Trump’s Continues to Make Mockery of Pardon Process Absolving Manafort, Stone and Jared Kushner’s Dad

There are many inmates with intriguing cases hoping for a presidential pardon. Unfortunately for them, many are neither Republicans or close personal friends to Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, the president delivered pardons to disgraced politicians Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter. He also absolved the war atrocities of Blackwater contractors.

On Wednesday night, Trump continued to make a mockery of the pardon process. This time the recipients included Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Jared Kushner‘s father.

Kushner’s father has already served his time. Charles Kushner was convicted in 2005 of convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The business mogul at one point hired a prostitute to entrap his brother in law.

Manafort, who ran Trump’s campaign for a time in 2016, had numerous issue associated with his dealings in Russia and the Ukraine. The former political operative had been sentenced to 90 months in prison.

Earlier this year, Trump stepped in to rescue Stone with a commutation weeks before he was set to go to prison. Stone, however, has continued to argue that he needed a pardon as well to further protect him. Trump was happy to again step in and reward his “dirty trickster.”

This is a still developing story with more to come shortly.

Opinion: Why Trump Must Be Disgraced To Save American Politics

President-Elect Joe Biden has reportedly expressed concerns about the many possible criminal prosecutions of Trump distracting from his presidential mission.  Just as Barack Obama declined to pursue prosecution against the Bush-Cheney regime for its outright lies about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, leading us into a prolonged and unnecessary war with Iraq, costing thousands of American lives and billions of dollars that could have supported Americans at home, so to has Biden expressed an interest in moving forward and not prosecuting the past. read more

Paul Manafort Gets Released from Federal Prison Due to Coronavirus Fears

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted in August 2018 on eight charges of tax and bank fraud related to work conducted in Ukraine and sentenced to 7 1/2 months in prison, has been granted a release as the novel coronavirus spreads in prisons.

Manafort was released from a federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, early this morning. Manafort was slated to be released from prison in November 2024, according to the Bureau of Prisons, but will serve out the rest of his sentence in home confinement.

Manafort’s attorneys have in recent months cited Manafort’s reportedly failing health and requested that he be immediately transferred to home confinement because he is considered high-risk due to his age and preexisting conditions. Manafort, who takes multiple medications for various ailments, was hospitalized for several days in December due to a “cardiac event.”

“We write on behalf of our client to request that the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) immediately transfer Mr. Manafort to home confinement to serve the remainder of his sentence or, alternatively, for the duration of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with Attorney General William Barr’s directives to the BOP on March 26 and April 3, 2020, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020,” attorneys Kevin Downing and Todd Blanche wrote in an April 13 letter obtained by ABC News.

Although Manafort has only served about 30 percent of his sentence, prison officials are given a wide berth in deciding whether to move inmates to home confinement. The Justice Department last month issued a clarification regarding home confinement policy for certain inmates after its conflicting messages sparked controversy.

“[Bureau of Prisons] is at this time prioritizing for consideration those inmates who either (1) have served 50% or more of their sentences, or (2) have 18 months or less remaining in their sentences and have served 25% or more of their sentences,” DOJ prosecutors wrote in a court filing in the Southern District of New York last month. “As BOP processes the inmates eligible for home confinement under these criteria and learns more about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on BOP facilities, it is assessing whether and how to otherwise priority consideration.”

Report: ‘New Signs’ Show Mueller’s Report Is ‘Coming Soon’

The signs are mounting that special counsel Robert Mueller may soon be issuing a report with the findings from his investigation which has been going on nearly two years.

The past week was a very eventful one for Mueller and his team of investigators, and there were several clues that their work may soon conclude with a final report to the Justice Department (DOJ).


Last Wednesday federal judge Amy Berman Jackson

gave a second prison sentence to Paul Manafort, read more

SNL: ‘Manafort Stole $50 Million and Basically Got Sent to College.’

Manafort on SNL

Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” hosts had some choice words concerning the “slap on the wrist sentence” given to President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

They said that Manafort being sent to a “white man’s prison” is about the same thing as being sent away to college for four years.

“Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost opened the segment by pointing out how Trump and his supporters were able to claim victory after receiving what should have been bad news:

“Well, here’s how bad Donald Trump’s presidency is going. His campaign manager was just sentenced to four years in prison. And for Trump that is good news.” read more

Analysis: Today’s Mueller Memo on Manafort Crimes May Prove Collusion

All of Washington is waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. Rumors are that Mueller could submit a report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as early as next week. If that happens, it would bring to a close what the president refers to as a “witch hunt.” In fact, it is an investigation that has dominated headlines for nearly two years.

