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If Paul Manafort isn’t charged, the Mueller investigation may be in big trouble

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Paul Manafort

GOP strategist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has had the FBI keeping an eye on him for a few years through two FISA warrants. The fact that we know this means somebody leaked it. That’s against the law.

Leaking the very existence of a FISA warrant is a federal crime. As Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement, “If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged.”

In reality, the leaker(s) will be very hard to track down, charge, and prosecute. This isn’t really about the leaker(s). At risk here is Robert Mueller, special counsel in charge of investigating Russian influence over the election and whether or not the Trump campaign was involved. Following a raid on Manafort’s home and office in July, the leak that Manafort was being “wiretapped” as late as this year will be in the spotlight thanks to one Tweet from the president and mainstream media’s responses to it.

Most in mainstream media have balked at the Tweet since March. Some came out and accused him of outright lying. Now that he’s been proven correct, pressure will be on Mueller to deliver fruits from the FBI’s current and previous actions. If they are unable to charge Manafort or anyone else involved, this will be a stain on the process, a demerit for Mueller, and a reason to finally change the subject for liberal mainstream media.

For their part, the Manafort camp is asking that the information in the surveillance be released. They apparently feel Manafort did nothing wrong, so getting this definitively settled would behoove them so Manafort can continue with his work as a consultant and lobbyist.

This could all be a bluff, though. It’s hard to believe that an experienced investigator like Mueller would take things so far with such a high-profile case unless he had very good reasons to do so. Considering he has access to surveillance on Manafort dating back years and decided to raid Manafort’s home and work, it seems likely that he has something on the guy.

I have one final thought below, but let’s look at perspectives and reactions first:

Perspectives

The CNN wiretap ‘bombshell’ that wasn’t | Robert Eno, ConservativeReview

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/the-cnn-wiretap-bombshell-that-wasntMedia figures like CNN’s Brian Stelter and ABC’s Brian Ross refused to believe that the case laid out by CR Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin, back in March, had any merit. If CNN’s recent reporting is true, Levin’s claim that people affiliated with the Trump campaign were surveilled has been proved correct.

US officials intercepted communications between Paul Manafort and Russians: Report | Diana Stancy Correll, Washington Examiner

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/us-officials-intercepted-communications-between-paul-manafort-and-russians-report/article/2634995Paul Manafort’s spokesman condemned recent reports that his client had been surveilled by federal officials. “If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Jason Maloni said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Manafort Calls On DOJ To Release His Surveill | Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/19/manafort-calls-on-doj-to-release-his-intercepted-communications-with-foreigners/It is unclear whether the warrant was obtained before or after Manafort left the Trump campaign in August. According to CNN, the surveillance on Manafort, who has a residence in Trump Tower in New York, picked up conversations he had with Russian operatives about the election.

Paul Manafort wiretap intercepts should be released, spokesman says | Andrea Noble, Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/19/paul-manafort-wiretap-intercepts-should-be-release/The Justice Department’s Inspector General should investigate leaks that indicate U.S. authorities wiretapped President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the transcripts of the intercepts should be publicly released, his spokesman said Tuesday.

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Final Thought

Personally, I think Paul Manafort is crooked. His history has been tainted by foreign money (lobbying for Ukraine) and questionable tactics. However, a guy is allowed to be crooked as long as they don’t break the law. If Manafort did not, he will be vindicated and deserves reparations.

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Guns and Crime

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

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France shooting 2 dead several wounded in Strasbourg

PARIS (AP) — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded up to eight others, officials said, sparking a major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market on Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

The motive for the shooting is unclear. It wasn’t immediately clear if the market was the target of the attack or if there was any link to terrorism.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that the gunman has been identified, and had a police record for common crimes. He several of the wounded were in critical condition and that he was heading to Strasbourg.

The French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors.

“Our security and rescue services are mobilized,” Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to “avoid the area of the police station,” which is close to the city’s Christmas market. Strasbourg’s well-known market is set up around the city’s cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

The European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, was on lockdown. Spokesman Jaume Duch said that “the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice.” It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting …. Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy.”

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city center.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that “the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers.”

President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

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Guns and Crime

President Trump’s best defense against Michael Cohen is… Michael Cohen

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President Trumps best defense against Michael Cohen is Michael Cohen

Democrats and mainstream media have honed in on the President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, as being the key to the “smoking gun” of campaign finance violations. Their knight in shining armor has accused the President of participating directly in hush money paid to two women with whom the President had affairs in the past.

Porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal were paid through deals worked out by Cohen to purchase and quash their stories from making it into the press. It worked until after the election when both went public. Now, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is trying to prove the President violated campaign finance laws by paying the women off to benefit his presidential campaign.

While Cohen may be revered by some as the person who can take down the President, there are three reasons why Cohen is now the President’s best defense. The first two are obvious. First, he’s a known liar. He has admitted as much and Mueller’s team have acknowledged it. Second, his relationship with the President has become adversarial, casting serious doubts on the validity of his flip-flopping testimony.

The third reason is the one that few seem to be recognizing. While Cohen has been known as the President’s former lawyer, his actual role was essentially that of “fixer.” He had the power and responsibility to both protect and insulate Trump for years. Well before there was a presidential campaign, Cohen was the guy who would take care of problems on behalf of Trump.

Had he been hired for the campaign itself, this would be a moot point. But he has years of history taking care of business on behalf of Trump. It is, at the very least, feasible Cohen would have handled the situations with Daniels and McDougal without first getting direction from the President. This would be even more likely if it can be shown Cohen or someone else in Trump’s orbit had paid off women in the past.

The President has a sure-fire way to disprove campaign finance violations, but he won’t like it

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/09/president-sure-fire-way-disprove-campaign-finance-violations-wont-like/By showing past payoffs to women, the President can go with the story that he didn’t want to damage his marriage or business dealings. This play might hurt his reputation, but it would likely quash attempts to indict him.

This is all assuming there were past payoffs. If there weren’t, then it would be difficult for his defense to claim the two payoffs in question were not politically motivated.

Whether Cohen or anyone else had operated on Trump’s behalf in the past to pay hush money to someone is currently unknown but very likely. That’s what Cohen did for Trump. He was the fixer.

If someone needed to be paid off, Cohen would work out the details. If someone needed to be threatened, Cohen would make the call. Listening to recorded conversations of him making such threats reveals that he’s a scumbag. But he was Trump’s scumbag, and part of being a rich man’s scumbag is doing the dirty work without getting the boss involved.

Unless there are better recordings than the ones Cohen has already produced that show then-candidate Trump ordering the hush money, it’s very unlikely the Mueller investigation will yield an indictment. It’s the President’s word against his scumbag fixer’s. Indicting anyone solely on the self-serving word of Michael Cohen would be ludicrous.

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Guns and Crime

Border Patrol arrests 32 at San Diego demonstration

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Border Patrol arrests 32 at San Diego demonstration

SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 32 people at a demonstration Monday that was organized by a Quaker group on the border with Mexico, authorities said. Demonstrators were calling for an end to detaining and deporting immigrants and showing support for migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum seekers.

A photographer for The Associated Press saw about a dozen people being handcuffed after they were told by agents to back away from a wall that the Border Patrol calls “an enforcement zone.” The American Friends Service Committee, which organized the demonstration, said 30 people were stopped by agents in riot gear and taken into custody while they tried to move forward to offer a ceremonial blessing near the wall.

Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said 31 people were arrested for trespassing and one was arrested for assaulting an officer.

More than 300 people, many the leaders of churches, mosques, synagogues and indigenous communities, participated in the demonstration at San Diego’s Border Field State Park, which borders Tijuana, Mexico.

The rally held on a beach divided by the border wall was the second confrontation for Border Patrol agents since a caravan of more than 6,000 migrants, predominantly Hondurans, reached Tijuana last month. A confrontation with rock-throwers from Mexico led to U.S. agents firing tear gas into Mexico on Nov. 25 and a five-hour closure of the nation’s busiest border crossing.

Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in Tijuana after undertaking a grueling journey from Central America to the U.S. border. Many face waiting weeks or months in Mexico while they apply for asylum. The U.S. is processing up to about 100 claims a day at the San Diego crossing, which is creating a backlog.

The demonstration Monday was meant to launch a national week of action called “Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice,” which falls between Human Rights Day on Monday, and International Migrants’ Day on Dec. 18, the group said.

“Showing up to welcome and bless children, mothers and fathers seeking asylum from very difficult and dehumanizing circumstances is the right and humane thing to do,” said Bishop Minerva G. Carcano, from the San Francisco Area United Methodist Church. “How we act in these moments determines who we will become as a nation.”

The group also is calling on Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

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