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Manafort Reaches Plea Deal, Agrees to Help Mueller's Russia Investigation

What does he know? And more importantly, who is the information about?

Paul ManafortYuri Gripas/REUTERS/NewscomPaul Manafort, facing a second criminal trial about his secret financial ties to a former Russia-friendly Ukrainian president, has agreed to plead guilty to two charges and has agreed to cooperate with FBI Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

At a plea hearing in a D.C. federal court today, Manafort pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy against the United States and a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was convicted in August of eight charges of tax evasion and bank fraud for concealing the money he had made from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine (including its former President Viktor Yanukovych). But those were only some of the charges against him. He faced an additional trial this month for failing to register as a foreign agent, lying to the feds about it, laundering money, and then attempting to contact and influence the testimony of two witnesses (which, once discovered, resulted in his bail being revoked).

Manafort has agreed in his plea to cooperate with the federal probe to determine the extent that Russian government interests attempted to influence and alter the outcome of the 2016 election. While it's not entirely clear what that will mean as yet, that's the part that matters in the long run. The crimes Manafort has been convicted of are not directly connected to Trump and his campaign in any way and most of them preceded Manafort's work for Trump. The response from Trump and the White House has been (and continues to be) that none of these charges show any sort of collusion between Trump and Russia, and that's absolutely true.

But given Manafort's pre-existing financial connections to Russia, his agreement to help prosecutors with further investigations will most certainly feed speculation and theories that there's more to these relationships than we're currently publicly aware of, beyond what we've been told about Russian lobbyists offering stolen emails and data from Hillary Clinton's campaign to Trump's team.

This does not necessarily mean that Manafort has any dirt on Trump, not that this is going to stop any sort of speculation that he does. In a Twitter thread, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti explains that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the feds on any potential activity by anybody that's relevant to Mueller's investigation. That Mueller accepted the plea deal means they believe he certainly must have helpful information about somebody's illegal behavior, but this should not be taken to mean that it's about Trump.

A good indicator as to whether Manafort does have anything about Trump may be to keep an eye on what our unpredictable, uncontrollable president might tweet about his decision to cop a plea in exchange for cooperation. Remember Trump has a very dim view on people who "flip" on him and thinks it should "almost" be illegal.

Manafort has not yet been sentenced for his first round of convictions. Given his age, 69, and the number of charges, he faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison, depending on how harshly the judge decides to punish him.

UPDATE: The details of the plea agreement are starting to be released. The cooperation component appears very extensive. (Here's a link to the full plea agreement)

Photo Credit: Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Eddy||

    OT - "Florence" seems to be a transwoman's name.

    Brace yourself, North Carolina!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    There's no way whoever created that graphic didn't see it and know exactly what they were doing. That's right up there with the infamous Asiana Airlines pilot name prank.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That was comedy gold. Just funny. And you never cut funny.

  • BYODB||

    I'm just waiting to see if a red tide accompanies Hurricane Flo.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Or maybe it could be underwritten by those goddamn Progressive Insirance ads. They should have one final ad set in the real hurricane where they all die for real.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    I honestly don't see how journalists can continue to earnestly write that "This one will sink Trump for sure!" anymore. It's really like Lucy with the football with CNN.

  • KevinP||

    It's a good thing that the Russia investigation is in the capable hands of Mueller.

    When Comey and Mueller Bungled the Anthrax Case


    Quotes (but read the whole article):
    Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled. They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington's mail system, solidified the Bush administration's antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure.

    The FBI ignored a 2002 tip from a scientific colleague of the actual anthrax killer, who turned out to be a Fort Detrick scientist named Bruce Edwards Ivins; the reason is that they had quickly obsessed on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill; the bureau was bullied into focusing on the government scientist by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (whose office, along with that of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, was targeted by an anthrax-laced letter) and was duped into focusing on Hatfill by two sources – a conspiracy-minded college professor with a political agenda who'd never met Hatfill and by Nicholas Kristof, who put his conspiracy theories in the paper while mocking the FBI for not arresting Hatfill.
  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Shackturd is a hardcore Block Yomommatard who seriously believes that Putin hacked into his voting machine and changed his Hildog vote to a Trump vote.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Most people have short term memories that most of the media people are lying pieces of shit. They were leading up to election 2016 and still are.

