News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Oops! They Did It to Manafort Again and Much, Much More

A protester holds a sign as Kevin Downing, Paul Manafort's defense attorney, speaks to reporters after Manafort was sentenced at the U.S. District Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Good Thursday morning. Happy Pi day!

Here is what’s on President Trump’s agenda today:

  • The president meets with the prime minister of Ireland
  • President Trump participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Ireland
  • The president participates in the Friends of Ireland luncheon
  • President Trump and the first lady participate in the Shamrock Bowl presentation by the prime minister of Ireland

Manafort sentenced

Short-lived Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced yesterday in Washington D.C., to an additional 3.5 years for a bunch of crimes unrelated to the RUSSIA collusion scandal.

In one of her most publicized declarations, Judge Jackson noted that it would be “hard to overstate” how often Manafort had lied, the extent of the fraud he had committed and the large amounts of money involved. “And there is no good explanation that would warrant the leniency requested,” she added.

“This is not just a failure to comport to some pesky regulations,” Jackson said, directly contradicting a defense’s downplaying of administrative infractions viz. the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). “The defendant hid the proceeds of his international lobbying work from the United States,” she noted.

This was a deliberate effort to obstruct and conceal his work from the U.S. government, the judge said.

And it gets better. After the federal court got done with him, New York State stepped up for its piece of the Manafort pie.

The New York indictment on mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and other state charges alleges that the 69-year-old Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars. The new charges were announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance just minutes after U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, of the District of Columbia, sentenced Manafort as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, leaving him with 81 months to serve behind bars as part of that case.

So why pile on Manafort? He’s old, 69, and he’s got 7.5 years in the clink ahead of him. The New York Times tells us, “The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but has no such authority in state cases.”

OH. Now it makes sense. It’s just a bitchy move to punish Manafort for his Trump association. But Manafort’s lawyers might challenge the New York indictments.

Mr. Manafort’s lawyers likely will challenge the new indictment on double jeopardy grounds. New York state law includes stronger protections than those provided by the United States Constitution, but prosecutors in Mr. Vance’s office have expressed confidence that they would prevail, people with knowledge of the matter said.

State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley unsealed the charges in the early afternoon, but it will likely be weeks before Mr. Manafort is brought to New York to be arraigned.

It’s curious why government officials want to make sure Manafort is unpardonable and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

One former White House official close to the Trump legal team, reached for comment by INSIDER, put it bluntly when reacting to the new charges: “Manafort’s f—ed,” this person said.


Top Mueller Prosecutor Stepping Down In Latest Clue Russia Inquiry May Be Ending

More fall-out from the college bribery scandal

Lori Loughlin, one of the Hollywooders involved in the college bribery scandal, is out on $1 million in cash money. Loughlin paid $500k smackers to get her kids into USC. The system is not taking kindly to this bribery operation. Hollywooder Felicity Huffman was the recipient of some Elian Gonzalez treatment.

I’m guessing the FBI needs to rehabilitate itself after the agency’s Trump scandals dominating the headlines for the last couple of years. With clowns like Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page and various and sundry DOJ employees engaged in questionable anti-Trump political activity, the FBI and DOJ need some redemption. Folks are probably scratching their heads wondering what it is they actually do for America at the agency. This is a great case everyone can rally around and point fingers at: rich people buying favor. What’s not to like?


Let them eat cake. Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade was aboard USC official’s yacht in Bahamas when mom was charged: reports

USC: All Applicants Connected to Cheating Scheme Will Be Denied Admission

Obviously. The Atlantic Writer Suggests Trump Is To Blame For College Bribery Scandal

RUSSIA tried to interfere in midterm elections

According to a U.S. government official, RUSSIA sought to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections.

The revelation comes on the heels of testimony earlier in the day from Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, chief of the US Cyber Command, who had alluded to a potential incident in testimony earlier in the day.

“US Cyber Command, working in partnership with the National Security Agency, provided indicators of compromise to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security,” Nakasone told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity in testimony Wednesday.

Further alarm was raised for the 2020 elections because we gotta keep that narrative alive in case Trump wins again.

“I know what they did in ’16. I know that they tried to do in ’18. What will they do in 2020?” Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs asked. “That’s what keeps me up at night.”

Krebs testified:

“However, we recognize that there is a significant technology deficit across SLTT governments, and state and local election systems, in particular. It will take significant and continual investment to ensure that election systems across the Nation are upgraded and secure, with vulnerable systems retired,” his prepared testimony read.

“We have to get out of this model where we are paying to patch and paying to modernize,” Krebs said, adding that he is excited about information technology modernization efforts that will allow the government to “design, configure IT securely” rather than add security on top of existing systems.

“We continue to have outdated legacy infrastructure out there,” he added.

Consider yourself warned.

Historical picture of the day:

Michael Miller, 5, of Fargo, N.D., “puffs” on one of his last candy cigarettes, March 14, 1953. North Dakota’s governor signed a bill passed by the legislature forbidding the sale or possession of candy packaged to resemble cigarettes. The law is effective July 1. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Trump issues emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets

So far, minimal travel pain from Boeing 737 MAX grounding

Cummings refuses to join GOP’s criminal referral of Cohen over perjury concerns

IRS analyst pleads not guilty to leaking Michael Cohen’s bank account information

[Robert Francis] O’Rourke strongly signals he’s entering Dem primary in Vanity Fair interview

‘I’m just born to be in it,’ Beto O’Rourke tells Vanity Fair

A rare virus outbreak at sea has left a US Navy warship quarantined for over 2 months

Media Matters president facing scrutiny for derogatory comments, racial slurs in resurfaced posts

I’ll have what she’s having. Mindblowing Orgasm Leads To Stroke For UK Woman

Feds Are Investigating Data Deals Facebook Struck With Several Big Tech Firms

“Controversial” Senate confirms controversial Trump judicial pick to replace Kavanaugh

US ready to take more aggressive stance toward cyberdefense

Jury awards $29M in Johnson & Johnson baby powder cancer case

Who ‘dis? Florida mayor announces exploratory committee for president

Metaphor alert. ‘They attacked him with their beaks’: Fox in France pecked to death by 3,000 chickens

After Michelle Obama’s former aide’s urging, prosecutor pushed for FBI to investigate Smollett

Another metaphor alert. Injured bald eagle stuck on train tracks near Washington prompts rescue efforts

Trump warns senators: Bad to vote against border security

Nannies. Maryland may become the first state to ban foam food containers and cups

Want to post this article to Facebook? Too bad

Reputed Gambino crime family member shot to death outside home on Staten Island

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!