Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his Investigative Staff, made up of Democratic Donors, handed down their first indictment yesterday. The target was Paul Manafort, Former Presidential Campaign Manager for the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.
As you can imagine, it was the focus of much Media and Political scrutiny, featuring, dissection, castigation, and insinuation.
FoxNews.com reports that
President Trump fired back on Monday in an attempt to distance his White House from the grand jury indictments of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an aide, noting their crimes were committed “years” before they worked on the campaign.
The president led a chorus of critics of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, noting that the crimes for which Manafort and his aide, Rick Gates, are charged appear to predate the presidential campaign by years.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweeted Monday. “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
Manafort and Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration (FARA) statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts. The indictments were announced Monday.
Mueller’s team also unsealed a guilty plea by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted to making false statements to FBI agents as part of the investigation. According to court documents, Papadopoulos’ false statements were in regards to his relationship with a Russian ‘professor,’ who had ties to Russian government officials.
The special counsel probe and Russia “hoax,” as the president has described it, has cast a cloud over the Trump administration. But last week, the White House enjoyed a shift in focus, amid new revelations in the controversial Obama-era Uranium One deal and the payments behind the salacious anti-Trump dossier.
Reports last week revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid more than $9 million to law firm Perkins Coie, which commissioned Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research that ultimately led to the now-infamous dossier.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that the conservative Washington Free Beacon website initially funded the opposition research into then-candidate Donald Trump and other GOP contenders for the White House. Lawyers for the Free Beacon told the House Intelligence Committee that the website funded the research between fall 2015 and spring 2016.
But some Republicans say that the Manafort-Gates indictments provide “no evidence” in the Russian collusion narrative.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly called for Mueller’s resignation, over the special counsel’s relationship with former FBI Director James Comey, said the indictment “doesn’t have anything to do with Donald Trump.”
“I believe that Mr. Mueller’s conflict of interest is absolutely incontrovertible, and I think this is further indication he’s headed in this direction no matter what,” Franks said on his local radio station, KTAR-FM Morning News, Monday. “It’s ironic because ostensibly his investigation is supposed to be into Donald Trump’s potential involvement with Russia, yet this doesn’t have anything to do with Donald Trump.”
Franks added: “They may try to parlay it into something to hook President Trump in, but right now, this is par for the course. I should suggest this was kind of predictable.”
Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is leading its own Russia probe, echoed a similar sentiment.
“This pre-dates the campaign entirely, and could pre-date Paul Manafort even meeting Donald Trump. This has nothing to do with the campaign,” King told Fox News on “America’s Newsroom” Monday. “The investigation still has to go forward but what I’ve seen so far, is there is no evidence at all linking the Trump campaign to Russian influence or collusion.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee is also leading a bipartisan Russia probe, and said that the indictment “doesn’t change” their investigation.
“The special counsel has found a reason on criminal violations to indict two individuals and I will leave that up to the special counsel to make that determination. It doesn’t change anything with our investigation,” Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. said in a statement to Fox News. “We received documents from and had interest in two of the individuals named, but clearly the criminal charges put them in the Special Counsel’s purview.”
But Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the indictments are “significant” and a “sobering step” in the special counsel’s investigation.
“That’s why it is imperative that Congress take action now to protect the independence of the Special Counsel, wherever, or however high his investigation may lead,” Warner said in a statement Monday. “Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, must also make clear to the President that issuing pardons to any of his associates or to himself would be unacceptable and result in immediate, bipartisan action by Congress.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also said that the president “must not, under any circumstances, interfere” with Mueller’s work.
“If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues,” Schumer said in a statement Monday.
While Trump has not suggested any plans to interfere with the special counsel investigation, there are currently two pieces of legislation in the Senate, with bipartisan sponsorship, that would ensure a judicial check on the executive branch’s ability to remove a special counsel. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., are behind the bills, along with Democratic senators.
“The president is not firing the special counsel,” Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said on CNN Monday.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also said Monday the president has “no intention or plan to make any changes in regard to Special Counsel.”
Though some argue the indictments are irrelevant to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, former top-ranking Justice Department official under both Bush and Obama administrations, James Trusty, told Fox News that this is what happens during a broad investigation.
Last week, Mueller expanded his probe to investigate Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta’s dealings with Manafort and a Ukrainian nonprofit. The Podesta Group told Fox News last week they were “cooperating” with the special counsel’s office.
Trusty said last week that Mueller has “a lot of room to legitimately poke around and find information on one party or another.”
“It’s a cliché, but a good cliché –prosecutors go where the evidence leads them,” Trusty told Fox News last week. “When you define the mission broadly, there is a lot of room for [an independent prosecutor’s] exploration.”
Trusty said that if a special counsel’s mission is defined broadly, “it is all fair game if the independent prosecutor is doing his job the right way.”
Okay. So, Mueller has the power to investigation anything he wants to.
Because, as the Maha Rushie, himself, Rush Limbaugh, explained on his radio program yesterday, there is no “there” there.
