back to article Manafort, Stone, Trump, Papadopoulos, Kushner, Mueller, Russia: All the tech angles in one place

Where to begin? Former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos – no, not that one – has been turned by ex-FBI director Robert Mueller as part of the latter's investigation into Trump campaign team members. Mueller is probing allegations of obstruction of justice, money laundering and other financial crimes, and …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

    Twitter, Facebook, Skype: they are all wonderful sources of evidence.

    Indeed. It is surprising how incompetent were some of the people involved to use any one of these and leave a trail of evidence as wide and long as the Chicago Loop on them.

    The money laundering and tax aspect is quite interesting though. Reminds me of Al Capone and his demise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

      Dude, get with the program.

      FTA: "Mueller is probing allegations of obstruction of justice."

      That's ALL he's got, obstruction. It's the usual charge when Republicans can't be charged with an actual crime. What happened to the "Russia" thing, hmmm? Oh that's right, it turns out it's Mueller and Hillary and Comey who are joined at the hip with Putin, not Trump after all! Better not mention those old "Russia bought Trump" charges any more. Kinda like avoiding words "Global Warming" in favor of "Climate Change."

      Oh wait, Mueller still has that slimy "dossier" of lies Hillary's lawyer paid for, doesn't he? That 9 million dollar slander sheet Hillary (or someone) used as an excuse to make Mueller's FBI open an investigation against an enemy candidate? That's the crime that's gonna finally stick on her, you watch. Mueller's going down too, and he knows it, hence this flailing attempt to shift focus back onto the designated perp, meaning the President.

      The fact that Mueller hasn't resigned yet, given his extreme and obvious conflicts of interest, pretty much proves he's attacking now to block any possibility that he and his co-conspirators might have to face justice some day. Get back to me when you or Mueller have anything real to pin on Trump, okay, VRH?

      1. baspax

        Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        You are delusional

      2. scarletherring

        Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        "Kinda like avoiding words "Global Warming" in favor of "Climate Change."

        Oh, thanks BJ -- What a perfect example of exactly the kind of dim-witted deflection Kieren was talking about.

        That was a *Republican* sleight of words, from this particularly slimy (even for GOP) character:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz#Global_warming

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        @BJ, I know that cannabis is slowly being legalised across the US but I think it's better if you start smoking after posting, not before.

        Whatever it is that you're on, it's not helping.

      4. nsld

        Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        @ Big John

        Paddle faster, I hear banjos........

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @Voland's right hand -- Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

      Al Capone for the money aspect but I was thinking the playbook for Watergate and RMN from the sound of this: Deny, obscure, misdirect, and lastly resign. It should be enlightening to see how all this pans out. Popcorn anyone?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: @Voland's right hand -- What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        Poor Big John, all he can do is repeat the lies of Fox News until eventually even they will find it impossible to defend the orange snowflake any longer.

    3. Dr Stephen Jones

      Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

      We already knew Manafort was suspected of money laundering and tax evasion in 2014, when the FBI opened its investigation into him. So in almost a year Mueller has added nothing new. Nothing juicy and Russian.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

        We already knew Manafort was suspected of money laundering and tax evasion in 2014

        Hmmm. How exactly does that help Trump? I hired a guy to head my campaign for President who was already under investigation for serious criminal offences.

        Oh and to ice that cake had just stopped working as a political advisor for a Russian backed government that got deposed after it ordered the use of snipers on (mostly) peaceful demonstrators. At which point El Presidente had to run away in order to avoid the angry mob.

        That's already not looking too great - even without finding new things out. If there are new things too - then it just keeps on getting worse.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Who hired Manafort?

          Manafort was the campaign manager but was not paid by Trump or the Trump campaign. I cannot imagine him contributing his time out of the kindness of his heart, so who was he working for?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

          Interestingly enough, almost the entire Washington DC lobbyist world works in exactly the same way as Manafort. Almost nobody registers despite the l;aw requiring because that law is almost never enforced. To coin a phrase, it's a swamp there.

          The Podestas are in exactly the same position, and yet one of them was the head of the DNC. Do you think it likely we'll see a prosecution of one or both of them ? Or is Mueller simply on an anti-Trump rampage ?

          Given that we have some pretty clear evidence that there was collusion with the Russians in the form of the Steele Dossier (where Steele claims his sources were highly placed Russian officials), where is Mueller ? Most likely, he's simply protecting his own (and especially his good friend Comey's) arse over fall out from the Dossier and Uranium One in which both are complicit.

          Maybe we'll be surprised and he'll do a bi-partisan job of it, but I won't be holding my breath.

          What I think is needed is a new special counsel tasked with investigating Mueller, Comey, and others for conspiracy to obstruct and pervert justice. The criminal leaking of information on Meuller's investigation (to CNN in fact) to take the pressure off the building narrative around who paid for the Steele Dossier, the bringing of charges unrelated to his remit (investigating Manafort's lobbying on behalf of the Ukraine is NOT related to Russian interference in the election) and the so far extreme partisan nature of the investigation speaks volumes. Investigate Mueller, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts you could find a slew of crimes to charge him with as well.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

            Investigate Mueller, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts you could find a slew of crimes to charge him with as well.

            Really? You come and try that one here? You are aware that we are used to handling BS as a side effect of our job, right?

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    Um, pardon?

    I can't help wondering someone from Mr. Trump's office will be getting in touch with the various players in this saga, particularly the ones who might know some things about stuff just to let them know there will be Presidential pardons all 'round, if needed.