    Nothing has really changed except Trump has spawned the thing we call TDS. Some media are not even lying anymore, they are just straight making up claims.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump just pardoned Manafort.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Link?

  • Just Say'n||

    He didn't. He's just responding to fever dreams with the inverse fever dreams

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Close. I was posting propaganda like Reason does so often.

    Wanted to see how it felt.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Man you had me actually going to other news websites to see if it was true. You win this time LC. This. Time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I was debating to wait longer but I didnt want to give Tony a heart attack.

    Propaganda is fun. It barely takes any real effort or skill. Everyone who reads it scrambles to verify it.
    I collect paycheck.

    I think I WILL apply for that Reason internship next time!

  • Just Say'n||

    "But given Manafort's pre-existing financial connections to Russia"

    His connections were to pro-West groups in Ukraine.

  • Just Say'n||

  • BYODB||

    I don't think it really matters, ultimately. Given that the 'criminal activity' was before he ever worked for Trump, it would be amazing if those crimes somehow implicated Trump.

    The media is hyperventilating over a tangential connection that they fervently hope will magically have some connecting dots that almost certainly don't exist.

    Thing is, the 'Mueller Probe' is essentially bullshit, but he's an investigator so he's almost certainly looking into any angle to find 'interference in the election by Russians'. (Even though, to date, there hasn't been any proof whatsoever of any interference, hence why there's a lot of speculation that the real objective is impeachment. If it was just 'interference' Mueller would be done already.)

    The biggest problem with the Mueller Probe, once again, is that it's so open ended that it's basically carte blanche to do whatever the fuck Mueller wants and he could take decades to finish such a wide investigation. Ken Starr is jealous of his mandate, methinks.

  • ||

    Ken Starr is jealous of his mandate, methinks.

    I think we're pretty just heading down that exact road again. Like Bill Clinton, Trump just smells like the kind of guy that if you looked at him closely enough you would find something.

    I don't think anyone ever expected much having to do with Trump to come from Manafort's activities in Russia - I mean, his opposition is dishonest, but they're not stupid. Well, they're kind of stupid, but they're not that stupid.

    I suspect there's simply a hope that Manafort can pin something else on Trump in the course of making a plea deal. I think the same thing is probably going on with Cohen - Cohen seems crooked as fuck, but I would bet that the crimes he's committed don't have anything to do with Trump - they just provided a context to go through Cohen's files counting on them containing something incriminating about Trump.

    Unfortunately for them, I think that like Clinton Trump is really good at skirting right up to the edge of "illegal" without going far enough over the line to get convicted of anything, and it's driving his opposition as nuts as Clinton drove the Republicans back in the 90s.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Actually, Clinton was lousy about not going far enough over the line. He was just good at making sure he had an Attorney General who would run interference for him. Also diligent about collecting blackmail files.

  • Fredo||

    "Actually, Clinton was lousy "

    Actually, please shut up and stop presenting your opinion as fact, especially since the rest of us were there and saw Clinton's behavior. Square described it quite accurately and overreactive hyperbole like yours helped insulate him, as real accusations could just be lumped in with your hyperventilating screeds and then dismissed.

  • DesigNate||

    Its possible that he was referring to all the other shady shit that involved Clinton and not the Lewinsky affair.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I think we're pretty just heading down that exact road again.

    Agreed - after Reagan and Clinton's special prosecutors, there was a bi-partisan agreement that giving an investigator unlimited resources in basically open investigations doesn't work out well for anyone including the public.

