Robert Mueller’s vise appears to be closing

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 28, 1:50 pm, under the title, “Is Robert Mueller’s vise closing?”
  2. November 29, 8:55 am:
    • A former U.S. attorney thinks there is no good explanation for Paul Manafort’s lying. He suggests Manafort is simply a terrible gambler.[1] (James Comey)
  3. November 30, 11:56 am:
    • Roger Stone might have served as a conduit between the Donald Trump campaign and Wikileaks.[2]
    • So all that about Paul Manafort? Rinse and repeat with Michael Cohen, except that “Cohen plainly is cooperating with Mueller — and not communicating with Trump.”[3] Um, whoops. (James Comey)
    • It’s possible that the reason Donald Trump behaves like Vladimir Putin’s lackey is that Trump was still trying to negotiate a Moscow hotel deal, well into 2016, and well after he’d claimed he had no business in Russia. The trouble is he lied about it in the campaign.[4] (James Comey)
    • Pacific Gas and Electric has failed to convince the California Public Utilities Commission that it really gives a damn about safety.[5] (California wildfires)
    • I’m not even remotely caught up.
  4. November 30, 2:10 pm:
    • For the moment, I’m caught up.
  5. December 1, 12:35 am:
    • I am changing the title of this posting from “Is Robert Mueller’s vise closing?” to “Robert Mueller’s vise appears to be closing:” Because right now, it appears the smoking gun has been found. According to the Washington Post, “documents [from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation] show investigators have evidence that [Donald] Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.”[6] (James Comey)
  6. December 1, 3:55 pm:
    • On Twitter, Patrick Watson came through with some important dates for the Mueller investigation. See the tweets immediately below.
  7. December 2, 10:20 am:
    • I summarized my view of the present state of U.S. political affairs in a series of three tweets, reproduced below.
    • I am not caught up, but at this moment, it doesn’t appear there is any news that will merit a further update. We’ll see if that lasts.
  8. December 3, 1:45 pm:




This is pretty much how I see the present political state of affairs in the wake of the midterm elections:


James Comey

The buzz is huge, but we really don’t know much until Robert Mueller’s team unveils the substance of its claim that Paul Manafort lied to them after agreeing to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation. It might not be that Donald Trump knew of a meeting between his son and a Russian seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton. It might be that Roger Stone had advance knowledge of a Wikileaks dump of Democratic National Committee emails or even served as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks. But if Manafort lied, and if Trump’s answers to Mueller’s questions match Manafort’s lies, then, possibly, Trump, whom I doubt is even capable of distinguishing between the truth and what he wants to be the truth, lied. There are a lot of ifs here,[7] but yeah, folks are on the edges of their seats for this one. See Patrick Watson’s tweet above for court dates.

Jonathan Vankin, “Robert Mueller Set Ingenious Trap For Trump In Collusion Case And Tricked Manafort Into Helping, Experts Say,” Inquistr, November 26, 2018, https://www.inquisitr.com/5181923/robert-mueller-set-trap-for-trump-russia-collusion-paul-manafort/

Dana Bash, Kara Scannell, and Evan Perez, “Two key answers from Trump to Mueller,” CNN, November 28, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-tower/index.html

Paul Waldman, “It looks like a big day for collusion. No wonder Trump is raging,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/27/its-a-big-day-for-collusion-no-wonder-trump-is-raging/

Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html

Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, “‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/individual-1-trump-emerges-as-a-central-subject-of-mueller-probe/2018/11/29/e3968994-f3f7-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html

Jeffrey Toobin, “The Legal Perils That Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Poses for Donald Trump,” New Yorker, November 29, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-legal-perils-that-michael-cohens-guilty-plea-pose-for-donald-trump


California wildfires

Dale Kasler, “Judge in San Bruno criminal case demands answers from PG&E on cause of Camp Fire,” Sacramento Bee, November 27, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article222260460.html

Dale Kasler, “California orders safety upgrades at PG&E amid Camp Fire scrutiny,” Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article222375680.html


  1. [1]Harry Litman, “What Was Paul Manafort Thinking?” New York Times, November 27, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/opinion/what-was-paul-manafort-thinking.html
  2. [2]Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html
  3. [3]Jennifer Rubin, “Trump should be freaked out right about now,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/11/29/trump-should-be-freaked-out-right-about-now/
  4. [4]Jeffrey Toobin, “The Legal Perils That Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Poses for Donald Trump,” New Yorker, November 29, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-legal-perils-that-michael-cohens-guilty-plea-pose-for-donald-trump
  5. [5]Dale Kasler, “California orders safety upgrades at PG&E amid Camp Fire scrutiny,” Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article222375680.html
  6. [6]Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, “‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/individual-1-trump-emerges-as-a-central-subject-of-mueller-probe/2018/11/29/e3968994-f3f7-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html
  7. [7]Dana Bash, Kara Scannell, and Evan Perez, “Two key answers from Trump to Mueller,” CNN, November 28, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/28/politics/trump-mueller-answers-wikileaks-trump-tower/index.html; Manuel Roig-Franzia et al., “Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe,” Washington Post, November 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-night-owl-calls-to-roger-stone-in-2016-draw-scrutiny-in-mueller-probe/2018/11/28/77d6174e-f332-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html; Jonathan Vankin, “Robert Mueller Set Ingenious Trap For Trump In Collusion Case And Tricked Manafort Into Helping, Experts Say,” Inquistr, November 26, 2018, https://www.inquisitr.com/5181923/robert-mueller-set-trap-for-trump-russia-collusion-paul-manafort/; Paul Waldman, “It looks like a big day for collusion. No wonder Trump is raging,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/27/its-a-big-day-for-collusion-no-wonder-trump-is-raging/

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