    After all, various presidents have been know to override the legal system if it is in their best interest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um, pardon?

      Tell me, how does one issue a pardon when one is no longer president? because that's where this is leading.

      Anon for obvious reasons.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Um, pardon?

      Manafort is also facing charges in the state of New York. Presidential pardons only work for federal crimes.

      Not to mention that presidential pardons can't be kept secret, and issuing them for people caught up in this would be pretty much like admitting guilt on his part.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Um, pardon?

        Yeah, but Trump has been "pretty much admitting guilt" to lots of things for years now, and it hasn't greatly harmed him yet.

        He could pardon all three of these guys right here and now, that would remove the FBI's leverage over them. Then he could pre-emptively pardon - basically, everyone who was ever involved in his campaign. Then he could pardon himself - yes, that's a thing, he can pardon anyone for anything right up to the moment he gets impeached, which won't happen because it would mean the entire Republican party admitting the guy who looked and talked and acted like a crook, but they backed anyway - really was a crook.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Um, pardon?

          He could pardon all three of these guys right here and now, that would remove the FBI's leverage over them.

          No, that's why Mueller started to look at NY state law - he outflanked Trump's ability to pardon people that way. It does mean that the NY State lawyer gets to do the indicting, but it doesn't stop proceedings.

          Then he could pre-emptively pardon - basically, everyone who was ever involved in his campaign.

          No, pardons have to be specific. You cannot pardon "all boy scouts of Texas" or "everyone who helped me with those Russians". Besides, doing that would be (a) a tacit admission of guilt and (b) pointless because Mueller would then simply continue along NY State law violations which a pardon doesn't touch (but it does change the shape a bit as charges at State level are different).

          Mueller is *WAY* ahead of Trump and his lawyers, this isn't exactly his first rodeo.

    3. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @Re: Um, pardon? ".........will be Presidential pardons all 'round, if needed."

      That is likely the explanation for why the charges that Mueller has brought so far are under New York state law and not Federal law. I.e. So far El Orange is not in a position to deploy his main get out of jail free card.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: @Um, pardon? ".........will be Presidential pardons all 'round, if needed."

        Where did you read any of the charges were under New York state law? AFAIK all of these were federal charges. Mueller is only responsible for investigations at the federal level, the New York state attorney general is the one responsible for investigating crimes under their laws. Obviously they would be in communication, but people don't surrender themselves to the FBI for state crimes.

        The state of New York has some pretty strict laws regarding money laundering, because it is a favorite location for buying real estate, art, jewelry, etc. with laundered money. Manafort purchased property in the state of New York using laundered money, and also left a massive paper trail where he was paying for everything from ties to groundkeepers via wire transfers from a foreign account. Even drug kingpins aren't that stupid! The NY state AG can get him for that and Trump can't bail him out with a pardon, so any promises either explicit or implied that Trump would save his ass are worthless. They seem to have enough on him to put him for the rest of his life. He'll end up cooperating, he has no choice.

  3. handleoclast Silver badge
    Coat

    Covksucker

    In one of Roger Stone's tweets that got him kicked off Twatter, he called somebody a "covksucker."

    Perhaps this goes some way to explaining Trump's "covfefe" tweet.

    Oh well, it's time to stock up on popcorn and beer then sit back to watch the show. I don't even like popcorn. In fact I detest the stuff. But it's traditional.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Covksucker

      You will need a BelAz full of popcorn for this one. It will go on and on and on and on until the heat death of the universe. In addition to that, there will be charges waiting for Hillary straight after that. End of the day she got money directly from dubious characters in Ukraine for public appearances in addition to millions donated to her foundation.

      The only winner here will be one particular character who likes riding bare chested and playing hockey in the veteran's league. Out of all Soviet and Russian destabilization operations against foreign "democracies" this one is so far the most successful - it will ensure that Yanks are engaged in ritual purging for the next 10 years or so and see an enemy behind every bush and in every shadow from there onwards. It will also give EVERY government worldwide the justification to hang and quarter anyone who has taken the American penny to "promote democracy" and there is very little US will be able to say about it.

  4. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Wait so,

    A special inquiry/commission/investigation found out that some politicians are corrupt and colluded with anyone that could help them win an election. these same politicians when finally caught in the headlights are now trying to talk themselves out of any wrong doing.

    Well colour me FUCKING surprised.

    Does anyone actually believe that any political "leader" from any country on either side of the aisle is even relatively clean. Trump and Clinton are corrupt as each other. Here in Australia we have Barnaby Joyce, Oh sorry, I forgot, I'm also a Kiwi. My bad. It's not like I did anything wrong , Honest.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      @ FozzyBear

      To be fair to both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bush, the corruption is built into the US political system, particularly since the Supreme Court ruled that unlimited campaign finance was a feature, not a bug.

      As for your own situation, as an interested outsider it seems to me that the problem with the Liberal/National coalition is that the various factions within it hate each other more than they hate Labor, so they're happy to undermine the other side's candidate and you've wound up with 30* Prime Ministers in the last 5 years.

      *(Or whatever the number is, I'm not that interested).

    2. veti Silver badge
      Devil

      To be fair to Barnaby Joyce, his situation isn't unusual.

      Under current New Zealand law, every Australian citizen has the right to live, work, own property and vote in New Zealand without a work permit or any other special paperwork. In other words, they have all the rights and privileges that New Zealand citizens have.

