Manafort Heads To D.C. With Eight Felonies . . . And An Increasingly Desperate Pardon Strategy

ManafortBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the implications of the conviction of Paul Manafort in Alexandria Virginia.  Notably, if President Donald Trump is inclined to pardon Manafort, he may want to do it before the approaching start of the D.C. trial.  The counts in the new trial are a true parade of horribles for Manafort and his image will hardly improve by the end. He will face details over his work for a blood-soaked authoritarian figure who fled into exile to Moscow.  It will be much more difficult to portray Manafort as a victim and a “good man” after that evidence is aired in open court.

I previously warned that Manafort’s obvious hung jury strategy was likely to fail.  He is now left with only his pardon strategy, though his lawyer ominously warned that he is considering “all of his options.”

The prosecutors from the Justice Department office of the special counsel left the courthouse in Alexandria on Tuesday with their first major conviction, given the eight guilty verdicts against Paul Manafort for bank and tax fraud out of the 18 counts he faced. For many observers, however, a reasonable question can be raised as to what all of this means.

This obviously is not the set of crimes that special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to pursue. As noted by the openly skeptical trial judge in this case, Mueller clearly was pursuing President Trump and not these particular crimes. The question now is whether these convictions will further concentrate Manafort on flipping against Trump. If not, Mueller could be left looking like the guy who showed up at a bass fishing competition with a trophy deer head. It may be an impressive eight count buck of a defendant, but still is not the game he was supposed to catch.

Just as Manafort has some evaluations to make, so does Mueller, who has spent millions of dollars in pursuit of crimes outside the original mandate of misconduct related to the 2016 election and its aftermath. The question here is not why Manafort was prosecuted. He deserved to be prosecuted, and he now is rightfully labeled a felon. The question rather is who should have prosecuted Manafort and why.

There is an incoherent element to the case brought by the special counsel. Mueller transferred the investigation of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to the Southern District of New York despite those alleged crimes being related in part to the 2016 election. (In a surprise deal with prosecutors, Cohen pleaded guilty earlier in the day to eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations). Yet, Mueller retained an array of financial crimes by Manafort that are far removed from the election. The only reason for this was to obtain leverage.

Mueller now has that leverage, however, he cannot offer what Manafort most wants, which is a walkaway. The benefit of the convictions is that Manafort is looking at a practical life sentence if sent to jail for a decade or more. However, Mueller is already under fire by a cooperating witness, George Papadopoulos, and his wife for what they view as unfair dealing, including a recent signal from the special counsel to the court that a six month sentence would be appropriate. Notably, attorney Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to making false statements without cooperating with Mueller and received a 60 day sentence. The “deal” for Papadopoulos seems less than a bargain when compared to uncooperating witnesses, even with the differences in the context of their false statements.

It is highly unlikely that cooperation from Manafort would spare him from prison time in light of the sentences meted out to other defendants. Trump, however, could give Manafort precisely that benefit with a presidential pardon. Indeed, unlike Cohen, who could easily face state charges, the legal jeopardy for Manafort is more solidly based in federal claims that can be fully addressed in a pardon. Manafort thus far has been “all in” on that strategy. He has remained silent and loyal to Trump.

In contrast, Trump has been hit by a number of former close aides like Omarosa Manigault Newman and Cohen, who have actively sought to use their inside information against him. In a strange way, Omarosa and Cohen have improved the chances of a pardon for Manafort. Not only would such a pardon remove the leverage by Mueller from these convictions, it also would punish people like Cohen and former national security adviser Michael Flynn in seeking protection under Mueller.

While Manafort has openly preserved his position for a pardon, Trump has laid the foundation for it. As the likelihood of a conviction grew in Alexandria, Trump stepped up his public comments denouncing the prosecution and affirming the good character of Manafort, declaring, “I think it’s a sad day for our country.” He added, “He happens to be a very good person. I think it’s very sad what they have done to Paul Manafort.”

The “happy day” sought by Manafort is unlikely to be found in court or the office of the special counsel. He knows it only can come from the man who could brush aside all of these charges with the stroke of a pen. As for Trump, he could use a pardon to highlight the disconnect between the original mandate and the actual prosecutions that Mueller is pursuing. Trump could pardon Manafort for all crimes unrelated to the campaign or its aftermath, allowing Mueller to prosecute Manafort and anyone else for crimes tied to Russian interference with the 2016 election. Trump could then claim that he is not obstructing justice but rather doing what he has long demanded from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which is to keep the special counsel focused on the primary purpose of the investigation and to finish that work without continued delays or more distractions.

