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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trump knew. Of course he knew. And Mueller knows he knew.

by digby

I have no idea what was going on with the Manafort plea deal, but one this is obvious --- Mueller knew he was sharing information with Trump. The New York Times article last night implies that this was a reason the plea agreement fell apart but that can't be true. If I knew the Manafort team was sharing information, then they did. After all, it was reported back in October.

Not only that, it was also known that the Manafort plea agreement mirrored the one the Special Prosecutor had with Rick Gates with one exception:

Ken Dilanian of MSNBC is saying he thinks this was just an oversight on the Mueller team's part. But if you look at the second tweet you can see that it was brought to the attention of the Special Prosecutor by that lawyer and one presumes he wasn't the only one. They knew.

As I noted in my piece for Salon this morning, this suggests to me that they didn't have a reason to care that Manafort was sharing with Trump and that the real reason talks broke down is exactly what they said it was --- Manafort could not stop lying about something. We don't know what that was but whatever it was, it made Manafort useless to them and they pulled the plug.

There is some informed speculation that Mueller's team wanted to see if Trump would take some bait and lie in his written answers, suggesting that that's why they waited until they had been presented. It's possible but unlikely, in my opinion. I think Mueller is very well aware of the political ramifications of this investigation and would not risk that. More likely, they were looking for Manafort to confess to crimes they already know he committed and he refused to do it for reasons of his own, most likely to keep open the possibility of a pardon.

The Trump team is now saying that the president has no involvement in collusion which is a switch from their earlier insistence that the "witch hunt" is a hoax and there was no collusion. This seems to be related to Stone and Corsi's clear involvement with Wikileaks.

Over and over again, we've seen evidence referenced in the various Russia indictments that there was involvement with a senior member of the Trump campaign.  If the conduit is Roger Stone, that member is almost certainly his close associate for 40 years, Donald Trump.

The Corsi plea agreement draft names him:
The draft statement of offense describes Stone as “Person 1” and someone that Corsi “understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.” 
The inclusion of Trump by name infuriated Trump’s legal team, which obtained a copy of the draft the week before Thanksgiving. In response, the president’s attorneys delayed submitting his written answers to Mueller and formally complained to both the special counsel’s office and the Justice Department, according Giuliani. 
“It’s gratuitous. It’s not necessary,” he said. “If you read out of context, it creates a misimpression that they were in contact with the president during this critical time. And I believe that was done deliberately.” 
They say the draft of the Corsi agreement was delivered to them anonymously and they turned it over to the DOJ. But we've also been told that the grifter Corsi has a joint defense agreement with the Trump team. So I don't know what the real story is there.

But one thing is clear. The Mueller team has reason to believe that Roger Stone kept Trump abrest of all the Wikileaks sabotage during the campaign.

This morning, CNN reported that they had received the answers to two of the questions Mueller had asked the president to answer under oath. He told them that to the best of his knowledge  Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

If he had any credibility at all, that might be believable.  But nobody involved in this is more relentlessly dishonest than the President of the United States. He is lying.