      And the Australian constitution says that one can't be an MP if one "is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power".

      So if being an NZ citizen is enough to disqualify you, then so is "having the rights or privileges" of an NZ citizen. Which means that every Australian citizen needs to be disqualified.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Lovely piece of writing, Kieren; reminiscent of Ken White's coverage of Prenda Law.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Holmes

      Indeed. Expect The Usual Suspects to come along shortly to lambast him for blatant partisanship. For example, why is he not reporting on the fact that Fox News has just today called into question Bob Mueller's reputation?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        TW, let me put a couple real question to you.

        Mueller was head of the FBI when this laughable dossier was used to make his agency open an investigation of a presidential candidate. This same dossier was so ridiculous that for four months the Dems could not get any reputable news org to print it, until the bottom feeders at Buzzfeed finally did, just before the election. To this day it reads like some twisted fantasy direct from a Kilgore Trout novel.

        So, TW, was it okay for that dossier to be used as the trigger for a full FBI investigation? Or is Trump so very evil that any means, fair or foul, are legit when going after him? And how is it legit for that same FBI head to now be conducting an endless examination into Trump, one that's now abandoned any Russia angle completely and instead focuses on obstruction of HIM?

        1. veti Silver badge
          FAIL

          Big John, I think you're getting your FBI directors mixed up.

          Mueller stepped down as director in 2013, some 3 years before the Washington Free Beacon commissioned "this laughable dossier".

          When it was passed to the FBI - by a Republican senator - what do you suggest they should have done with it? Ignored it? Buried it? Laughed at it? No, they did their job, which was to investigate - without, be it noted, publicising the fact that they were doing so.

          And now a totally different FBI head is conducting an examination into Trump. To call it "endless" seems a bit premature, when the Whitewater investigation went on for more than 4 years, and the Benghazi attacks were investigated by five separate House committees over 2 years. Mueller has already acquired more indictments, with less resources and in a quarter of the time, than all of those committees put together.

          Given that the indictments so far handed down include charges of "lying to the FBI about meetings with known Russian agents" and "acting on behalf of Russian-affiliated Ukrainian politicians", it also seems a bit - well, not to put too fine a point on it, false - to claim that it's "abandoned any Russia angle completely".

          Please rephrase to clarify - exactly what the heck point you're trying to make.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > "...3 years before the Washington Free Beacon commissioned "this laughable dossier"."

            You're determined to stick with that lie? Evidence please or STFU.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              So wait, you're trying to rewrite the timeline on the dossier and claim it was commissioned in 2013 or earlier, before Trump was even a candidate? I think it is you that has to provide evidence please or STFU. Nice job following your party's playbook and trying to muddy the waters with lies, I'm sure your check is in the mail!

              They've been slowly connecting the dots in that dossier and finding it isn't laughable at all, they've verified parts of it and haven't found anything yet which has been proven to be untrue. Given Trump's obsession with Obama, I wouldn't be surprised if even the most salacious detail was true, though that's not something that could ever be proven unless a video surfaced.

              1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
                Black Helicopters

                re: Given Trump's obsession with Obama

                Don't you mean

                Given Trump's obsession with Hillary and to a lesser extent Obama?

                The Trumpster seems to blow his top everytime one of his 'friends' gets sacked/resigns/charged and blames Hillary and the fact that she isn't in Gitmo for all the woes falling on him and those around him.

                Talk about a sore winner.

            2. baspax

              Because Steve Bannon is declaring war against conservative billionaire (and activist investor) Paul Elliot Singer for financing the research via the Free Beacon.

              I repeat, you delusional.

            3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              @BJ - Evidence please

              Oh - the irony.

            4. 1962rocketgoldstar

              You're thinking of Comey, dude. Mueller got replaced by Comey in 2013.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Veti, you're making a standard mistake. Steele was hired AFTER the Washington Beacon withdrew from funding Fusion GPS. You like many others want to blame republicans for the dossier, but they have NOTHING to do with it. The Beacon employed Fusion GPS to investigate Trump during the primaries, and when Trump became the putative nominee (everyone else had withdrawn - before the convention formalised it) they stopped funding Fusion. At that point, Steele had NOT been contracted by Fusion.

            Fusion then contacted the DNC and Clinton campaigns and was paid to continue the research into Trump. At that point they contacted and employed Steele. So the Steele Dossier is entirely the responsibility of the DNC, the Clinton Campaign, and also it appears the Obama campaign apparatus was paying Fusion via the same lawyers.

            Steele claims to have sources within the current Russian government, that's what the dossier itself claims. If true (and many of the same people here were claiming it is/was true) then that represents a clear case of collusion, no ? If you want to claim the Trump Junior's meeting with a "Kremlin connected" lawyer (who worked, BTW, with Fusion) is evidence of "potential" (and most of you go further than that), then gathering the information in the Steele Dossier from actual Russian officials is slam-dunk collusion, No ? Paid for by the DNC, Clinton's and Obama (via a lawyer bagman to evade scrutiny, and not declared as is required by the law, more criminal wrong-doing), who *must be* investigated or the whole Mueller team is irretrievably partisan and corrupt, no ?

