‘Twas the Night before Indictment …

‘Twas the night before serving, when all thro’ the house
Congresscritters were stirring, even the mouse;
The indictments were hung by the Grand Jury with care,
In hopes that Judge Emmet soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug with their lawyers,
While visions of men named sugar plum danced in their heads.
And Mueller with his briefing and Paul with his passport,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter in court
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
He sprang form the bed to see the Federal Marshals
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
Tore up the papers, then into the shredder,
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,,
Gave lustre to the no knock warrents to find objects below;
When, what to wondering eyes should appear,
But a deposit slip from a Russian owned bank forgotten to burn.
With that ol’ driver as quick as a feather;
We knew in a moment it much be St. Mueller;
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now, evidence collection crew, go right in here!
On blue collar crime expert, these documents I’ll share!
To the top of the pile of evidence so high,
Now dash away, dash away, put it all in plastic bags,
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
Each exhibit gets a number and a letter, oh my.
So up to the court house the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of evidence, and some indictees too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard in the foyer
The prancing and pawing of each little lawyer;
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Mueller came with a bound.
He was dressed all in a nice Italian suit,
His clothes were not tarnished or messed up with soot.
A bundle of evidence was flung on his back,
And he looked like a lion just opening a buck;
His eyes, how they twinkled, his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, he’d be liked by a jury.
His stern little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
But the kind with an arrow, just so you know;
He shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly;
With a wink and a twist he owned that grand jury;
He spoke not a word but went straight to work,
Filed all the briefings, then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up to chambers he rose,
He sprung to the sleigh to his team gave a whistle,
And to the judge they all rushed, like the smoke from a pistol;
I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Plea bargains for all, except, well, most of you actually, because I’ve got this sack of evidence here, see?

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77 thoughts on “‘Twas the Night before Indictment …

  1. A bit disappointing.

    Perhaps the Greek guy recorded some juicy conversations after his arrest?

    The indictments themselves have nothing to do with Russia interfering in the 2016 election.

    1. The Greek was trying to set up meetings with Russia. It looks like for the most part, the campaign was ignoring him. The charge against him is of lying to the FBI. Folks, after seeing what happened to Martha Stewart, don’t talk to the Feds! In this case, it’s not clear he lied. FBI makes its claims based on notes taken by the agents. They described it as he thought a particular person was nothing, but then she ended up being significant. There could have been some nuance in there that was not in the reports. Kind of like when Tom Brady’s ballboy was asked why he stopped at the bathroom, and the former FBI agents identify him as saying I don’t know.

    2. Also, it looks like the leak to CNN and the indictment of Manafort wasn’t just to push the headlines away from Hillary. I think it is to distract from the significance of the Greek’s indictment. He is presumably cooperating. We saw Trump Jr and Manafort jump for dirt on Hillary. He was offering up Hillary e-mails from Russia from day one, believing his Russian contacts. Who else in the campaign went along with this?

  2. While not indicted or arrested, Mueller has also hit the brother of Hillary’s campaign chairman. Manafort was working with the Podesta Group, and Tony Podesta has stepped down today.
    The Russian lady that Trump Jr met with had also hired Fusion GPS.
    Does everyone just know everyone in DC? This is like how Scooter Libby was Marc Rich’s lawyer.

  3. I didn’t expect the initial indictments to have much to do with the collusion between Putin and Trump. GP got it for lying to a fed, Manefort and his guy got it for money laundering.

    What is not being reported are the two or three others in the same position as GP, indicted quietly, not yet reported, over the last couple of months.

    Anyway, with Manefort, who has been at the center of all this for years, at the center of much of Trump’s illegal activities, facing effective life in prison, we can expect a big concert. Lots and lots of singing.

    1. Manafort was working on behalf of the Russians in Ukraine. If he was again working with the Russians to deliver an election to Trump, you think Manafort would talk and upset the regime that poisons its opponents?

  4. ” He was offering up Hillary e-mails”

    Enough with the emails. We know (after all the investigations) that there is no “there” there.

    Side note: One poor soul in Novi, Michigan, is a CPA named George Papadopoulos. News reports say he’s had a long day due to a large number of people not being smart enough to realize he isn’t THE George Papadopoulos.