Such a pardon by Trump would be a mistake. Indeed, these were not the crimes that Mueller was supposed to pursue, but that does not change the fact that Manafort remains a criminal. The Alexandria trial showcased how Manafort was becoming increasingly desperate over his declining income and opulent lifestyle. The Trump campaign may have been viewed as a way out of his financial and legal problems. A pardon would reward Manafort for such a calculated strategy. He could walk away from an array of financial crimes simply by using his personal connection to Trump.

Conventional wisdom holds that this prosecution was a clever play for leverage over a key potential witness. In the end, however, this move on Manafort could prove to be a serious miscalculation. By not transferring the financial crimes to the local district attorney, Mueller gave Manafort a better chance for a pardon by making himself part of the calculation.

If Mueller had transferred the case, he still would have had the leverage from any conviction but would not have given Trump the rationale for issuing a pardon as a way of confirming what Trump portrays as a runaway federal investigation. In such a scenario, Manafort ultimately would emerge as the only true winner, not because of his innocence, but because of his associations. If that windfall scenario plays out for Manafort, the man he may want to thank is not Trump but Mueller.

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

205 thoughts on “Manafort Heads To D.C. With Eight Felonies . . . And An Increasingly Desperate Pardon Strategy”

  1. Maybe if I spice up my comments with lies and propaganda, it would be more to Anonymous’ liking.
    Facts and accuracy may well be too boring for Anonymous, and if I throw in some lies in the comments, Anonymous would probably not be able to spot them anyway.

      1. Anonymous mostly posts links, and/or direct quotes from someone else.
        And her complaint about “nothing substantive” has appeared in these threads before, when Anonymous felt that none of the comments in a thread were up to her “high standards” of parroting the words of others.😊😄

    1. T Gnash — the only person in America that doesn’t own a mirror.

      You are obsessed with other’s comments — given you buy into the Diane/Annie/L4D/anon/me being the same person.

      I’ve got a tip for you: read a book; improve your grammar, sentence structure — heaven forbid if you tackle paragraphs — and maybe after this proposed jaunt, you could actually contribute without being a troll who constantly complains about other’s posts.

      1. R.Loon also appears to be a fan of lies and propaganda.
        And most of R. Loon’s conments are bitchy attacks on others that do not involve actual issues
        R. Loon can not seem to recognize the diffence between fact and fiction, or care about that difference as long as the views of a liar and propagandist “align” with the views of R.Loon.
        So we have this little collection here of anonymous, bitchy trolls who mostly make a damn nuisance of themselves.
        R. Loon is evidently too stupid to realize that trolls don’t use their own name, so to have this bitchy clown accuse me of trolling is one of the dumbest comments made by R.Loon.
        And it takes some doing for that fool to top previous stupid comments.
        Don’t bother with any more “tips”; I don’t take advice from anonymous trolls and jackasses like you.

      2. My previous comment about R.Loon may or may not post eventually.
        With the snags in the comments section, it’s difficult to tell what’s going on with comments, or parts of pages disappearing.
        So at the risk of duplication, I’ll make some comments about what the scumbag R. Loon has posted here.
        Most of R. Loon’s “observations” are bitchy and baseless remarks about others.
        There has been a uptick in the activity of the troll pond scum like R. Loon recent months.
        I will point out that trolls do not use their own name, so an anonymous fool like R.
        Loon accusing me of trolling is really ironic.
        I also mentioned that R. Loon need not bother with any more tips, since I don’t value the advice of anonymous trolls and jackasses.

        1. Some more tips, oh Nashty one:

          Ignore and/or scroll.

          (And you are a troll, Tommy-boy.)

  2. Alan Dershowitz seems to be on the right track, that no crime was committed, not that that will stop the DNC shills here from experiencing over-excited bladder leakage:

    “Alan Dershowitz said the only campaign violation that could have happened is if former Trump attorney Michael Cohen did break a campaign finance law on his own volution and called the situation a “Catch-22” on MSNBC this afternoon.

    MSNBC HOST: Can I ask about a couple things, Alan? .. You said last night, ‘All Cohen has to do is say the president directed me to do it. That’s the kind of embellishment people put on a story when they want to avoid dying in prison.’ Are you suggesting Cohen lied under oath?

    ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don’t know. All we know is what Judge Ellis said.