    But apparently it's about time for politicians to learn that lesson again as if they do it here, it'll be done against Hillary and whoever the next D president is (whenever that happens) as soon as Rs have the votes to do so.

    There's a saying I think... something something history, doomed to repeat.

    But here we are - (sarc) because Trump, unlike all prior Rs called evil Nazis, is truly an evil Nazi and therefore deserves it. (/sarc)

  • ||

    because Trump, unlike all prior Rs called evil Nazis, is truly an evil Nazi and therefore deserves it.

    Soon we're going to have re-title the parable "The Little Democrat Who Cried 'Nazi,'" and tell little boys who won't shut up about wolves all about it.

  • JesseAz||

    There were over a dozen convictions related to Watergate. . Which the Clinton's we're actively involved in. Trump never worked for ukranian politicians.

  • JesseAz||

    Whitewater. Stupid.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Technically Hillary did work on the Watergate investigation.

    John Dean had dazzled a Senate committee with his punishingly total recall. All that remained was to tighten the cinch on Nixon. The job was undertaken with delicacy and tact by the House Judiciary Committee, which was drawing up articles of impeachment, with a staff of bright law school graduates, including Hillary Rodham. She was 26, a year out of Yale Law School, and she got the job after her boyfriend, Bill Clinton, turned it down.

    Fun Fact: Clinton failed the D.C. bar exam in that period. She never retook the exam (passing the Arkansas exam instead) and concealed her failure even from her closest friends until her autobiography in 2003.

  • Fancylad||

    like Clinton, Trump is really good at skirting right up to the edge of "illegal" without going far enough over the line to get convicted of anything
    Clinton got his rocks off be seeing just how far over the line he could go. He was a political-risk adrenaline junkie. Probably had the biggest hard-on in his life during the impeachment.
    Trump wants people to think he's a wild man, a risk taker and a rule-breaker, but he's actually too conventional to bother trying.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Manafort was the bagman for a lot of high level politicos in DC. I don't think any of them really want him to spill his guts all that much.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The key isn't that Manafort's crimes somehow implicate Trump. The key is that Mueller can now offer to go easy on him for THOSE crimes, in return for confessing that he did something unrelated criminal with Trump.

    The nice thing about that is that, as a confession, no evidence has to be presented, and if Trump isn't actually indicted, it doesn't have to be anything that would stand up in court.

    This is exactly what Mueller did with Cohen.

    This appears to be Mueller's strategy to bring down Trump: Not actually prove that Trump did something, but get the goods on other people who can be pressured to accuse Trump of various things, which never have to be proven because no charges are being brought against him in Court.

    But every time he's announced as an "unindicted co-conspirator", he gets a wave of bad press, and more people get the impression he is actually in some kind of legal trouble.

  • ||

    get the goods on other people who can be pressured to accuse Trump of various things, which never have to be proven because no charges are being brought against him in Court.

    A tactic strikingly reminiscent of the Inquisition.

  • DesigNate||

    Democrats are religious zealots? Yeah, I'd buy that.

  • ||

    Sadly, I'm only half joking. People imagine medieval Inquisitors as these sadistic mustache-twirlers, which some of them were, but most of them legitimately thought that they were in the right and that they were mercifully saving uneducated people from wrongthink.

  • JesseAz||

    Just because they worship a man made institution doesn't make them any less religious.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Democrats are largely members of The Church of The Progressive Orthodoxy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The downside with that strategy is that Manafort has an Ace up his sleeve- a Trump pardon.

    Clearly Manafort offered this deal and got Mueller to accept it before election time. Mueller cannot change his mind on accepting the deal. Trump grants pardon before sentencing so the Judge cannot back out of deal either. Manafort does not have to cooperate and no more federal charges by Mueller.

    The media won't discuss this as a possibility because they wish it not to happen or they are too dumb to consider it.

    Does anyone here really believe that Trump is going to let corrupt bureaucrats like Mueller take him down without a fight? Trump knows he didnt do anything illegal so he has withstood all accusations.

