Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Manafort's recurring nightmare

by digby

On MSNBC this morning former DOJ official Chuck Rosenberg characterized prosecuting cases before the judge in the Manafort case as torture. This was not because the judge is unfair or won't come to the right conclusion but because he has an obnoxious personality. In other words nobody should assume that Mueller is in trouble because of this judge's anatics. He always does this.

This article by Christian Farias in New York Magazine explains that this first trial isn't the big show anyway:

Don’t get distracted by the shiny objects and fashion bills. Instead, focus on the most remarkable aspect of the Manafort trial thus far: the reaction from President Trump, as well as what will come next.

Ponder for a moment that the president of the United States, on the day prosecutors representing the United States were in court making their case against Manafort, ordered the country’s top prosecutor, Jeff Sessions, to shut the whole thing down. Or that Trump went to bat for his disgraced former campaign chief, likening Manafort favorably to mob boss Al Capone and suggesting that the prosecution his own government brought against Manafort is malicious and rotten to the core. If that’s not improper interference with an ongoing law enforcement and judicial matter, I don’t know what is.

There’s undoubtedly something at the heart of Paul Manafort’s legal troubles that unsettles the president. As if there’s something the two of them know that could implicate the bigger fish in high crimes or malfeasance of some kind. Manafort did a lot for his client, the unlikely presidential candidate, than most people like to give him credit for. Could Manafort, who lived well beyond his means and yet worked for the campaign for no money, be sticking to his guns and bleeding money defending himself because he expects Trump to reciprocate? And maybe, with the stroke of a pen, absolve him like he did Joe Arpaio?

To understand how far Manafort is willing to go for Trump, look at the far more interesting court activity happening across the Potomac. In Washington, D.C., Manafort stands accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government, of failure to register as a foreign lobbyist, and of obstruction of justice, among other charges — and that alongside a mysterious co-defendant, Konstantin Kilimnik. Earlier this year, Mueller disclosed in court documents that this wingman possessed “ties to Russian intelligence service,” which persisted during the presidential campaign. That case is still on schedule to go to trial in September, despite Manafort’s best efforts to delay it.

But there’s more. Just as jury selection was underway in Alexandria on Tuesday, the chief judge of the federal courthouse in Washington issued a 92-page ruling ordering an aide for Roger Stone, the irreverent Trump confidant and longtime Manafort pal, to testify before a grand jury. The decision was categorical, the third affirming the authority and legality of the special counsel investigation. But this one came with a bit of extra oomph. U.S. Chief Judge Beryl Howell, its author, may also be overseeing the secret grand-jury proceedings unfolding in the nation’s capital — a task that would place her at the center of nearly every pre-prosecution aspect of every public case so far initiated by the special counsel. More than anyone, she’d know that the Mueller probe is no hoax.

“The scope of the Special Counsel’s power falls well within the boundaries the Constitution permits, as the Special Counsel is supervised by an official who is himself accountable to the elected President,” wrote Howell. She also gave Mueller a boost last year in a similar, pre-indictment dispute with a Manafort lawyer who was wanted for testimony before the grand jury.

This is all tough news for Manafort. For months now, he has mounted similar Hail Marys attempting to delegitimize the Mueller probe. Both Ellis and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson have rejected separate motions to dismiss the two active cases against him. So far, all Manafort’s efforts have been for naught, as has his bid to stand trial at liberty rather than behind bars. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit affirmed Jackson’s order to revoke Manafort’s home detention over allegations that he was tampering with witnesses — a new crime that, if proved, would only add to his legal woes. So there’s little doubt he’ll sit in jail through the duration of both trials.

We’re not done. Jackson this week sided with a special counsel request to not allow Manafort’s lawyers to game the clock on the Washington trial involving Kilimnik, which for months has been set for September. All along, Mueller’s team has been doing its due diligence — turning over certain pretrial materials to the defense in good faith, hoping the other side will do the same as the two adversaries prepare their cases-in-chief. But Manafort’s side hasn’t turned over anything. “The defense has made no showing whatsoever for its requested four-week extension, and to grant it would unfairly prejudice the government,” Mueller’s lawyers charged in a court filing that accused Manafort’s legal team of “gamesmanship.” Jackson ruled later that same day that she’s “opposed” to any attempts to delay the Washington trial.

That’s where the real action will be, and where talk of election interference and Russian conspiracy may be inevitable. With Manafort hanging on by the skin of his teeth, and Mueller refusing to make it any easier for him, patience through all these trials and tribulations may just be the price he has to pay as he hopes that maybe, just maybe, President Trump will throw him a lifeline.

Stay tuned ...