafort while pursuing as many as four affairs involving expensive travel and accommodations. However, Gates does not have to appear great so long as Manafort appears worse, and so far, he does.

The government has proven the existence of foreign accounts and how not just Gates but Manafort’s own accountants believed they were likely committing criminal acts. It is never a good sign when your accountant will testify about your filings only with a guarantee of immunity. That brings us back to Ellis. The most damaging statements before the jury have come from the bench, rather than the witness stand.

The prosecutors have suggested that they may have reached the limits of their patience. Indeed, Andres finally lost his patience with the continued interruptions by Ellis during examinations and noted, “Your honor stops us and asks us to move on.” Ellis dismissed the objection and said the lawyer could defend his record on any appeal. Andres shot back, “I will stand by the record, as well.” Ellis replied, “Then you will lose.”

Ellis, who received a law degree from Cambridge University, often seems more like a British judge, who would be allowed a much more active role in questioning witnesses and commenting on cases. American judges work diligently to maintain a role more like a referee than a player. Still, the Fourth Circuit has repeatedly heard objections to Ellis, but he knows appellate judges are loathe to reverse convictions based on judicial bias. Appellate courts steer away from micromanaging trials and fear that disciplining judges could produce a flood of such challenges.

Thus, even when one defendant objected that Ellis was “essentially taking on the role” of a prosecutor, the Fourth Circuit dismissed the objection by noting that Ellis had interrupted the prosecutors “virtually the same number of times” as the defense counsel. It certainly did nothing to address the controversial record of Ellis, who routinely berates lawyers and makes unprofessional comments in the courtroom.

Such decisions have left Ellis with an openly expressed sense of immunity. He once declared, “I am a Caesar in my own Rome. It is a pretty small Rome.” But claiming unbridled authority did not exactly work out well for Caesar. While removal or reversal is rare, so is the four “yute” judge.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

103 thoughts on “Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial”

  1. Turley expects US to be Boy Scouts – the opposition gets a pass – every time.

    That judge is the first flicker of justice I’ve seen since Obama began the destruction of his successor.

    Point taken Jonathan…. but I don’t care. I want conservative activism on the bench – lord knows the commies, lesbians and tranny’s have plenty

    This is war… as the pervs and academics pack the court, own the press, and destroy my America

  2. “The Manafort Show Trial – Stalin and Kafka would be proud”

    Executive Producer, Barack Obama

    Associate Producers, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Christopher Wray

    Director, Rod Rosenstein

    How many “operators” in Washington D.C. would survive the scrutiny of a DOJ special counsel? Mueller himself lied to Congress and the entire nation when he falsified the facts regarding WMD in Iraq. What was the impact of Mueller’s lies on WMD? How many lives were taken and how many trillions of dollars were spent on Mueller’s WMD fabrications? How many Americans were effected and how many tax dollars were wasted by Manafort – two, three, five, ten? How many tax dollars has Mueller burned on an investigation of nothing? I have my popcorn ready for the sequel.

    “Special Counsel Two – The Democrats Demise”

    Executive Producer, President Donald J. Trump.

    Associate Producers, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Bob Goodlate, Dave Brat, Ron DeSantis, Matt Gaetz

    Director, Devin Nunes


    1. Better buy a truckload of popcorn since we haven’t even BEGUN to see the fur fly.
      And for the record, I like this judge, but he should have thrown the case out.

  3. To drive the point home with a statistic, according to Google Scholar the 44 year old Blackledge case, which cuts against criminal prosecutions, has been cited 2300 times. 2009’s Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which cuts against civil Plaintiffs, has been cited almost 140,000 times.

    As a measurement of how badly the deck is stacked, that feels just about right.

  4. I hope that, if Manafort is found guilty, that Ellis makes a downward departure form the sentencing guidelines and Manafort gets time served. It will save Trump from the political circus that will result from a pardon.

  5. Bottom line is that if the Manafort prosecution is selective or undertaken with improper motives that’s a due process problem “…of the most fundamental sort.”

  6. Professor, respectfully, I think you’re way off here. The Cousin Vinny comparisons don’t really work. The judge is frank, far preferable to the subterfuge judges often use in front of juries to steer a trial in the direction they like. Which by the way, the direction they like is almost always toward a conviction. It’s refreshing to see a judge give the prosecution a hard time, it almost always goes the other way.