    If Mueller thinks he can offer to go easy in exchange for Manafort lying to make up a crime with Trump, Trump will fight that with everything in his power.

    Wouldn't you?

    Everyone who hates Trump already hates Trump even if he does or does not pardon Manafort. Everyone who thinks Trump is doing well knows this is Bullshit and will still support Trump even with a Manafort pardon.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Got that right. Looks like he's going for impeachment. we've got people pleading to crimes that don't exist so they can implicate Trump in crimes that don't exist.
    No evidence required. In the end it'll be about whether or not the polls favor impeachment and conviction or not.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Thing is, the 'Mueller Probe' is essentially bullshit,

    Half-educated, uninformed, bigoted, disaffected right-wing yahoos who advance unqualified declarations already contradicted by evidence are among my favorite faux libertarian dumbfucks.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Keep believing all that progressive fan fiction Arty.

    Carry on comrade.

  • ||

    His connections were to pro-West groups in Ukraine.

    STOP COMPLICATING THE NARRATIVE!

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I told you all this would be the week that marked the beginning of the end for this illegitimate Kremlin puppet government. First Senator Feinstein unleashed the bombshell that will defeat the Kavanaugh nomination. Now we learn Mueller's investigation is even closer to establishing definitive proof Orange Hitler colluded with Russia to steal the election.

    I'm revising my #BlueWave prediction. Democrats will not only take control of the House, they'll win the Senate too. Then the stage will be set for Drumpf's removal from office in 2019.

    #TrumpRussia
    #ItsMuellerTime
    #Impeach
    #StillWithHer

  • Paradigm||

    > I'm revising my #BlueWave prediction. Democrats will not only take control of the House, they'll win the Senate too. Then the stage will be set for Drumpf's removal from office in 2019.

    Now where have I heard this sort of wild claim before? Oh...right...2016, Abortion Barbie, the 2012 Wisconsin recall election, etc. I could go on and on.

    I'll be sure to ask you how you feel when it doesn't come true.

  • Paradigm||

    Let's not forget Brexit either

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And now we have Swexit coming.

  • Just Say'n||

  • Just Say'n||

    www.twitter.com/nprpolitics/st.....4091237376

    And NPR says he's not cooperating on any matters relating to the Trump campaign

  • Just Say'n||

    I understand that it is rather embarrassing to have embraced a CIA motivated conspiracy theory for the past two years, but you're only beclowing yourself further at this point.

  • Fredo||

    Meh, Reason really can't drop much further, IMO.

  • Idle Hands||

    This is so sad. Not the manafort deal, the breathless waiting for any evidence at all that Trump colluded with the Russians. I've never seen something like this ever.

  • Idle Hands||

    We are at two years now and nothing. Saying the trump administration is a leaky ship is an insult to the titanic, if something existed we would know full stop.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Not to mention a media salivating to take him down, unlike their attitude towards Chocolate Nixon. They've been scouring everything they can get their hands on and they got nuttin.

  • wearingit||

    Nothing? Isn't it like 20+ indicted and 5 guilty pleas? Not to mention the 46 million in forfeiture from Manafort alone which, contrary to the Republican congress and executive, is the only thing that could be construed as trimming the deficit.

    You have to be a complete ignoramus to think that Manafort would work FOR FREE for the Trump campaign and not have any kind of ulterior motive. That alone is worth investigating.

    Amazing how self-described "libertarians" suddenly don't care about the rule of law when it comes to Trump.

  • Sevo||

    wearingit|9.14.18 @ 6:40PM|#
    "Nothing? Isn't it like 20+ indicted and 5 guilty pleas?"

    Yep, un-paid parking tickets, 40 in a 35, 'lying' to a fed agent; serious stuff, there. And then some of those people know Trump and others actually worked for Trump at one time or other!
    Here, idiot; you need help:
    Treating the Six Known Symptoms of 'Trump Derangement Syndrome'
    https://drrichswier.com/2017/01/29/treating
    -the-six-symptoms-of-trump-
    derangement-syndrome/

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Those speeding tickets were obviously given for rushing to meetings with KGB commanders to receive Putins's orders.

