Local Boy Makes Good (Open Thread)

It’s always exciting to see a hometown hero in the news. I refer of course to Owen, seen here in a file photo from December:

Owen works at local favorite Aardvark Books*. He’s great, and so is his store. So imagine my squees of joy when I saw that he’d been written up as part of a feature on local bookstore cats!

Aardvark Books is a spacious emporium selling new and secondhand books, cards, and newspapers in San Francisco’s Castro District. The store’s mascot Owen has been a fixture there for 12 years.

“Owen’s the real boss around here,” says Aardvark employee David. You can usually find him on his favorite chair in the Myth & Folklore section.

If Owen was an author, he’d be Christopher Isherwood, says Aardvark employee Frieda, because he’s “loving, kind, pragmatic and takes life as it comes. Nothing really seems to upset him.”

There are eight more Bay Area bookstore managers pictured in the article. I was happy to see it included Hudson the sphinx over at Borderlands, the local sci-fi/fantasy/etc. emporium. But Owen is my main squeeze in this category (possibly because he has fur and is therefore more pleasing to squeeze).

Why so many bookstore cats?

Recycle employee Eric says that owners used to dread rats chewing the pages of their books so would bring in cats “as a practical way to keep the rats away, a tradition that never really left.”

Samwise serves a similar role, eating the silverfish that might otherwise gnaw at my book bindings. But I won’t be sharing a picture–Owen’s the real star today. Open thread!

*Aardvark may be forced to close soon, after almost forty years in operation, since the building is on the market and will be delivered to the buyer empty. This will add another vacant commercial space to a neighborhood already littered with them. (The restaurant space next door allegedly has a new business coming in soon… after more than three years.)

Russiagate Open Thread: Late Friday News Drop…

Judge Ellis let the Manafort jurors go home at 5pm, because one of them had an evening engagement…

Meanwhile, looks like this is the next guy up:

The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two of the people.

They are also investigating claims that Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government. The Malaysian probe has examined the role of the former prime minister in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the fund…

As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.

An attorney for Wynn, Reid Weingarten, declined to comment, saying only that Wynn is cooperating with the Justice Department.

“Steve Wynn is completely cooperating with the investigation and he certainly has no reason to believe that anyone acted improperly in anything he knew about or was involved in,” Weingarten said in a statement…

Yes, these links have been reported before (read the whole thing!), but if the Justice Department is officially looking into the details of transactions between high-ranking Chinese officials, Malaysian businessmen with grift-friendly reputations, and big-time American casino operators looking to set up business in Hong Kong / Singapore / Shanghai… things are about to get UUUUUUGHHLY.

(And that’s not even considering the Saudi finance connection, FWIW.)

That God Damned Parade

Every time I think about it it just infuriates me. Only someone who has never spent a minute in the military or who has no friends who have ever served would think this shit is a good idea. From the top to the bottom it’s a ginormous pain in the ass.

Logistically, it’s a god damned nightmare. We’re talking interruption of training and maintenance schedules that have been in place for a LONG time- officers from the company level on up to regimental have been planning training and field exercises for at least a year in advance. The logistics of getting everyone to the parade, billeting and feeding, fueling, staging areas, security, etc. And that doesn’t even get into what track vehicles do to civilian streets. Then at the lower levels it’s just a fucking giant god damn hot poker up the ass- multiple inspections, extra time preparing, etc. And I’m missing about a gazillion details.

All to feed the ego of some pompous narcissist who needs to compensate for his tiny dick.

Friday Evening Open Thread: SPACE FORCE! Forces Space!

Riveted by the sociological significance of it all…

Per the Hill:

VoteVets, an organization that focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf veterans and their families, said on Twitter that it has submitted a Letter of Intent with Washington, D.C., to hold the race around the National Mall next year.

The announcement came the same day Trump canceled his plans for a military parade in the capital, citing its soaring cost estimates.

“So, unless he kicks out a veterans race, [Trump] will not get his ego parade there, on that day next year, either,” the organization added in the tweet, with the hashtag #NoTrumpParade…

In an email asking for signatures to support their request, the organization also said that it decided to make the race five kilometers long to symbolize “each of [Trump’s] deferments.”…

Their statement arrives on the heels of Trump’s Twitter announcement on Friday morning that he was canceling plans for a military parade over the estimated $92 million cost.

The president said in his tweet that “local politicians” in D.C. were to blame.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th,” Trump wrote…

The Wilderness of Mirrors: Open Sourcing a Counterintelligence Investigation Edition

The Wilderness of Mirrors is a reference to getting lost in both the overwhelming amount of information and disinformation, as well as the minutiae of that information and disinformation, when doing intelligence and counterintelligence work.

