Well, this is going to be a hell of week on Capitol Hill. There is SO much happening.
To nip the news of the day in the bud...
Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have turned themselves into the Grand Jury this morning for booking, and their charges have been released.
The indictment is 31 pages long and includes 12 counts including:
- Conspiracy against the U.S.
- Money laundering
- Unregistered agent of a foreign principal
- False Statements
- 7 counts failure to report foreign bank accounts (amounting to $75 million)
This is huge, but will be slow-moving. White Collar crime is notoriously slow, but this is a really big first start.
The news on this will be ongoing all day, so I won't go too deeply into it. Here are some fun facts:
- The judge presiding over this indictment is Obama Appointee Amy Berman Jackson
- MANAFORT was the guy who convinced Trump to change the Republican National Platform to be more Russia-friendly regarding Ukraine -- which signals to additional potential charges relating to collusion.
- Rick Gates, if you remember, is the one who took the blame for Melania's plagiarized convention speech.
- Indictment does not include any reference to the Trump campaign, but the timeline includes the period that Manafort served as campaign chairman, which may preclude more charges.
- Here's the indictment. I don't have a legal mind to analyze this, but maybe some of you do: https://www.justice.gov/file/1007271/download
- People to follow for updates on this today (on Twitter): Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson), Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty), Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariott), and Walter Schaub (@waltshaub)
- CNN just said that they will be in front of the judge at 1:30 this afternoon
OPEN ENROLLMENT STARTS WEDNESDAY AND ENDS DECEMBER 15. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
We expect to see legislative language from the House on Wednesday. We're hearing that there are still a lot of sticking points among Republicans, but as with healthcare, we don't know anything for sure.
HEARINGS THIS WEEK
Today, 5pm: Senate Foreign Relations on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Mattis and Tillerson will be testifying.
Intelligence Committee: Nomination of John C. Demers to be Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Judiciary Committee: Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation online with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
Intelligence Committee: Social Media Influence in the 2016 U.S. Elections with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
Energy and Natural Resources Committee to receive testimony on the potential for oil and gas exploration in the 1002 area (Arctic). This is part of the Budget instructions...and it's bad.
Other than that, the Senate is working on...you guessed it...Judicial nominations!
Stay tuned...this will be a big week in news. Other things coming are the Administration's Fed nomination, the president's trip to Asia, and any other crazy shit that might go down.
Apparently the president, the Vice President and the Attorney General are having lunch together today.
Russia tidbit: Before he became Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross was Vice Chair-Owner of the Bank of Cyprus where Manafort allegedly hid tens of millions of dollars.
RUSSIA: George Papadopolous pleaded guilty earlier this month to making false statements to the FBI. This case was unsealed today. (This is the campaign aide who tried to set up the Russia meetings.) Manafort and Gates plead not guilty. Bond for Manafort: $10 million. Bond for Gates $5 million. ALL THREE MEN (including Papodopolous) have surrendered their passports. Manafort and Gates will be on "home detention", and Papodopolous has further restraining orders attached to his charge.
Oh right, SCOTUS returns today too: https://www.ballotpedia.org/Supreme_Court_cases,_October_term_2017-2018#tab.3DCases_by_sitting
PUERTO RICO: The FBI is looking into the Whitefish contract, which was cancelled yesterday.
TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN: court bans Administration from changing military policy on transgender service members.
Jared Kushner just wiped his twitter account. Very interesting stuff going on today... Also, Podesta has stepped down from his lobbying firm.
This is big, and call-worthy:
In Papo's (I'm going to name him this from now on because his name is too damn long) indictment, it cited a "campaign supervisor" having emailed him (Papo) encouraging him to travel to Russia.
Yahoo News, in this article, is claiming that that supervisor is Sam Clovis: https://www.yahoo.com/news/mueller-discloses-trump-campaign-aide-pled-guilty-lying-russian-contacts-181302597.html
Here is the paragraph specific to Clovis:
"The charges against Papadopoulos provide substantial new details about communications between the Trump campaign and figures close to the Russian government — a central part of the investigation by Mueller. The court records unsealed Monday do not provide a clear account of how senior Trump officials followed up on Papadopoulos’s efforts to set up a meeting with Russian officials.
But they quote one unidentified campaign “supervisor” as emailing him in August 2016 that “I would encourage you” to make a trip to Moscow to arrange such a meeting. A Trump campaign source identified the supervisor as Sam Clovis, a conservative radio host who was co-chairman of the campaign. Another “high ranking” official — identified by the source as campaign chairman Paul Manafort — received an email from Papadopoulos saying that “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite some time and has been reaching out to me to discuss.” Manafort forwarded that email to his associate Richard Gates and wrote: “Let’s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.” (Some of these emails were quoted in a Washington Post story this past August that first identified Clovis, Manafort and Gates as the campaign officials who sent and received them.)"
Here's what you can call your Senators about: Sam Clovis has his CONFIRMATION HEARING to be the USDA top Scientist.
Aside from Clovis NOT being a scientist (http://www.npr.org/2017/09/04/547934012/trumps-nominee-to-be-usdas-chief-scientist-is-not-a-scientist), he is also a terrible person (https://www.thedailybeast.com/he-screams-about-race-traitorsand-trump-loves-him) and NOW rumored to be involved in this Russia mess.
So read these articles, and call your Senators, especially if they sit on the Agricultural Committee.