  • Microaggressor||

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree. Seems Mueller's real purpose, is to help further the speculation that somehow Trump colluded with Russia by getting Manafort to agree to cooperate regarding that. There is nothing showing any evidence Trump colluded with Russia, and IMHO it was assumed by Obama/Hillary, and their corrupt minions in the administration, that Trump was dirty and colluding with Putin, because they are dirty and Putin had dirt on them (more and more evidence has emerged that Hillary was hacked - we just don't know who the hackers are because state funded hackers know to cover their tracks by having her emails forwarded to a server in another country the US authorities can't examine, which then forwards it to their servers, giving them time to erase any evidence before it's seen).

    But Giuliani has made one thing clear. Mueller gets to decide who he wants to prosecute if Trump says something contrary to another's testimony, even if that other person's testimony is made up. That is abuse of the law. But it provides people being pressured via prosecution, a way to plea their charges to something less. Mueller's intention is to keep this going thru the midterms and possibly thru the 2020 elections. That's what I see.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Somewhat OT:

    When Oliver Stone gets around to making his totally fact-based docudrama historical fiction/ conspriacy thriller about the 2016 election, who will he get to play Manafort? It'll have to be someone who can exude a certain smarmy douchebag quality. The obvious choice is Christopher McDonald.

    But then, who will play Trump? In a surprise casting choice, I'd suggest Christopher McDonald again. What can I say, the man's got range as an actor.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    It will be like a Madea movie, except for white people?

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    You mean a Peter Sellers movie.

  • 68W58||

    General Rioper, you've sent the wing to bomb Russia?!? Oh Lerrrd!!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yep, Sellers. You beat me to it.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Specifically, for white limousine liberals.

  • Idle Hands||

    I think Trump should be played by Kanye.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Kanye in white orange face? I can see it, that's a good choice too. He'd also have to be in a fat suit though, and I think Tyler Perry, Eddie Murphy, and Martin Lawrence have already run the black man in a fat suit concept into the ground.

  • Idle Hands||

    Kanye could easily gain weight for the role he was born to play.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Idris Elba. The dude's got more range than anybody.

  • Cynical Asshole||

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    James Woods as Trump.

  • BYODB||

    Umm...you forget that Trump is more than capable of playing himself.

    After all, in the words of Christopher Lloyd when confronted with M.J. Fox's statement that Reagan is President in the future, "What, the actor."

  • ||

    For Manafort, Donald Sutherland. For Trump, we bring back Carol O'Connor from the dead.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Who does Clint play in that movie? And will Telly also be resurrected?

  • ||

    Clint is Mueller, obviously (but daily setting aside his urge to strangle Stone out of sheer professionalism).

    Telly plays Jeff Bezos in the subplot about the noble journalists.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Love it! And I can't wait to see how the bank heist plays out.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Smarmy douchebag?
    Charlie Sheen

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I will play myself.

  • ||

    The obvious choice is Christopher McDonald.

    I didn't sell out son, I bought in.

    A great movie and proof Matthew Lillard can act when he feels like it..

  • Just Say'n||

    By far, Russia fever dreams is the most mainstreamed baseless conspiracy theory of the last hundred years. And yet, even when it was obvious from the beginning that there was no "there there" and all anti-war voices from Glenn Greenwald to the Nation to antiwar.com to Max Bluementhal decried the encroaching McCarthyism you guys doubled down.

  • Idle Hands||

    the thing that gets me is the fact that the people pushing the narrative also rightly believe Trump administration to be an unmitigated clown show with people constantly leaking and attacking each other in the press. Yet they simultaneously believe them capable of keeping something like this close to the chest.

