Monday, January 28, 2019

Marc Elias: A Reminder

A search of this blog reveals, remarkably, that there appear to be no references to Marc Elias, so this post will remedy that. And right up front I want to offer (FWIW) a hat tip to Mark Penn, the former "pollster and adviser" to Bill Clinton, whose (typically) excellent article on the Roger Stone indictment and arrest brought Elias specifically to my attention (Mueller’s selective prosecution of Stone, Venezuelan-style).

Who is Marc Elias, and why is he important for understanding the Russia Hoax? Wikipedia explains it lucidly:

Marc Erik Elias (born February 1, 1969)[1] is an American attorney. He is a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie LLP and head of its Political Law practice. He is the general counsel for Kamala Harris's 2020 presidential campaign. He worked in the same role for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. 
He served as lead counsel for Senator Al Franken in the 2008 Minnesota Senate election recount and contest, the longest recount and contest in American history.[6] Elias has testified before committees in both houses of Congress and before the Federal Election Commission on campaign finance.[7] Elias has worked on voting rights and redistricting lawsuits in Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and North Carolina.[8] 
In April 2015 Hillary Clinton engaged Elias as attorney of record for her 2016 presidential campaign.[5] According to The Washington Post, in April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to complete the research that resulted in the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[11] ...

Are you getting the picture? You've heard of Super Lawyers? Well, in the legal field of Democrat politics, or simply politics generally, Marc Elias is an 800 lb. gorilla.

We're used to the proposition that the Perkins Coie law firm, attorneys of record for the 2016 HIllary Clinton campaign, was used to launder the money to hire Fusion GPS to "complete the research that resulted in the Donald Trump–Russia dossier."

In his must-read article, Penn brings that up again, but with a very specific twist.

Penn first points out that much of the Stone indictment focuses on supposed obstruction of the Congressional investigation. Specifically, as Byron York reports:

Count Three alleges that Stone lied when he said that Credico was his only "go-between" to Assange, when in fact, Stone was also in contact with Corsi for that purpose. "At no time did Stone identify [Corsi] to [the House] as another individual Stone contacted to serve as a 'go-between,'" the indictment says.

With that in mind, Penn writes:

The indictment reveals that Stone knew absolutely nothing before the initial public drops about what was going on with WikiLeaks. In fact, afterward, he was trying to find out through two of his connections whether WikiLeaks had more material it was going to leak and when it was going to leak that. For reasons that are unclear, Stone hid the name of his second source. Maybe he just promised anonymity to Jerome Corsi, a well-known conspiracy theorist, and was trying to keep that promise. 

The important fact here is that whether Stone simply forgot, as he says he did, or was trying to somehow "protect" Corsi in accordance with a promise, the omission of his correspondence with Corsi was of minimal--if any--material importance because the government already had all that information. Please bear in mind in this regard what I recently wrote about the "traditional" approach to false statements, or counter factual statements to give it a more neutral presentation (The Meaning Of The Roger Stone Indictment). Further, neither Stone nor Corsi had any information of value to offer regarding Wikileak's possession of the Podesta emails or even Wikileak's intentions in that regard. Nevertheless, Stone had been a Trump adviser and so Mueller was determined to hammer Stone in an effort to get Stone to "sing"--or, most likely--to "compose" (h/t Alan Dershowitz) regarding Trump.

But then, and very much to the point regarding Marc Elias, Penn adds:

Oddly, around this same time, Glenn Simpson of opposition-research firm Fusion GPS tried to hide (and, for a time, did) the fact that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid for the anti-Trump dossier created by retired British spy Steele. That seems a far more relevant fact to Mueller’s investigation, going to the heart of the credibility of the allegations against Trump — and yet, no handcuffs on him. 
It took court action in Britain to get to the truth about the Steele dossier. And note that Simpson stands accused by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), in a formal Senate criminal referral, of falsely denying that the anti-Trump research project continued after the election and lying about the briefing of reporters on the dossier. 
Let’s not forget that the same lawyer who organized the dossier research project sat next to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in congressional hearings as Podesta denied knowing the source of the funds. Either Podesta was not truthful here or the lawyer committed an enormous breach of ethics, since he had a conflict as a factual participant and knew the answer. That’s what real obstruction of a material fact looks like but, if you are the “good” guys with good lawyers, you need not sweat it.

I'll paraphrase that, because it's dense but very important. The same Perkins Coie lawyer who organized and paid for the dossier research project through Fusion GPS--a fact that Glenn Simpson tried to hide from the Senate and the House--sat next to John Podesta while John Podesta also (and totally implausibly) denied knowing where the money for the dossier project came from. That, says Penn, is "what real obstruction of a material fact looks like". Because Simpson, Podesta, and the Perkins Coie were hiding information from Congress regarding a material fact that only they knew, and thus really were obstructing an investigation. Further, the material fact only came to light through court action in Britain.