    1. Yes, there are presumably other crimes involved(11 counts in fact). However, money laundering is not about reporting. It is about trying to launder the money you obtained illegally- that’s why it needs to be laundered. The law has some other items that they could maybe use to argue money laundering, but at its core the money has to be illegal. This is why the case against Tom Delay ultimately fell apart. They could show that he was matching contributions to one fund with transfers to another fund for which it was not legal to take the money. However, it is not money laundering because the source of the money was not a criminal enterprise.
      It is not illegal to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

    2. No, Manafort broke the law.

      Among the 12 charges, Manafort is accused of acting as a “unregistered agent of a foreign principal” and issuing “false and misleading FARA statements,” by not properly disclosing the nature of the consulting he did for a Kremlin-linked Ukrainian political party. Failure to do so would be a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a registration requirement that makes foreign agents tell the DOJ whom they’re working for, what they’re doing, and how much they’re getting paid for the gig.

      But when you support a president who himself supports neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and KKK members (because they and the tea-baggers now form the core of the Republican Party) you can’t be bothered with reality.

    3. There is a difference between breaking the law and money laundering. One is a subset of the other. I would think a stats professor would understand such things.

    4. I would think you would understand that you are cherry picking a definition of money laundering simply to meet your political positions.

    5. Wikipedia:

      Money laundering is the process of transforming the profits of crime and corruption into ostensibly “legitimate” assets.

      It goes on to say that many countries have expanded the definition to include things along the lines of what you are saying. So we check Wikipedia’s link to the money laundering statute:
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1956
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1957

      There are many parts, but I can’t find a pathway that excludes specified unlawful activity.

  5. Manafort and Gates lied about the work they were doing for a
    Ukrainian official, hid the money, bought a good deal of property in
    the states, and borrowed several million against those properties t
    avoid reporting income and paying taxes.

    Classic money laundering: illegal business set up (failing to register
    as an agent for a foreign government), use un-reported money to purchase
    properties, borrow against those properties. Denying it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.

    1. There are persistent whispers [keywords:] Russian money laundering, Russian ‘community’ in Florida, Floridian real-estate business and you-know-who. It will be interesting to see what shakes out of the tree as time goes by.

    2. Possible crimes, but not impeachable unless it relates to Russian collusion.
      The collusion is largely disproved by other stories that were reported with intent to show collusion.

      If Trump was colluding with Russia, why did a low level campaign guy like Papadop need to be the one setting up meetings in April 2016?

      If Trump was colluding with Russia, why did Trump Jr and Manafort have to meet with some random lady in July 2016 recommended by a music promoter to get dirt on Hillary?

      If Trump was colluding with Russia, why did Trump Jr discuss in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador about setting up a backchannel with Russia?

    3. If the first reaction of any of then candidate Trump’s people when they were approached by representatives of a foreign country claiming to have dirt on an American political candidate wasn’t to say “excuse me” then report that to the FBI, why in the hell should they be viewed as people with integrity?

    4. However, paying 12 million to have a law firm hire an intelligence agent to go meet with Russians to get dirt on Trump is integrity?

    5. Possible crimes, but not impeachable unless it relates to Russian collusion.

      I wouldn’t bet on that.

      The collusion is largely disproved by other stories that were reported with intent to show collusion.

      Rubbish.

    6. However, paying 12 million to have a law firm hire an intelligence agent to go meet with Russians to get dirt on Trump is integrity?

      Tu quoque. Trump’s the one facing impeachment for collusion with a hostile foreign power to influence the election, not Clinton.

      Every time I hear the ‘but Hillary’ misdirection, I laugh.

    7. Similarly, Trey Gowdy’s claim that the Clinton’s were involved in money laundering with their campaign activities is bogus. They were not using criminally obtained money. They were merely hiding its use by running it thru a law firm.

  6. “failing to register as an agent for a foreign government”
    is not an illegal business unless the business itself is about having people be agents for foreign governments without registering.

    Instead, Manafort was an agent for a foreign government, not illegal.

    1. There is a possibility of international money transfers to avoid financial reporting is money laundering, but Mueller did not charge that.

    1. We’ll find out soon enough when Trump got pwned by Moscow. Maybe he picked up the wrong bundle of dirty money down in Florida and they came knocking. It will all out in the end.

  7. Every time I hear the ‘but Hillary’ misdirection, I laugh

    Yup, whether it is
    * regarding Benghazi, for which she bore no responsibility
    * her emails, for which we know there was no “there there”
    * the charity, which was never found to be doing anything untoward despite (as examined by various legitimate watchdogs)
    * the ‘uranium deal’, which never really happened
    etc., etc., etc.

    1. So true.

      Someone should tell the aficionados of Fox News that ‘yes but Hillary’ is a logical fallacy, not an argument.

