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#1514497 --- 05/04/18 11:30 AM Trump Impeachment
luckyduck Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 316
Loc: NY
Is highly unlikely. Finally a modicum of reason from someone involved in the "Russian Collusion" case:

U.S. judge questions special counsel's powers in Manafort case
Sarah N. Lynch

2 MIN READ

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday sharply criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case in Virginia against President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and openly questioned whether Mueller exceeded his prosecutorial powers by bringing it.

President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort (L) smiles as he and his attorney Kevin Downing depart U.S. District Court after a motions hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. May 4, 2018.

“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

At tense hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in his Russia probe and that the charges against Manafort did not arise from the investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.



Manafort is facing charges in both Virginia and Washington. The Virginia case charges him with offenses including tax and bank fraud. The other case accuses him of conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.

None of the charges relate, however, to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or possible collusion with Russia.
Trump has denied any collusion.

Lawyers for Manafort asked the judge in the Virginia case to dismiss an indictment filed against him in what was their third effort to beat back criminal charges by attacking Mueller’s authority.

The judge questioned why Manafort’s case there could not be handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Virginia, rather than the special counsel’s office.

He also asked the special counsel’s office to share privately with him a copy of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein’s August 2017 memo elaborating on the scope of Mueller’s Russia probe. He said the current version he has been heavily redacted.

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#1514498 --- 05/04/18 11:33 AM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
luckyduck Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 316
Loc: NY
And this from CNN:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/politics/paul-manafort-hearing/index.html

"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud," Ellis said to prosecutor Michael Dreeben, at times losing his temper. Ellis said prosecutors were interested in Manafort because of his potential to provide material that would lead to Trump's "prosecution or impeachment," Ellis said.

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#1514499 --- 05/04/18 11:34 AM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
luckyduck Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 316
Loc: NY

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#1514500 --- 05/04/18 11:35 AM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
luckyduck Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 316
Loc: NY
Have a lovely weekend all!

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#1514501 --- 05/04/18 12:10 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
Everybody connected to Trump has huge corrupt interests in helping Russians. It is beyond disgusting.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-did-ex-trump-aide-paul-manafort-really-do-ukraine-n775431

What Did Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort Really Do in Ukraine?
by Kenzi Abou-Sabe, Tom Winter and Max Tucker / Jun.27.2017 / 6:13 AM ET

A former Trump aide now under federal investigation as part of the Russia probe earned millions working for a corrupt pro-Russian political party that repeatedly disparaged America's most important military alliance.

Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chief from May to August 2016, spent nearly a decade as a consultant to Ukraine's Party of Regions and its standardbearer, Viktor Yanukovych.


backed by Russian-leaning oligarchs, the party opposed NATO membership and spouted anti-Western rhetoric that once helped fuel violence against American marines. Its reign ended when Yanukovych fled to Russia after bloody street protests against his personal corruption and pro-Moscow actions.

Manafort has always said he tried to Westernize the party and steer it towards a democratic model, and denies any part in anti-NATO messaging, but Ukrainian critics and U.S. diplomats who served in Kiev aren't so sure.

Related: Donald Trump Aide Paul Manafort Scrutinized for Russian Business Ties

Manafort also earned millions doing private business deals with some of the oligarchs who backed the party.

As NBC News previously reported, federal officials say that the money Manafort earned from both the party and the oligarchs — and what he did with it — are part of what has drawn the attention of investigators. New details keep emerging as U.S. and Ukrainian officials piece together Manafort's contacts and payments in Ukraine from 2004 to 2014.
Manafort Goes to Ukraine

Manafort, the son of a wealthy Connecticut builder, had worked as a lobbyist and as an aide for Republican presidents before his stint in Ukraine. He had built a reputation for repackaging controversial foreign leaders for U.S. consumption. Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Angolan guerilla leader Jonas Savimbi, and Zairian strongman Mobutu Sese Seko were among his clients.

In 2004, Manafort was hired by clients in Ukraine who needed a similar image overhaul.

Viktor Yanukovych had been governor of Donetsk, a Russian-speaking region close to the Russian border, and then the prime minister of Ukraine. He and his faction, the Party of Regions, were thought by many Western observers to have links to organized crime. As a young man, Yanukovych had been convicted of robbery and assault.

