Category Archives: The Scandals

If Trump Fires Rosenstein, Who’s Mueller’s New Boss?

Marty Lederman has a detailed answer in his (revised) post, Who Might Replace Rod Rosenstein and What Would it Mean for the Mueller and SDNY Investigations?: A Deep Dive.  Worth a read.

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BOOM!

There was a hurricane in DC today, and I don’t mean Hurricane Florence. Paul Manafort agreed to testify about Russian involvement in the 2016 election and to forfeit $46 million both civilly and criminally. It seems Manafort went before the grand jury before his deal was announced in open court, meaning there was no time for a pardon to short-circuit it. And civil forfeiture is pardon-proof. As Marcy Wheeler says:

So here’s what Robert Mueller just did: He sewed up the key witness to implicate the President, and he paid for the entire investigation. And it’s only now lunch time.

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Plumbing the Entrails of the Cohen Plea Deal

One of the less-minor mysteries of yesterday’s twin courtroom bombshells was the absence of a formal plea deal between Cohen and the government.  Fortunately we have expert local lawyer David Oscar Markus to explain it to us:

The parties agreed that no variance arguments can be made, up or down. This is a BIG concession by Cohen’s lawyers and is sometimes seen in the SDNY when there is cooperation credit coming. Without the cooperation credit, it’s a terrible deal for Cohen. He’s basically pleading guilty to all of the offenses and not getting anything in return other than the 3 points. If he pleaded straight up, he would at least be able to argue for a sentence under the guidelines. Even with the potential of a cooperation deal, it seems very harsh.

That’s why it’s obvious that Cohen is cooperating, even though it’s not specifically mentioned in the plea agreement. Otherwise, the deal makes no sense. He said as much during his colloquy today and his lawyer, Lanny Davis, has been all over the news saying the same thing.

If he gets cooperation credit, the defense will be asking for a significant reduction below the guidelines — probably all the way to probation.

Okay.  Now I get it. Thank you.

Posted in Law: Criminal Law, The Scandals | 3 Comments

Waiting

Like so many people I know, these days I spend too much time following the news. I am reminded of how, back in the mid ’80s when I visited Israel, everyone always seemed to be listening the radio — just in case something happened.

If Cohen really has flipped, then it’s likely a question of when not if Trump has to go.

If we have reached the beginning of the end, then now timing is everything. On the one hand it doesn’t yet seem likely that political opinion will congeal quickly enough to head off the Brett Kavanaugh nomination; once he’s in place the Supreme Court tilts a bit further in favor of the Imperial Presidency which might help Trump in some versions of a showdown. Conversely, so long as the nomination is in play, there is little chance Trump will fire Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or even the AG as everything will break loose; but so long as they are both in office there is no way to get rid of Mueller.

So the second worst-case scenario is Kavanaugh gets confirmed, and then Trump goes nuclear on the Special Counsel. I think that would lead to impeachment, but it would be ugly. (The worst case is of course that Trump actually goes nuclear on something.) Then of course there’s the whole set of issues around whether Pence is implicated too…

Enough. Here’s a bit of comic sort of relief.

Posted in The Scandals | 19 Comments

Got Me

I added The Onion to my RSS feed a bit over a week ago. Since then there have been a couple headlines where I had to check just to make sure they were fakes, but I haven’t actually been caught believing one yet.

Instead, I was caught out by a real headline that I was sure would be a fake: Fugitive wanted for attempted murder found at White House, where he worked for National Security Council.  That’s actually a real Boingboing headline — although the underlying story is slightly less sensational than you might think: instead of being in the Cabinet, the fugitive was only a contract worker, and the Secret Service is trying to make it sound like they caught him on his first day of work, although the linked story doesn’t quite say that.

Posted in Onion/Not-Onion, The Media, The Scandals | Leave a comment

A Dose of Optimism

Mueller’s Big Reveal Is Coming, and it Could Be Huge by some guy named Dan.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Scandals | Leave a comment