Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team appeared to have a tough day in court on Friday as Judge T.S. Ellis was sharply critical of the prosecutors’ grounds to bring their case against Paul Manafort — but perhaps the most important and informative part of the exchange went largely unnoticed.
The judge pushed the prosecutors on why they were bringing the case focusing on bank and tax fraud and against Manafort, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chair, when it was so far afield of the original mandate that led to the creation of the special counsel.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted, the judge’s question was a good one: “If the Michael Cohen case can just become a local prosecution case in New York, why can’t the Paul Manafort case become a local prosecution case in D.C. or indeed Virginia?”
She continued: “So far we’ve seen nothing in the prosecutors’ filings in the Manafort case that shows a connection to Russsian campaign interference in the presidential election. I mean, if the Manafort crimes are a separate, discrete matter, if they’re all about his bank and tax fraud charges related to his work in Ukraine years ago, then why wouldn’t those also be handed off to separate prosecutors?”
Quoting from the prosecutors’ response to these types of questions, Maddow said: “‘The special counsel’s office takes very seriously the primary mission it was assigned in examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.'” It added that it would refer unrelated criminal activity to an unrelated office.
“Does that mean that these multiple felonies against Paul Manafort … [are] related to Russian interference in the 2016 election?” Maddow asked provocatively.
Watch the clip below:
Wait, so all of this stuff prosecutors are working through with Paul Manafort is related to Russian interference in the 2016 election? Any chance they can say when we'll find that out? pic.twitter.com/Drwm7SaSbx
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 5, 2018ADVERTISEMENT
‘Keep Marysville as white as possible’: Michigan candidate offers shockingly racist spin on Trump slogan
A Michigan candidate derailed a political forum by putting a shockingly racist spin on President Donald Trump's new campaign slogan.
The president has updated his "Make America Great Again" slogan from 2016 to "Keep America Great," which he unveiled last week with new merchandise, and a city council candidate in a state he won three years ago echoed the theme in an explicitly racist remark, reported the Times Herald.
Hong Kong protesters stage ‘human chain’ as city braces for fresh airport protests
Thousands of chanting Hong Kong protesters joined peaceful “Baltic Chain” links of hands on Friday, with almost three months of anti-government demonstrations showing no sign of let-up across the Chinese-ruled territory.
Demonstrators, some masked, some using hand wipes to stay clean, linked hands across different districts as others held up banners thanking overseas nations for supporting “freedom and democracy” in Hong Kong.
In 1989, an estimated two million people joined arms across three Baltic states in a protest against Soviet rule that became known as the “Baltic Way” or “Baltic Chain”.
Internet responds to death of billionaire conservative activist David Koch by reminding everyone what he stood for
Billionaire conservative political activist David Koch has just died. He was 79. With his brother he founded and ran the massive Koch Industries. He was worth an estimated $48 billion.
Koch will be lauded by some as a philanthropist – his name appears on buildings like New York City’s Lincoln Center, and he donated to hospitals, museums, and universities. But many Americans will remember him as one of the major players behind the Tea Party, and using his vast wealth to help massively reconstruct American politics into, some say, the vitriolic insanity we see today.
Jane Mayer, who literally wrote the book on “Dark Money” in politics, including the impact of the Koch brothers, last year penned another deep dive into their history.