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        > expect The Usual Suspects to come along shortly

        Well you certainly called that: Big John was the very next reply, bringing his usual but-but-benghazi dross with him, with bombastic bob to follow. All we need now is Matt Bryant for the nutjob trifecta.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US politicians are corrupt liars

    Shocker!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US politicians are corrupt liars

      US politicians are corrupt liars

      Even THAT they didn't really invent - that was known well before some poor chap got nailed to a cross and joined a choir.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Devil

    I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

    I'm waiting for this crap to settle down and the journalists to stop panting over material they barely comprehend. But I hear the ties are far more to Ukraine (which is not Russia since the coming of the Freedoms and various ugly events involving Nazis that shall not be mentioned) than to Russia.

    A political job, dragging in dirt? Of course not! How could that be!

    Btw, I wonder whether anyone has been looking into activies of AIPAC influence peddling recently. No. I don't think so either.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

      not even ARTFULLy applied. This whole thing is a ginormous *YAWN*

      consider the timing, as all last week the uncovering of the "log vs mote" comparison between Mrs. Clinton, the DNC, and the Obaka administration with regards to "Uranium One" and the fake "dossier" that suggested that Trump hired prostitutes to pee on a bed that Obaka had allegedly slept in, and the highway-sized money trail surrounding the entire mess [this would be the "log sized" part], and compared to ONE GUY who pleads guilty (of 'lying' aka 'getting a detail wrong'), another guy who's brought up on charges involving (basically) ADMINISTRATIVE "crimes", and failing to file his paperwork regarding being a foreign agent, yotta yotta bullshit [that would be "the mote"].

      Those who do not understand the reference, research "mote" and "log". It's in the bible someplace. basically, it's about hypocrisy. One person with a log jammed in his eye tries to get the spec of dust "aka 'mote'" out of another person's eye. but that obvious log just keeps getting in the way, aside from the fact that the 'mote' appears to ALSO be some form of SAWDUST, meaning that it's a teeny little problem of the same nature as that GINORMOUS problem that the "log in the eye" person has.

      And so it is with the Demo-rats, who are WAY guilty of the *kinds* of things that they accuse Republicans (and particularly Trump) of doing.

      What a BUNCH of HYPOCRITES! And now Mueller comes along with a DIVERSION, expecting everyone to go "ooh, shiny" and look the other way.

      Sad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

        I rather like the fake "Uranium One" scandal. That is such blatant and clear bullshit that it is hard to believe that it is that what they're going with as diversion. If that is the best they can do, they are in real trouble.

        Whatever they're paying you @BJ, it's not enough.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

          Uranium One is not fake, however much you want to believe it. The origin and the Clinton's involvement goes back a long way. The start of the saga is with the looting of Kazakh uranium assets back in the 1990's - they were sold for $100K and finished up in a shell company owned by a Canadian. Bill Clinton was involved in the various mechanisms used in laundering the money through various companies and received significant "donations" to the Clinton Foundation for his role. Uranium one was a Canadian company that was backed into one of the original "owners" of the Kazakh assets to help sanitize the ownership. The original U1 company is the one that owned the US uranium assets. Various Russian companies acquired 19.99% of the enlarged U1 and then wanted to to a full takeover, which is where they needed US government approval to do so. That's when Bill Clinton was involved again because the same Canadian friend wanted to cash out of U1 and because of the still doubtful nature of the Kazakh assets that formed the majority of the value of U1, Russian money seemed like the best strategy. The US assets are just a small part of it, and if they really were the issue they could have been hived off into a separate company and not included in the sale.

          The real scandal is about money laundering and influence peddling, not the sale of the US Uranium assets per se. A genuine investigation into this would most probably reveal the Cliton's role, though i doubt that much by way of written or recorded records remain to be discovered as the Clinton's certainly know how to to get rid of inconvenient records. However a lot of this info is already in the public record and quite a bit of the trail could be reconstructed if an investigator was appointed.

          There's also the parallel matter that Rosatom, the Russian group that bought U1 was involved in a significant amount of bribery and corruption in the US around 2009-10 and on, relating to the transport of Uranium in the US. This was the subject of an FBI investigation that, according to the NYT revealed significant wrong-doing yet the investigation was suppressed by the then director Mueller. No action was taken and the case passed onto Comey when he took over, and the case was shelved. This is now the subject of a Senate enquiry with a former whistleblower due to give evidence.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

            Uranium One is not fake, however much you want to believe it. The origin and the Clinton's involvement goes back a long way.

            I think the Washington Post did quite a good job of pulling the various strands apart to show that none of them connected.

            In a nutshell, (1) Clinton wasn't involved in the decision, and the approval was across so many different agencies that corrupting that process would have been impossible, (2) it's nowhere near 20% and (3) the uranium cannot be exported because they don't have a license for that - nor have they ever applied for it, they only dig up yellowcake and sell it locally, in the US.

            So it really IS no big deal, even if Trump & friends are desperate to try and make it into one. As I said before, if that's the best they've got in the category whatabouterism they really are in dire straits (not the pop group).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied

      But I hear the ties are far more to Ukraine (which is not Russia since the coming of the Freedoms and various ugly events involving Nazis that shall not be mentioned) than to Russia

      Half of the mob there is aligned to Russian interest, the other half is against because it just lost significant investments in Donbass and Crimea. Simply a matter which part of the mob is paying the bills.

      By the way - both mobs were involved in the US election. It was not solely the pro-Russian one.

  8. FatGerman

    So, er,

    ... where's Bombastic Bob today then?

    1. ST Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: So, er,

      > where's Bombastic Bob today then?