But today Mueller will file with a federal court a document which may reveal a great deal of information about the alleged collusion. Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for Paul Manafort is due to a federal judge in DC District Court before midnight today.

The will be the last major court filing in Mueller’s lengthy Manafort prosecution and it could be a bombshell.

The probe of Trump’s one-time campaign manager has led investigators to compile a huge amount of information about Manafort’s secret bank accounts, his Ukrainian political work, and his underhanded activities while serving on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

In the sentencing memorandum prosecutors will outline in detail all facts they believe the federal judge should take into account before his sentencing (which is now set for March 13.)

This means Mueller will disclose what he knows about Manafort’s criminal business schemes, his contacts with key Russians after he was arrested and

the lies he told to prosecutors read more

Mueller Probe Will Make a Profit As Feds Sell Off Manafort’s Assets

The federal government will soon begin selling off Paul Manafort’s assets which he accumulated after decades of shady and illegal lobbying work. After the process is completed it is expected that Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election will have made a profit, bringing in more money than it has cost.

This will shock the man who is the subject of the Mueller probe, President Donald Trump, who last fall tweeted:

When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!”

When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous! read more

Ex-GOP Congressman Says Trump Presidency Won’t Survive 2019

A former GOP member of Congress has predicted that Donald Trump will leave the White House “soon” in a “spectacular political crash-and-burn” set to take place during 2019.

John LeBoutillier, who was a Republican representative in New York City back in the 1980’s, made his prediction in a column for The Hill.

LeBoutillier wrote in his op-ed piece:

Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019. The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon.” read more

AP: Trump Aides ‘Caught in Web of Deception’ About Russia

Special Counsel Bob Mueller has slowly been disclosing a very broad and extensive pattern of deception by Donald Trump’s aides and associates, according to the Associated Press. Seemingly everyone involved tried to cover up Russian contacts during the 2016 campaign and transition period, the AP reported.

Most observers have said that they have never seen so many people lying so extensively while attempting to hide the truth in such a situation.

The large number of lies to the FBI and to Congress, instead of covering up the truth, have raised new questions, leading to new insights about Trump‘s connections to Russia.

What has emerged is “a portrait of aides eager to protect the president and the administration by concealing communications they presumably recognized as problematic,”according to the AP.

The false statements by so many witnesses highlight Mueller’s mission, which is to cut through the lies as he seeks the truth of what happened between the Trump campaign and Russia. This is the only way he will be able to establish the existence of a conspiracy to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s investigation has been seeking truthful answers to the following key questions:

  1. Why did the incoming Trump administration discouraged Russia from retaliating over sanctions imposed for election hacking;
  2. Who knew about illegally obtained Democratic emails, and when did they know it; and
  3. How were plans made for a Trump Tower in Moscow and who was involved in these plans?

Daniel Petalas, a defense lawyer and former Justice Department prosecutor pointed out that when so many lies are told by so many people, it indicates that they are covering up some extremely important information.

According to Petalas:

“You can draw a conclusion that these false statements generally relate to an effort to protect the president of the United States in connection with his dealings with Russia. That’s what makes them material to the investigation that Mueller is pursuing, which is a necessary element of a false statement claim — that it has to be material.”

Examples of Trump associates lying include:

  • Trump‘s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations he had on Trump‘s behalf for a real estate deal in Moscow.
  • George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about April 2016 conversations with a Maltese professor who told him Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”
  • Trump‘s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, admitting lying to the FBI by saying he didn’t discuss sanctions against Russia during the transition with Sergey Kislyak.
  • Prosecutors this week accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of lying even after his guilty plea, though they have not said about what.
  • A draft plea agreement against another Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, accused him of misrepresenting a conversation with Trump confidant Roger Stone about WikiLeaks, which released thousands of stolen emails in the run-up to the election to harm the Clinton campaign.

Perjury charges can be powerful tools for prosecutors, especially in investigations where witnesses are openly adversarial. In the Mueller investigation, Trump’s associates have been emboldened by the president’s antagonist stance. Many may have expected to be supported by Trump, and even

receive presidential pardons. read more

How Bob Mueller Can Use Paul Manafort to Bypass Matthew Whitaker

Many people are very worried about Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation. Some people are worried that Donald Trump will undercut Mueller by issuing pardons. As Jason Easley from PoliticusUSA wrote yesterday:

Democrats have been expecting that Trump would try to abuse the pardon power to obstruct justice since the Mueller investigation began. House Democrats are more than ready for Trump if he pardons Paul Manafort. It is clear that Trump is attempting to suffocate Robert Mueller’s investigation before Democrats have a chance to take power in January.”