John Herbst, who was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2004 to 2006, said the motivations of the oligarchs who ran the party seemed uncomplicated. "My impression of Yanukovych and the others — and I knew most of the senior folks — it was all about getting rich or richer, and maintaining power."

Aided by high-priced Russian political consultants, Yanukovych ran for president of Ukraine in 2004, and seemed to have won.

Related: Flynn, Manafort Are Key Figures in Russia Probe Mueller Will Lead

But the election was tainted by charges of fraud and corruption — most against Yanukovych and the Party of Regions — and an attempted assassination. A month prior to balloting, someone poisoned Yanukovych's main rival, pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko, and nearly killed him. On Election Day, Yanukovych, who had trailed in polls by double digits, won by three points, sparking accusations of voter fraud.

The government voided the election results and scheduled a do-over.


Weeks before the December 2004 presidential "re"-election, a pro-Russian Ukrainian billionaire and major Party of Regions donor named Rinat Akhmetov asked Manafort to help with Yanukovych's troubled campaign.

Yanukovych lost the do-over election to Yushchenko, but Manafort won a job he would keep for a decade.

Manafort was hired to prepare the Party of Regions for the parliamentary elections of 2006, in which Yanukovych would try to reclaim the office of prime minister.

By 2006, Manafort and his team were "the principal political consultants in the Party of Regions," said Taras Chornovil, a former Ukrainian Parliament deputy who was a member of the party from 2004 to 2007.

A leaked U.S. State Department cable from 2006 said that Manafort's job was to give the Party of Regions an "extreme makeover" and "change its image from … a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party."

Related: FBI Making Inquiries Into Ex-Trump Campaign Manager's Foreign Ties

Manafort allegedly came up with the POR's slogan for the 2006 election, "A Better Life Today." Though Manafort couldn't speak Russian or Ukrainian, he taught Yankovych how to give a speech and how to stay on message.

According to Chornovil, Manafort's campaign tactics that year also included mandating that Yanukovych surrogates wear make-up and Hugo Boss suits during TV interviews. After their TV appearances, they had to return the rented suits to party headquarters, Chornovil said.

When Chornovil complained about Manafort to a close associate of Yanukovych, Chornovil said the man told him Manafort was untouchable — "a big cheese here, in charge of everything."

Manafort was also trying to help Yanukovych expand his base of support.

Ukraine has a sharp political and geographic divide between its pro-Western, Ukrainian-speaking majority and a large Russian minority that looks East.

While other American consultants, both Democratic and Republican, were working on the campaigns of Ukraine's pro-Western "Orange" parties, Manafort was working for a party whose base was in Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine. Manafort's new bosses were oligarchs friendly to Moscow, and hostile to America's principal military alliance, NATO.

aid Herbst, "They were pro-Russian because that's where their voters were politically and culturally. So they would not have gotten them if they were arguing for NATO — let's join NATO — policies."

Skepticism about NATO had the virtue of appealing to many Ukrainian speakers as well. Nationwide, more than half of the public opposed joining the military alliance.

"They were pro-Russian because that's where their voters were."

"They were pro-Russian because that's where their voters were."

He could attract pro-Western Ukrainians, meanwhile, by broadcasting his support for European Union membership. Some oligarchs behind the party were eager to do business with Europe anyway.

Bill Taylor, who was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, said Manafort would contact the U.S. embassy and tell them he was urging his client to look West. "[He said] he'd tell Yanukovych, 'You'll do better in Western Ukraine if you orient more toward Europe," recalled Taylor. "'To broaden your base, you should orient toward the EU.'"

For the next eight years, Yanukovych would adjust his positions on NATO and the EU as needed, tacking East or West depending on the electoral winds and his audience.

Sometimes his party's public actions and Yanukovych's private assurances to Western officials were at odds.

"[Yanukovych] was willing to allow all kinds of cooperation with NATO," which the Russians did not like, said Amb. Herbst, "but it's true that [Yanukovych] was organizing rallies against NATO exercises."


Edited by kyle585 (05/04/18 12:19 PM)

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#1514502 --- 05/04/18 12:30 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
A tweet:

***************************************************

Angry WH Staffer
‏ @AngrierWHStaff
37m37 minutes ago

Angry WH Staffer Retweeted Josh Dawsey

I wouldn’t be concerned about this. Just the judge doing their due diligence. Remember, Mueller’s authorization was anything to do with Russian collusion, and any crimes that he might uncover during the process of that investigation.