If you're guessing that the Perkins Coie lawyer who sat next to Podesta, representing Podesta in a matter in which that lawyer was himself a factual participant and knew the answers to the questions being asked, I say, if you're guessing that that lawyer was Marc Elias, then you win a hearty handshake and a pat on the back.

What's more, if you're thinking that maybe Elias simply paid Simpson for oppo research and then let others handle the work product, guess again. According to the WaPo:

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. 
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. 

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS's research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. 
The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS's research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day. 
Fusion GPS gave Steele's reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said.

The WaPo wants you to believe that the dossier project was simply a continuation of earlier research that Simpson had done for a GOP client, but that is actually quite unlikely, since Steele wasn't hired until Elias hired Simpson for the Hillary campaign. Further, it doesn't take much imagination to conclude that Elias was coordinating all his efforts with another Perkins Coie lawyer, Michael Sussman (James Baker And Michael Sussman Revisited).

I'll close with a passage from a year old article, The Hypocrisy Watch, that gives further insight into how many pies Elias has his fingers in, and the centrality of Elias to the Russia Hoax:

The payments for the dossier were made by Perkins Coie lawyer, Marc Elias, to Fusion GPS who hired Steele. Elias then sat before Congress alongside his client, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, as Podesta claimed he knew nothing about such payments. 
Democrats in the House heard the testimony. And who is their lawyer?  Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, who represents the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 
Democrats in the Senate will review the matter, and who is their lawyer? Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, who represents the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 
The use of Russian ads on Facebook will be part of the hearings. And who has been Facebook’s lawyer to prevent the disclosure of such ads? Marc Elias of Perkins Coie.

Will Elias ever be held to account? Kamala "Kamasutra" Harris clearly doesn't think so and is betting that, even if Elias' efforts didn't come through for Hillary, he may yet prove instrumental in gaining her the White House.


  1. You know, if I were in Mueller's shoes and I wanted to take Trump down, I would have made sure that I collected the carcasses of John and Tony Podesta and mounted them on my wall. I would have done the same to Glenn Simpson and Marc Elias, and I would have publicly fired people like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. You have to have credibility to take Trump down, and that would have provided a good dose of it. So, I am left wondering why it wasn't done? I come up with two answers, neither of which is pleasing to me intellectually- either Mueller knows he has nothing on Trump and isn't going after him, or he is just a moron who can't see the problem he will create for himself if he tries to indict Trump or suggest he be impeached.

  2. Yancey, for me the answer lies in ideology. Team Mueller is populated by ideologues--fanatics. I imagine Mueller fancies himself a balanced man of the law, but his career screams out to me: fanatic. As George Smiley explained to Peter Guillam, it's the lack of balance, the inability to truly see both sides clearly, that does them in.

  3. One of the fallacies, it seems to me, is that Mueller and the Democrats have pursued this investigation in order to cover up their anti-Trump plots before the election. On the contrary, the Dems always believed they could beat Trump down with their many and crazy acts of "resistance," including the Mueller investigation...and that they could either impeach Trump or so weaken him by 2020 that he would not be re-elected. In other words, the Mueller investigation was not conceived as a defensive measure to prevent disclosure of the Dems' misdeeds, but as the most important part of the "resistance." The Dems were so confident that they had their people already in place throughout the Government that they never entertained the possibility of disclosure, even after Trump was elected. The real crimp in their plans was Devin Nunes, whom I greatly admire.

  4. Steve, that's an interesting argument, and I'll admit I've gone back and forth on that. I have no doubt that there are a LOT of things that the Deep State wants covered up, and to that extent you can say that there's a defensive component to all this. And I believe that something similar was going on with the GOP NeverTrumpers--they went along with the Deep State because they wanted to "sandbox" Trump, defend the Establishment lest his virus infect the non-Establishment body politic.

    OTOH, there's no question at all that the Deep State has pursued an extremely aggressive offensive policy as well. The REPEATED use of FISA against Trump--long after it was clear that there was "no 'there' there", is a clear indication of that aggressive offensive policy. And then the REPEATED perjured testimony and false "assessments"--all that would have been utterly reckless and self destructive IF NOT for the fact that those actors were confident, as you say, that the Deep State retained plenty enough control to see things through and make it right for them.

    In that last regard, false statements and perjured testimony, Catherine Herridge has a good article today: New details of 2016 meeting with Trump dossier author conflict with Dems’ timeline. And, of course, that goes back to Devin Nunes, who stuck it out against Paul Ryan's sabotage efforts.

