Judge orders Mueller to identify unnamed figures in Manafort indictment – Mueller-friendly GOP ‘Wrap it up’

Judge orders Mueller to identify unnamed figures in Manafort indictment

June 12, 2018  By 


A federal judge has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to identify by Friday all the individuals and organizations involved in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s alleged scheme to lobby on behalf of Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent under U.S. law.

Among the people Mueller will be required to identify to the defense are top European former politicians who took part in the influence campaign, as well as others whose testimony Manafort has been accused of trying to influence in recent months. Manafort’s alleged effort to shape the accounts of those people led to two new felony obstruction of justice charges last week.

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson Tuesday represents a rare courtroom win for Manafort’s defense, which is battling Mueller’s prosecutors in two different federal courts and faces two looming jury trials.

Prosecutors resisted the defense motion, but the judge’s decision is not likely to be significant since many of the names are well known to the defense and have been reported in the media.

For instance, former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer have acknowledged some involvement in paid lobbying work for Ukraine. However, they have said they were not paid by Manafort.

The witness-tampering claims prosecutors leveled at Manafort last week also pointed to the involvement in the lobbying campaign of individuals connected to a European public relations and TV production firm, FBC Media.

Jackson did not order Mueller’s team to make public the identities of the individuals and companies involved, who are often referred to by pseudonyms in the indictment and other court filings. She simply told prosecutors to give that information to Manafort’s attorneys.

However, that list—once turned over—will effectively cabin the government’s case on the foreign-lobbying issue since prosecutors will be likely be unable to present evidence about businesses or people not on it.

The judge said that turning over the identities will aid the defense in preparing for the trial set for Sept. 17.

“While the government may be correct that the law does not necessarily require the Court to order the requested disclosure, the Court has broad discretion to resolve a motion for a bill of particulars after weighing the parties’ interests, and here, defendant is obliged to prepare for a complex trial with a voluminous record within a relatively short period of time, and he should not have to be surprised at a later point by the addition of a new name or allegation,” Jackson wrote.

Indictments often use pseudonyms for uncharged companies and people because of a Justice Department policy against naming unindicted co-conspirators in such documents. However, judges can order the disclosure of those names to the defense or to the public and the names often emerge during court hearings or at trial.

In the D.C. trial scheduled for September, Manafort faces charges of money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent in connection with his Ukraine-related work, and obstruction of justice.

The veteran lobbyist and political consultant, 69, is also confronting another criminal case brought by Mueller in Alexandria, Va. That indictment includes charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts. Trial on those charges is set to begin July 25.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.


Mueller-friendly Republicans losing patience with probe

In a nod to Trump, Republicans who’ve long deferred to the special counsel have adopted a new mantra: ‘Wrap it up.’

Republican Sen. John Thune says special counsel Robert Mueller should “start winding this down.” Speaker Paul Ryan says “we want to see this thing come to its conclusion.” And House Majority Whip Steve Scalise says he fears Mueller’s probe is “becoming a witch hunt.”

A growing number of Republicans in senior leadership positions, who all profess that Mueller should have no artificial deadline for his Russia influence probe, have also begun to sprinkle in another suggestion: It’s time to wrap it up.

The message is a nod to the gravitational pull of President Donald Trump and his most vocal allies in Congress, a band of hardcore Mueller critics who have made moves to choke off his funding and encourage him to wrap up immediately. Though most senior GOP lawmakers say Mueller should let the facts dictate his probe, their willingness to embrace the hurry-up language is a sign of increasing pressure and division among Republicans about the party’s posture toward the investigation as it enters a perilous phase for Trump and his allies.

“Wrap it up” has become the message of choice for lawmakers trying to straddle the line. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent the message shortly after Thune spoke to Fox News, telling CNN that “I’d like to see them wrap it up.” And the GOP’s Missouri Senate nominee, Josh Hawley, followed suit last week in urging Mueller to “wrap it up and present his evidence.”

That message has caught on as Trump’s party searches for a way to talk about Mueller’s mandate to investigate Russian connections within the president’s inner circle — without alienating the president. As the midterm elections approach, it’s also a message that could resonate with a GOP base increasingly hostile to Mueller’s continued investigation, a sentiment that Trump has stoked in recent weeks.

The “wrap it up” caucus swelled noticeably after Vice President Mike Pence last month urged the special counsel to hurry up.

“In the interests of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Pence told NBC on May 10.