“Angleton is credited with coining the term “Wilderness of Mirrors ” meaning the confusion of the world of intelligence and espionage. He wrote that the “Wilderness of Mirrors “consists of the myriad stratagems, deceptions and all the other devices of disinformation that the Soviet Union and its coordinated intelligence services used to confuse and split the West, producing an ever-fluid landscape where fact and illusion merge. The term was used by David Martin as the tittle of his book about Angleton, Wilderness of Mirrors.

The open source news reporting into Russia’s ongoing active measures and cyberwarfare campaign, as well as all the secondary analyses – including that done by me here at Balloon Juice – is, essentially, the largest open sourced intelligence and counterintelligence investigation in history. And like all intelligence and counterintelligence work, those of us doing it, for whatever reasons people are doing it, are all too susceptible to getting lost in the Wilderness of Mirrors.

Yesterday I came across this item that was originally tweeted out on 24 July 2018 at what would be 9:15 PM 12:13 AM EDT on 24 July 2018  in the US:

Here’s the translation via Google translate:

Ex-CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, ex-FBI director James Komi and his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-director of the National Intelligence Service James Clapper, ex-national security adviser Susan Rice say goodbye to access to classified materials. Welcome to the real world!

I already knew that the date on the original, uncorrected Statement from the President revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s clearance was 26 July 2018.

And I knew that Klyushin is a 30 some odd year old millionaire and aspiring Russian oligarch who has claimed that he discussed a new project, supposedly by FaceTime or Skype (as he’s not in the photo at of the tweet I linked to – that’s Emin Agalarov, not Klyushin) with the President at the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. And that he helped to get the President elected in 2016. Given that Klyushin isn’t in the picture at the first tweet and there’s no reporting I’ve been able to find that can actually verify that he played any role in Russia’s active measures and cyberwarfare campaign during the 2016 election, it is impossible to verify if he’s just a really wealthy troll or he’s decided to rub everyone’s nose in the well documented Russian interference in the 2016 election. Or, perhaps, both. But one of my first thoughts, which seems to have been the case for a number of people, is that the Russians got a heads up that the President was thinking of revoking clearances. This could’ve been directly or indirectly through Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) capture of, say, one of the President’s late night phone calls with Sean Hannity.

However, this is most likely not the case!!!! Since I want to stay out of the Wilderness of Mirrors, because I don’t want to lead you all into it with me, I decided to do some checking. I know that Speaker Ryan, during the weekly GOP House leadership press conference on 24 July 2018, stated that: “I think he’s trolling people, honestly”. He being the President. The question was asked of Ryan in response to the White House’s statement on the potential revocation of clearances on Monday of that week.

Speaking at the regular press briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was considering revoking clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden, among others, over their remarks on the Russia investigation.

“The President is exploring the mechanisms because they politicize and in some cases monetize their public service,” Sanders said, explaining why Trump is looking at what power he has to revoke the clearance of a former officials.

Huckabee-Sanders’ remarks were made on the afternoon of Monday 23 July 2018 and widely covered by the news media as soon as the press conference ended. This provided both plenty of time and plenty of coverage for Kkyushin to work with before he tweeted about possible clearance revocations. Given the timing of the White House’s initial statement on 23 July 2018 and all the coverage that it got, this is most likely just trolling by an aspiring Russian oligarch. That doesn’t mean that Klyushin’s trolling itself is not a part of the ongoing Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign, but trying to conclude anything more than that would risk getting lost in the Wilderness of Mirrors.

Stay on the path!

Open thread.

Stolen Children Update

Here’s the current status of the children still held by Trump administration kidnappers:

The administration keeps trying to squirm out of its responsibility for this atrocity, at one point suggesting that it’s on the ACLU to go find the parents our government dumped in their countries of origin without their children. The judge wasn’t having that nonsense, but the fact remains, the court is dealing with a group of recalcitrant shit-goblins who aren’t interested in reuniting these families.

If it were up to me, the court would commandeer the White House as headquarters for the family reunification effort and designate Air Force One as the transport plane. Maybe that would get the lead out of their asses.

But it’s good that the court has ordered ongoing updates of the government’s progress. Everyone should know how many children are effectively orphaned by the Trump administration. It was done in our name and will be a stain on our country long after the current set of criminals is driven from power.