    Judge Ellis said is when you put pressure on somebody like Cohen, there is an incentive to embellish the story and make it better because he’s now facing 4 years. So if he comes up with strong evidence against the president that will be reduced to 2 years, 3 years, or 1 year. …

    I have no idea whether Cohen is telling the truth or not, but the interesting thing is, if Cohen is telling the truth it’s a catch-22 for the prosecution. Let me lay this out for 60 seconds…

    Here’s the issue: The president is entitled to pay hush money to anyone he wants during a campaign. There are no restrictions on what a candidate can contribute to his own campaign. So if, in fact, the president directed Cohen to do it as his lawyer and was going to compensate him for it, the president committed no crime. if Cohen did it on his own —

    MSNBC HOST: That seems awfully convoluted, Alan.

    DERSHOWITZ: — then Cohen commits the crime.

    It’s convoluted. The law is convoluted.

    MSNBC HOST: Prosecutors have said Michael Cohen broke the law and Michael Cohen says, the president told me to do it. You said last night, as well that you every president breaks the law during an election. Really? Does that make it okay?

    DERSHOWITZ: No. I said —

    MSNBC HOST: Your quote is every candidate violates election laws when they run for president.

    DERSHOWITZ: Let me tell you what I said.

    MSNBC HOST: I just told you.

    DERSHOWITZ: Candidates violate election laws all the time, go back to any campaign’s campaign violations.

    MSNBC HOST: But does that make it okay?

    DERSHOWITZ: No, it doesn’t, but let be very clear.

    MSNBC HOST: Isn’t that moving the goalposts?

    DERSHOWITZ: You’re not letting me make my point.

    MSNBC HOST: All yours.

    DERSHOWITZ: The president doesn’t break the law if, as a candidate, he contributes to his own campaign. So if he gave $1 million to two women as hush money, there would be [no] crime. If he directed his lawyer to do it, and he would compensate the lawyer, he’s committed no crime.

    The only crime is if a third-party, namely, Cohen, on his own, contributed to a campaign, that would be a campaign contribution. So it is a catch-22 for the prosecution. iI they claim that the president authorized him to do it or directed him to do it, it is not a crime for anybody. If Cohen did it on his own, then it is a crime for Cohen but not the president.

    This is going to be a very difficult case for the prosecution to make, precisely because the laws on election are so convoluted.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. I picture Dershowitz sitting across from the MSNBC Host with a board that has 1 square peg and 1 round hole in it. Dershowitz’s explanation is handing the host the square peg and the host cannot make it fit into the round hole. Apparently it must be too convoluted.

      1. If I could read the MSNBC Host’s mind, it would be like “blobbery blah, I don’t want to hear that – lalalalala can’t he just say what I want to hear and not all this law and legal reasoning stuff it hurts my widdle Democratic Party mind mommmmiiiieee!”

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. There are two types of campaign monies: Expenditures and contributions.

          Dershowitz and Trump are mischaracterizing the payments as campaign expenses.

          The FEC is saying the payments were CONTRIBUTIONS.

          He is correct that candidates can contribute funds to their campaigns.

          But even a contribution of $5 to a campaign must be reported to the FEC.

          When a contribution is not reported, it is a violation of campaign law.

          The more money contributed to a campaign is not reported, the more serious a crime was committed.

          1. If true, then what you have at best is a “failure to report” a contribution. But here, it is not even a sure thing if this is a campaign contribution at all, because:

            “More importantly, this was not a campaign expenditure at all. Constitutional scholar Mark Levin has interviewed former Federal Election Commission chairman Bradley Smith repeatedly on his show over the past year, and Smith has made the point that “dual use” expenditures are not “campaign expenditures” under the meaning of the act.

            What are campaign expenditures? Payments for advertising, consultants, rallies, transportation, polling, and get-out-the-vote efforts, of course. But has anyone ever reported payments to a mistress as a campaign expenditure? Almost certainly not.

            That’s because any expenditure is not an expenditure simply because it may incidentally benefit a campaign. It must be an expenditure whose only purpose is to benefit a campaign. So if a candidate for office buys an American car, or gets his teeth whitened, these are things that can benefit his campaign, but they are not campaign expenditures because they also have personal benefits.

            Payments to President Trump’s alleged mistresses to stay silent certainly benefited his campaign. But they also served the purpose of not embarrassing the president’s family. There clearly was a dual use to the payments, therefore they were not “campaign expenditures” under the act. If they were, then everything a candidate spent money on during the course of a campaign, whether of a personal nature or not, would have to be reported as a campaign expenditure. Does a candidate eat during a campaign? Well, if so, that benefits his campaign and so must be an expenditure! Do you see how ridiculous this can become?



            So, if it is technically questionable whether this is even a campaign contribution, then how do you prove :”mens rea” on Trump’s part???

            Sorry, but I bet you guys are going to be disappointed in the outcome.Now, will Mueller try to Rube Goldberg something together that looks like a crime?