    A lot is riding on Barr, but I continue to believe that Trump, under advice of counsel, remains in control. Don't underestimate him. He's in the fight of his life and the Deep State has never encountered anyone like him before. The fact that these details are even out there is a credit, in the last analysis, to him. And he has plenty more.

  5. To those, like Mike and Yancey, whose comments have sometimes had to be pasted in after getting deleted or delayed, I think I've figured out that it comes back to problems with the email notifications. I need to rely totally on the comment moderation component of blogger and leave the email notification system alone as far as publishing comments goes.

  6. Once again, I would argue that you are understating the problem, which amounts to focusing on symptoms rather than root causes. During the Obama Administration, many senior Executive Branch officials were corrupted or compromised into committing serious Class I felonies as part of a covert coup against an elected president. In effect, they converted DOJ/FBI/CIA (and many other agencies) into seditious criminal enterprises.

    This is not simply a political battle, and the conspirators have to play for keeps because the consequences of losing are so serious. As they say in the Game of Thrones, when you aim for the King, you win or you die.

    The Swamp wants to the keep the coup objective in the shadows, make endless small cuts, and win via attrition and deception. They cannot afford to awaken the Kraken (widespread public exposure of their seditious criminality). At some point, Trump may have to push this to final duel with the Uniparty leadership (McConnell/Pelosi). This would entail full declassification and disclosure, which would then trigger House Impeachment, Senate trial, and a showdown vote for conviction by 67 Senators. I don't think they have the balls to convict because it would likely instigate a hot civil war.

    Any outcome that does not fix the institutional corruption will set the stage for repeated coups attempts in the future, and we will have become a true banana republic.

  7. Unknown, my purpose in blogging on the Russia Hoax is to offer the benefit of my experience over a period of 30 years. That means that I focus on things that I know about through experience and education. However ...

    Perhaps, instead of simply routinely introducing your comments by accusing me of "understating the problem", you could provide specific examples of how I am mistaking symptoms for causes. From my perspective, I do pay attention to causes as well as symptoms. Here's just one specific example: my recent discussions of Jack Goldsmith's defense of the Deep State. However, if you really want to understand my concept of the causes behind all this, I suggest you read through ALL my blog posts, starting in 2007.

    Perhaps you could also explain your assertion that this Russia Hoax is not "simply a political battle". I note that Wikipedia, in discussing politics, states that politics "refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state". Perhaps you could explain how the Russia Hoax does NOT conform to that concept of politics. If the "Uniparty" is not aiming to to "achieve and exercise positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state", you could perhaps enlighten me as to what they're up to.

  8. Perhaps you could also explain your assertion that this Russia Hoax is not "simply a political battle".

    Because a coup is a criminal act and the consequences can be much more onerous than just being evicted from a political office. There are many historical examples in which incarceration, exile, or assassination are the end result. Given the extensiveness and severity of the criminality by numerous senior governmental officials which has already been revealed, none of those outcomes is out of the question. This coup attempt had its origins in 2015 and is still ongoing in 2019. The FBI has gone full Gestapo in it's recent arrest of Roger Stone, so a reasonable person might easily conclude that a tyrannical violent coup is incipient. We are sitting on a powder keg precisely because of the lack of transparency and disclosure. The longer this goes on, the shorter the fuse gets.

  9. Unknown, you only responded to one part of my comment.

    Further, the fact that criminal acts are involved doesn't change the fact that this is a political struggle--please refer to the definition of "political".

    You're arguing in circles and nothing you have said justifies your claim that I'm ignoring the big picture--the cause of it all. In fact, nothing you have said addresses what the root causes of all this may be.

    My review of Western civilization does lay down the principles for an analysis of the root causes.

  10. To be clear, even a coup is a political act. Just because it breaks the rules of the established order, that doesn't mean that it's outside the realm of politics. As Clausewitz said: War--or a coup--is simply politics by other means.

  11. Re the Big Picture, in The Central Scandal of the Russia Hoax--and Our Constitutional Crisis I wrote:

    All the evidence points to a conspiracy to prevent the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Failing this, the continuing conspiracy sought to terminate his presidency, presumably through the impeachment process, or failing that, to hamstring it through innuendo and outright slander. It's a scandal, and it's a scandal built on an outright hoax--the Russia Hoax. This conspiracy that I've referred to was a conspiracy that involved the core institutions of the Executive Branch of government: the Department of Justice--including the FBI--the "Intelligence Community" generally, including the CIA and DNI, and the Department of State. But if all this weren't appalling enough, this conspiracy against the integrity of our fundamental institutions and our courts--even our electoral processes--extended to enlisting the cooperation of the intelligence agencies of a foreign power--Great Britain (GCHQ and MI6), not Russia!--against our own government.