  8. MikeN

    Why are you wasting your time defending an indefensible and clearly failing president? Is there not a better use of your energy? Why would anybody in their right mind rally round Trump? Seriously? Is that what you want to be associated with?

    It’s like pushing climate change denial. Toxic, self-smearing lunacy. Why ever do it?

    1. If he were failing, there wouldn’t be this push for impeachment.
      Scrapping Clean Power Plan, approving pipelines, enforcing immigration law, destroying ISIS, appointing judges who follow the law rather than their personal political preferences(like with the Clean Power Plan).

    2. If he were failing, there wouldn’t be this push for impeachment.

      Actually, this sums up the alt-reality world perfectly. It is the exact opposite of the truth. Mirror world, with it’s bigger crowds and all that.

    3. I assume sentencing guidlines are pretty easy to follow.
      Juries decide a verdict and the judges act accordingly.
      Not a whole lot of room for a judge not to follow the law
      really. And breaking a law in front of a stenographer and a room full of lawers is a bit silly methinks….

  9. MikeN, scrapping clean power is a short sighted ignorant move: approving pipelines is symbolic since the companies that wanted them originally now don’t, enforcing immigration law (it isn’t clear that is actually what he was doing, and it has been done by previous administrations), he isn’t destroying ISIS, the judge thing is simply idiotic.

  10. I don’t believe the word of the law is at all your concern. Removing things done by a president who was not white is the primary concern of modern Republicans.

  11. >cherry picking a definition of money laundering simply to meet your political positions.

    I objected here when RICO was being used against Greenpeace though politically I tend to be against Greenpeace. I don’t like the idea of Patriot Act being used against strip clubs.
    I’d rather laws not be expanded beyond their intended use.

  12. MikeN opines, “though politically I tend to be against Greenpeace”.

    Of course you are. You are all for evisceration of any constraints in the pursuit of private profit. You believe that corporations should be allowed to run the world, and damn the consequences. You believe that anybody or any organization that opposes this is a communist or a liberal agitator. You believe that humans are exempt form the laws of nature, and that the current neofascists in power in the United States have every right to destroy nature for the short term benefits of Wall Street and the corporate sector. You believe that there’s nothing wrong with a mass extinction event and think that its perfectly feasible for the planet to be covered in a crypt of concrete and computers.

    Over the months that I have been reading your drivel on here your positions have become abundantly clear.

  13. This utterly loony comment sums up MikeN:

    “If he were failing, there wouldn’t be this push for impeachment.
    Scrapping Clean Power Plan, approving pipelines, enforcing immigration law, destroying ISIS, appointing judges who follow the law rather than their personal political preferences(like with the Clean Power Plan).”

    Destroying ISIS? Since when have Trump and his goons fought to destroy ISIS? They are facilitating them, not destroying them. And since when can the rest of the list here be called ‘achievements’? I assume you would call Trump’s cancelling of the EPA program cleaning up Chesapeake Bay – a program that was working – an ‘achievement’. I am sure that you would call his regime quietly delisting as endangered 25 species and populations whose populations are in freefall an ‘achievement’. I am sure that you would call his cutting of corporate tax from 35% to 20% to benefit the crony capitalists and Goldman-Sachs buddies of his who came up with the plan an ‘achievement’. Clearly you think that cutting billions of dollars in funding to maintain and protect national parks and federal lands an ‘achievement’. Given the planet is going to hell in a handbasket, I am sure that you would call Trump’s gutting of environment programs and his clear aim of speeding our descent into the abyss as an ‘achievement’.

    You are a natural comedian, as well as an idiot.

    1. don’t think the activity is illegal just because you didn’t report it.

      Not reporting it makes it illegal under US law, which is why Manafort is in the deep shit now. He broke the law. Why are you defending this behaviour?

    2. I do have a problem with charging Manafort with something that doesn’t normally get people in so much trouble. According to his lawyer, it is about once a decade or so that people are charged and the punishment is minor. It could be because the crime is rare, but we can see that’s not the case since we have Michael Flynn doing the same thing, as well as Podesta’s brother and some Congressman. This is basically a law that is minimally enforced mostly because it’s hard to do. In general, I don’t like the idea that there are lots of crimes, everyone has committed something, and the prosecutor chooses who to pursue.

      I would prefer they go after Manafort for the tax evasion and other items, which presumably they will eventually.

  14. They were not using criminally obtained money. They were merely hiding its use by running it thru a law firm.

    Another thing that never happened.