    The most serious problem with the judge’s comments, at least those that I am aware of, is that he has questioned the prosecution’s motives. But so far as I am aware, he hasn’t done that in front of the jury.

    And are the prosecution’s motives fair game, not just for judicial pique but as a matter of serious substantive concern, even when the defendant may be technically guilty? Before you answer that one you might want to review Blackledge v. Perry. It’s never been overruled, but might be fairly thought of as a dead letter, so indulgent have we become of criminal prosecutions.

    1. JMRJ:

      I think the prosecution’s motives are relevant and deserve judicial scrutiny on substantive due process grounds. A prosecution free from political bias and intimidation seems “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” and “deeply rooted in American history.”

      1. Agreed. If vindictiveness can disqualify a prosecution, so can political motive. But Blackledge isn’t used very much.

      2. After all the tax dollars are wasted on a political show trial by Mueller, the entire episode may be erased by a pardon; making the waste orders of magnitude greater. In the end, America is left with further abused taxpayers. And justice, just what the —- is justice when the 7th Floor is contaminated and the AG is a “patsy”?

  7. I have tried many jury trials in my law practice days prior to retirement. I started over 200 and probably completed (jury verdict not settlement) over 80. I have been before many judges. This Ellis guy is not out of line. The prosecution has been throwing dirt. Saying things beyond the Pale. I am talking about beyond the Paletinate not beyond Joann Palin. The one thing the judge did do which was not necessary was apologize for some comment he had made.
    In a jury trial it is the duty of the judge to correct bad conduct by one party or the other. Whether it is a comment about Manafort’s clothing costs or other nonsense the judge has a duty to stop this kind of mud slinging.

    1. The Judge is WAY out of line. I, too, try cases. The Judge has the right to his opinions, but he has no right to express such opinions in the presence of the jury. There is a big difference between bench and jury trials, especially in terms of how a judge controls the proceedings. Even if you buy the concept that the Judge should bring litigants straying too far off topic in line, this should NOT be done in front of the jury. A Judge should never be condescending to any attorney in front of a jury. The only reason for doing so is to influence the outcome. It should never be necessary for a Judge to apologize to a jury, but when someone as outrageous as this Judge realizes he’s out of line, that should tell you something about how bad the conduct was. He should grant a mistrial, recuse himself and pass the case to another Judge who can be impartial.

      1. well the prosecution forum shopped it so they get the bitter with the sweet i guess

        what kind of cases do you try?

        1. Forum shopping? Not exactly. As I recall, Manafort has at least one home in the district. Manafort had the option of consolidating the two cases into one which might have led to their being tried in DC, but he did not do that. Instead his team moved to change venue to Roanoke because they’d find friendlier jurors there. Ellis denied the motion.

          1. choice of venue is a consideration for every lawyer who files a case.
            obviously they could have brought it different places.

        1. yeah very very few lawyers try cases. i have been going to court every week for decades and i never had a jury trial. it’s a niche practice all around. most lawyers have never even sat through a voir dire.

            1. then you prolly are a personal injury lawyer or crim defense or maybe like a lot of pi lawyers worked in the pros office to get started and then switched to crim def. that’s the usual career path and a good one. i had a different opportunity in law takes me to court regularly but not jury trials.

              a lot of law things overlap nonetheless and you get crazy clients who have “diverse” needs

              diversity, our greatest strength!

          1. yeah very very few lawyers try cases.

            The smart money says Natacha’s forays into a courtroom were limited to traffic tickets and that disorderly conduct charge she was hit with in 1985.

            1. Never tried a criminal or traffic case in my life. Have done; wrongful death, product liability, medical malpractice and personal injury. Most of my cases settle.

      2. “Herein he [the federal trial judge] is able in matters of law emerging upon the evidence, to direct them; and also, in matters of fact to give them a great light and assistance by his weighing the evidence before them, and observing where the question and knot of the business lies, and by showing them his opinion even in matter of fact; which is a great advantage and light to laymen.”
        ~ Sir Matthew Hale

        In accord: Carver v. Jackson, 29 U.S. 1, 7 L.Ed. 761 (830); Magiac v. Thompson, 7 Pet. 348, 8 L.Ed. 709 (1833); Vicksburg and Meridian R. R. Co. v. Putnam, 118 U.S. 545, 7 Sup. Ct. i,30 L.Ed. ii6i (1886); Herron v. Southern Pacific Co., 283 U.S. 95, 51 Sup. Ct. 383, 75 L. Ed. 857 (1930).

