Further Russiagate Open Thread: A Caution from Kindly Uncle Ben…

a/k/a Benjamin Wittes, at LawFare:


That being said…

125 replies
  1. 1
    burnspbesq says:

    Ben is right, of course.

    If the leak originated within DOJ, the leaker should be the next person indicted.

  2. 2

    Not sure this is full confirmation.

  3. 3
    mike in dc says:

    Clearly the time has come to reopen the investigation into what happened in Benghazi.

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    Wittes has shot his baby cannon a couple of times today, which can mean something’s about to break.

  5. 5
    burnspbesq says:

    Game 3 is getting dramatic.

  6. 6
    randy khan says:


    I can think of another group of people who might have been briefed – House and Senate Intelligence Committee members and staff. Supposedly there’s some coordination between the committees and Mueller, although sometimes it’s hard to tell if that’s really happening.

  7. 7

    Something else that happened today is that Dana Boente resigned.

    Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney from Virginia who gained national prominence when he took a temporary leading role in President Trump’s Justice Department, has submitted his resignation.

    He plans to serve until a successor is confirmed.

    “I will be around for a while and hope to visit with all of you to discuss how much the office and our work means to each of us,” Boente wrote in a letter to the lawyers he oversees in the Eastern District of Virginia. “I have so much respect for you and the work you do every day.”

    Boente, a 33-year veteran of the Justice Department, was tapped earlier this year to serve as acting attorney general after Sally Yates was fired. He went on to serve as acting deputy attorney general.

    He is serving as acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division and will remain in that post until John C. Demers, an attorney for Boeing who worked at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, is confirmed.

    Twitter is alive with rumors that he was forced out. Another story that we will have to wait to hear more.

  8. 8

    @randy khan: I saw a report that the Senate committee had been briefed, but not the House committee.

  9. 9
    randy khan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Yeah, it could be the same source talking to multiple outlets.

  10. 10

  11. 11
    opiejeanne says:

    OT: whoever booked that singer for the 7th inning God Bless America should be fired.
    Gawd, that was BAD!

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: Or his baby canon is cranky and needs to be changed and then put down for a nap.

  13. 13
    burnspbesq says:

    Fuck it. It’s time for ice cream.

  14. 14
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    “Mueller facing new Republican pressure to resign in Russia probe”

    I’m sure this will happen any day now…

    Knock on wood, but really? Literally only right wing rags and Spin Machines are saying this.

  15. 15
    mike in dc says:

    Would love for Kushner to be among those indicted first. The freakout on the right would be immensely entertaining.

  16. 16
    randy khan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    And I was in a meeting with a member of House Intelligence Committee today, and he didn’t say anything about indictments. (I really was, and he really didn’t, but obviously that doesn’t mean anything.)

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    Already did a round of “toldja” with my RWNJ Dad and bro – loving this!

  18. 18
    GregB says:

    I’m picking Rebekah Mercer as a darknhorse indictment.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: Pics or it didn’t happen.//

  20. 20

    @randy khan: Yes – I’ve been thinking that the speed with which the other outlets are catching up suggests a single source. But other reports that have come out that way have been reliable. Seems to be how people are handling this. Hard to see the motivation for this. Would be beneficial to the prosecution to keep it secret until the person/ people are arrested. Could be a warning. But hard to see that it’s going to be a surprise if it is any of the people we’re speculating about.

  21. 21
    Kay says:

    Meanwhile, over at the Obamas…

    Chicago Tribune‏Verified account @chicagotribune
    Former President Barack Obama called for Cook County jury duty — and plans to serve next month, chief judge said.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: No way he sits.

  23. 23
    oldgold says:

    It is a bit disconcerting that a true bill has been returned this early in the process. It is probably not a good sign.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s great that he’s going, though.

  25. 25
    Petorado says:

    It would be really cool if Mueller got some FISA warrants to monitor communications of persons of interest in advance of this news to see who’d freak out and what they’re freaking out about. Swords of Damocles bitches!

  26. 26
    jl says:

    @oldgold: What is your reasoning?