      His sidekick is filling-in for him today. See the post titled I smell unbelievable bullshit, artfully applied above.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So, er,

      sometimes I have work to do.

      glad to see I have a fan club

    3. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: So, er,

      I miss amanfrommars sometimes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, er,

        I do too. He made a lot more sense than the modern left these days.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confused

    Let me see if I have this right.

    Some Russian hucksters contacted the Trump campaign offering dirt on his opponent - with the aim of extracting money no doubt. Some clown from the Trump campaign took the bait and met the Russians in a hotel room.

    No details of the information passed (if any) is known, but it is now it is a major issue. No further wrong-doing on the part of the campaign appears to be alleged.

    On the other side, the other campaign paid a former MI6 officer in London to put together a dossier about their opponent, which the ex-MI6 guy seemed to mix up with the script of the porn movie he was writing. This dossier was taken very seriously, so seriously that members of congress travel the the UK to investigate.

    Then we have the question of the minuscule payment that "hacked the electorate" losing Scarlett Overkill, I mean the Democratic Party candidate, her rightful apotheosis in the White House.

    I really think the US would be much better served if their public representative and officials put their energies into trying to solve real problems such as the enormous incarceration rates, rural poverty, the screwed up health care system, Harvey Weinstein...

    1. veti Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Confused

      No, you don't really have that straight.

      First paragraph: yep, that looks about right.

      Second paragraph is where it starts to fall down. "No details of the information passed (if any)" - actually, some of those details have come to light, and others will likely follow. "No further wrong-doing" - yeah, actually quite a lot of that is alleged. Just not yet at the stage of indictment, because the investigation is ongoing.

      Third paragraph: you neglect to mention that the "other side" took up the idea of paying the former MI6 officer from a conservative website. When Trump looked set to become the Republican nominee, the former sponsors promptly dropped the project, and its erstwhile subcontractors looked around for a new client, and found - the DNC. Note that, assuming this account is wholly accurate, it doesn't imply that either the author of the dossier or the DNC did anything wrong.

      (Nor did the original conservative website, for that matter. Researching your opponents is a totally valid thing to do. What matters is whose help you accept in doing it, and on what terms.)

      Fourth paragraph: now I'm not even sure what you're talking about. By "miniscule payment", do you mean the small amounts of advertising spending that have been identified by both Facebook and Twitter as definitely paid for by Russians? Or do you include the battalion of full-time Russian trolls that have been employed to pollute virtually every online forum for the last 4-5 years? Because that spend probably dwarfs what the Clinton and Trump campaigns spent put together.

      Fifth paragraph is just plain whataboutism - the fallacious argument that there's no point punishing one crime while worse things are going on. Newsflash, these things are not unconnected. Nobody is going to do anything (positive) about health care, rural poverty or the prison population as long as Trump is in the White House.

      Oh wait - Harvey Weinstein? Sorry, now I know you're trolling. As you were then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused

        > "... you neglect to mention that the "other side" took up the idea of paying the former MI6 officer from a conservative website."

        Vedi, you do realize that's CNN BS, right? The dossier was not fabricated until long after the "other side" had washed their hands of Fusion GPS. BTW, that "other side" consists of swamp creatures calling themselves Republicans, who are determined to destroy Trump just like the Democrats are. Oh I forgot, THOSE Republicans are the 'good ones,' right?

        You are promoting leftist lies meant to spread FUD all over that embarrassing expose of Democrats perverting government to destroy enemies. Sorry, but you don't get to dictate reality, particularly as a shill for the actual criminals.

        But hey, if I'm incorrect here you may straighten me out right now. ;-/

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Confused

          No, "THOSE Republicans" are not "the 'good ones'", except compared with Trump, next to whom Richard Nixon, Warren Harding - heck, even Andrew frickin' Jackson looks good in comparison.

          The "other side" dropped their investigation into Trump when it became clear he was going to be their party's nominee, like it or not. By then Fusion had done enough research to think that it was on to something, and was understandably eager to find a new buyer for it. Which they did.

          But the dossier is a sideshow. Nobody cares about the dossier. It's not the basis of the current investigation, nor is it remotely relevant to any of the charges yet laid. If Mueller wants to investigate it, I guess he will - but so far, at least, we have no reason to believe he's taken it even slightly seriously.

        2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Swamp creatures

          As I recall, Trump was hated by the vast majority of Republican senators and congressmen. The hatred was consistent until Trump was close to getting nominated. After the nomination, the party convinced most of their politicians to stop hating Trump in public. A few held out almost until the election results.

          Trump had difficulty finding his vice president. No-one with a future in politics wanted to stand next to him. Everyone who Trump invited failed a background check. Eventually Trump's final final first choice was announced by Mike Pence. Mike was on target to lose his re-election as governor of Indiana, and the GOP were keen for him to step aside because they could easily find a replacement who could win. After the announcement Trump phoned his friends looking for some way to circumvent Mike's acceptance, but there was not a single viable candidate available. In the morning, Trump kept a press conference waiting (to the sound of "You can't always get what you want"), rambled incoherently Trump style about Hillary, Obama and terrorism, then read the prepared section on Pence's introduction like he would rather be chewing burned tyres and stalked off.

          Now for the strange bit. There is something we agree on! I would happily refer to all Republican politicians as swamp creatures, and here you are with a similar opinion of some of them. Please could you provide a list of senators and congressmen who have consistently supported Trump? It would be helpful to the leftist propaganda victims to be able to understand which are true Republicans, and which are genuinely swamp creatures.

