Manafort Matters

I have uploaded, as a single file, the plea agreement and the superseding indictment with respect to Paul Manafort.  I am not an expert on federal criminal law, in general, or the sentencing guidelines, in particular.  However, my understanding is that, if Manafort is sentenced for 210 months incarceration that is at the lower end of the Estimated Guideline Range (page 4 of the pdf), the effective length of his sentence would be at least 178.5 months, less time already served.  So he would serve at least 14.8 years.  That’s a long time for a 69 year old man.

However, the plea agreement also contains the following provision:

The Government will bring to the Courts’ attention at the time of sentencing the nature and extent of your client’s cooperation or lack of cooperation. The Government will evaluate the full nature and extent of your client’s cooperation to determine whether your client has provided substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense. If this Office determines that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the form of truthful information and, where applicable, testimony, the Office will file motions pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Defendant will then be free to argue for any sentence below the advisory Sentencing Guidelines range calculated by the Probation Office, including probation.

Page 8 of the pdf.

This provision gives Manafort a significant incentive to testify both truthfully and with full candor against any and all of the individuals who may have “committed an offense.”

There has to be some nervousness in the Trump household this evening.

33 thoughts on “Manafort Matters”

  1. Longfellow:
    “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”

  2. Manafort may have nothing at all on Trump or his household. The deal may simply be in exchange for his admissions of guilt and the agreement to cooperate, which puts some pressure on people in the White House and the campaign. Especially if Manafort pulls out of his cooperation agreement with other targets of investigation.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and I’m really very confused. At the most meta level, it makes no difference to Trump whether Manafort cooperates or not, has incriminating dirt on the Family Trump or not since it seems to be almost universally accepted at this point that Meuller will not prosecute Trump but will instead send a scathing report to Congress—which is pretty much like Elliot Ness sending the Mafia Commission a report condemning Al Capone and expecting them to expel Capone from their ranks because he’s connected to organized crime.

    The thing that’s keeping Trump out of jail is the DOJ’s extremely misguided attachment to the idea that presidents are above the law And the combination of the Republican Party’s utter ruthlessness and complete lack of scruples will keep Trump in the White House for at least two terms.

    Yet, at a more granular level, the White House seems genuinely to be very worried about Manafort’s testimony at a trial or perhaps before Congress. Yet we know that unless Sessions approves of it, there will be no trial. And the result of Congressional action seems a foregone conclusion. (As an aside, we’re obviously dealing with actual testimony and not Manafort telling what he knows, since that ship surely must have sailed in a proffer session before Mueller would’ve approved the deal).

    Presumably, the government would have given Manafort a drop dead offer—flip now or no deal ever, no matter what—and his lawyers would surely have told Rudy that their client couldn’t go through another trial (to stretch things out past the midterms) so it was now or never for the pardon that Trump and Rudy have been dangling. But Trump didn’t deliver and Manafort flipped.

    So, here a question : what’s going on with these people ? Why not just pardon everyone, especially since Rudy’s on the tevee every day openly imploring Manafort to stall his promised cooperation until after the midterms when Trump will restore his freedom and his estates? What am I missing?

    1. Re: "a report", have you heard of the term "speaking indictments"? That's what Mueller's team is using — indictments that explain what they've discovered, and esp. about who did what criminal acts. Also, it seems pretty clear that Mueller's team does not leak, and perps in negotiations with them don't leak, either (witness that even though Paulie The Traitor was in proffer negotiations, and came out with "full cooperation, judged by a good faith standard (hard for him to weasel out of)", his co-conspirators in the JDA had no knowledge of it. We can infer that anything we hear about Mueller's work or attitudes, unless it comes from people who -label- it as speculation (like Comey) is coming from the perps and their lawyers.

      So that plus $2.75 will get you a double espresso at Starbucks.

      In a similar manner, it's clear that Mueller's still investigating (as they call it) "the case-in-chief", which is the collaboration, the conspiracy with Russia (and possibly KSA, Israel, UAE, maybe others). He's not merely investigating "obstruction". Here again, the Russian Traitor's lawyers try to argue that it's just obstruction — as if anybody with a brain would believe that tripe.

      Finally, re: pardons, who knows why he's not pardoning? I sure don't. Gotta believe Mueller's got dead-man's switches in place. And besides that, our allies would go apeshit if we didn't clean this up, and remember that via Five Eyes and other intel sharing agreements, our allies have much of the same intel; heck, they're brought a lot of the intel to -us-, remember? So suppose Putinfelcher pardons everybody and manages to shut down the investigation. Do you really think our allies won't broadcast the entire case on the Internet? B/c at that point thier main ally will have turned into an adversary. I can easily imagine that the intelligence community has informed Kaiser Yeti Pubes that there's no way they'll sit still for him doing that.

