On #ManafortMonday – Trump/Russia is All About Climate and Carbon

October 30, 2017

I’ve discussed how the motivating factors for Russia’s incredibly brazen interference in the US election is in large part due to the critical state of the carbon bubble – the world’s imminent move to non-carbon energies.

Above, see Fox News interviews with Trump – veering solidly into Kim Jong Un territory. This is the news feed that millions of Americans are seeing – so it is critical that good information be disseminated, and I’m doing that on my Twitter and Facebook feed, and, from time to time, here. Urge all others to up their social media game and circulate well sourced and accurate info to counteract the furious spin machine we are seeing.

First, some background on the charges.

Renato Marriotti, former Fed Prosecutor and candidate for Illinois Attorney General, explains the charges. (from a twitter thread)

The indictment of Manafort and Gates was just unsealed. You can view it here:

An indictment is a formal charge that has been approved on by a grand jury, which are a group ordinary citizens who hear evidence..

In the United States, you have a constitutional right to be charged by indictment if you are being charged with a felony.

The indictment charges the men with a number of different crimes. I’m going to walk through them in this thread.

Indictments list the allegations that the government is making and the specific laws that have been violated.

This indictment is something called a “speaking indictment” — instead of just saying the charges, it lists specific factual allegations.

Certain crimes (like conspiracy) require the government to explain exactly what the defendants did and what the conspiracy was about.

Prosecutors gain a couple of advantages from charging crimes like conspiracy. First, they get to give the jury a road map of the case.

The jury gets to bring the indictment back into the jury room when they deliberate after a trial.

Conspiracy charges also let prosecutors bring in a broader range of activity into a single charge.

Typically crimes involve a specific action or occur at a specific time. A conspiracy is an agreement to break the law and it is ongoing.

So the first charge in this indictment is a conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 371. That is a general federal conspiracy statute.

If two people agree to commit a federal law and take a concrete step towards doing so (called an overt act), they’ve violated 371.

Here, Manafort and Gates are charged with agreeing to defeat the lawful functions of the United States.

This is a common charge in tax cases–I charged this statute myself in a tax case. It means they worked together to undermine the IRS.

For instance, when you go out of your way to hide money and affirmatively make it hard for the IRS to enforce the law against you.

You can read more about the basis of the conspiracy charge by reading the parts of the indictment references in paragraphs 38 and 39.

The second crime is a conspiracy (agreement) to launder money. That’s when you move money in order to promote *another* crime.

I’ve told you before that money laundering is a challenge to prove because you need to show that other crime happened. Mueller did that.

The other crime (it’s called “specified unlawful activity”) is a failure to register as a foreign agent. More on that later.

The next crime is only against Manafort for failure to file a statement with the Treasury Department disclosing foreign bank accounts.

As we’ve discussed often, prosecutors like narrow charges like this because they’re easy to prove. Either you disclosed or not, period.

The next crime charged is against only Gates for essentially the same thing. Failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

The next count is for failing to register as a foreign agent. The law requires that anyone working in the U.S. as an agent of a foreign government must register with the Attorney General. This is another narrow crime that can be very straightforward to prove.

(Registration is important so our government can monitor what foreign governments are doing within the United States.)

The next crime (Count 11, p. 27) is one of the most important and revealing. This charges false and misleading registration statements.

I don’t have time to list the statements here, but Mueller is affirmatively alleging that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each one of those statements is false, which says something about the work that Manafort and Gates were doing and allegedly lied about.

The next crime is just a different way of charging the same false statements, which are a violation of both statutes.

Prosecutors sometimes charge the same crime multiple ways because what they have to prove under each statute is slightly different.

The last part of the indictment is something called the “Forfeiture Allegation.” If property is acquired from unlawful activity, or if it is used in unlawful activity, it can be “forfeited” (taken) by the federal government. That forfeiture has to be alleged too.

Here the government lists various property that they will try to forfeit as well as “substitute property” that they can take if the listed property is no longer available because it was sold or transferred.

I have many, many more thoughts on this indictment but this is a starting point. I will have more threads today and will be on TV a lot.

I read your comments and questions, even if I can’t respond to all of them, and I’ll try to answer them later today.

Will continue to post breaking news and tweets here.

14 Responses to “On #ManafortMonday – Trump/Russia is All About Climate and Carbon”

  1. webej Says:

    No connection between Manafort laundering Ukrainian money and carbon|Putin|Trump.

    Also, laundering money is nothing special or sinister anymore: in the last ten years many US Banks or affiliates have settled on charges alleging hundreds of billions of dollars of money laundering (per case), e.g., Wachovia B$300 to Mexico drug cartels prior to being bought by Wells Fargo during the GFC.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      As reliable as the sunrise—–our resident Russian troll dweebyJ attempting to deflect-deflate-defuse-obfuscate. This first set of indictments is just the shot across the bow—we shall see if it leads to a “…connection between Manafort laundering Ukrainian money and carbon|Putin|Trump”. Make popcorn.