        1. I’m curious. Have you ever seen a federal judge give the kind of charge referenced by Hale. I’ve never seen it, and never read any appellate opinions suggesting the trial court judge did it.

            1. I’ve never even had a judge raise the possibility. I haven’t discussed the concept with any federal judges, though I have with a couple of state court judges (theoretically my state permits it). Even though permitted, the unanimous view among them was that they didn’t consider it proper in modern trial practice.

          1. In Texas state courts it would be considered a “comment on the weight of the evidence” and would lead to a reversal on appeal.

    2. The judge has been plainly biased throughout the trial, and is nursing an obvious agenda. Short of outright corruption, that’s pretty much the worst indictment you can make against a judge.

      1. “Agenda?”

        Are you referring to the corrupt agendas of the “9th Circus,” Peter Strzok, “Dupe Sessions,” the 7th Floor, Barack Obama et al.?

  8. Defense calls Rod Rosenstein

    Defense Counsel: Good morning Mr. Rosenstein. As you and the Bureau know, much of this case involves information known to the Bureau for ten or more years. In fact, much of this case was investigated at that time and the decision was made NOT to prosecute the matter. Since that time, Mr. Manafort briefly became campaign manager for the President, a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate the President for collusion with Russia based on a ginned up dossier paid for by the FBI, some of the Special Prosecutor’s investigators have been removed for prejudice against the President plus the Special Prosecutor decided to conduct a rare and intimidating pre-dawn raid on Mr.Manafort’s home after he decided not to cooperate like his partner Mr. Gates did. Given all of that shouldn’t we believe, as Judge Ellis here does, that this prosecution for tax,bank and wire fraud isn’t just a pretext for getting dirt on the President by using Mr. Manafort as your pawn?


        1. of course only statute of limitations no laches in crim matters

          “vous etes laches!” — Huis Clos, Jean Paul Sartre

    1. What did Christopher Wray know and when did Christopher Wray know it?

      If Christopher Wray DID NOT know of the Obama Coup D’etat in America, Christopher Wray is grossly incompetent.

      If Christopher Wray DID KNOW of the Obama Coup D’etat in America, Christopher Wray is grossly corrupt.

    2. Getting hammered at trial relative to a co-conspirator who pled out happens in every federal courthouse in the nation on a daily basis. The Guidelines even give out a 2-point cherry for pleading guilty and an extra point for pleading early; it’s called “acceptance of responsibility.”Next.

      1. Marky Mark Mark – I am sure your specialty is plea bargains and guilty pleas. However, there is no way Manafort is going to plead guilty to 14 counts. I don’t think that even you would advice one of your clients to do that.

  9. What is truly pathetic is the defense of this obviously biased judge. Manafort should have been tried in 2005, Clinton this and Comey that, let’s bring Kennedy into this. The judge has based his bias on being a strict guy in his courts. However when the prosecution presents motive; ie Manafort’s obvious addiction to the high life and desperation at losing honest income, Ellis shuts them down, at even a hint of rational foundation building.

    The issue at hand here is not Trump, Comey, Clinton, etc but judicial proceedings. In this case Ellis is sorely wanting.

    Ellis has already aided the defense in reiterating stupid arguments like ‘if Manafort was intentionally doing what he did, he wouldn’t have been so sloppy and left all the evidence that is being presented.’ It will be interesting to see if and if so how he comes to the aid of the defense now.

    All great achievers come with great egos. There comes a time when the ego throws the achiever out of balance.

  10. Now professor Turley is complaining that a lawyer is not making nice to other lawyers.

  11. Jon Turley Hype Machine loves posting Manafort mug shot – gratuitous? Real question is why is special counsel so absorbed with tax fraud case and trial when a it could have and should have been referred to DOJ? Effing persecution.

