Sunday, March 10, 2019

Otherwise Blameless Life: Postscript

Andrew "Chef" Glick, ex-president of the Cape May branch of the Pagan Outlaws Motorcycle Club, knew enough about the 2012 hired killing of April Kauffman, a local radio host and doctor's wife who had threatened to expose the illegal opioid prescription racket her husband was running with the Pagan Outlaws, that he could have been arrested as an accessory. Cops instead charged him with crimes unrelated to the murder plot, illegal possession of methamphetamines, cocaine, and weapons, for which he could have gotten up to 40 years, according to the Philly Voice, and he testified against the murderers and did no time in his own case. That's what Manafort was supposed to do. It's not that complicated.

Also on the Manafort subject, I hope this isn't too obvious, but the fact that none of the crimes with which Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been charged with  feature direct collaboration in a Russian conspiracy doesn't mean they never committed any crimes on those lines.

Indeed, we know at least two cases in which Manafort and Flynn absolutely did collaborate in a Russian conspiracy: Manafort in that cigar bar meeting with Kilimnik of August 2016 when he passed him the 75 pages of polling data, Flynn in those phone calls with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 when they spoke about sanctions. That seems like a clear violation of the 1799 Logan Act
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
such as one seldom sees in real life, but exactly what the authors of the law were afraid of. Flynn is also guilty of taking illicit foreign emoluments, as a retired military officer, in that Moscow junket of December 2015 with Jill Stein, as far as I'm concerned, though trying to bust him for it may lead to undesirable complexities.

In any case we don't know exactly what crimes they committed in these connections, even though we do know they committed something, because Mueller hasn't charged them. The reason for that is ridiculously easy to explain. The reason for bringing any charges against them at all at such an early point in the investigation (October through December 2017 for Papadopoulos, Manafort, Gates, and Flynn, while Cohen's indictment wasn't known until August 2018) was to get them aboard as cooperating witnesses. But to indict means laying out details in public, and that could mean cluing in Junior, Kushner, Big Donald, and their lawyers as to what Mueller does and doesn't know about the big crimes, the ones the "process crimes" like lying to the FBI are covering up, which include (especially for Mueller, that's his remand) the Russian conspiracy.

So Mueller's job was to indict them on some crime that had as little as possible to do with that, and then take their conspiracy testimony in private.

Luckily, the defendants, some liars and others career criminals, had given Mueller plenty to work with and he was able to charge them all without revealing almost anything; you'll remember we know about the Manafort-Kilimnik interaction with the polling data only because he lied about it when he was failing to cooperate after the guilty plea, and Manafort's lawyers did such a shitty job of redacting it, perhaps on purpose, that journalists were able to read it. That one incident is to me the proof that the whole theory is correct, that there is lots of material on "collusion" that the special counsel's office is keeping close.

And it worked pretty well, they all decided to cooperate. Except Papadopoulos, in his shifty-ass small-ball way, and Manafort on the grand psychopath scale, didn't mean it and haven't done anything they were supposed to do.

Anyway, we don't know what Manafort, Flynn, and Cohen did with the Russians not because they didn't do anything but because Mueller isn't ready to say, and the storylines we invent to fill in the evidentiary gaps aren't getting less probable (the way some journalists are seeing it) but more so, in the fullness of time.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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