Friday Morning Open Thread: Queen Aretha Will Never Die

She was a religious woman, and her faith was strong in an afterlife where she could forever share her gifts. We will surely miss her, though!

The lyrics of The House That Jack Built were problematic even in 1968, but it was always one of my favorites. Something about Ms. Franklin’s voice acknowledging, in the mirror-image of a contemporaneous hit, that even when you fought righteously to get what you needed, it might not be everything you wanted

For 17 years, I wrote Aretha dozens of postcards and letters, one every six months, promoting myself as the right collaborator for her memoirs. After working with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Etta James, I asked each of them to put in a good word for me. When I ghosted Jerry Wexler’s memoirs, I asked him to do the same. They all complied, yet Aretha stayed silent. I befriended her brother Clarence, her sister-in-law Earline, her sisters Erma and Carolyn and her first cousin Brenda. Although I researched Aretha’s life thoroughly, my aim wasn’t a biography, but to work with Aretha herself. I wanted to be her ghost. Of all the great voices, hers was the one I yearned to channel.

And then it happened. Before going to Detroit to research a Motown project, I sent Aretha a postcard — probably my two hundredth — saying I’d love to see her. When she called me at my hotel, I nearly lost it. But I held on, spoke to her for over an hour and convinced her that I was her literary man. We went to work on her book.

Those close to her said she’d never let down her guard. But that didn’t faze me. I’d win over her trust and charm the truth out of her. I didn’t. I found what we wrote — From These Roots (1999) — shallow and void of introspection. During the process, Aretha and I remained civil to another, but she clearly rejected my approach and fashioned the book according to her fantasy of an idyllic life. That was her right. We’re all free to mythologize ourselves any way we please…
Read more

Late Night Open Thread: Trump Is Also Bad for Domestic Relationships

First time I saw George Conway, he was literally holding his wife’s coat at a post-Trump-election gala, looking like a man who could not believe his own luck. Apparently his feelings about the Oval Office Occupant in Chief… aren’t so warm, any longer. Ben Terris, the Washington Post Style reporter who first alerted us to then-Rep. Aaron Schock’s taste in office decor, introduces us to one of DC’s power couples:

… “He’s not just my boss,” Kellyanne, 51, says. “He’s our president.”

“Yeah,” George says, walking out of the room. “We’ll see how long that lasts.”

Here at the Conways’, it’s a house divided. She is Trump’s loyal adviser, the woman who carried him over the finish line to the White House. He is one of the president’s most notable conservative critics and wishes he had never introduced his wife to Trump in the first place.

Kellyanne invited me here because she thought it would be a good symbol for her commitment to, and the enduring strength of, the Trump presidency. The White House may be shedding staff at record speed, but this new home is a sign that Kellyanne isn’t going anywhere; that she is, in fact, flourishing.

And that may be true. But as I spent time with Kellyanne and George, I saw an alternative symbol: The Conways, like the rest of the country, have been jolted by the Trump presidency. They love each other, are exasperated by each other, talk about each other behind each other’s backs. They share a roof and live in different bunkers…

And their feud, thanks to George’s newfound Twitter hobby, is playing out for more than just the neighbors to see.

When the president was in search of a new communications director last year, George tweeted it was “absurd” that the president so often says one thing and then does the opposite. In addition to various tweets about corgis and the Philadelphia Eagles, he has retweeted dozens of articles critical of the president and his administration, and he penned a 3,473-word essay rebutting Trump’s assertion that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation was “unconstitutional.”…

“If you make this story all about him, I’ll definitely push back on that after it’s printed,” Kellyanne says, talking about George. “There’s no story about me, except the overcoming of circumstance and the fact that I’m so independent.”

But it’s a story about both of them. Of course it is. The more time I spend with them, the more I know that. It’s the story of people who love Trump, and the people who are trying to love them.
Read more

The Naval Special Warfare Development Group Moves to Contact: Admiral (ret) William McRaven Calls Out the President

Admiral (ret) William McRaven, former member of SEAL Team 6, the former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command who planned and oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, and the former Commanding Admiral of US Special Operations Command, has publicly responded to the President’s revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s and threat to revoke the clearances of DNI and Gen (ret) Clapper, former FBI Director Comey, DCI and Gen (ret) Hayden, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, APNSA and AMB (ret) Susan Rice, former FBI staff lawyer Lisa Page, former FBI Director of National Security and Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr who is still serving in a senior executive position at the DOJ. Admiral McRaven, most recently the Chancellor of the University of Texas system until his retirement last May, dared the President to revoke his clearance too. (emphasis mine)

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

Before anyone starts in on “the generals won’t save us” in the comments, what Admiral McRaven has done here is almost unprecedented. The only general officer/flag officer with equivalent rank (4 stars) who has called the President out in these types of clear terms is GEN (ret) McCaffrey, who has done so on cable news (MSNBC) and twitter.