  27. 27
    bmoak says:

    Is there any chance Mueller is rushing this because he is expecting to be fired shortly?

  28. 28
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Evans later told the Tribune that adjustments would be made to accommodate Obama’s security detail, but he could not say the date or courthouse location where the former president is expected to report.
    “Obviously we will make certain that he has all the accouterments that accompany a former president,” Evans said. “His safety will be uppermost in our minds.”
    “He made it crystal-clear to me through his representative that he would carry out his public duty as a citizen and resident of this community,” Evans said.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oldgold: Please explain. My experience suggests that you are barmy, but I am open to persuasion.

  30. 30
    mad citizen says:

    @opiejeanne: Saw that too and agree. They can’t all be home runs. I took it they liked his Texas drawl phrasing. Probably time to retire this ritual anyway.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: Agreed.

  32. 32
    oldgold says:


    My guess is the Special Prosecutor has run into a coordinated stonewall of silence. The early indictment is an attempt breach this stonewall.

  33. 33
    The Dangerman says:

    Can I get my money on Don Jr. and Manafort? Weren’t those the only Trumplodytes at the infamous adoption meeting?

  34. 34
    Lizzy L says:

    @oldgold: Not a good sign for whom? Unpack, please.

  35. 35
    Gravenstone says:

    @mike in dc: Kushner and the Mercers, for the Cambridge Analytica connection would be a lovely twofer.

  36. 36
    Kay says:

    Andrew Lawrence‏ @ndrew_lawrence 14m14 minutes ago
    Roger Stone is handling tonight’s news like the dapper gentleman he is

    He’s going crazy– he seems to be yelling at Charles Blow on Twitter :)

  37. 37

    @The Dangerman: Jared(he can do anything) was also present.

  38. 38
    RobNYNY says:


    Leaks are not per se illegal.

  39. 39
    mike in dc says:

    @oldgold: Subornation of Perjury is also a felony. I’d predict that if Trump abuses the pardon power here, a constitutional amendment curbing the scope of the pardon power will be an inevitable response to that.

  40. 40
    Millard Filmore says:

    Have Russia’s twitter bots cranked up on the indictment subject?

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  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oldgold: Why are you calling these as early indictments as though they are premature?

  43. 43

    @Kay: Roger Stone is going crazy? Going? This is the dude with the huge Nixon tat.

  44. 44
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No way he sits.

    Maybe it’s a case involving a constitutional question and he’s the perfect juror!

    Not sure how many of those end up in state courts, however….

    Actually, I am sure: zero.

  45. 45
    Calouste says:

    @Petorado: Don’t need a FISA warrant to monitor the Russian embassy.

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  48. 48

    Watching Stranger Things 2, first episode is kinda slow!

  49. 49
    oldgold says:

    Normally, in complex criminal investigations, the true bills are filed late and in mass.

  50. 50
    Kay says:


    He’s screaming that they are liars and …a lot of other insults.

    This is odd- I would think she’d call it fake news or something:

    Sarah Palin‏Verified account
    This is huge news. Details below.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oldgold: You post here every once in a while. I don’t mean to be cynical, but we haven’t seen you here for a long time and now you show up making vague, negative comments. I wonder…

  52. 52
    The Dangerman says:


    Jared … was also present.

    Oh, man, Don Jr., Jared, and Manafort would help me forget the Dodgers hacking up a hairball for the second consecutive game.

  53. 53

    @Millard Filmore: Hamilton 68 tracks Russian bot activity. UraniumOne is currently the top hashtag. More info at the link.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oldgold: To whom are you responding, old stick?

  55. 55

    And with that, I’ll say goodnight and give the kitties their late-night snack.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Don’t do it facing the door.

  57. 57
    Lizzy L says:

    @mike in dc: This seems completely unlikely. You think the red states will vote to curb the ability of the President to pardon? Why would they do that?

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Good point.

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lizzy L: Why would blue states support it?

  60. 60
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    @The Dangerman: Kushner too.