Clearly within his purview.


Josh Dawsey
‏Verified account @jdawsey1

Manafort judge in court today: "I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate. What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution...

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#1514503 --- 05/04/18 12:39 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there

Rassmussen Reports. They are about as believable as FOX News. From the report:

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 47% approve; 51% disapprove.

The latest figures include 33% of all likely voters who Strongly Approve of the way the president is performing and 40% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -7

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#1514505 --- 05/04/18 12:43 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
Originally Posted By: luckyduck
"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud," Ellis said to prosecutor Michael Dreeben, at times losing his temper.
No one should care about Manafort's bank fraud? That is interesting.

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#1514506 --- 05/04/18 12:47 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
God. I hope so. Other things are important but secondary.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/politics/paul-manafort-hearing/index.html

A federal judge expressed deep skepticism Friday in the bank fraud case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's office against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, at one point saying he believes that Mueller's motivation is to oust President Donald Trump from office.

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#1514507 --- 05/04/18 12:50 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
Five Points might need an addition.

Brian Krassenstein‏ @krassenstein 14m14 minutes ago

Prediction: Jared Kushner, Don Jr., Devin Nunes, Jeff Sessions Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Donald Trump are all headed to prison by 2020.
45 replies 105 retweets 425 likes

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#1514511 --- 05/04/18 02:27 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
cwjga Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 10184
Loc: NY
Friday, May 04, 2018

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.
_________________________
Annoying liberals, it's just too easy. Hard to believe how easy it is.

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#1514514 --- 05/04/18 03:10 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: cwjga]
Formermac Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 9823
Loc: Above ground

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#1514517 --- 05/04/18 03:34 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: Formermac]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/full-akerman-trump-apos-attempt-145729617.html

Full Akerman: Trump's attempt to manipulate the justice system is one big obstruction
Yahoo View Thu, May 3 10:57 AM EDT

Watergate special assistant attorney Nick Akerman explains how President Trump's dealings with the Russia probe and justice department show a clear pattern of behavior.

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#1514525 --- 05/04/18 07:39 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
Angry WH Staffer Retweeted
Norm Eisen
‏Verified account @NormEisen
7h7 hours ago

Norm Eisen Retweeted Rachel Weiner

Yep, he’s famous among us DC area defense lawyers for raising our hopes up only to dash them when he rules. Anyhow, prosecutors should be asked tough questions, here they have VERY good answers. This is as overwhelming a case of bank fraud as I have seen in 30 years at the bar.

Norm Eisen added,

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#1514528 --- 05/05/18 02:11 AM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged it was "not a good day for the Mueller office," after a federal judge criticized the special counsel over charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, but said the odds of the judge dismissing the case, "are remote."
Source: CNN

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#1514542 --- 05/05/18 01:59 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: luckyduck]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/38633...obe-wherever-it

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) said this week that special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to follow his investigation into Russian meddling “wherever it takes him.”

In an interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Murkowski said she “firmly” believes that Trump should not be permitted to “meddle” in the investigation.

“I believe very, very firmly in that. And I think any efforts to thwart that are dangerous,” she said. “If the investigation takes them to an additional turn that needs to be followed, I think this is what we're asking for when we ask for an independent investigation.”

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#1514544 --- 05/05/18 02:53 PM Re: Trump Impeachment [Re: kyle585]
kyle585 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 17522
Loc: Somewhere out there
https://apnews.com/6dd33b4234634079821e5825f112e85b

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller have interviewed one of President Donald Trump’s closest friends and confidants, California real estate investor Tom Barrack, The Associated Press has learned.


Barrack was interviewed as part of the federal investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The specific topics covered in questions from Mueller’s team were not immediately clear.

One of the people who spoke to AP said the questioning focused entirely on two officials from Trump’s campaign who have been indicted by Mueller: Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s longtime deputy, Rick Gates. Gates agreed to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statement charges in February and began cooperating with investigators.

This person said Barrack was interviewed “months ago” and was asked a few questions about Gates’ work on Trump’s inaugural committee, which Barrack chaired, and but there were no questions about the money raised by that committee.

A second person with knowledge of the Barrack interview said the questioning was broader and did include financial matters about the campaign, the transition and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

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