  • Just Say'n||

    Exactly. The Trump administration is incompetent and yet they managed to pull off such a masterful conspiracy so sophisticated that two congressional investigations, the entirety of the media, the FBI, and the special counsel's office cannot find a shred of evidence to support this conspiracy theory.

  • Just Say'n||

    At this point Reason should rename itself "New York Times addendum", because they only follow popular narratives and just wholly accept whatever they read in the Times.

  • wearingit||

    There's nothing masterful about it. If they had done it right it wouldn't even be being talked about now because there'd be no investigation. The fact that the Republican lackeys couldn't even stop that speaks volumes.

  • ||

    you guys doubled down.

    From the article:

    "The crimes Manafort has been convicted of are not directly connected to Trump and his campaign in any way and most of them preceded Manafort's work for Trump. The response from Trump and the White House has been (and continues to be) that none of these charges show any sort of collusion between Trump and Russia, and that's absolutely true."

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm not referring to this article, in particular. I am referring to the article about the prostitute who is going to blow the whole case open. Most sane people have stopped believing in this narrative over a year ago.

  • ||

    I am referring to the article about the prostitute who is going to blow the whole case open.

    I don't remember that one - link?

  • Just Say'n||

  • ||

    Is this the smoking gun?

    But while it remains to be seen whether any of Rybka's recordings are actually relevant to Trump's campaign or the U.S. election, is there anyone who would really be surprised one way or the other at this point?

    You've been carrying this around for six months and otherwise ignoring their general skepticism about the Russia-collusion narrative (including in this very post you're commenting on)?

    You may have a budding case of "Reason Derangement Syndrome."

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup. Peddling unsubstantiated conspiracy theories totally shows them looking at this skeptically.

    Maybe Cathy Young writing a front page cover article about how we need to impose trade sanctions on Russia for lolz is just there way of being skeptical

  • Just Say'n||

    www.reason.com/archives/2017/0.....libertaria

    "Aside from a verbal commitment to liberal democracy and the rule of law, what can Western countries do to curb Russia's anti-liberal influence without risking military conflict? Economic sanctions—particularly when they target the Russian political elite and its properties abroad, as opposed to targeting ordinary Russian consumers—can be more effective than they are often believed to be. The desire to avoid further and harsher sanctions, for example, may have helped persuade the Putin regime to abandon its territorial ambitions in eastern Ukraine and to scale down its war in that region to a simmering conflict."

    Hey, the publication that totally supports free trade is just saying maybe we should impose sanctions against Russia. She's just speculating

  • ||

    Hey, the publication that totally supports free trade is just saying maybe we should impose sanctions against Russia. She's just speculating

    This from the guy who earlier today was complaining that they don't sympathetically entertain nationalists' calls for tariffs?

    She's saying that maybe sanctions would be an effective lesser of two evils when compared with war. And this is one article floating a "what if" from well over a year ago.

    I sure hope you're not going to be like Joe from Lowell carrying around that article from fifteen years ago saying "maybe invading Iraq is actually the least bad thing to do right now" as evidence that everything they do is cover for their secret warmongering.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Seems to me there was no Russian "anti-liberal influence" in the election. Using speech isn't anti-liberal, which is the only thing evidence exists Russia did. And then my sample of reading about 50 of the Russian posts showed most were pro-Clinton. Obama's report claiming Russian hacking had no evidence to support it - it's argument basically being: Russia hacks so it must have done the Podesta and DNC hacks. Others like William Binney provide evidence it wasn't Russian hacking, plus we have the rate Wikileaks admission the leaks weren't from state actors.

    Remember Obama and Clinton were all friendly, flexible and appeasing towards Russia until she blamed the hacking on them, and Obama only implemented sanctions after her loss. An attempt to discredit Trump's election, gum up his administration, and get him removed via fake obstruction of justice charges IMHO. They didn't want Trump's administration investigating their actions, which as more and more evidence emerges, shows them to be more and more corrupt.