            I would not be surprised, as he has done it before. But it will be crap. You should read the article at the link.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

        2. You know Squeeky, we all have a bias. What matters is what that bias is rooted in and how deep those roots go.

          When I joined this blog 7 years ago, it was the first time I ever got into a debate with someone that did not believe in natural, unalienable rights. This was with with the multi-sockpuppet character we’re still dealing with today. She believes all rights come from government. Mike A. tried to bully me off the blog by challenging my depth of knowledge. I’m still here and he stopped that effort. I’m sure he’s forgotten more about the law than I will ever know, but that was important.

          Anyway, what I see from many on this blog is a facade built on some of the right words and phrases, but underneath that is a deeply rooted bias in nothing resembling a desire for equal justice, security of rights, anti-corruption, accountability in government, and so on. This biggest culprits are those using purely emotional arguments. No right reason, no logic, just pure emotion. It makes me think of the Reagan quote:

          The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

          1. You make very good points. Notice that the conservative-ish people here are NOT defending Manafort, or even Cohen. Personally, I think both are guilty as charged. BUT, so are the Podestas.

            Only a Banana Republic would prosecute one side, and not the other.

            I also agree that the shills here care nothing about either truth or honesty. They are True Believers, of the same mindset that used to burn heretics alive at the stake, because they could not tolerate anybody disagreeing with them.

            These are just sick f*cks, that the human race produces in every generation. Their true very ugly face is being revealed by their own inability to accept their loss, and more than their loss, the fact that people don’t agree with them, and don’t think they are as smart as they think themselves.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

  3. “The question here is not why Manafort was prosecuted. He deserved to be prosecuted, and he now is rightfully labeled a felon. The question rather is who should have prosecuted Manafort and why.”

    I’m a very long time(10y+) follower/reader/fan. These comments of yours are disturbing. The only reason Manafort was prosecuted was because of his association with Donald Trump. Mueller’s pursuit of Manafort was not a result of an investigation into supposed Russian interference in our election. The same goes for Cohen, Papadopoulos, Stone, etc. These men have been targeted for purely political reasons. This is so obvious that the Judge in the Manafort case said it himself.

    You aren’t much into Civil Liberties are you Prof Turley? How about “fruit of the poisoned tree?” Hopefully you never find yourself on the other end of a prosecutor on a vendetta with an unlimited budget. In time, the travesty of justice that we are seeing will be well understood and I’ll be very curious to see how you explain yourself.

    And when Manafort is pardoned will you then say that he is rightlfully no-longer labeled a felon?

    1. So what. Of all the stupid lines of arguments this one takes the cake. It’s unfair because the wrong cop arrested the thief. The thief was arrested. The rest is gravy.

      Stop and think; what do all these scumbags have in common? The biggest scumbag of them all, Donald Trump. They are the flies circling the pile of sh*^ that happened to make it to the Oval Office. Take out the flies first, then remove the load of…..

      1. It’s not wrong because the “wrong guy arrested the thief.” Those are Turley’s words. It’s wrong because they have targeted individuals for whatever they can find on them rather than pursuing some as-yet unnamed crime. This is unconstitutional. “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” is how the law works in totalitarian regimes. I can see that reading comprehension and the basics of the law aren’t your thing.

    2. So sorry for your misunderstanding. You see, those of us who toil in the trenches of the federal criminal justice system, witness every day that persons are prosecuted for the crimes which they have committed in order to put pressure on another target. Manafort committed multiple felonies and was rightfully prosecuted and found guilty by a jury of his peers of those felonies. Just like many, many other federal criminal defendants, Manafort had a choice to make at a certain point in time. He chose wrongly, in his case. Some choose to assist the feds for a reduction in sentencing exposure; some don’t. We call that the “trial penalty” or the “trial tax.” That sucks–for better people than Manafort every day–but it’s the way it is, and, it’s constitutional according to the federal courts. If such an injustice only now bothers you,then you’ve not been paying attention. Perhaps you could mount a campaign amongst your ilk to reduce unfairness in the federal criminal system?
      As for your random throwaway of “fruit of the poisonous tree” sub-reference, it doesn’t fit any aspect of Manafort’s case, and it laughably reveals your reddit qualifications to talk about “lawyer stuff.”

      this is to “ya, but before, it only happened to ‘those’ people” ivan

      1. Marky Mark Mark – how many of your clients make the “right choice”?

      2. I have my own extensive experience defending the innocent in our crazy system so you can stick your condescending attitude up your back hole 🙂

        Your disingenuous nature is also on full display for all. My point was clear and concise: you do not target individuals for investigation/prosecution, rather you target crimes. That’s not too difficult to understand. If you actually work in the legal system then you would know that.