  61. 61
    lgerard says:


    While Obama would likely be the highest-profile person ever to appear for jury duty in Cook County, other famous people, including Oprah Winfrey and Mr. T, have served

    I would have loved to serve on a jury with Mr T!

    I pity the fool who doesn’t find this fool guilty

  62. 62
    Lizzy L says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t believe they would. But I am sure the red states wouldn’t, and I think there are more red state dominated legislatures than blue ones.

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  64. 64
    Mary G says:

    @Kay: He’s taking on everybody:

    When AT&T aquires Time Warner the house cleaning at CNN of human excrement like @donlemon @jaketapper & dumbfuck @ananavarro will be swift— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

  65. 65
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    UraniumOne is currently the top hashtag.

    Either they were caught by surprise or they are trying to ignore/flood-out the news, same as Fox.

    There is an internet page for EVERYTHING. Thanks for the link.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:


    Go read Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, pal.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lizzy L: Quick question: Are there enough states that would support such a Constitutional Amendment?

    Seriously, is this something that could happen?

  68. 68
    oldgold says:

    I am trying to add to the discussion based on my professional experience.

    My observations are general in nature at this point because the information available this evening is so limited.

    As to me not being a regular commenter -baloney. For instance: https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/07/30/sunday-morning-garden-chat-whare-have-all-the-rabbits-gone/

  69. 69
    mike in dc says:

    @Lizzy L: Considering it would likely be introduced while a Democrat is president, why not?

  70. 70
    JGabriel says:

    @mike in dc:

    I’d predict that if Trump abuses the pardon power here, a constitutional amendment curbing the scope of the pardon power will be an inevitable response to that.

    Perhaps, but I doubt it. In any event, a constitutional amendment won’t be ratified before Trump leaves office, so it won’t do anything to curb Trump’s abuse of the pardon power.

  71. 71
    mike in dc says:

    @JGabriel: the 22nd amendment wasn’t passed until FDR was out of office, either. If a president uses the pardon power to obstruct justice, suborn perjury, and attempt to insulate themselves from impeachment, then there will be a strong backlash from both the opposition party and from the public, and that will likely culminate in a curb upon said pardon power. The alternative is that things will only get worse, and even worse lawlessness will be encouraged going forward. We will lose the republic if we let abuses stand uncorrected.

  72. 72
    Lizzy L says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think anyone is interested in making it happen. But I suppose that depends on how badly Trump abuses the pardon power before he leaves office.

    @mike in dc: You think 3/4 of the states would ratify such an amendment? I don’t.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JGabriel: Well, let’s just give up then. Fuck it. //s//

  74. 74
    RobNYNY says:


    Exactly. There are specified persons who cannot leak information, but leaks are not per se illegal.

  75. 75
    mike in dc says:

    @Lizzy L:
    I do. If it’s obvious enough that the power was abused to insulate the sitting president from the consequences of treasonous conduct, why not? Do they really want an elected Democratic president to do the same thing?

  76. 76
    Lizzy L says:

    @mike in dc: I have no idea what they will want should such a situation arise, and neither do you. This does not seem to me to be fruitful speculation. YMMV.

  77. 77
    JGabriel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, let’s just give up then. Fuck it. //s//


    I’m not saying mike in dc’s idea that we should curb the pardon power is bad, or even that it shouldn’t be pursued. But, like you, I don’t see how, given the current political environment and GOP dominance of most state legislatures, we get to 3/4 of the states ratifying it.

    I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

  78. 78
    mike in dc says:


    Regardless of potential pardon abuse, my feeling is that the truth will out, and unambiguous evidence of wrongdoing will be brought to light. So the obviousness of the abuse of the pardon power will be clear to all but the truest of true believers. Pardons have never been thusly abused before. Generally when an obvious abuse of the law happens, the urge to correct it mounts steadily over time.

  79. 79
    LanceThruster says:

    “Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.” — John Adams

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: He’s panicked. He’s seen the news. What he doesn’t know is if the indictment, or one of the indictments, has his name on it. Whether after almost 50 years of managing to do just enough to stave off actual legal jeopardy his luck has finally run out.