      (And can someone who is smarter than I am explain how dweebyJ’s second paragraph has any relevance at all to carbon|Putin|Trump?(

      • Next thing you know, Vera will show up. Or maybe she already did in the form of dweeby.

        That said, even trolls can’t spoil this day since I see it as the beginning of the end of our long national nightmare.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Vera is gone—-fired by her Russian trollmasters for incompetence, choked to death on her own BS, or run over by a bus in Geneva when she stepped off the curb without looking. No great loss to Crock or the planet. Dweeby was her coworker in the world of Russian BS, and we can hope that he will soon follow her into oblivion. In the meantime, enjoy his feeble attempts to have relevance.

  2. schwadevivre Says:

    The really interesting one is Papadopulous – because he was co-operating fully and was “gathering information” ie wearing a wire.

    This is why his plea and confession was kept quiet.

    Plus there are at least 6 other indictments under seal so everybody in the White house will be looking round wondering which of them is wired up

    • From RS

      wili / October 30, 2017

      Thanks for covering this. Historical indeed! But there is also a historical trend here, wrt Republicans. As Rob Decker tallied it at asif, in the 25 years that Dems have been in the Whitehouse since LBJ, there has been only “one executive branch official convicted of a crime in two and a half decades of Democrat leadership.”

      On the Republican side, in the 28 years they were in the Whitehouse in the same period:
      “89 convictions, and 34 prison sentences.”

      Perhaps the larger question is why do Americans keep voting in a party which has shown itself to repeatedly act illegally in the highest offices in the land?

  3. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/30/16565580/what-if-trump-fires-mueller

    The question that matters now: what will Republicans do when Trump fires Mueller?

    Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was indicted Monday morning, but the most important story of the weekend was a Brooke Singman Fox News piece titled “Mueller facing new Republican pressure to resign in Russia probe.”

    The journalism in the story is laughable, but the message is clear and important: When Trump decides to fire Mueller (and possibly pardon the targets of his investigation) to spare himself and his family from accusations of serious wrongdoing, America’s premier propaganda broadcaster will have his back.

    That means that, inevitably, the vast majority of rank-and-file congressional Republicans will also have his back.

    But then the Republicans have a history

  4. wpNSAlito Says:

    Even the best plausible scenario I can think of still gives us President Pence.

    • Flynn and Pence are also in the Gun, plenty on them both.
      Remember a Conspiracy charge is open ended and the potential number of co conspirators is not limited.
      Very powerful gambit, especially the financial aspect tied in (Al Capone), this makes it potentially also a State Case, especially in NY.
      So even if the Loon pardons them, first they have to [plead guilty to the charges to be pardoned which makes a State Case a Slam Dunk)

      It also has the potential to tie in the Trump Family and Business with warrants for financials and tax filings.

      ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And Eric Trump said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’

      – – https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/eric-trump-russia-investment-golf-course

      Gawd the feet must be looking like seive’s

      The dragnet can also pull in Bannon, Mercer and pretty much the whole cabinet and their appointees for close detailed investigation of their assets and Finacials and tax records

      Buy plenty of popcorn

  5. indy222 Says:

    Another day in the American Kleptocracy… Can we hope that the knuckle-dragging dupes who are still loyal to their man Trump will finally figure out they are being played as idiots, and revolt in number? If enough can, and give the revolution a start, just the me-too’ism of such lazy minds might take it to the conclusion.

  6. dumboldguy Says:

    With any luck, this will become reality soon!

  7. Jerry Falwel Says:

    Reading the comments, it appears nobody has actually looked at the actual charges which boil down to not paying taxes on taxable income. The prosecutor has done what all prosecutors do, throw the kitchen sink and hope some of the mud sticks.

    Apple keeps 31 billion overseas, untaxed by the IRS, a lot of other companies and people do the same thing. They are not being charged as they did it in a manner which makes it not taxable income to the federal government. The bank account charge is simply mud, Apple has thousands of accounts overseas, none of which are known to the IRS. The folks being charged may or may not have done the paperwork correctly for the bank accounts, the charges are simply that charges.

    As to the stuff about cloths and homes that is pure fluff by the prosecutor to make the guys look bad, it is not unlawful to buy expensive doodads if you have paid your taxes.

    As to the charge of being unregistered foreign agents, the agency who registers people for at least 15 years has never charged a single person with that crime, they simply send a letter asking the person to register and they do. The reason for the letter is pretty simple , the law is very complex and unless you have a lawyer familiar with the details before you do a business deal, you could wind up a foreign agent and hence guilty of a federal crime. So the agency sends a letter. The prosecutor in this case is simply throwing mud unless he can prove the letter was sent and the guys refused to register which is unlikely.

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