No crime here. No crime has been specified. You could look at the document that charters the Mueller special counsel investigation team. You won’t find a crime. There are no limits on the number of people they can hire. There’s no limit on the amount of money he can spend. And there’s no limit on the amount of time. Ao he can do and go wherever he wants. And for Manafort, he went back from 2006 to 2015. And that’s what he’s gonna do with Trump because there isn’t any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. There just isn’t anything. The only thing there is is the Trump dossier, and that’s fake and made up. I don’t care what you hear, none of it’s been corroborated. A lot of it has been officially blown to smithereens as not credible, and not just the golden showers aspect of it. So to the extent that that dossier has been used to form an official investigation, if that dossier is ever the reason for any indictments, then I can see — well, I don’t know. Depends on the judge. Depends on the court.
Everything’s been so corrupted because it’s been so politicized. I’ll just tell you this. In a just world — and I’m not trying to make a pun here. In a world where the justice system reigns supreme, any indictment resulting from whatever’s in the Trump dossier would have to be thrown out. It’s not real. It’s a political document. It was bought and paid for by a political campaign to do damage against the political presidential opponent! It’s not an intelligence document. It’s bought and paid for. So anything in it that leads to an indictment, to me, would be extremely risky.
So, I will have to defer to actual legal experts on that last claim, but it just seems common sense to me that if indictments occur because of things that are not true in that dossier are used as evidence, then what good is it? It’s gotta be thrown out. So here’s the next question I got. “Rush, I’m thinking that there’s a possibility that Manafort is not actually aiming at Trump here.” Meaning with the indictment of Manafort. That Mueller is not actually aiming at Trump but may in fact be trying to get Podesta. What Mueller and his investigators are looking into is Russian influence in general, not from the Trump campaign, but from Manafort for years before and the Podesta — Now, Manafort’s political entanglements involve him with the government of Ukraine, which is not Russia! And the things that Manafort’s firm, things they were engaged in, the Podesta firm was engaged in very similar behavior.
Now, I just need to do a little test here. How many of you actually would accept the premise that Mueller is using the Manafort indictment to tighten the screws on Podesta? Anybody think that’s got any, any shred of possibility? Because everybody assumes Mueller, Mister Big, Washington establishment, unassailable reputation, not covered, not tainted by the corruption of politics, strictly — same things that we’ve heard about Comey which now we have reason to question.
But there’s nothing here with Trump and collusion with Russia. There simply isn’t anything there. Now, Manafort did do some stuff. Maybe money laundering, maybe colluding or something with Ukraine, but so did Podesta. Is it feasible that this guy with 16 Obama and Hillary lawyers on his team would be going after a Democrat? Remember, Mueller is, supposedly, a Republican, former FBI director. Remember, untainted, one of the maybe two people in town untainted reputationally by the swamp.
According to the Podesta Group’s website profile page, they are
Always original, never ordinary, we imagine and execute inventive, integrated, data-based campaigns that don’t just ignite conversations, but inspire action and change outcomes.
Whether across the country, or around the globe, at the Podesta Group, the one thing clients can rely on is results. From advising on parliamentary elections overseas to orchestrating large, issue-focused national advocacy campaigns back home, we know how to chart a winning course. With the rolled-sleeves values and senior-level attention of a boutique shop and the 535-member reach and wide-ranging issue fluency of a powerhouse firm, our bench of strategists brings decades of experience to bear. That’s why Bloomberg Businessweek calls us a “Beltway blackbelt” and why organizations large and small, from Fortune 500s and national foundations to local nonprofits, startups and foreign corporations have entrusted us with their public affairs agendas since 1987.
Back of February 18th of this year, Forbes.com posted an article titled “No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists” by Paul Roderick Gregory, which makes the keen observation that
Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.
That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Giustra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.
Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Fortrash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage”
That’s still not all: Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) read Kremlin propaganda into the Congressional Record, referring to Ukrainian militia as “repulsive Neo Nazis” in denying Ukrainian forces ManPad weapons. Conyers floor speech was surely a notable success of some Kremlin lobbyist.
Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks.
In his February 16 press conference, President Trump declared in response to the intensifying media drumbeat on his Russian connections: “I haven’t done anything for Russia.” K-Street lobbyists, on the other hand, have done a lot to help Russia. They greased the skids for a strategic deal (that required the Secretary of State’s approval) that multiplied the Kremlin’s command of world uranium supplies. They likely prevented the shipment of strategic weapons needed by Ukraine to repulse well-armed pro-Russian forces. A fugitive billionaire who robbed the Ukrainian people of billions is represented by one of the establishment’s most connected lawyers.
Gazprombank GPB hired Breux and Lott to gain repeal of sanctions. That’s perfectly fine in Washington; they are playing according established “swamp rules” in their tailored suits and fine D.C. restaurants. General Flynn lost his job when the subject of sanctions was mentioned by the Russian ambassador in their telephone conversation, but that’s the way the media and Washington play.
As I always say,
The problem with pointing a finger at somebody is that you have three fingers pointing back at you.
All of the Liberal Political Pundits who were all over Cable and Broadcast News and all of the self-proclaimed trollish little Liberal know-it-alls who were all over Social Media Yesterday, crowing about Manafort’s Indictment, are soon going to have a rude awakening.
Democrat Politicians and their operatives have been wheeling and dealing with Putin and his henchmen for years. And, once the hearings concerning Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama’s Uranium One Scandal get started, even their seemingly well-planned distraction, known as the Trump-Russian Collusion Fairy Tale, won’t be about to stop the Sword of Damocles from ripping their political and professional futures to shreds.
The Dems are about to figure out that the old adage is true,
If you lay down with dogs, (even Siberian Huskies”) you get up with fleas.
Until He Comes,