Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Roger Stone Not *Yet* in Jail

Expert observers give it a week, allowing for scheduling delays. Because, paraphrasing comedian Ron White, Stone has the right to remain silent, but does he have the ability?

At a hearing on Thursday, Stone took the witness stand to apologize for his Instagram post that took aim at Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge assigned to his case.

Donald Trump’s former confidant suggested he was broke and stressed, which led him to post the photo on Monday and a rant that called his case a “fix” and special counsel Robert Mueller a “Deep State hitman.”

“How hard was it to come up with a photograph that doesn’t have crosshairs in the corner?” Jackson asked…

During the hearing, Stone deflected blame for the post at every opportunity. He said that he didn’t believe the image he posted next to Jackson’s head was crosshairs. He also named Gateway Pundit reporter Jacob Engels as his aide, claiming that Engels may have had his phone at some point.

“My house is like a headquarters. I have many volunteers,” he said, naming Engels and Proud Boys street gang leader Enrique Tarrio among his volunteers. “I’m sorry I don’t recall the others.”…

Buzzfeed:

Stone will remain free pending his trial, but US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson warned that any violation of her new gag order would land Stone behind bars. Stone was getting a second chance, the judge said, but unlike in baseball, there would not be a third one. Stone will be allowed to solicit donations for his legal defense fund and assert that he’s innocent, but that’s it, the judge said…

The judge issued the new gag order after Stone took the stand Thursday to apologize for the post and defend himself. He repeatedly used the words “stupid” and “egregious” to describe his decision to post the photo and said it was the result of the “extreme stress” he was under. But he also continued to insist he didn’t see the image in the photo as crosshairs at the time he posted it — he said it was the logo of an organization that had posted the image, and he thought it was an occult or Celtic symbol…
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Breaking: Mueller Report/Conclusion Coming This Month Or Something Maybe?

Via valued commenter Dorothy A. Windsor:

Well there’s a statement you can parse six ways to Sunday. CNN:

Washington (CNN) Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans. The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation.

The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change.

The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.

…incoming‽



Trump Treason Long Read Open Thread: Why Matt Whitaker Was So Sweaty Under Questioning

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to “jump on a grenade” for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge because Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away…

Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel “rats.” His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative news media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to subvert a democratically elected president.

An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.
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A Quick Post On Selling Nuclear Technology To The Saudis

Big news this morning about the continuing pressure to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Ken Dilanian was the first with the story, and Washington Post is catching up. Like a lot of stories about the Trump administration’s dicey connections with foreign governments, it adds some new information to a story that I’ve been following for a long time.

The current emphasis is that Saudi Arabia (which I’ll refer to as KSA) wants a nuclear program that might eventually be used to produce weapons. That misses a lot. Michael Flynn was trying to sell nuclear technology to the Saudis for quite some time. That attempt has continued. I have a copy of the report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, but what I want to do here is discuss the context of the actions described there. This post will be a quick outline, without most of the links it should have.

Early on, Flynn was working with IP3 to sell nuclear reactors to KSA. At the time, KSA said they wanted 16 nuclear reactors. Flynn’s plan included working with Russia and perhaps China to provide the reactors; it also included a heavy security plan that looked likely to include a contractor like Erik Prince to provide the muscle.

As the price of oil went down, KSA could no longer afford 16 reactors, and the plan cratered. But Flynn continued to try to sell reactors to them. He also included American reactor manufacturers. When Flynn was taken down by his Russian connections, interactions to sell reactors to KSA continued.

As recently as last week, Donald Trump was meeting with reactor manufacturers on the subject. Current concerns revolve around safeguards against KSA’s using its nuclear technology to develop nuclear weapons. To do this, the United States requires what is called a 123 Agreement, named for its legal basis. The trend has been toward disallowing uranium enrichment and reprocessing of spent fuel, the two pathways to nuclear weapons, although they can also be justified for peaceful use. KSA does not want those restrictions. It appears that the news today is that some in the administration are trying to meet KSA’s preferences.

The bigger story is that the administration, via Flynn and now others, has been eager to supply KSA with the technology it wants. Other recent news, like the administration’s unwillingness to admit KSA’s brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, suggests a relationship similar to Trump’s favoritism toward Russia.

In January 2017, Erik Prince met with Russian and Middle Eastern representatives in the Seychelles.

There is a nonproliferation issue here, but I think the larger issue is the quid pro quo. KSA wants the nuclear technology. What is the quo?

 



Update: Ratfvcker Rog “Apologizes” (for What That’s Worth)

Grifters gonna… cover their flabby arses:

Gave the lawyers on twitter some cheap entertainment, at least…

Did you say ‘lawyers on twitter’?…
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