        Your knowledge of the law seems very limited. There have been many discussions already in the legal community regarding the Mueller prosecution and the “fruit of the poisonous tree” so I’m surprised that you seem unaware of it. Let me help you out: if the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was politically motivated then the culmination of that investigation…the appointment of a special counsel inherits that taint. That’s what we call “the fruit of the poisonous tree.” All that follows from that poisonous tree is to be discarded. Hopefully that clears thing up for you.

        1. Ivan – Marky Mark Mark only helps the guilty flip and prepares their plea deals.

          1. Yeah and I have helped those on the other side. Prosecutors often like to pick on those who don’t have the resources to defend themselves.

            1. Ivan – I like the British system where you prosecute one day and defend the next. Except for Rumpole, of course. 😉

        2. Ivan

          Then you have the case of Al Capone. Trump presents a similar situation with obviously different building blocks but it’s pretty much the same. Trump is not Presidential material. Trump is a thug. Trump is a cheat. Trump has financial connections to Russia. Trump lies more often he tells the truth. Trump spreads lies to incite the worst of the worst, the white supremacists-recently South Africa-Trump’s statements along with being totally false are an act of meddling that far exceeds that which Russia is accused of. I could go on but America owes a yuge and bigly debt to Mueller and any other justice official that can get rid of this stench.

      3. Manafort chose wrongly? You really are dumb. He will rightfully be pardoned in the very near future and he will walk a free man with no criminal record.

  4. “Jeff Sessions finally punches back at Donald Trump — hard

    (CNN)Hours after being repeatedly insulted by President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions just did something he rarely, if ever, does: He punched back — hard.

    Here’s Sessions’ full statement:
    “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda — one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.
    While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.
    I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”

    Good for Jeff Sessions and high time he punched the bully back.

    1. No, I am not seeing Sessions “punching back.” I see him curled up on the floor in a fetal position. Because he either fires Rosenstein, or he doesn’t. And Rosenstein has a conflict. Sessions either reopens the Crooked Hillary investigation, or he doesn’t.

      So far, Sessions has sat on his a$$ and shied away from actually doing his job. Sessions can claim he is running things, and on top of things. but he can’t even get his DOJ to produce documents demanded by Congress.

      Sorry, Jeff, but you do not have the guts to be a good attorney general.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Sessions is a dead man walking and he knows it. Goodbye Jeff, we hardly knew ya.

    2. I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.

      I believe I’ve seen video of Sessions as he prepared for the rough & tumble world of being the AG for Trump. That’s right Jeff, sometimes the “rule of law” shoots back.

  5. Another rat flips on King Rat Donald.

    “Federal prosecutors granted immunity to David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer publisher and longtime Trump friend, in Cohen investigation”

    The Wall Street Journal

  6. Did Tiger Woods pay “hush money” to Elin Nordegren or did their NDA stipulate silence?

    The world hasn’t heard a peep from her.

        1. I don’t think it’s Darren’s fault. There seemed to be some sort of server problem a few days ago. Plus, they changed wordpress “themes”, and sometimes the themes present different options.

          Who knows?

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. I stand corrected.

            Between you and me, please don’t tell anyone, I am endeavoring mightily to goad Darren into effecting comprehensive and definitive corrections. My pet peeve is defaulting to the “block and blue” format, requiring me to click back and forth until the correct version is finally displayed. Oh, and the fact that every single time I post, I have to re-enter my ID.

  7. ” If I were to run, I’d run as a republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They love anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific” Donald Trump. People Magazine 1998.

      1. What’s amusing is that Fishwings fancy’s he’s smart.

        1. How true! There was similar fake quote running where James Carville said about the same thing about Democrats. Before I used it, I tried to verify it and couldn’t. Sooo, I never used it.

          But, I don’t think fishwings cares about whether what he says is true or not. As long as it helps Democrats, truth is an optional feature.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

        2. It took me about 10 seconds to verify the quote’s accuracy. That’s 10 seconds more than these useful idiots would dare spend to get to the truth of anything.

            1. I thought…

              That’s your problem, you don’t think. You do what every other useful idiot does and that is you perform. It doesn’t require thought, just a skillset capable of getting on a blog to troll it.

          1. Democrats don’t care about Truth. Truth is not their friend. That is why Democrats put on masks and take up baseball bats whenever conservative speakers come to town, or engage in two year titty-baby tantrums when they lose the Presidency.

