Thursday, March 7, 2019

The First Manafort Sentence

Short story: Mueller recommended what was probably the max: 19 - 24 years. Judge Ellis gave Manafort just under 4 years (minus time served of 9 months, so ~ 3 years), probably about the minimum possible. Along with a pointed statement about how none of this had anything to do with "collusion."

This is unquestionably Judge Ellis' way of showing his utter disrespect for Team Mueller, everyone behind Team Mueller, and everything they stand for--especially their degradation of the criminal justice system. He had no choice but to sentence Manafort but he did it in a way that would be a rebuke to the prosecution. And in a way that will reflect as poorly as possible on Judge Amy Jackson Berman. I hope Judge Sullivan (who will be sentencing General Flynn shortly) pays attention to this.

There's a lot swirling around this and I may well be updating this initial post. For example, Undercover Huber is reminding us that, in response to Manafort's Brady request (Brady disclosure rules require the prosecution to produce exculpatory or impeaching evidence to the defense), Team Mueller admitted that it had NO "surveillance intercepts" of Manafort--"surveillance intercepts" means electronic surveillance or, if you prefer, FISA intercepts. IOW, the US counterintelligence efforts--read: the FBI--never picked Manafort up talking to Russians. This despite "leaks" to the media, like this one to the NYT: Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence. Here's how it begins:

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

This was a lie, a total fabrication.

Note the date: February 14, 2017--less than a month after Trump was inaugurated and months before Team Mueller was constituted. If this wasn't a solo FBI effort, then it had to have been coordinated with the FBI at the highest levels, because this is FBI turf: counterintelligence. Comey was Director. Sally Yates had already been fired as acting AG and Dana Boente was in her place. Rosenstein didn't come on board till April, but wouldn't you, in his position, want to know as a top priority the truth of such stories--especially when McCabe came to you asking for a Special Counsel, or for your help in removing the POTUS? I know I would have. Any more questions?


  1. Judge Ellis, not Sullivan.

  2. Tx Anon--got it. I was anticipating the reference to Judge Brendan Sullivan, who's scheduled to take up the Flynn sentencing again later this month..

  3. Not only were the co-conspirators inept at the coup attempt, but they have also been inept at covering their tracks. Underlying this reality is the onerous revelation that the FBI has degraded to the point where it is inept in most things, which is dangerous for the nation's security. Clearly Wray is not up to the task of restoring FBI competence, so Barr will have to deal with that leadership vacuum very soon. He has a huge gaggle of difficult problems to address, and much of his DOJ staff are fifth columnists.

    1. Totally agree, Unknown. I see Barr has met with Huber, so undoubtedly he's trying to get a handle on this whole mess from the inside--who can he count, who not so much, etc.

      I'll admit that one thing that has given me pause re Barr was expressed by Paul Mirengoff yesterday: High-level DOJ nominee was VP of group that opposed Alito’s nomination. Surely Barr could work with Graham to come up with a confirmable nominee who would be reliably conservative?