        3. 1962rocketgoldstar

          Re: Confused

          The dossier doesn't have any relevance to the criminal investigation. It's hearsay. If parts of it are independently verified, as here, those verified parts obviously may become evidence if a witness (Papodopoulos) has first hand knowledge or a hearsay exception applies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused

        @veti What exactly is the wrong-doing alleged? There are just very vague allegations of collusion, no actual accusation that could have facts or charges attached.

        But there is no advantage about being specific is there? Being vague and using innuendo is a much better tactic for spreading FUD and dirt.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Confused

          @veti What exactly is the wrong-doing alleged? There are just very vague allegations of collusion, no actual accusation that could have facts or charges attached.

          Claiming that you're not involved before the investigation has followed its full course is getting old.

          Let me put it this way: if you know that you have done nothing wrong, there's nothing to worry about and you should do your best to help the investigation along. That's why they could investigate Hillary's email thing TEN separate times and get the exact same outcome (yes, I know that declared them as insane according to Einstein, but it was the Republican's decision to do this).

          If you DO know you've done something wrong you have, for starters, a PR problem so you're going to grasp at every straw to proclaim your innocence until even past credible evidence of the opposite emerges.

          We're only at the start of the public part, and Trump is already trying to say he wasn't involved. To me, this suggests the very opposite - he's FAR too nervous. He is worried about this, which implies there is something to find. I suspect Mueller has already found it, but he's now playing the field to slowly cut off every avenue of escape.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused

        Veti, No YOU don't have that straight. It has been pointed out to you before. Steele was NOT employed until the DNC & Clinton's began funding Fusion. That is important, vital even, to this matter. The Republican group paid Fusion for research into Trump only for apparently convential research, Steele and his Russian connections were purely the responsibility of the Democrat funders.

        Clear now ? The collusion exists - funded by Democrats.

        As for Trump Junior, we don't know what if any information was passed. It is clear that Trump Jr left the meeting after a short time, and that no Clinton "dirt" was released into the public arena after the meeting, at least nothing new - not that we know of. Trump Jr was enticed with the carrot of evidence for crimes committed by the Clinton campaign, to do with funding by Russian figures. By agreeing to meet to possibly receive information isn't evidence of collusion or even conspiracy to collude though if information was received and attempted to be disseminated that quite possible would be. That's exactly the reasoning we use to conclude that the Steele Dossier WAS collusion. Russian officials supplied information, were paid by one side, and the information was released.

  10. c1ue

    According to John Helmer, there is a strong relationship between Manafort and Russian oligarchs, but it isn't the one being screamed about:

    http://johnhelmer.net/oleg-deripaska-and-paul-manafort-the-hustler-hustled/

    Essentially that Manafort screwed Deripaska - one of Putin's "good" oligarchs - out of millions of dollars for failing to come through with what Manafort promised.

    It is also interesting how the Fusion/Trump dossier story isn't being talked about much. That the DNC and the Clinton campaign both paid money to the creators of the "golden showers" dossier.

    I guess oppo research is ok if the Russians are helping "your" candidate?

    Seems like a mess on all sides.

    1. 1962rocketgoldstar

      Steele is just a paid private investigator. He can interview whoever he wants without violating campaign laws. Standard oppo research. That's different than working with a foreign government.

  11. Diogenes

    Dates Dates Dates

    So Mueller has indicted Manafort and his offsider with a charge used only 6 times in history, of representing a foreign government without being registered? And that government was Ukraine not Russia? And it all took place years ago long before the 2016 election? And Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for just a couple months before being fired?

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: Dates Dates Dates

      It started long before the campaign, but continued after. And the people he was dealing with in the Ukraine were working for the Russians.

      I'm sure they've got enough to nail him, but I'm also sure that isn't the end goal. He'll turn on whoever he can to get out of this mess. That's the way it's usually done, go after a few in the lower ranks and offer reduced sentences for the info needed to get those at the top.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Dates Dates Dates

        "I'm sure they've got enough to nail him"

        for what, jaywalking? speeding? those are 'crimes' too. This whole thing is nothing more than "gotcha" sensationalism from "the left". Watch, it'll fizzle out right after it's lit, like a low quality firework.

        icon, because, facepalm.

        The problem here is that there appears to be TWO layers of "justice", or maybe even 3. One is the normal justice, for "the rest of us". One is the "special justice" for Washington D.C. insiders like the Clintons, Obaka, and the Demo-Rats. And quite possibly one is the "Super Special" justice for enemies of the Washington insiders, like what Mueller is up to these days, focused on doing a colonoscopy on everything in Trump's life, campaign, the lives of his campaign volunteers AND employees, and everyone down to his trash collector and newspaper deliverer.

        Isn't that obvious to EVERYONE?

        (aparently not)

        facepalm icon again

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dates Dates Dates

          for what, jaywalking? speeding? those are 'crimes' too. This whole thing is nothing more than "gotcha" sensationalism from "the left". Watch, it'll fizzle out right after it's lit, like a low quality firework.

          Oh no, there's more fun here. Mueller has used the one approach that cannot be dodged and that even brought down Al Capone: tax evasion. He's got him nailed so solidly there's no way he can talk himself out of that one, and neither can people like you try to gloss over that. Nice try, of course, but facts have the annoying tendency to be provable on account of being facts.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Dates Dates Dates

        I'm sure they've got enough to nail him, but I'm also sure that isn't the end goal.