    1. Funding for the dossier was listed on campaign disclosure forms as ‘legal services’ paid to Perkins Coie.

    2. BBD, that was my point to begin with. I think this specific count is weak, because the money was not criminal to begin with, thus it didn’t need to be laundered.

    3. Charges, plural. I am only contesting the money laundering portion. Manafort committed lots of crimes. However, he did not commit crimes and then try to launder the money made from those crimes. He made money overseas and then committed crimes trying to hide the money.

    4. There are more charges to come. Taxes are not listed in the counts, perhaps due to his status as independent counsel making it harder to charge. Neither is bank fraud, which has the biggest sentence of 20 years, and should have been his first attempt to pressure Manafort.

    5. MikeN

      I don’t think I agree with that. Nor – evidently – does Mueller.

      Manafort:

      – hid what he was really doing for Yanukovych from the US authorities (illegal)

      – hid the consequently-illegal *payments* for what he was doing from the US authorities offshore

      – used the offshore accounts to both fund and anonymise his purchase of properties in the US

      – borrowed against the value of those properties to generate funds in US dollars to which he had direct access

      That’s money laundering and tax evasion. Both criminal offences.

    6. Your jump from step 1 to step 2 is what I question. The actual payments were not illegal and not the source of a criminal enterprise. Not reporting the activity was illegal, but the lobbying itself was not illegal. He was not paid the money to not register as a lobbyist, he was paid the money to lobby on their behalf.
      If I hire a car service is it money laundering by the driver if he then moves the money around to try and hide it, just because the car was unregistered?

    7. MikeN

      Your jump from step 1 to step 2 is what I question. The actual payments were not illegal and not the source of a criminal enterprise. Not reporting the activity was illegal

      Stop there. Not reporting the activity was illegal. From that point, continuing the activity becomes illegal. Any revenues generated are the proceeds of crime.

    8. This is the type of thinking I dislike. Picking a target to put in jail, and then stretching laws past their intent to do so. We heard it with the Trump Jr meeting that it is illegal to receive anything of value from a foreigner, and then trying to define what that meant separate from what the law said(foreigners are allowed to volunteer for a campaign for example).

    9. This is the type of thinking I dislike. Picking a target to put in jail, and then stretching laws past their intent to do so.

      Manafort wasn’t ‘picked’. He broke the law and got caught. No laws were ‘stretched past their intent’. Manafort engaged in illegal activity and tried to *hide* the immense financial gains because he knew he was breaking the law. He was money laundering because clean, legal income does not need to be laundered. As should be obvious to anyone.

      Your defence of this man is incomprehensible and, frankly, offensive.

    10. >clean, legal income does not need to be laundered.

      We agree on this, and is my primary point. We disagree on whether Manafort’s income was legal.

    11. You’re begging the question. I would say his reason was to avoid taxes and registration(most likely this was also to avoid the taxes.

    12. You’re begging the question. I would say his reason was to avoid taxes and registration(most likely this was also to avoid the taxes.

      No I’m not. You on the other hand are refusing to acknowledge the facts, which are, as previously explained:

      Not reporting the activity was illegal. From that point, continuing the activity becomes illegal. Any revenues generated are the proceeds of crime.

      This man is a money laundering, tax evading crook, and you are right in his corner. Why? WTF is wrong with your brain? Serious question.

    13. >Not reporting the activity was illegal.
      >From that point, continuing the activity becomes illegal.
      >Any revenues generated are the proceeds of crime.

      I agree with 1, but not 2 and thus not 3. I get your point, but I think it is stretching the law to find a crime.
      They appear to be doing that right now with the truck driver in New York to get him the federal death penalty. He is being charged with incidental death while attacking a vehicle in interstate transport.

    14. I agree with 1, but not 2 and thus not 3. I get your point, but I think it is stretching the law to find a crime.

      I’m struggling to see how you can do this.

      1/ Not reporting the activity was illegal.

      2/ From that point, continuing the activity becomes illegal.

      3/ Any revenues generated are the proceeds of crime.

      Can you explain the discontinuity between (1) and (2) in detail. Because I really don’t see it.

    15. 1/ Not reporting the activity was illegal.
      2/ From that point, continuing the activity becomes illegal.

      I don’t think the activity is illegal just because you didn’t report it. Not reporting is a separate crime. You also don’t get the money from ‘not reporting’, so the money is not the result of a crime, under my understanding, though if am wrong about 1->2 then it is.