While a number of other general officers and flag officers have spoken out against the President in no uncertain terms, Admiral McRaven’s challenge this morning is especially important. What he, GEN McCaffrey, LTG (ret) Hertling (who went on CNN this evening and, following ADM McRaven’s lead, challenged the President to revoke his clearance as well), MG (ret) Eaton, and a number of other now retired senior leaders – civilian and military – are doing is the very definition of leadership. They are speaking truth to power, standing up for the ideals they both believe in and have spent their lives serving, and showing others that it is not only okay to publicly dissent, but that no one should give in to intimidation. Even intimidation from the current President.

What the President did yesterday in revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s clearance, and threatening those of the other former senior leaders whose criticism has upset his most fragile of egos, is really only about eligibility for access to classified materials in the short term. Rather, the real issue here is the President’s direct violation of the 1st Amendment to punish a critic. This is the current President of the United States directing the power of the state to punish a critic – DCI (ret) Brennan –  for engaging in political speech, which is protected from governmental retaliation under the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This is as clear a violation of the oath of office as one could ask for.

Open thread!

Russiagate Open Thread: The Manafort Jury Is Out

Who’s betting on a particularly busy / toxic Friday News Dump?…

Canary in a Coalmine

Reading about the latest massive, horrific child sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic Church, I thought about Sinéad O’Connor, who was the canary in that coalmine, at least for people of a certain age. I wasn’t alone in thinking this:

He’s referring to O’Connor’s 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live, when she adapted the lyrics of Bob Marley’s “War” to address child abuse and sang about the victory of good over evil. Then she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II, said “Fight the real enemy!” and threw the shredded photo at the camera. From the Wikipedia account of the incident:

Saturday Night Live had no foreknowledge of O’Connor’s plan; during the dress rehearsal, she held up a photo of a refugee child. NBC Vice-President of Late Night Rick Ludwin recalled that when he saw O’Connor’s action, he “literally jumped out of [his] chair.” SNL writer Paula Pell recalled personnel in the control booth discussing the cameras cutting away from the singer. The audience was completely silent, with no booing or applause; executive producer Lorne Michaels recalled that “the air went out the studio”. Michaels ordered that the applause sign not be used.

A nationwide audience saw O’Connor’s live performance, which the New York Daily News’s cover called a “Holy Terror”. NBC received more than 500 calls on Sunday and 400 more on Monday, with all but seven criticising O’Connor; the network received 4,400 calls in total. Contrary to rumour, NBC was not fined by the Federal Communications Commission for O’Connor’s act; the FCC has no regulatory power over such behaviour. NBC did not edit the performance out of the West coast tape-delayed broadcast that night, but reruns of the episode use footage from the dress rehearsal.

As part of SNL’s apology to the audience, during his opening monologue the following week, host Joe Pesci held up the photo, explaining that he had taped it back together—to huge applause. Pesci also said that if it had been his show, “I would have gave her such a smack.”

Go get your shine box, Joe.

When she was a child, O’Connor’s dysfunctional parents fobbed her off on a church-run workhouse for delinquent girls, where she was further abused and exploited. But it wasn’t all bad — a nun there gave O’Connor her first guitar.

Nearly two decades after the pope photo incident, O’Connor appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show in 2010 to talk about the child sex abuse scandal that was roiling the church in North America at the time:

She praised the U.S. media for digging into the church scandals on this continent. She also wrote an op-ed for The Post that year. An excerpt:

Almost 18 years ago, I tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on an episode of “Saturday Night Live.” Many people did not understand the protest… I knew my action would cause trouble, but I wanted to force a conversation where there was a need for one; that is part of being an artist. All I regretted was that people assumed I didn’t believe in God. That’s not the case at all. I’m Catholic by birth and culture and would be the first at the church door if the Vatican offered sincere reconciliation.

In the Maddow interview, O’Connor’s faith that the American media would finally cause the Vatican to be held to account is almost heartbreaking. I’m not even sure which sex scandal occasioned her visit. There have been so many.

Charlie Pierce published a good piece about this today, calling it make or break time for Pope Francis. But Pope Francis allowed Cardinal Law, the notorious overseer of the pedophile protection racket in Boston who sought sanctuary in the Vatican, to live out his final days in splendor at, as Pierce puts it, “the Basilica of Our Lady of the Clean Getaway in Rome.”