        Indeed not. The phrase "stool pidgeon" springs to mind..

        (Especially as they have asked for permission to take away all his houses in a "nice house, shame if we took it off you" sort of way - something that I think would quietly be forgotten about if he provides sufficiently good information)

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Dates Dates Dates

      Sure, focus on that one charge that has only been used six times in history, and ignore the multitude of other far worse charges. Mueller is just laying it on thick hoping he'll cave and cooperate. If Trump pardons him, I'm sure Mueller will pass everything he's found to the NY state AG who can indict him on all the money laundering, thanks to the extensive paper trail of ridiculous expenses Manafort helpfully kept at home. Now we know why that early morning no knock raid was necessary (they had already destroyed all their business' records except the past 30 days by the time the FBI subpoenaed them)

  12. 1962rocketgoldstar

    Twitter apparently deletes user histories from its database rather than just from public view, although its hard to believe that the FBI wouldn't have subpoenaed relevant information from Twitter on people like DJT Jr. long ago. The Russian botnets would be another matter, since they were relying on Twitter to turn over relevant information and Twitter apparently just kept deleting data, even after being requested not to do so. FB and Twitter make a lot of money on targeted advertisements tied to fake news stories, so maybe it isn't surprising that they haven't exactly been forthcoming with information. It seems to be baked into their business model.

    This is the tip of the iceberg, and anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand how DOJ prosecutions work. The Papadopolous plea is the bigger deal here since there is documentary evidence that Papadopolous communicated with Russian agents in an attempt to gather dirt on Clinton, and communicated those attempts to high-echelon members of the Trump campaign. The relevant unindicted co-conspirators in the Statement of Offense appear to be Manafort, Kushner, Flynn, and one of either DJT Jr. or Corey Lewandowski.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ship, meet Tip

    The rest of the Iceberg is yet to come.

    [popcorn]

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Ship, meet Tip

      you'll be bored. It'd be more interesting to tune in Fox News and watch Hannity's coverage of Mrs. Clinton's massive lawbreaking scandal, and watch THAT 'Titanic' go down in flames [as well as the iceberg damage]

      Seriously, if you get an aggerssive prosecutor spending millions of dollars "investigating" and with NOTHING to show for it, he's gotta do SOMETHING, so he'll go after extremely petty "didn't fill out the paperwork" or "did not dot all of your 'I's and cross all of your 'T's" kinds of stuff. Like now.

      Never mind the hypocrisy of Mrs. Clinton putting national security at risk, with her Windows 2003 unpatched mail server [as I recall], running OUTLOOK, with 30,000 e-mails "magically deleted" _AFTER_ they were subpoenaed, particularly because it was ILLEGAL for her to have even USED it, but we know why, it was to hide the REAL money laundering, slush funding, and kickbacks for favors while she was Secretary of State, and for her assumed presidency.

      THAT scandal will REALLY be worth the popcorn!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Ship, meet Tip

        Bob,

        THAT scandal looks to be over. Unless someone serious re-opens the investigation. And as her career is going nowhere, it may never resurface again. So far you've got Clinton on incompetence - but no charges being brought.

        Some of Trump's advisors have worked for foreign governments and failed to register the fact. Which may or may not be common, but that doesn't matter because they're caught-up in an investigation about serious matters - and so are going to get charged.

        It may just be that Russia were sowing mischief, as they've done in many recent elections. But the people willing to work for Trump appear to be such an ill-disciplined rabble, that they may have strayed beyond the bounds of the law, and been too stupid/disorganised/arrogant to cover their tracks.

        Or of course some of them may actually have been working directly with Russian intelligence, in which case there may well be an impeachment coming along.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Who to blame

        Trump promised to appoint a special prosecutor to find Hillary Clinton guilty. He has been in office for most of a year but has not delivered on that promise. Why? Is he part of the world spanning conspiracy that fails to bring charges against Hillary. Republicans have summoned Hillary to multiple hearings. Are none of them aggersive enough to find her guilty of anything?

        Perhaps all the aggersive prosecutors were fired for investigating gwb43.com.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ship, meet Tip

        Never mind the hypocrisy of Mrs. Clinton putting national security at risk

        Are they paying you for this or are you really so deluded? This has been investigated again and again, TEN times, at great cost to the tax payer, with always the exact same outcome.

        Besides, that's hardcore whatabouterism - "please, PLEASE look elsewhere because you shouldn't be looking at actual facts!". We're talking about Trump & collaborators here - it is 100% irrelevant what someone else did. North Korea's Kin Jung Un is now bringing family into government, are you going to use that too?

        If you're so easily excited, why the absence of anger about Trump handing over intelligence received by the US from an ally who explicitly asked not to share it with the Russians, and worse, doing this at the very centre of power, the Oval Office. That's perfectly OK then?

        You guys have really lost the North on your moral compass.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Ship, meet Tip

          You guys have really lost the North

          I thought that happened in 1812?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ship, meet Tip

          The investigation (by Mueller) is supposed to be about Russian interference in the election; not about Trump campaign collusion specifically. So if either campaign indulged in collusion it is *supposed* to be investigated. That's the terms of Mueller's mandate.