  81. 81
    oldgold says:

    “I’ve talked to some of the lawyers that knew this was coming, they believe the intent is to get one or more of these people to cooperate and turn over some more facts about what the prosecutors think may be a conspiracy,” Carl Bernstein reported.


  82. 82

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Maybe it’s a case involving a constitutional question and he’s the perfect juror!

    I’ve worked with litigators on jury selection, that’s not the perfect juror. You want a jury of idiots.

  83. 83

    @The Dangerman:

    the Dodgers hacking up a hairball for the second consecutive game

    And I even changed the color of the light in the cave to blue…

  84. 84

    @Corner Stone: Don’t do it without your fez on.

  85. 85
    Duane says:

    Trump was at the White House today, handing out Hersheys Kisses to children. The candy was sitting in front of him, still in the factory box. Couldn’t rustle up a couple of plastic pumpkins or a wicker basket? These people can’t stage a Halloween photo-op and they are in charge of our country. Good grief.

  86. 86
    Schlemazel says:

    @oldgold: Mr Bernstein ha been pretty consistent since the 1980s. But only in polishing the knobs of the well to do GOP. Carried water for St. Ron, Pappy and Boy Blunder. Leaked GOP bullshit on Clinton and Obama. Pardon me if I don’t take his word for anything

  87. 87
    mike in dc says:


    Perhaps you have him mixed up with Bob Woodward?

  88. 88
    jl says:

    @LanceThruster: Though, John Adams thought the heavens fell in on everything sooner or later anyway, the old sourpuss.

  89. 89

    Slow night over here, I guess?

  90. 90
    jl says:

    @oldgold: OK, thanks. The lawyer who has worked in white collar crime I mentioned said that if there are some very solid financial crime cases and good leads and evidence, then indictments should start right about now and keep coming on a regular basis. Put out the best shit-the-targets’- pants-scary ironclad slam dunk cases as soon as possible. That is how a successful investigation that pays off should begin. He said by Halloween, the investigation would have plenty of time to get some of those ready.

    So, we’ll see who’s right.

    Edit: Bernstein’s story would be more convincing if he could describe those lawyers a little better. Looks like a number of lawyers anticipated indictments around now, but they have different interpretations of what it means.

  91. 91
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Maybe everyone’s give a shit gene is overworked tonight.

  92. 92

    @Ruckus: We could talk about cats or something instead. Mine is rambunctious.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    @oldgold: I guess what we do not know is if these are coming early, is that because the investigation wants to turn the defendants in order to obtain evidence for something on other targets, or they have evidence on a lot of other targets but want to get some evidence on bigger crimes. The lawyer I talk with thinks that the whole Trumpster gang, including the bigshot, is so dirty with financial crimes that they could all easily get convicted, or utterly ruined, just on those alone.

  94. 94
    jl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I like cats. I also like dogs. I have experience with a pet piglet, and they are a lot of fun. But then they get way too big and will tear you apart when they try to play like when they were a piglet and it comes to a sad end. When I was just out of college, my roomy bout a huge parrot, which was fun, until it got bored with the new place and people and started to dismantle the house. The End.

  95. 95

    @jl: Sounds like you’ve had some exotic pets! I also like piglets but man do they get big. It’s too bad, really. And a bird right out of college? That’s crazy, you’ll have it for life! If you take care of it, which your roommate did not.

  96. 96


    I have experience with a pet piglet, and they are a lot of fun.

    But when they get older, they can be a real bore.

    But then they get way too big and will tear you apart when they try to play like when they were a piglet and it comes to a sad end.

    Mmmmm, bacon.

  97. 97
  98. 98

    @sukabi: The White House has an ample supply, just saying.

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    Spaniel says:

    I thought Sarah Huckabee Sanders had told the press corps in the middle of this past week that Mueller’s investigation would be wrapping up soon.

    I guess with her boss plaong chess on 20-something levels and her history of lying, she meant to say Trump and the loyal staff of sychophants were getting in front of the PR and getting the ong knives out to settle some scores.