  • ||

    Oh, look at this big breaking story about this prostitute who's wanted by Russian authorities because she has damning tapes of them and now she's claiming to have dirt on Trump; this could be a total lie or there may be a kernel of truth - these days would anyone be surprised either way?

    =

    Peddling unsubstantiated conspiracy theories?

    They were supposed to ignore the story? They were supposed to take the angle "totally lying prostitute attempts totally false smear of totally innocent Trump?"

    I'm not sure why this indicates that all the skepticism they've expressed toward the Russian collusion accusations is to be ignored in favor of interpreting this one article from six months ago as enthusiastically pushing the Beltway narrative.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    My impression is that Reason has finally begun to question the NYT spin including the article above. But just say'n is correct otherwise. Greenwald is a fucking socialist but he's been a helluva lot more perceptive than the libertarians at Reason on this issue.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Non-Lefties are being taken advantage while respecting the Rule of Law with this Mueller 'investigation'. That good will only goes so far.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does Mueller have any testimony that wasn't obtained from someone who's been forced to plead guilty to something or wasn't obtained by way of a warrant based on bogus information courtesy of the Hillary Clinton campaign?

    I'm really askin'.

  • ||

    Not that we know of, no.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    None.

    All the convictions Mueller has gotten are outside the scope of his mandate. They are tax fraud, conspiracy, etc.

    Not a single crime where the defendant was convicted of anything remotely close to stealing the election from Hillary.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Nope.

  • ||

    Russia-friendly Ukrainian

    You promise Russian-Standard but deliver Stolichnaya? Unacceptable.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "The defendant agrees to be fully debriefed..."

    Luckily, he wears boxers.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Can anyone provide a strict, rigorous definition of "interfering with an election"?

  • Eddy||

    Showing a picture of Rosie O'Donnell?

    Oh, wait, I misunderstood...

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    lol

  • Cynical Asshole||

    For some reason when you read "interfering with an election" your inner-monologue developed a Chinese accent.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Well it was her turn. Interference is not allowing her to have her turn.

  • Don't look at me.||

    THE. MOST. QUALIFIED. EVER.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "interfering with an election" is a real thing. It just isn't an illegal real thing.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Stuffing the ballot box is illegal and interfering w/ an election. It just didn't happen here.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Kind of like "making a healthy snack" can be a crime if you break into somebody else's house to do it.

  • Ron||

    Women who voted for trump were interfering so i guess everything is interfering

  • DesigNate||

    Any action that caused Herself to lose?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Good question because even if Russia tried to influence the election by buying ad space there is nothing is our laws that would prevent this.

    Not to mention Obama and other presidents routinely tried to influence other countries elections with well timed visits and very focused speeches. As did Bush and Tony Blair.

    Either the US believes in free speech and none of this matters or we don't (though if Trump worked with Russia it would likely violate campaign finance laws).

    Though I suppose the increasing percentage of people willing to use violence to stop differing opinions from even being heard along with those trying to legislate criminal penalties for hate speech and those working to rid the world of 'fake news'.. I suppose that answers the question: more and more people in the US simply don't believe in free speech.

    Something something history, doomed to repeat...

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Not to mention Obama and other presidents routinely tried to influence other countries elections with well timed visits and very focused speeches. As did Bush and Tony Blair.

    And that's not even addressing the things that our intelligence have done under them and other previous presidents.

  • ||

    Yeah - I seem to remember some interference in an Iranian election.

  • ||

    One might even suggest that the very concept of "regime change" is a form of "interfering in other countries' elections."

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Well kinda.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Unloading trunks full of voter ballots?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Chads were hanging due to Russian made ballot punches.

  • M.L.||

    Gee, I'm sure that this time they will finally have something on Trump's collusion with Russia. LOL

    Mueller and the rest should be in jail.

  • wearingit||

    You should be in an asylum you nincompoop.