  12. Enigma, I agree with you, they shouldn’t be lifetime appointments.

    1. Kick ’em into retirement at age 76 We’d have been free of a year’s worth of William O. Douglas stinking up the court, eight year’s worth of William Brennan, 14 years worth of John Paul Stevens, and the last 9 years of Ruth Bader Ghastly. How ’bout a retention in office referendum every 12 years, and franchise for at least one recall petition per 12 year term? Might have been enough to blow Wm. O. Douglas out of office, as well as that triumph of the taxidermist’s art, Thurgood Marshall. The four judges who ruled in 1977 that you had a constitutional right to a Medicaid-funded abortion were four men unfit to exercise discretion over a Chia pet.

      1. A Medicaid-funded abortion could include a life-threatening condition to the woman. She shouldn’t die for being poor.

        1. 1. A condition that’s more likely seen in the rhetorical games of partisan Democrats than it is in a clinic.

          2. Take it up with the obstetrician, who can work pro bono for once.

          3. Or take it up with the state legislature, which can define an exception in law.

    2. they only think that when their ox is getting gored. here an article III judge cuts a way they don’t like so they say they are against lifetime tenure. trust me, they arent. all the major judicial legislation of the 20the century, that is, legalization of contraception and abortion, and desegregation, and gay marriage– all came from the unelected article III lawmaker-judges

    3. IB, lifetime appointments are aproblematic as they are all subject to impeachment and the matter ultimately devolves to the voters, the People. The People have voted in a Congress that may be willing to exercise its singular and superior constitutional power of impeachment. The voters must elect a Senate with a 2/3 majority to convict. The Founders established a restricted-vote republic to involve only competent and intelligent voters who are capable of navigating the ship of state. Communists (i.e. democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists, etc.) have defeated the intent of the Founders driving America into the incoherence and hysteria of one man, one vote democrazy dictatorship.

      “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

      ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

      Ben Franklin, we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”

      We couldn’t!

      They don’t vote in China.

      They impeach in West Virginia.


      “CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers completed the extraordinary move of impeaching all four state Supreme Court justices Monday night for spending issues, including a suspended justice facing a 23-count federal indictment. Beth Walker became the final justice to be impeached when an article was approved stating all four justices abused their authority.”

      – NBC News

      “…all four justices abused their authority.”

      The SCOTUS abuses its authority on a daily basis. It is long past time for Congress to impeach all Supreme Court Justices that have “legislated from the bench” and not supported the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution.

      “…courts of justice,…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

  13. I am not sure that anything that Ellis has done is reversible. He is a nightmare for the prosecution, but I have seen judges who were a nightmare for the defense. So the prosecution has to work for its conviction, so what.

    1. Little hypocritical there, Paul?

      The judge clearly has another agenda here, regardless of whether or not he is badgering the prosecution or the defense. Ellis is focused on himself; kind of like Trump with his I this and I that. Ego centricity is telling.

      However, if Manafort gets nailed for his crimes, an appeal will not go well if a decent judge is presiding over that. Given a chance the prosecution will be deadly damaging in an appeal, given the obvious bias of Ellis.

      1. issac – it is in the federal system so the appeal will be handled by 3 judges, at least.

        1. The key word here is decent. The prosecution will be able to point out the latitude of the defense arguments and their coming to naught, if Manafort is found guilty. The obvious bias of Ellis will be in the backs of the minds of the three judges, two judges, judge, whatever. For another performance a la Ellis to take place would seriously taint who ever presides. This go round was an opportunity for an ego centric and perhaps dilapidated person. Ellis rose to the occasion. The next go round will be an opportunity for a Sam Ervin.

          It is a given that the losing side of this round will appeal. It has been established that Ellis is biased and a bit of a clown. The judge(s) following him will be very aware of all this. Or not, these days nonsense seems to be given its day.

          1. issac – in the US the prosecution does not get to appeal a not guilty verdict. I keep telling you I will teach you US Civics. That is a legitimate offer.

            1. Regardless.

              Manafort is going to jail.

              He has at least one more judge to go before. The latitude given his side will work against any arguments that he didn’t get a fair trial. He will do time until Dec. 2020 when Trump will pardon him. Manafort pays 2+ years ‘debt to society’, public gets some blood, Trump is either out or lame duck, Bernie gets some company for a while. Who knows, maybe Trump will pardon Berne too.

              Manafort starts raking in millions in book deals, lecture circuits, talk shows, etc. What a f*^king circus.

