January 9, 2019

NO PUMPKIN REQUIRED:

Exclusive: Mueller Is Holding Top Secret Intelligence That Will Sink the Trump Presidency (John R. Schindler, 01/09/19, NY Observer)

What really ought to worry the president and his inner circle is what Mueller knows about the election and has yet to reveal. The Special Counsel doesn't have to disclose to suspects how it knows certain things, and it's apparent that Mueller and his investigators asked Manafort about his dealings with Kilimnik, which he lied about--and the ostrich jacket connoisseur is now trying to come clean before he gets a de facto life sentence in prison.

That Mueller knew about Manafort's 2016 dealings with Kilimnik is no surprise, given that the two men communicated frequently for many years, and the Special Counsel seized all of those communications from Manafort. But how did Mueller know about their secret Madrid meeting in early 2017, despite Manafort's denials?

The answer lies in a highly secretive intelligence program run by the National Security Agency (NSA). It's called travel tracking and its existence, like so many NSA top-secret operations, was revealed by Edward Snowden, the disgruntled agency IT contractor who fled to Moscow in June 2013 with over a million classified documents from the NSA and other U.S. spy agencies.

Travel tracking means that the NSA and its Five Eyes Anglosphere intelligence partners know who's going where by air, and when, anywhere. They can even crack into WiFi and mobile phones in flight, according to top secret-plus documents stolen and leaked by Snowden. Unless you're traveling under alias documents of the kind issued by higher-end spy services, the NSA and its close friends know where you're headed.

There ends the mystery of how Mueller and his investigators knew about Manafort and Kilimnik's off-record rendezvous in Madrid at the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency. It also means that the Special Counsel knows the truth regarding Michael Cohen's alleged summer 2016 trip to Prague to parley with Kremlin spies on behalf of his then-client, our 45th president.

"Mueller really does know everything," joked a former Intelligence Community (IC) senior official whom I've known for years. "The IC gave the Special Counsel everything we had that might be of relevance to their investigation, most of it came from NSA." Which hardly surprises, since something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in the IC emanates from the NSA, the world's most productive spy agency.


Fmr Fed Prosecutor: It Doesn't Get Much More 'Collusive' Than Manafort Sharing Poll Data with Kilimnik (Matt Naham, January 9th, 2019, Law & Crime)

Former federal prosecutor and current CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said Wednesday on New Day that this was a revelation with potentially serious implications. While Manafort's attorneys spent the majority of their response to Mueller's allegations arguing that the special counsel has no proof Manafort "intentionally lied," they also noticeably failed to redact information.

Here's what one of those redactions said:

In fact, during a proffer meeting held with the Special Counsel on September 11, 2018, Mr. Manafort explained to the Government attorneys and investigators that he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought, had the issue not been raised during the period he was engaged with work related to the presidential campaign. Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed. The same is true with regard to the Government's allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

In short, Manafort said that he didn't lie about sharing polling data related to the Trump campaign, he just needed his memory jogged. It wasn't the first time, however, that Manafort has been accused of offering high-level Russians insight on the Trump campaign. Manafort allegedly offered Vladimir Putin-connected Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska "private briefings" on the 2016 Trump campaign -- an oligarch he apparently owed millions of dollars.

Honig said that the detail of Manafort sharing polling data is significant.

"The campaign chair is the campaign. The campaign was sharing polling data with someone known to be connected to Russian intelligence," he said. "Is it collusion in the everyday non-legal sense before Rudy Giuliani started using the word? Sure. What could be more collusive than the top guy in a campaign with a Russian operative giving him the most sensitive data a campaign has?"

"Could it be a crime? Yes," Honig continued. "It is a federal crime to solicit or attempt to receive foreign election aid."



Posted by at January 9, 2019 1:45 PM

  

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