            Democrats have become the modern day equivalents of the Old Catholics who would put people to death for heresies. You will either agree with us, and our way of thinking, or die!

            Knowing that about themselves has to just eat away at the smarter ones among them. No wonder they are sooo miserable and full of hate.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            1. Fromm can’t be bothered to read the blawg or to follow the thread. It’s too upsetting for her delicate sensibilities to stomach.

              Besides, alter-casting and pigeonholing have always been Fromm’s stock in trade along with Bulverism.

    1. THIS is what the trumpsters cannot bring themselves to acknowledge. He told them almost 20 years ago that he would con them, and how he would do it, and yet they were still stupid enough to fall for it.

      They were and are the easiest marks in American political history.

          1. The last I checked they still have press credentials. Pro Tip: I use multiple sources to verify information. I prefer original source material. And I never trust any quote or video that does not give me the full context.

            1. Credit where credit is due I can’t recall you using any non credible sources such as Oky and Crazy George with their Infowars garbage.

      1. They were and are the easiest marks in American political history.

        With the exception that they bother to source things. They know that had that quote actually been true, it would be playing on a loop at every major media outlet. Hell, The New York Times would temporarily change their masthead to run that quote until President Trump was out of office.

        Now here’s a true quote and the subject is your very own batch of real useful idiots:

        Lack of transparency is a huge advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever. But basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.

      2. you’re stupid. that’s the essence of the comment. In so saying, you reveal that you have no clue why people support trump, and so, you expose your own stupidity.

        Sometimes you point the finger and your thumb points right back at you.

    2. But, are you a very stable genius in amazingly excellent health? Even if you are, you don’t have the stones to spout racist, xenophobic rhetoric and to constantly blame Hillary Clinton for everything, so you couldn’t do it.

          1. Squeeky – I am officially replying to you at 3:06 MDT. Sorry, I have been busy playing Pirates! and ruling the waves. 😉

            1. No problem. I figured out how to get notified on my own blog, and when I hit the little bell thingy, it brings me back to here.

              Sooo, that will work and I will not have to get Toxic Osmotic Mind Degeneration from reading the fecal matter postings of Peter Shill, Late4, Hollowwood, and other DNC shills/idiots.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              1. Squeeky – I am glad you are back in sync. Now if you can just get enigma back in sync. I think he was having the same problems.

                1. OK, I just jumped back to when I think he is. I left him this message:

                  “Hey Enigma, PaulCS told me to come back in time to try to find you. He said you were having the same notification problems as me. Anyway, here is my workaround. I just leave my wordpress blog open in another tab, and that way I still get the notifications of replies to me. When I hit on the comment, it takes me back to Turley’s blog.

                  I hope that helps you! I am heading back to 2018. If you need some help getting back to the future (What year is it here, anyway??? 1920? 1923? I think I just saw a flapper!) Whatever, if you need help just leave a message in the NYT to run August 24, 2018, and I will come back for you!


                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

      1. Blame Hillary? There’s no reason to blame Hillary. She’s not the root cause. She’s just the most extreme example of an angel without wings. [blame Madison for the word choice] She and many, many others should have been expected to become corrupted by the system. Blame? Blame the truly ignorant class that supports such corruption. And blame all those in a position to enforce the law and provide equal justice under it.

    3. Fishy, and democrats are parasites who demand welfare, “Affirmative Action Privilege,” unfair “Fair Housing,” discriminatory “Non-Discrimination,” food stamps, quotas, Obamacare, utility subsidies, WIC, HUD, HHS, HAMP, HARP, Medicaid, Medicare, forced busing, social services, striking public worker union thugs, confiscatory “regulation” beyond simple constitutional regulation of commerce, etc., etc. etc.

      The American thesis and Constitutional mandate is Freedom and Self Reliance.

      The bottom line is that conservatives want “FREE DOM.”

      And democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists and every other form of communist want “FREE STUFF.”

      You illegally and unconstitutionally award yourselves a RIGHT to other people’s money. Preposterous.

      When all you leeches grow up and learn how and why to take care of yourselves, we will get rid of the “FREE STUFF” and live in “FREE DOM” as the American Founders intended and the Constitution mandates.

    4. Yawn, so what?

      An elected representative, any one, will say ten thousand things and if one percent are stupid, that’s usually besides the point.

      if you grant DJT with 2 percent stupid, that would still not matter much.

      what matters to the voters is whether or not the policies they favor are being executed.

      then there are the really smart pols who never say the wrong thing.
      they just do bad policy. they’re the real garbage. but the media and the tittering phonies of political correctness just love them.

