Special Counsel Mueller, NYAG Schneiderman are partnering on Manafort probe
UPDATED Thu. Aug. 31, 9:00amEDT
There has been talk, speculation, even rumors about this.
And remember: Trump can’t fire Schneiderman, and Trump can’t pardon NY state convictions.
Politico, Wednesday night:
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.
The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.
No decision has been made on where or whether to file charges. “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.
Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has previously denied it. A spokesman for Manafort didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.
A representative for Mueller’s office declined to comment, as did the New York attorney general’s office.
One Twitter microblogger – who, unlike some “mainstream” press playaz, admitted and apoligized for the fact that he got burned by a bogus source recently – had been reporting on this several weeks ago. Here’s his analysis:
Mueller is letting it be known by coordinating with NYAG Schneiderman that Trump’s use of pardon pen will result in NY prosecutions.
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) August 31, 2017
And there’s this…
Manafort like Trump has a LOT of shell companies. I assume it’s his way of hiding assets VA SCC
John Hannah LLC
LOAV LTD pic.twitter.com/eu3Vdo8GOn
— Alt-SeanSpicer’s 🎤 (@Alt_Spicerlies) August 31, 2017
Many legal analysts framed Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio as a warning that Trump would use pardon power to sabotage Mueller:
Donald Trump’s ability to issue presidential pardons has been the ultimate weapon looming over Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump could potentially pardon himself of any crimes. More important, he could dangle a pardon to his former staffers to encourage them not to supply Mueller with any incriminating information on Trump. Mueller is apparently handling his investigating like the prosecution of a mob boss, pressuring underlings to flip on the boss. Trump’s advantage is that, unlike a mob boss, he can give out an unlimited number of get-out-of-jail-free cards. Trump has reportedly mused in public about using the pardon — and his pardon of Joe Arpaio flaunted his willingness to use it on behalf of a political ally, even in outrageous fashion.
But it turns out that there is a flaw in Trump’s strategy. The presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes. As NBC reported last night, it is possible for state governments to press charges in some of the alleged crimes committed by Trump’s cronies. “You would have to find that one of those [election] crimes occurred in New York,” Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC. Of course, some of the alleged crimes almost certainly did take place in New York. And sure enough, Josh Dawsey reports, Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering,” he notes.
Trump’s trump card – the pardon – becomes not only useless, but a weapon against him:
According to a new MSNBC legal analysis, federal pardons could open the door to local criminal investigations in several states.
The most likely places are New York, Virginia and Illinois, three states where there is evidence that election-related crimes occurred — though it is unclear if any Americans assisted with those Russian efforts.
Beyond the three main states, the legal arguments for potential criminal jurisdiction are even broader, extending to many of the 39 states that were subject to Russian hacking.
And that means Trump and his cronies would face years of investigations.
Just after Politico broke their scoop, there was an additional major Russiagate development: look who just testified before Mueller’s grand jury?
A Russian lobbyist who attended a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer has testified before special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury, The Financial Times reported Wednesday.
Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet army officer, testified before the jury for several hours on Aug. 11, signaling that Mueller is including the controversial Trump Tower meeting in his investigation.
Mueller convened a grand jury earlier this month as part of his investigation into Russian interference into the election.
Akhmetshin was part of the controversial 2016 meeting that came to light last month, during which Donald Trump Jr., along with campaign head Paul Manafort and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Glad we invested in popcorn futures!
And speaking popcorn, we end with eight-plus minutes of Thursday morning mirth from Morning Joe. Enjoy!