The sentiment has grown steadily since Mueller crossed the one-year mark of his investigation on May 17.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), an original sponsor of legislation designed to protect Mueller’s job, said recently that “the sooner the better” when it comes to his investigation ending.

“The challenge you always have to put an arbitrary deadline on — let’s say something major, a lead or some other investigation strain comes up next week,” Tillis said in a recent interview. ”But I think, on the whole, it’s reasonable to expect with the length of time that’s passed, they should wrap it up.”

As much as Trump’s party wants to see the cloud of the Russia probe lift, however, not every Republican is prepared to tell the special counsel to hurry it up while fresh indictments continue to emerge.

“The president keeps saying it ought to end. I’d just say that since he’s winning, let it play out,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a recent interview, adding that “you can’t” impose a given timeline on Mueller.

“I’ve done enough investigation[s] in 37 years that you’ve got to follow the facts where they take you,” said Grassley, who steered the Tillis-backed legislation through his committee in April.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the Mueller protection bill won’t reach the floor and that the special counsel isn’t in danger of being axed by the president. But McConnell, notably, hasn’t suggested that the investigation wind down and has reiterated his support for Mueller even after getting a briefing on Trump’s unfounded claim that the FBI had installed a spy in his 2016 campaign.

In the House, by contrast, top Republicans are amping up demands that Mueller finish his probe.

“Let them walk through their investigation. But I think, if there is no collusion, it’s time to wind this down,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who’s looking to succeed Ryan next year, told CNN last week.

Though it’s unclear what evidence Mueller has gathered or has been provided by cooperating witnesses, McCarthy declared that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia and complained that the probe had lasted more than a year. During a recent Fox News appearance, Scalise also indicated he’d like the Mueller probe to be wrapped up quickly.

For his part, Ryan has emphasized that Mueller should be “free to do his job.” But on the one-year anniversary of Mueller’s probe last month, Ryan too said he was hopeful that the probe would be “wrapped up” in the near future.

The looming midterm elections are on Republicans’ minds as they prod Mueller, some less gently than others. While Democrats largely aren’t building their campaigns on a Russia message, the probe is an undeniable drag on the administration and GOP candidates who’d much rather talk about good economic news.

“I don’t want to interfere with his investigation, and I’m not suggesting he ought to be fired,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said in a recent interview. “I’m just suggesting that the longer he takes, the more oxygen gets sucked out of the room up here. And the more rumors and innuendo and spin.”

At the forefront of the wrap-it-up brigade are some House conservatives who have become Trump’s vanguard against Mueller. They’ve introduced measures that would choke off funding for the special counsel’s investigation and resolutions intended to assail his legitimacy.

“I think the goal is just to drag it on and to continue to have a cloud over the Trump presidency to potentially sway voters in the midterm elections,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Fox News recently.

Trump has repeatedly singled out these outspoken Mueller critics for praise, and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has begun taking a more aggressive stance toward the probe.

“He has enough information on which to write a report right now,” Giuliani said in a recent interview with POLITICO.

Giuliani also has suggested that he has received assurance from Mueller’s team that the aspect of the probe in which Trump is most exposed — an obstruction of justice inquiry — will be finished by early September. Mueller’s team, notably, has not confirmed that time frame.

“I obviously hope that Mr. Mueller will complete his investigation expeditiously, but you can’t put an artificial deadline on it,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a recent interview. “Because, first of all, he’s clearly yielded some results already. And second, he has a mandate that he needs to fulfill.”

The historical roots of Republican impatience with the Mueller probe run deep. President Richard Nixon used his 1974 State of the Union address to declare that “one year of Watergate is enough.”

Even Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), then the Judiciary chairman, said in 1998 that he wanted to see Kenneth Starr’s probe of President Bill Clinton come to an end.

“Wrap this sucker up,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) agreed at the time.

At that point, the independent counsel’s investigation of Clinton had gone on for four years.

Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.



About ror1774

This Blog is for modern day Patriots who want to Reclaim Our Republic and put it on the right path with a foundation of our Constitution and our Creator God.
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6 Responses to Judge orders Mueller to identify unnamed figures in Manafort indictment – Mueller-friendly GOP ‘Wrap it up’

  1. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:
    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Yes, the Judge is right – Mueller needs to come clean and he also needs to be more open with the Judge.

    He has worn out his welcome and needs to pack his dirty laundry and find somebody else that he can try to put in the slammer illegally.

    Why aren’t these people exposed for what they are – rotten tomatoes.



  2. Brittius says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.


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