Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Paul Manafort & the Mills of Fate

Which, proverbially, grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

Maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist, but the news of last month’s pre-dawn raid feels parallel to that little 1973 news filler about a security guard detaining a couple of guys illicitly prowling the Watergate halls. It’s possible Manafort hasn’t yet flipped for Mueller’s investigators, but Paul was always much more interested in the payment than the politics, so why would he waste time laying down cover for a bunch of nitwit amateurs like J-Kush and Donny Jr?

Politico, in the evening:

Federal investigators sought cooperation from Paul Manafort’s son-in-law in an effort to increase pressure on President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, according to three people familiar with the probe.

Investigators approached Jeffrey Yohai, who has partnered in business deals with Manafort, earlier this summer, setting off “real waves” in Manafort’s orbit, one of these people said. Another of these people said investigators are trying to get “into Manafort’s head.”

Manafort, who is a focus of the broad federal and congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, is also under investigation for his business and real estate transactions, including some that involve Yohai…

Manafort’s team has repeatedly pushed back on suggestions he’s cooperating with federal investigators. “Paul’s been forthcoming, but he’s not a cooperating witness and any suggestion to that effect is silly,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a July interview when asked about concerns from former colleagues that Manafort had turned against the Trump team.

People close to Manafort reiterated Wednesday that he has no plans to become a cooperating witness…

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said cooperating witnesses are “often very significant to make your case” when it gets to trial.

“They can provide direct evidence of what the defendant said or did,” he said. “That’s usually far more compelling to a jury than just looking at documents.”

Mariotti also brushed aside comments by Manafort associates who insist the former Trump campaign manager has nothing about Trump that would matter to investigators. “I wouldn’t take much from it,” he said. “I’d take it with a grain of salt.”…



Late Night Open Thread: Summer Silly Season (All Year ‘Round)



Open Thread: At the Trump White House, It’s Always Worse Than You Expected…

Whoever invented the game of RISK has a lot to answer for…


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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: (Avocado) TOAST!


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Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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(Jeff Danziger’s website)



Open Thread: The Prince Who Would Be Viceroy

Erik “Don’t Call It Blackwater” Prince would very much like to be out of the country, and behind a wall of his personal mercenaries, should something really bad happen…

The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.

Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY…

The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Other White House officials, such as chief strategist Stephen Bannon, appear open to using private contractors…

Prince rejects criticism that he and others would profit from it. He said it would represent a cost savings for American taxpayers. “The idea of innovation and risk taking is certainly part of America,” he said.

Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince’s leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Last week an appeals court overturned a murder conviction for one of the guards and ordered the other three to be re-sentenced.

Blackwater was renamed Xe Services two years after the incident that sparked international outrage. The privately owned company is now Academi…

How bad, you ask?…


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Breaking News: The DPRK Has Miniaturized A Nuclear Warhead

The DPRK has now managed to successfully test, in a launch and forget kind of way, an ICBM and to miniaturize a warhead. If they crack controlled reentry on their ICBMs they’ll be in business. And remember, regardless of what was said in the Hewitt/McMaster interview, there are no good military options to resolve this. As in none that will get the job done without catastrophic effects and results. The real tools that need to be used here are diplomatic, economic, and informational national power.

Also, the President has, apparently and likely unintentionally, declassified and confirmed leaked information about US surveillance satellite capabilities.

And it’s not even 1:30 PM EDT on Thursday.

Stay frosty!



Interviewed By a Warmonger!

As in LTG McMaster was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt for his Saturday AM MSNBC show. I’m going to embed the videos, but you have to actually read the transcript that Hewitt provided on his website, read the words on the page, to really see just how much Hewitt wants the US to attack the DPRK. Or, failing that, Iran. And how gleefully unhinged he is by the idea of the US getting involved in a third and/or fourth war in under 20 years. The transcript follows the videos. Pay close attention to LTG McMaster’s answers if you want to see what the current national security strategy and policy thinking is.

The transcript is after the jump.

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