March 31, 2016: This is What Collusion Looks Like
There it is right there in the above picture. At this meeting Papadopoulos reveals to Trump and the rest of his aides a clear quid pro quo: he reveals that the Russians have ‘thousands of emails about Hillary Clinton’ and Putin wants to meet with Trump.
There’s no plausible deniability. We know that by March 31, 2016 at the latest, Donald Trump is aware of a clear quid pro quo:
70/ That is to say, it now seems release of the DNC emails was a quid pro quo from Trump ordering Gordon to change the GOP platform 3/31/16.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 30, 2017
As for Mueller, he totally outwitted the Trumpsters. Papadoupolos was the curve they didn’t see coming.
3/ the special prosecutor knew this, and did an almost perfect bookend play from the media perspective and from the legal side
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) October 30, 2017
Trump and his apologists had their talking points: everything in the indictment of Manafort was pre campaign so it didn’t matter. This was not an accurate argument at least legally, but politically it’s what they’d go with for now.
It was a specious argument as Manafort was the campaign manager and his financial problems and history with Russian leaning oligarchs led him to offer Oleg Deripaska a private campaign briefing. So even on its own terms it’s not true to say that Manafort’s financial crimes have no bearing on Russia collusion.
And no doubt, Mueller hopes to flip Manafort and see what he knows about Roger Stone’s communications with Julian Assange as well as what happened in that Trump Tower Russia meeting in June 2016.
But, admittedly, the announced charges for Manafort could at least be spun as ‘Nothing to do with collusion’-even though the investigation is ongoing and there was no reason to expect it to be tied up with a bow after five months.
Except that Mueller saw this coming a mile away. And he was not going to let the Trump apologists outmaneuver him even in the short term. And the Papadopoulos indictment changes everything.
Trump and his apologists had their talking points and Papadopoulos’ indictment-and confession-changed everything:
Seems crystal clear the White House was totally caught off guard and entirely unprepared for Papadopolous guilty plea.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 30, 2017
Natasha Bertrand-who does some of the best Russia reporting around:
“George Papadopoulos, an early foreign-policy adviser and aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign team, was told that Moscow had dirt on Hillary Clinton in April 2016, newly unsealed court documents show.”
“The revelation changes the timeline of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the US presidential election. The offering on Clinton, in this case, was in the form of “thousands of emails,” disclosed to Papadopoulos by a person identified as an “overseas professor.”
“The professor was later identified by The Washington Post as Joseph Mifsud, director of the London Academy of Diplomacy.”
What’s so notable is that Papadopoulos’ crime was: lying about his meeting with a Russian professor. He lied about when he met him-falsely claiming it was before he joined the Trump campaign as well as characterizing this Russian professor as ‘a nothing.’
Turns out the professor actually had significant Kremlin ties. But think about that. Simply mischaracterizing something is enough to get you indicted. Can you imagine a pathological liar like Donald Trump testifying before Mueller’s grand jury?
As Bertrand says, the timeline is now totally changed. The Trump campaign knew about Russia’s hacks of the Democrats by March 31, 2016.
“On October 5, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal agents. He now appears to be a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the revelation that a foreign national tied to Russia offered the campaign dirt on Clinton in the form of emails in April 2016 seems to move up the known timeline of Moscow’s election interference.”
“On or about April 26, 2016, defendant Papadopoulos met the professor for breakfast at a London hotel,” says the special counsel’s court filing.
“During this meeting, the Professor told defendant that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian government officials. The professor told defendant that on that trip he (the professor) learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on then-candidate Clinton. The professor told defendant Papadopoulos, as Papadopoulos later described to the FBI, that ‘they [the Russians] have dirt on her’; ‘the Russians had emails on Clinton’; ‘they have thousands of emails.'”
“The document suggests Papadopoulos had known that Russia was actively trying to undermine Clinton before virtually anyone else.”
Again, Mueller’s Papadopoulos Curve, completely caught TrumpWorld flatfooted and totally ruined Donald Trump’s day:
“Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., “there is NO COLLUSION!”
“But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.”
“The walls are closing in,” said one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Everyone is freaking out.”
“Trump is also increasingly agitated by the expansion of Mueller’s probe into financial issues beyond the 2016 campaign and about the potential damage to him and his family.”
Walls are closing in. And Mueller is just getting started.
11/ so clutch that fig-leaf of "no collusion" tight because if you think this is the worst day for you, think again.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) October 30, 2017
P.S. I’m Mike Sax and I’m running for the NY 2nd District and have a question:
Would you prefer Peter King to continue to sit on the House Intelligence Committee Russia hearings or your buddy Mike?
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