              1. Mr Kurtz – issac used the expression “whichever side appeals” which led to my answer.

    2. What have we seen? The prosecution brought a complaint containing 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. They called witnesses and introduced documents that established a prima facie case for each of the 18 counts.
      The defense called no witnesses. I’m not clear if they introduced any documents. They moved to dismiss any and all counts. The judge denied the motion. So after 4 hours of argument tomorrow and instructions, the case goes to the jury. I find it difficult to believe that 12 people cannot agree that Manafort committed some, if not all, of the alleged crimes.
      Trump can tweet whatever he wants. He has to begin considering the use of the pardon and the implications of that.

  14. Quite honestly, it’s good to see that somebody with some power in the system is standing up against Mueller and his attacks. He had the chance to prosecute Manafort in 2005 but didn’t do it then because it wasn’t important enough. Now, suddenly it is? No, Manafort’s alleged crimes are no more important now than they were 13 years ago. We all know that, and we know why this is happening.

    1. I agree, and I am watching from London, England. This is a Judge at the end of his career, doing all he can to stand up for Justice. This case should of been brought in 2005 and by bringing it now is to show it for what it is “state bullying”. Your system is “nearly” as corrupt as Englands!

      1. Let me correct you, not the system but the people working the system who are corrupt. This judge is probably trying to right the wrong of the century. This column should be about one of the Clinton, Comey, Mcabe, Rosenstein, Strozk, Ohr, Page trials but it’s not.

      2. Not 2005, but perhaps 4 or 5 years ago. It is true that only 7 of the 33 off-shore accounts were accessed in the 60 months prior to when the indictment was secured, and 5 of the 7 were accessed by Gates only. The initial indictment had 32 counts which were whittled down to 18 counts by the time the trial opened. Manafort is arguably guilty on some counts, but it’s a reasonable guess that the vast majority of the counts in the original indictment are properly disposed of as time-barred or not proven. And, of course, the U.S. Attorney was perfectly competent to handle this prosecution. It didn’t require a special counsel.

        1. TSTD,
          Do you know if there was an active investigation into Manafort’s activities prior to his involvement with the Trump campaign?

    2. Literally none of the counts at issue in this trial involve conduct from 2005. Were you hoping Manafort would be charged with “future crimes” back then?

      Because that’s unconstitutional.

      Surprised you didn’t know that.

      1. “Literally none of the counts at issue in this trial involve conduct from 2005.”

        They don’t want to hear that. I do think that lifetime appointments for Federal Judges (and SCOTUS) don’t make sense. I don’t believe the judge’s antics will affect the outcome of the trial. I wonder if the defense will present any witnesses? What can they possibly say?

        1. Doug & Enigma: Wassup with your knit picky comments? 10/27/2017 indictment cites money laundering dating back to 2006. C’mon man!

          1. I think the amended indictment filed in February 2018 begins with transfers undertaken in 2008.

          2. The testimony I’m familiar with was almost all 2016 and 2017. They weren’t dwelling in the past, they included acts even after Manafort left the campaign and into the transition. Any attempt to classify his prosecution as old news is totally off base.

            1. Well, you’re not familiar with the counts. There were no wire-transfers listed past 2015 and not many in 2014, either. There were allegations concerning a couple of bank loans obtained in 2016.

              1. There were I believe 18 charges against Manafort, Much of the testimony (which I was talking about) was about 2016 and 2017 including the attempt to slide the bank president into the Secretary of the Army job. The bank president thoughtfully provided a list of the jobs (ranked in order) he’d be willing to accept including Ambassodorships and others. If the indictment said some of the crimes dated back to a certain date, that doesn’t mean they weren’t ongoing… and current.

                1. None of the charges concerned Manafort’s or Gates’ lobbying for particular patronage jobs. The complaint was that they’d lied about their resources in order to obtain bank loans. One of the people they lobbied for was an official of a bank with whom they’d done business. The man never got the job, so what does it matter?

                    1. Why would Obama and Hillary be lobbying for someone to be appointed to a subcabinet post in a Republican administration? Why would they be culpable if that person didn’t get the job?

                    2. you apparently aren’t familiar with how it works. big donors can get certain plum appointments like ambassadorships. or direct them to their cronies.