      Policy matters. This whole thing is to avoid policies that the anti Trump faction Does Not Like.

      The contrast to Bill Clinton is that Clinton was a moderate Democrat and not that different than many Republicans., They just hated him anyhow.

      With Trump you have a candidate and CEO who is actually pursuing polices that the “Deep State” and various other factions does not like so they are really out for blood ten times more than whomever wanted to impeach Slick Willy.

      That’s ok, come what may, nobody with balls giving up soon.

    5. I checked and some others are right. Snopes gives this a false.

      Funny, though, it is one of the few honest things Trump has ever not said. It sounds exactly like him.

      1. So funny in fact that the real inspiration for the fake quote was likely Jonathan Gruber’s assessment of the idiotic voters that supported the ACA.

        Keep ’em coming.

  8. You’re overthinking this like crazy. Trump has already sent out unmistakeable signs he’s going to pardon Manafort.

  9. “It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal”

    – President Donald J. Trump.

    “This vernacular is to ‘sing,’ is what prosecutors use. What you got to be careful of is, they may not only sing, they may compose.”

    – Judge T.S. Ellis III

    “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”

    – Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s Director of Secret Police

    “…POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing”

    “.. the texts mean what the texts say…”

    – Lisa Page

    “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich”

    – Peter Schweizer

    American justice was intended to be swift consisting of the mere placement of extant evidence in pans allowing the neutral scale to adjudicate. That system has ignored the glaring evidence directly incriminating Obama and Hillary on the allied democrat side and ferociously convicted two minor actors on the oppositional republican side (singling out political opponents for “show trials,” brutally violating attorney/client privilege and negotiating for fabricated evidence as confessions to non-crimes). Falsely exonerating political allies is corruption and dereliction. Creative and politically vindictive prosecution is “malicious prosecution.” The American system of justice is permeated with grossly metastasized cancer which must be excised and subjected to chemotherapy.

    1. Crazy George, translation:
      “ I can’t defend Trump on this so it’s time to bring up The Clintons and/or President Obama.”

  10. Hey Paul, I thought that if you could print something it was true. Learn something new everyday!

  11. Setting aside the fact that if Trump pardons Manafort more Republicans in Congress would openly oppose him, Manafort cannot assert the Fifth Amendment as a means to avoid answering questions about the crimes Trump has committed. This is because he no longer faces criminal jeopardy by answering, since he’s been pardoned. So, if he’s pardoned, they’ll subpoena him, he’ll show up, refuse to answer and be held in contempt of court. Then, Trumpy Bear will need to pardon him for contempt, he’ll get subpoenaed again and the process will start anew. Eventually, after this cycle repeats itself enough times, Trumpy Bear will be guilty of obstruction of justice. When you sleep with dogs, you get fleas. Congressional Republicans likely won’t stand for this.

    One other thing: Fox News interviewed a female Manafort juror. She is a proud MAGA hat wearer. (Not the “My Attorney Got Arrested” version of MAGA). She said that the evidence against Manafort was overwhelming, and despite feeling that Manafort wouldn’t have gotten caught but for the Mueller investigation, he was still guilty. There was one Trump supporter on the jury who wouldn’t budge on the 10 counts for which there was a mistrial. The interviewed juror said the others kept putting the documents in front of her, but she couldn’t be swayed. That is truly frightening. She must have lied in voir dire.

    1. I don’t believe she said that the juror who held out on ten counts was a Trump supporter. She did vote to convict on eight charges.

      She said she had reasonable doubt for the remaining eight. That doesn’t make her a Trump supporter.

      1. Sorry, I meant she had reasonable doubt on the remaining ten charges, which led to the mistrial on those counts.


    “Clinton Pardon of Rich a Saga of Power, Money”

    “President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich is a saga of secrecy, tenacity, sleight of hand and pressure from Rich’s ex-wife and one of her friends, who together have steered millions of dollars to Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s causes and those of fellow Democrats.

    Whether it is a story of bribery as well or illegal gifts from abroad is the subject of congressional inquiries and a criminal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in New York.

    Behind the pardon is a tale of intrigue, unintentional humor and celebrity involving, among others, two former Israeli prime ministers, a onetime operative for the Mossad, a stubborn U.S. attorney and a misunderstood desire to find a rabbi in the White House.

    New interviews in Israel and an examination of e-mails and documents in the hands of investigators as well as testimony before congressional committees show that Rich, 65, perhaps the wealthiest fugitive in the world, mounted an immense effort to persuade the Justice Department and then the president to cut a deal and let him come home.