Many people have also been worried that Trump appointed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for the purpose of stifling (or ending) Mueller’s investigation.

One aspect of this is the belief that Whitaker, as the acting head of the U.S. Department of Justice, has the power to prevent Mueller’s final Russia report from going public.

We know that Trump and other Republicans want to bury Mueller’s findings, but will they be able to use Whitaker to do that?

According to legal observers, that will not be easy to do. And in fact Mueller yesterday made clear that he plans to publicize his findings with respect to the case against Paul Manafort. His team filed a status report on Monday which included this language:

“The government will file a detailed sentencing submission to the Probation Department and the Court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein.”

Yesterday’s Manafort news shows that there is a golden opportunity for Robert Mueller to address several aspects of the Russia investigation through a court filing. And he said he would do that with respect to Manafort when he wrote he “will file a detailed sentencing submission.”

In the past Mueller has released extensive grand jury information to the public in the form of extremely long and detailed indictment documents. These are called Mueller’s “speaking indictments.” 

The Manafort document will similarly detail his lies and provide the public with a large amount of information. It won’t be an “indictment,” but it will be a very long, detailed, written narrative of the special counsel’s findings that will become a part of public record. And Matthew Whitaker won’t be able to stop Mueller from making this information public.

The reason this is important is that Paul Manafort is the central figure in the entire Mueller probe into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. For example:

Paul Manafort had extensive Ukrainian lobbying connections, where he worked with allies and associates of Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs.
As Trump’s campaign chairman for five months in 2016 he was present during key moments when alleged collusion took place, such as the 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer meeting about “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Manafort also is very close to his former lobbying partner Roger Stone, and they may have information Mueller can use to

prove the connection between Russian hackers, Wikileaks, and the Trump campaign. read more

U.S. Treasury official charged with leaks linked to Russia probe

By Brendan Pierson and Sarah N. Lynch

NEW YORK/ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) – A U.S. Treasury Department official has been criminally charged with leaking confidential documents relating to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others to a reporter from digital media company BuzzFeed, Manhattan federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Natalie May Edwards, a senior adviser in the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), was arrested on Tuesday and charged with unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports and with conspiracy, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to cooperate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia. Prosecutors said Edwards leaked documents that became the basis of BuzzFeed articles about that investigation.

In federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan ordered that Edwards, 40, be released after surrendering her passport and posting a $100,000 bond.

Edwards’ lawyer, Peter Greenspun, declined to speak to reporters at the hearing.

Stephen Hudak, a spokesman for FinCEN, said Edwards had been placed on administrative leave.

Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for BuzzFeed, had no immediate comment.

In an interview with federal investigators on Tuesday, Edwards said she was a “whistleblower” who made the disclosures for “record keeping,” according to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors.

Information from the disclosures was reported in 11 articles that appeared in Buzzfeed over the course of a year, prosecutors said.

Suspicious activity reports are submitted by banks to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions. Prosecutors said beginning in October 2017, Edwards disclosed suspicious activity reports connected to Manafort, Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina, the Russian embassy and a unit of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a corporation owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv.

Prosecutors said Edwards saved the confidential reports on a flash drive and sent them to the BuzzFeed reporter using an encrypted messaging application.

Prosecutors also said in the complaint that the reporter exchanged encrypted messages with an unnamed associate director at FinCEN to whom Edwards reports, who was not charged in the case. Hudak and Richard Delmar, a spokesman for the Treasury Department’s internal investigative unit, both declined to comment on the allegations involving the associate director.

Butina was ordered jailed in July while she awaits trial.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York and Sarah N. Lynch in Alexandria, Virginia; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Tom Brown and Richard Chang)

GOP Called a ‘Criminal Enterprise’ While Leaders Go AWOL

What’s bad for Donald Trump is bad for the Republican Party, and yesterday was a horrible day for Donald Trump.

Republicans are suffering because they have allowed Trump to do a hostile takeover of their party. And now, like it or not, when people think of the Grand Old Party they think of Trump.

This is when we need to remember the old saying: “you are known by the company you keep.” Most of Trump’s associates are headed to jail, or will soon be indicted. And Trump himself may be charged with multiple crimes in the near future. Therefore the GOP has been tainted, and many Americans now consider it the party of corruption.

Yesterday we found out that two of the president’s top associates will be spending time in prison, and his former attorney said he would testify that the president himself was involved in a criminal conspiracy.

On top of that, Trump’s first two GOP congressional supporters have been

charged with corruption. read more