Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mueller Indictments Are Not Going to Stop Anytime Soon

Silk stocking lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan - the latest person indicted by Mueller

One thing that perhaps all but perhaps the dumbest of attorneys know is that (i) you do not lie to the FBI, and (ii) you do not fail to fully respond to federal subpoenas.  Yet, Rick Gates' attorney at a silk stocking New York City based law firm did precisely what one should never do.  The result is that 
Alex Van Der Zwaan, formerly with mega firm Skadden Arps (and son-in-law to a Putin crony) has made a plead deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. As a piece in Esquire notes, Van Der Zwaan's plea deal will likely strike fear among others working with the sleazy elements of the Trump/Pence campaign.  One can only assume that along with Gates, Van Der Zwaan will be singing his heart out to assist Mueller's prosecutors.  Here are article highlights:
Two business days, 14 new indictments. Bob Mueller grinds exceedingly slowly, but very, very fine. Today’s contestant is one Alex Van Der Zwaan, a lawyer whom Mueller’s team has indicted on charges that he lied to investigators regarding communications he had with Rick Gates, a former aide to Paul Manafort who, the evidence suggests, is singing a German opera to Mueller and his team at the moment.
From CNN:
Alex Van Der Zwaan, who is expected to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon, is also accused of lying about the failure to turn over an email communication to the special counsel's office. He was speaking with investigators about his work with international law firm Skadden Arps in 2012, when Manafort arranged for the firm to be hired by the Ukrainian Minister of Justice to prepare a report on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko.
It shows that Mueller is chasing every rat down every ratline. (So much for the talking point that the probe concluded last Friday with the indictment of the 13 Russians, who never will see the inside of an American courtroom.)
Also, if the investigation is reaching into the white-shoe power law firms in Washington, a lot of important people are going to get very, very nervous. Many of them have nothing to do with anything Mueller is investigating, and those people are not going to be happy watching the spreading poison of this administration*’s leaching into their boardrooms. The reaction is likely to be fierce. Skadden Arps says it cut this guy loose a year ago.
It’s pretty much assured that Manafort is securely on a spit right now and that this latest indictment is just another slow turn over the fire. And Manafort is the man who knows all the secrets. One plea at a time, Mueller is establishing that the president* is inherently corrupt and that his candidacy and election were just two unusually successful operations in a continuing criminal enterprise.
Another column in Esquire suggests that Trump knows that Mueller has the goods on Trump and his hangers on and sycophants.  Here are excerpts: 
The indictments were rolled out perfectly. It is now absolutely impossible for the president* to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller without the worst possible political consequences. By basing the indictments on federal election law, Mueller has framed the case so as also to include anyone who accepted  this criminal help.
And the material in the indictmentwhich you can read for yourself hereoutlines a thoroughly complete campaign of ratfcking aimed exclusively at electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States.
It’s important to remember that every one of the tactics mentioned above—especially the voter-fraud canard—have been electioneering tactics used by the former Republican Party for at least two decades. All these Russians are alleged to have done is to weaponized further what already was in place and direct it toward the benefit of the Trump campaign.
The Trumpites (and now the president*, himself) already have mustered a response—namely, that there is no evidence presented here that directly proves any “collusion,” which remains their magic conjuring word that makes all the monsters go away. That may get them through the night, but they have to know that Mueller has the goods now, and that none of us know what other goods Mueller may have.
I can recall a scene from the late Jimmy Breslin’s Watergate book, How The Good Guys Finally Won, in which a lawyer working in the office of House Judiciary Council John Doar put together a series of index cards that created a timeline of Richard Nixon’s first day in the White House after the Watergate break-in. From the cards, you could see how Nixon and his men were concocting a strategy to bury the story and insulate the president from how they were doing it. At this point, Nixon was still saying he didn’t learn anything about the break-in until months later.
We are still supposed to believe that the Russians concocted this amazing scheme to influence the election and the person on whose behalf they were operating the scheme didn’t know what they were doing?  Nor did the people running his campaign? Oh, come on.

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