  • M.L.||

    The Obama Administration literally hijacked the National Security apparatus to spy on their political opponents. Much worse than Watergate. Meanwhile HRC and the DNC colluded with Russians to interfere in the election and gin up false allegations. The Obama Administration used the product of their collusion efforts to justify their spying on political opponents, and then leaked classified information like mad in order to damage their political opponent, all while exonerating Hillary for clear and unquestionable crimes. The holdovers continued this, and then parlayed it into a special counsel investigation and bullying Jeff sessions into an unjustified recusal. Then, long time errand boy Mueller proceeded to conduct the investigation in a completely partisan and one-sided manner.

    Sorry about your brain damage, sheep.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The whining about their right-wing delusions in among my favorite things about disaffected faux libertarians.

  • FusterCluck||

    You have the intellectual ability of a gnat, and make up for it by possessing the tact of a bulldozer.

  • Sevo||

    "faux libertarians."

    Oh, how fucking French, asshole!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    UPDATE: The details of the plea agreement are starting to be released. The cooperation component appears very extensive. (Here's a link to the full plea agreement)

    Looks pretty standard for a cooperation agreement.

    Next update: Trump pardons Manafort.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Manafort's agreement with DOJ requires him to "cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly,"

    As opposed to jerking the DOJ around?

  • Freelancelot||

    Oooh, the drama, the drama! "Reason" does a deep dive into it.

  • Gerald4||

    US Income tax evasion is the same as taking money from the US treasury.

    This is the same as politicians awarding no-bid contracts to political contributors at inflated prices which also results in taking money from the US treasury.

    US Tax laws require that US citizens pay taxes on money that is made in foreign nations by US citizens, even if none activity to create that wealth was done in the USA.

    Even if you believe that these provisions of the US tax code are not fair, you should face US prison for evasion of these provisions if you file false statements to the IRS.

    No US citizen should ever be pardoned by any US President for US Tax Evasion.

    If you want the benefits of US Citizenship then you must also comply with US laws, or you can renounce your US citizenship and leave the USA.

  • Barry soetaro||

    Oh please. Right after we execute all crooked politicians for running up bills only they want or see.

  • Sevo||

    "US Income tax evasion is the same as taking money from the US treasury."

    It ought to be grounds for celebration!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    No celebrating until we get Trump's tax returns.

    January is just around the corner . . .

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|9.15.18 @ 1:03PM|#
    "No celebrating until we get Trump's tax returns."

    You lost. Grow up, asshole.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So about Timothy Geithner, known tax cheat and Secretary of the Treasury (under which the IRS resides...).

  • perlchpr||

    I don't think you're going to get much support for taxation here, bub.

  • Barry soetaro||

    Looks like Manafort dropped tony Podesta, brother of Hillary bagman john Podesta, into the grease. Clinton Crime Inc. has a lot of fill and cover work coming up!

  • buybuydandavis||

    +1 actual news at Reason, and with minimal TDS

  • ||

    When will Hillary Clinton's temper tantrum ever end? All that is being realized here is that the left is as immature as an angry seven year-old. The left and their media cohorts think we are all idiots. I hope someone of consequence out there who has courage will investigate Hillary Clinton with equal vigor.

  • Sevo||

    "....Agrees to Help Mueller's Russia Investigation"

    Pretty sure the investigation has had nothing to do with Russia for the better part of the year. Now it's money laundering, payouts to hookers, unpaid parking tickets; whatever Mueller can float to keep his job.

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  • fdog50||

    Tony Podesta

  • moschinoonline||

    They have said what they are in favor of. They want true free trade. Trade with zero tariffs on both sided. This can only happen by first raising tariffs to hurt foreign producers so badly that they force their governments to lower all trade restrictions. It isn't intended to hurt domestic industry. Quite the opposite. So when domestic businesses are hurt, it isn't Trump's fault. How could it be? It's not the intention. It must be the fault of something or someone else. Like fake libertarians who are really leftist anarchists.
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