    Justice was skeptical, but Clinton agreed. What he got in the deal was a pledge that Rich would waive a statute-of-limitations defense should an agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Energy Department, sue him for civil fraud. But experts say such a suit is unlikely. Moreover, Rich runs businesses valued at $30 billion and would not be likely to feel the pain of any financial judgment against him.”

    1. George, stop pivoting to point the finger of blame at the Clintons every time something happens that makes Trump bad, which is constantly. Clintons are old news, and if your source of information about them is Faux News, what you’ve been told is likely incorrect or incomplete. Anyway, no matter their behavior, it does not excuse Trump.


    New York state investigators subpoenaed Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, state officials said, as part of a probe into the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Taxation and Finance issued the subpoena after an attorney for Mr. Cohen said on television that President Trump’s longtime lawyer had information that would be “of interest” to prosecutors.

    “A subpoena has been issued to Michael Cohen for relevant information in light of the public disclosures made yesterday,” said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the tax department. “We will be working with the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney, as appropriate.”

    In a tweet Tuesday night, attorney Lanny Davis said Mr. Cohen is ready to “tell the ‘rest of the story.’” A spokeswoman for Mr. Davis didn’t immediately comment.

    The tax department doesn’t have the jurisdiction to pursue criminal charges, but if it discovered information valuable to the investigation of the Trump Foundation it would be referred to the New York state attorney general, people familiar with the matter said.

    The office of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has already filed a civil suit alleging Mr. Trump misused the foundation, and state prosecutors could use information gained from the subpoena to build a potential criminal case in connection with the Trump Foundation, one of those people said.

    In June, the state attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Manhattan alleging President Trump used his family’s foundation to further his 2016 presidential campaign, pay legal settlements and promote his businesses. A spokeswoman for the Trump organization previously called the lawsuit “politics at its very worst.” On Twitter, Mr. Trump had called the lawsuit “ridiculous.”

    Edited from: “N.Y. State Tax Office Subpoenas Michael Cohen Over Trump Foundation Probe”


  14. Samsung, you might be right. Didn’t The National Enquirer report about the blue dress first?

    1. I have no idea. I don’t read supermarket tabloids. I also don’t live in the past.

      1. samsung – if you do not read the supermarket tabloids, you cannot keep up on Big Foot and Nessie.

        1. I also don’t have to support a tabloid that helps Donald Trump pay hush money to silence his mistresses in order to boost his election chances.

          1. Did Tiger Woods pay “hush money” to Elin Nordegren or did their NDA stipulate silence?

            The world hasn’t heard a peep from her.

            1. George – we had to guess the number of the club she used to beat up the car. Now that is an NDA. 😉

  15. “The “deal” for Papadopoulos seems less than a bargain when compared to uncooperating witnesses, even with the differences in the context of their false statements.”

    My understanding is that cooperating witnesses are expected to tell the truth in the proffer interviews and Papadopoulos did not, repeatedly. It’s hard to see him as a cooperating witness.

    “Mueller transferred the investigation of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to the Southern District of New York despite those alleged crimes being related in part to the 2016 election.”

    Isn’t it possible that the NYC-based team is better able to pursue Cohen’s NYC-based “legal” office and taxi business rather than the DC-based team? It seems that most, if not all, of Cohen’s charges are from his activities in NYC.

    If Manafort receives a pardon now could he not be required to testify to a Grand Jury about the Trump Tower meeting?

    1. Excellent analysis, Bettykath. About that last question: Manafort would have to be preemptively pardoned for an offense for which he might be charged in connection with the Trump Tower meeting in order to forfeit his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on any offense for which he might as yet be charged in connection to the Trump Tower meeting. IOW, if Trump grants Manafort a preemptive pardon for offenses connected to the Trump Tower meeting, then the prospective case for Trump’s abuse of the pardon power would get far stronger. Also: Natacha’s upstream comments on the possibility of Manafort committing criminal contempt of court such that Trump would have to pardon that, as well, are right on that same point–serial abuse of the pardon power.

  16. “NBC News has confirmed the @WSJ report that American Media CEO David Pecker was granted immunity from federal prosecutors as part of the investigation in Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

    When Trump loses the National Enquirer, it’s bad. And how fitting that his name is Pecker! Bottom line is that NO ONE wants to go to prison for Donald Trump and they’ll get the best lawyers they can afford to accomplish that.

  17. Cohen’s legal career is over. However, he could be rewarded with corporate lawyer position at some place like Starbucks. Maybe then he could work on the political campaign of that outfits CEO. Wouldn’t that be special!

    1. His three clients were Broidy, Hannity, and Trump. That ain’t lawyering. That’s fixing.

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