                      I know a former ambassador to a smaller nation and his or her parent was an enormous donor to one of the major parties. it doesnt take a genius to figure out why he or she got the job. but he or she did a good job in the ambassadorship. its not a big deal. I will leave out the names and genders and parties. the details don[‘tmatter.

                      it’s a spoils system to some degree, that’s just part of the reality of any government. it is not always corruption.

            2. You are soothing yourself by citing 2016 and 2017 – the indictment don’t lie just like ball don’t lie in basketball. You are desperately trying to project this to present day/Trump and you go so far as to fool yourself. The Russian hoax is crumbling before our eyes and will be largely forgotten by public post-Labor Day weekend.

              1. “The Russian hoax is crumbling before our eyes and will be largely forgotten by public post-Labor Day weekend.”

                I’ll be sure to remind you of this ridiculous statement. You’re sounding like Rudy!

                1. Rudy is feeding off of Trump’s good instincts. The same good instincts that got him elected over your sleepy stay-at-home candidate HRC. Hillary got plenty of time now for those yoga classes that were the subject of many of those thousands of deleted emails.

                    1. So Donald Jr and/or Roger Stone indictment(s) are now the big hope for the left? I hope they go after Stone because he is like the crazy inmate in the prison courtyard that will fight Muler to the death.

                    2. I am not sure what they could indict Stone for anyways that would be credible. Maybe some stuff like manafort, tax evasion, the usual garbage. Not anything to do with “Guccifer.” It is not illegal to have a chat in cyberspace. A chat alone is no conspiracy. You need a conspiracy which is to say, an agreement and a plan, to do something illegal. And, a substantial step. Sure, persecutors have staged trials on weak evidence but with how poorly it’s all going for Meuller I think that is unlikely in respect of Stone

                  1. Bill Martin – didn’t Hillary fail to hold a press conference for two months, even though she had press traveling with her? I vaguely remember something like that.

                2. it’s a joke by now in most places in flyover. i even was joking about Russian bots to one of my kin who is in federal civil service. trust me it’s a big effin joke now.

                  not to say the Russians didnt try mischief; but it’s all rather like hitting a mosquito with a sledgehammer

                  1. They will be sentencing Papadopoulos soon, dozens of Russians have been indicted, meetings (that they denied) took place between Kushner, Manafort, Trump Jr, Erik Prince, Sessions, and more. Some of these names will soon appear in indictments. The President drafted a letter about one meeting which was an outright lie. Roger Stone aide is going to the mattresses to keep from testifying. Keep laughing.

                    1. They’ve indicted internet trolls and supposed officials of the Russian security services, all cases they thought they’d never have to try. Papadoplous was charged with a process crime. These indictments are utter humbug. Everybody’s figured that out but you.

                    2. Roger Stone, I like that guy.
                      Erik Prince, I like more.
                      I would like to see Erik Prince get indicted.
                      Who has been doing the dirty work for decades?
                      Do you really think Erik Prince is going to get indicted. Nope.

                    3. Sorry what I meant is not that I would like to see Erik Prince indicted, I did not write well. I meant, I find that unlikely very much so and it would amaze me, truly. Manafort is not a surprising indictment. Prince, that is super unlikely. Dont hold your breath on that one.

                    4. Won’t the second Manafort trial be gearing up in September? Public can’t forget.

              2. This fish will be rotting on the shore for a while longer than that. Still, there’s no there there. If the Republicans retain the Senate in November, Trump will have a free hand to drain the pus from the Justice Department at the optimal time. What’s of interest as we speak is when Trump will order declassification of documents the FBI and Rosenstein are trying to hide from Congressional investigators.

          3. Some kind of stuff about, it wasn’t me. It was Gates. It wasn’t me. It was my corporations (they are people!). BTW, he an affair! Or four! In a word: nonsense.

      1. Marco – remember left media mantra: “Bob Muler is beyond reproach”. Good boy, you are so obedient in not questioning his authority. You get a cookie and get to believe for another day that Russian hoax is real.

        1. Bill Martin &Mespo,…
          The Cult of Mueller is very recent and very small, but dedicated.
          Some are said to be former Hare Krishnas or Moonies who’ve “moved on” to the Mueller Cult.
          There are secret ceremonies, signs, and code words.
          The known phrases are “He Who will not be Deterred, Robert Swan Mueller the Third”, or “In Mueller I Trust”.😊😀

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