      Re: Paulie and his money, I've read in several places that (a) the plea agreement doesn't allow him to get back his money if he's pardoned, b/c he agrees to both criminal and civil forfeiture (and pardons are only for crimes). And that there are copiious uncharged crimes, that he was forced to confess to, in order to get the plea deal. Which stipulates (very thoroughly) that all the information to which he pleaded, can and will be used against him, if he's pardoned. E.g. for state charges (b/c I think we can agree that if he's pardoned, it won't be for specfiic offenses, but rather for everything since 1978 — since that's about how long ago he started being a criminal).

      1. The point is that Mueller can't prosecute Trump or anyone that he doesn't want prosecuted. That is the meaning of the OLC memos saying, in essence, that a sitting president is above the law. As an employee of the DOJ, Mueller is bound by that policy, even if it is wrong and idiotic. You don't need to infer anything on this question: He's forbidden from doing charging Donald Trump with a crime unless that policy is first disavowed by the Attorney General.

        The OLC policy is what it is. No prosecutions. Period. What kind of "dead-man's switch" could he possibly have in place? What do you think our allies could do to remove Trump from office? Short of turning themselves into a Praetorian Guard, assassinating Trump and installing a new president in his place, I don't see what the intelligence agencies can do about Trump.

        This is an entirely unforeseen problem. And the unforeseen problem isn't Trump— it's the modern Republican Party, a minority party that holds power through ruthlessness, utter disregard of law and norms, and with the assistance of a foreign enemy. The Constitution is riddled with provisions that enhance the power of a rural, conservative minority; originally it was a minor imbalance but now it's a death sentence for the republic.

        1. [Uh yes, I do suffer from logorrhea, why do you ask?]

          Uh, the OLC memos apply only to Kaiser Yeti Pubes — not to anybody else. Mueller -can- prosecute anybody else. Further, Mueller can file a sealed indictment that is opened after Kaiser Yeti Pubes is deposed — that also is not prohibited. And in charging (say) Don Jr., Mueller can name Commissar Pilzkopf ["mushroom"] as an unindicted co-conspirator. That's ALREADY happened in SDNY with the Cohen plea, remember?

          OK. So you're talking about a different problem. Let me restate it to you: You're arguing that the modern GrOPers could run roughshod over the rule of law. Shitlord could pardon anybody, shut down Mueller, fire right down the chain-of-command in DOJ until he gets a pliable patsy. And Congress will do nothing about it — will let him do it.

          Is that about it? I agree, that that might happen. And if it did, I think we'd both agree that it's the end of democracy in America. Turned out, all those classes we took back in high school, where our Government teachers taught us about checks-and-balances …. well, it wasn't as robust as they told us, eh?

          I have only one answer for you: if that happens, it'll be up to the people to take back our democracy. Probably starting with a Euromaidan-style demonstration in DC and maybe a few other cities. And there'll be a lot of shit going down. Maybe there's a hot civil war. Maybe. But even without one, it'll be bad.

          But I don't think that's what happens. EVEN IF Putinfelcher and his Russian Asset Congress go-for-broke, Have you ever read _The Best and the Brightest_? In the first chapter-or-so, there's a lovely description of the East Coast Establishment. These people (now including other power centers in the country) are the real "owners" of the country. And sure, they want lower taxes, less regulation, all that. But if the GrOPers side with the Russians over the Western Alliance, the owners are going to get a really awful wakeup call from their peers in other Western countries. And I think they'll yank the GrOPers back.

          Look: they own the US. And they want lots of things. But they're stupid enough to think that if America becomes a Russian satellite, that they'll KEEP the stuff they own. They need the rule of law as badly as we do. Hell, they need it if they expect their children to inherit.

          But really, I don't think it's going to go that far. I think the GrOPers are too incompetent (this time, thank goodness) and underestimated the tenacity of the Justice Department and IC. And also the rage of the population. I just sent out donations to every governor and senator in a tossup race. Tomorrow, all 70 swing districts. Two years ago, I donated to *four* candidates.

          Also, something else about the "owners". It's been remarked on over the years that the IC is populated by very conservative (mostly) men. Very. Conservative. That these conservative men are lined up to run this counterintelligence investigation of Putinfelcher, is in itself evidence for my thesis that Putinfelcher and the GrOPers are going against the long-term interests of the owners of the country.

          Oops, one *other* last thing. Ever heard of Mancur Olson and "stationary" vs "mobile" bandits? The "owners" are stationary bandits. Putin? He's a mobile bandit. There's a lot more, but much of what I think will transpire in the WORST CASE, comes from that analysis.

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