  101. 101

    @sukabi: Well it looks like they’ve raised plenty of funds! Well done, Internet!

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve never heard of one that needed an asshole. I’ve heard of a few that were assholes.

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    Those are way too big and ugly for a kitten.

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    My roommates had cancer and had to be put down. That’s as close as I come to kitties right now.

  105. 105
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: You get one BJ pet lover blog demerit. It’s on your permanent record, young man.

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    young man.

    That ship sailed 30 years ago.

    It’s on your permanent record

    Is that like a tat?

  108. 108
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    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    It’s been about 6-7 weeks so everyone is at least outwardly OK. Still miss that cat though, more than I thought I would. I still occasionally catch my self being careful she doesn’t run out when I open the door. Oh well happens to the best and the worst of us.

  110. 110
    Peale says:

    @jl: I think the financial crimes angle is probably correct. It explains why the GOP noise machine spent time whipping up The Ziff frenzy today. Are there Dems with dirty Russian money? Yep. Sure. But that’s besides the point.

  111. 111

    @Peale: unlike the republicans I’m sure we would be more than happy to get rid of our politicians who are in thrall to a (let’s be frank) enemy power.

  112. 112


    Are there Dems with dirty Russian money? Yep. Sure. But that’s besides the point.

    They’re not the President.

  113. 113
    ericblair says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    unlike the republicans I’m sure we would be more than happy to get rid of our politicians who are in thrall to a (let’s be frank) enemy power.

    Yes, when Dems get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar they tend to be one-offs. Republican corruption is pervasive and systemic. From just the shit that comes across the papers, it’s hard NOT to find corruption with Republicans. It’s like drilling for water in a swamp. And I agree, if there are some dirty Dems there then let them go down as well.

  114. 114
    VeniceRiley says:


    I’m picking Rebekah Mercer as a darknhorse indictment.

    I that why @patrickesque is dredging up her acting days? He is ruining Xena: Warrior Princess for me!

  115. 115
    TriassicSands says:

    Random, off,off-topic question.

    Why do so many people, especially Brits, have so much trouble pronouncing “vulnerable.”

    Is V-U-L-n-e-r-a-b-l-e really so much harder to say than V-U-N-e-r-a-b-l-e?

    I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a Brit pronounce it correctly. I don’t think I have.
    Is this like noo-kew-lar versus noo-clee-ur? Or different?

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    Man, the only time that I would be happy to go to 26th and California. To spend the day waiting with 44.

  117. 117
    rikyrah says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    He won’t sit, but I would love to sit waiting around all day with him.

  118. 118
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    @rikyrah: That’d be about the only time I’d ever consider jury duty possibly appealing, but no he won’t sit. The lawyers would seek to exclude him even if he was a nobody in politics with his other resume’, as noted above lawyers tend to prefer jury pools composed primarily of idiots.

  119. 119
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    @TriassicSands: I say ALUMINUM, you say ALUMINIUM, you say CONTRAVESY, I say CONTROVERSY, etc…

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    Amir Khalid says:

    I have not noticed this myself. It’s not a word whose pronunciation varies much between different accents. As far as can tell, the British pronounce “vulnerable” just fine.

  121. 121
    randy khan says:


    Many years ago, when California changed its jury system to get rid of a bunch of exemptions, Jerry Brown (in his first stint as governor) was called for jury duty almost immediately after the changes went into effect. The lawyers apparently were afraid of the backlash they would get if they challenged him, so he sat on a jury and was chosen as foreman. So you never know.

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    Aimai says:

    @oldgold: not with this crew. Silence and loyalty is not their thing.

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    Just One More Canuck says:

    @rikyrah: He’d probably find a way to mess with your head, just for fun


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    chopper says:


    My roommates had cancer and had to be put down.

    damn, this is why people need health insurance.

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    Ruckus says:

    Context man, context is everything.
    Of course spelling/punctuation and grammar are helpful as well.

Comments are closed.