          So we have a provable case - the Steele Dossier, and no, you can't escape collusion by employing agents and third parties to do the actual talking to the foreign government. You fund it, you collude.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ship, meet Tip

        It'd be more interesting to tune in Fox News and watch Hannity's coverage of Mrs. Clinton's massive lawbreaking scandal

        You do know that mentioning that "source" of information is not going to help your credibility much? Fox News' reporting relates to real news as much as Trump relates to poor people.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Papadopoulos

    When I heard the "Papadopoulos" name it made me think of the episode of Leverage where Nate played a dreadful shyster lawyer.

    Genius series IMHO :)

    As for how this proceeds, be prepared for a *lot* more noise from Trump & "friends". He's going to China, so I suspect he'll cause a major upset there to change the headlines. I see him quite prepared to start WW III, just as a distraction, because he has never in his life suffered the consequences of his own actions. He simply has no idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Papadopoulos

      a dreadful shyster lawyer

      .. but I repeat myself (I think that's paraphrasing Mark Twain :) ).

  15. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Howard clan?

    Moe, Curly, Larry, Shemp ,Joe Besser and "Curly Joe" - Joe DeRita

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mueller really played Trump like a pro

    It's now very clear that Mueller is a Washington pro.

    Friday: rumours of indictments start swirling around Washington, but no details leak (!)

    Saturday/Sunday: Trump stewing on the rumours but unable to do much about it without further details.

    Monday is when the fun starts:

    Mueller: releases details of two indictments, waits for Trump tweets

    Trump: immediately tweets it has nothing to do with him

    Mueller: now releases the details of Papadopoulos’ plea agreement, pretty much nullifying Trump's tweeted statement.

    Trump got played like a badly shaped orange lute. Mueller knew *exactly* what Trump's first reaction would be. That doesn't take a mind reader, but waiting with the Papadopoulos data until Trump had his say pretty much sawed the legs from under Trump & friends and left even Fox floundering until they decided to focus on the fake Hillary story instead (which has been repeatedly ripped apart by analysts, but that doesn't matter if all participants have decided to go with the lie).

    I think the biggest shock must have reverberated between the Trump lawyers. I'm betting they are all switching to payment in advice now.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    So if Trump is impeached...

    ...does that automatically mean a new election in the US? And if so, who would be best for POTUS (and no points for "anyone but Trump").

    1. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: So if Trump is impeached...

      Nope, no new election. There is no constitutional provision for that.

      What happens is defined (in part) by Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6 of the US Constitution:

      In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President [...]

      So what happens is President Pence. And what happens after that is the reality-show version of A Handmaid's Tale. Unless it turns out that Pence was intimately involved and also gets impeached and convicted. If Trump goes first and Pence has a while as President before he gets kicked out, Pence gets to name his own insane VP, such as Sarah Palin. If it's a simultaneous impeachment, then Clause 6 goes on to say:

      Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President [...]

      However, that has been superseded by the 25th Amendment, which as well as allowing Pence and a majority of the executive office principals to remove Trump for being a fuckwit, defines the order of Presidential Succession.

      If both Trump and Pence are ignobly, simultaneously removed from office, we get President Ryan. Not the President Ryan from the Tom Clancy novels who was a good guy (despite being a Republican), but the Zombie-eyed Granny Starver (a term coined by Charlie Pierce) who has orgasms when he thinks of removing healthcare from millions of people. Really. There's a clip of him on youtube telling one of his buddies how he's dreamed of doing that since he was a college student, and giggling over it.

      You have to go a long way down the list of presidential succession to get one that is remotely sane. A fuck of a long way down.

      So impeachment isn't going to solve all the problems. But at least none of the possible replacements for Trump are actually insane enough to think that nuking the Norks is a sensible option.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if Trump is impeached...

        You have to go a long way down the list of presidential succession to get one that is remotely sane. A fuck of a long way down.

        Which is the most perfect illustration of just what a mess it has become in Washington :(. Good summary.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if Trump is impeached...

        Thank you. Very clear summary, albeit depressing as hell too.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if Trump is impeached...

        And every single option is still 100% better than "President Clinton" and the installation of the first genuinely totally corrupt POTUS in US history. And they have some doozy's.

        1. israel_hands

          Re: So if Trump is impeached...

          And every single option is still 100% better than "President Clinton" and the installation of the first genuinely totally corrupt POTUS in US history. And they have some doozy's.

          I'd use the phrase "never go full retard" here, but you've not only crossed that line but star-jumped over it and done a touch-down dance on the other side.

          The window-licker currently in charge is a morally bereft piece of shit who's defence against literally everything is to say "I know you are but what am I?" and then dance around with his fingers in his fucking ears.

          The same guy who championed the working class to get elected while fucking over every employee he's ever had, stuffing his cabinet full of billionaires (remember all his decrying of Clinton's "Wall Street friends"?) and set about taking away what scant benefits the poor are given in that benighted land.

          The only way I could think of describing Trump as "not corrupt" is if we invented a new word for being such a lying, corrupt, morally vacuous, piece of shit that "corrupt" itself was as devalued as the terms "genius" or "awesome".

          1. handleoclast Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: So if Trump is impeached...

            @israel_hands

            Icon says it all.

            I would have said your comment was awesome and a work of genius, but you might not view those as compliments. :)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if Trump is impeached...

        Which is in part how we ended up with a president that no one voted for. Spiro Agnew resigned as Nixon's VP. Ford was named and confirmed as VP. Nixon resigned. Ford became president.

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