The current Pope didn’t take Law in. But he let him stay. That’s a betrayal of faithful Catholics like O’Connor, people the church left haunted and broken, many of whom didn’t survive the abuse. And this afternoon, the Vatican released a mealy-mouthed statement that basically boils down to: “Sad! But before our time.” Translation: They aren’t going to do jackshit.

I have never been a member of the Catholic Church. But my husband’s family are. I found them refreshingly sane on religious matters, compared to the evangelical zealots I grew up among in rural Florida.

I remember the first time I saw a portrait of Pope Francis at a church (wedding, funeral, some occasion like that, or I wouldn’t have been there). Such a pleasant surprise after looking at Ratzinger’s dour, beady-eyed visage.

But maybe O’Connor was right all those years ago. Maybe they all must go and “return the church to the people who believe in God.”

Dogs- Smarter Than Trump Voters

And better, too:

“Donald was not a dog fan,” Ivana Trump wrote in her 2017 memoir, Raising Trump, recounted his resistance to her bringing a poodle named Chappy home. “It’s me and Chappy or no one!” she said to him.

The poodle, however, soon showed that the feeling of dislike was mutual. When the real estate developer went near her closet, “Chappy would bark at him territorially,” Ivana Trump wrote.

Would Donald Trump ever do something selfless like this:


Omnomnom open thread

We rented some goats at work to help clear the grass.

‘Some’ being that many. One of them is a baby!

Here is an open thread to disengage from the news of the day, and be like the goats.

Aretha Franklin RIP

Aretha Franklin is dead at 76.

So much great stuff it’s hard to pick but “Do Right Woman” is my favorite:

The Muscle Shoals documentary does an amazing job of describing her early years and how she became a star. She was obviously remarkably talented from the beginning but the record companies didn’t know quite what to do with her, and her early commercial recordings were stiff. Then she cut “Never Loved A Man” at FAME studios (with that great piano riff by Spooner Oldham) and was on her way to becoming the Queen of Soul.

Here’s some other great stuff

John Brennan Responds

Perhaps Trump thought he would silence John Brennan, former head of the CIA, by revoking his clearance. Perhaps he just wanted to lash out and hurt him for this tweet.

Or maybe it was this one.

But whatever the provocation was, Brennan has struck back in a New York Times op-ed.

As a retired CIA employeed, Brennan would have had to submit the text for declassification. The CIA seems to have turned it around in record time.

A few notes from the op-ed. But read the whole thing. It’s short.

Before, during and after its now infamous meddling in our last presidential election, Russia practiced the art of shaping political events abroad through its well-honed active measures program, which employs an array of technical capabilities, information operations and old-fashioned human intelligence spycraft.

What Brennan couldn’t say is that the intelligence about these operations came from multiple countries’ spy agencies, including a number of European agencies that know the Russians very well.

Having worked closely with the F.B.I. over many years on counterintelligence investigations, I was well aware of Russia’s ability to work surreptitiously within the United States, cultivating relationships with individuals who wield actual or potential power. Like Mr. Bortnikov, these Russian operatives and agents are well trained in the art of deception. They troll political, business and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters. Too often, those puppets are found.

I can’t help but think that this refers to Maria Butina’s infiltration of the NRA, under Alexander Torshin’s guidance. And there may be more. This tweet isn’t proof of anything beyond Torshin’s interest in a wide range of American institutions. Again, Brennan probably needed to leave out specifics.

Back to the op-ed:

Director Comey and I, along with the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, pledged that our agencies would share, as appropriate, whatever information was collected, especially considering the proven ability of Russian intelligence services to suborn United States citizens.

Having worked in a national security organization, I can’t emphasize enough how strongly the people in those organizations feel they are doing their best to protect the country. There has been a lot of criticism over the years of the less creditable motivations that some of them may carry. I recall the first time (during the Reagan administration) a DOE official told me that I was “just a contractor” and therefore less worthy of trust. That stung all the way down to the core of my being. I was working for the security of the United States. Whatever Comey’s and the others’ faults and limitations, I can absolutely see them coming together on this.

Brennan can read the papers as well as any of us can, and probably better, with the information he has and cannot divulge. That information doesn’t go away with the security clearance. He speculates here about the possible charges.

The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets. A jury is about to deliberate bank and tax fraud charges against one of those people, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. And the campaign’s former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.

As they say, read the whole thing.