      For the sake of argument, assume there is a specified time frame for reporting the activity under the law. So you have to report within a year all activities as a foreign lobbyist. Then no crime is committed within one year of the start of lobbying. Any continuing actions would be separate lobbying that itself has its own one year time frame.

      On the other hand, if there is no time frame, and you must register immediately, then ‘from that point’ is not needed since if you didn’t report it, under your 1->2 then it is illegal from the beginning.
      So 2/ Should be ‘Continuing the activity becomes illegal.’ or really ‘The activity is illegal.’
      If lobbying as an unregistered agent is a crime, distinct from not registering as a foreign lobbyist, then my objection fails.

    16. I don’t think the activity is illegal just because you didn’t report it.

      Under US law, it is illegal if not reported.

      Not reporting is a separate crime.

      Not reporting is the crime which renders subsequent income from the activity illegal under US law, which is why Manafort tried to launder the money.

      You also don’t get the money from ‘not reporting’, so the money is not the result of a crime, under my understanding, though if am wrong about 1->2 then it is.

      You are wrong about (1) -> (2).

    17. I disagree. It is possible that the act itself is illegal if unreported, in which case 1->2 is moot and money laundering is back on the table. This is separate from ‘not reporting is a criminal act’, which would not automatically make the activity illegal.

    18. You’re ‘argument’ is incomprehensible bollocks. This is the inevitable end-point of any attempt to defend the indefensible.

  15. “…achievements…”

    Yeah, in the the terminology of the stenographic press pool, it simply means that he got his way with something. Success in those terms usually means working well enough with people to get something through congress, but the wingnuts consider it an amazing feat of brilliance if he manages to sign an executive order without using a fat pencil and block letters.

    As someone said, “passionate ignorance and passive information” is at the service of a snake oil salesman. And of course the marks would rather double down on the hooey than face the shame of having been suckered so royally– especially when it’s transparently obvious that Trump is a giant bully-ball of snot and toxic blather. Even more depressing, this kind of stite has been going on for so many decades that by now it’s permanently ingrained habit.

  16. MikeN’s only defense of Trump and his vile criminal gang of goons is to argue that Hillary Clinton is a criminal too, so therefore anything Trump does is OK.

    Let’s be straight to the point. Pretty well everything Trump is doing is criminal because it will have profoundly negative long-lasting consequences on humanity, and especially the poor. His refusal to ratify the Paris agreements – which in reality don’t go nearly far enough – is criminal. His attempt to deregulate the economy for the benefit of the corporate sector is criminal. And his dismantling of the EPA and scrapping of many of its programs is criminal. History will judge him and his neofascist regime as supremely criminal.

    To be honest, I cannot understand why anyone outside of the richest 1% of society would actually vote for such a sexist, elitist, misogynistic creep as Donald Trump. If MikeN is one of these people, then I can – just- comprehend it. But my very educated guess is that MikeN is one of the Joe Public’s like thsi rest of us. For supporting Trump this suggests that he is very clearly in need of medical attention.

    1. Jeff

      Did you see this article* about the decades of mafiya money propping up Trump’s failing businesses? I knew bits of this, but dear God…

      How the fuck could America elect this man president? You couldn’t make this up. Eat your heart out, James Ellroy.

      And how could anyone believe that Trump wasn’t absolutely compromised by his long-term involvement with filthy Russian money?

      *Thanks to Metzomagic for posting it up on the other Mueller thread.

    2. Trump wanted to start a casino in Australia and was refused a licence because of mafia connections the AFP ( from memory, maybe it was ASIO or somesuch ) discovered .
      Just throwing this into the mafiya mix….

  17. Notice how one of the resident right wing dipsticks on here, MikeN, will only discuss the judicial aspects as to what constitutes legal or illegal activities. This definition is of course flawed, because under Nazi law persecution of Jews, Romani, Sinti etc. was legal. Laws can be twisted to conform to anything deemed legitimate by those in power or under their constitution.

    Trump and his swamp goons are pursuing an agenda that will leave a profoundly harmful legacy on future generations, all for the benefits of a tiny ruling elite. They are systematically destroying regulations aimed to protect the vulnerable in society and the environment, all in the aim of further empowering the corporate sector. It’s criminal, for sure, even if it doesn’t fall under the banner of official law.

    1. Notice how one of the resident right wing dipsticks on here, MikeN, will only discuss the judicial aspects as to what constitutes legal or illegal activities.

      And he can’t even make that stick. It really is desperate lunacy, arguing black is white in the face of the self-evident.

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