Will Missing Texts Save Manafort From Mueller's Probe?

Some have suggested that the FBI losing five months of text messages between anti-Trump investigators is a coverup of an "insurance policy" to smear Donald Trump with claims of Russian collusion in the event of a win. Others have suggested it's simply bureaucratic incompetence. Paul Manafort's attorneys, on the other hand, are likely chomping at the bit see if they can argue for a dismissal of the federal charges against their client due to Robert Mueller's increasingly tainted probe.

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Look for Paul Manafort to jump all over this. He’s already fighting his indictment, claiming that Mueller is overstepping his authority and shouldn’t be running the investigation. Throw in this evidence that the investigation may have been tainted before Mueller even took over, and that the DOJ could be covering up damaging information, and a motion to dismiss alleging prosecutorial misconduct is a near certainty.

FBI Agent Strzok was reportedly heading up the Manafort investigation before he was taken off the Mueller probe. Manafort’s attorney might try to say that the missing text messages could contain exculpatory evidence (or evidence favorable to the defendant) and therefore the court should get to the bottom of what the two said.  However, two former federal prosecutors who spoke to Law&Crime both contend it would be difficult to get the entire indictment dismissed based on the text messages alone. -LawandCrime.com

“It depends on what FBI’s retention policy is for text messages. It does certainly raise questions as to how these five months came up missing,” explained former federal prosecutor Bill Thomas, adding “However, the court is not going to just dismiss the case. If it comes to it, the judge may hold a hearing to get to that information through calling witnesses. Dismissal is the nuclear option, it would have to be something very very egregious for a court to dismiss the case.”

Very very egregious

The bombshell announcement regarding the missing text messages did not go over well with Congressional investigators. In a letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) to FBI director Christopher Wray, Johnson asks five key questions: 

  1. Please explain the scope and scale of all records lost, destroyed, or otherwise alienated during the midyear examination investigation
  2. Does the FBI have any records of communications between Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017? If so, please provide those communications.
  3. Has the FBI conducted searches of Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page's non-FBI-issued communication devices or accounts to determine whether federal records exist on those nonofficial accounts? Please explain how the FBI is complying with federal records requirements with respect to these devices.
  4. Has the FBI produced text messages to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) or any other FBI employees in furtherance of the DOJ OIG's review of the Clinton email investigation? If so, please identify which FBI employees' communications were produced.
  5. Has the FBI produced Microsoft Lync conversations between Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok to the DOJ OIG? Please explain. 

 

Question four is an interesting one - considering the conflicting information discovered last night between the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). A Friday document submission from the DOJ included a cover letter from the Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs, Stephen Boyd, claiming that the FBI was unable to preserve text messages between the two agents for a five month period between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 - due to "misconfiguration issues" with FBI-issued Samsung 5 devices used by Strzok and Page (despite over 10,000 texts which were recovered from their devices without incident).

 

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However - as Josh Caplan points out, the lost text messages are in direct contradiction to a December 13, 2017 letter from the DOJ's internal watchdog - Inspector General Michael Horowitz, to Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and HSGAC Chairman Ron Johnson, in which he claims he received the texts in question on August 10, 2017

In gathering evidence for the OIG's ongoing 2016 election review, we requested, consistent with standard practice, that the FBI produce text messages from the FBI-issued phones of certain FBI employees involved in the Clinton email investigation based on search terms we provided. After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016, which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server investigation. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017. Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017.

The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.

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As one can see, the deleted text messages are not only highly unusual - but the circumstances surrounding their disappearance are highly suspect, and may even be "very very egregious" upon further analysis

We're sure Paul Manafort's legal team is drafting a motion to dismiss at this very moment.

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Comments

SummerSausage Muh Raf Tue, 01/23/2018 - 09:02 Permalink

Democrats have proven to be thicker than pig shit. Who else would worship a communist with 3 houses (one on a private beach) who extols the virtue of Venezuela's squalor and wishes it on America?

Who else would believe a blonde blue eyed communist who lives in a $5 million house is an Indian who deserves special opportunities to give her an edge over blonde blue eyed people?

In reply to by Muh Raf

gregga777 ACP Tue, 01/23/2018 - 03:25 Permalink

The 17 three-letter Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) agencies and the dirty US DoJ (US Department of Corruption, Injustice & Persecution) are Just as eager to add the initials DJT to the their existing list of successful assassinations: JFK/MLK/RFK. If President Trump is lucky he may just have his initials added to the unsuccessful list of assassination attempts: GRF/RWR. Either way, I sure hope that he isn't depending on the US SS (Schutzstaffel) for his and his family's protection. 

 

In reply to by ACP

LetThemEatRand Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:33 Permalink

The missing texts won't save Manafort, but they may save Trump if it ever comes to it (it won't).

As for Manafort, he was caught up in a "we're all doing it" game where he was selected to be the fall guy, and unfortunately "we're all doing it" isn't a defense when they pick you.  He may get away with his shady dealings via the technical defense that Mueller was outside his mandate in going after his pre-election money-laundering etc.

OverTheHedge FIAT CON Tue, 01/23/2018 - 02:35 Permalink

My experience of lawyers generally is that they work out the total assets available, and once they have spent that in fees, they come to an amicable agreement between themselves. The client is extraneous to this process, other than being the host of the feast. I would imagine that the same sorts of calculations are being done here, and seeing as the government will be paying for most of it, entire careers could be built around this. For example, The Clinton Foundation will continue as an entity long after the current generation of Clintons are gone, and its millions (or is it billions, still?), will still be available to be passed to the legal class, slice by slice.

Nice work if you can get it.

 

In reply to by FIAT CON

FIAT CON Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:34 Permalink

"bureaucratic incompetence".

 The date of the messages that disapeard end on the day of the start of the Mueller probe.

 Coincidence...not.

MuffDiver69 Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:44 Permalink

An official at the Justice Department, helmed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, confirmed to POLITICO on Monday that the department has requested access to the classified document but has not been able to see it. The FBI, too, has been denied access to the document.

Sources familiar with the memo, which was compiled by aides to House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, say it claims that senior FBI officials abused a secret surveillance program, commonly known as FISA, to target the Trump campaign last fall. According to three people who have viewed it, the memo suggests that FBI agents seeking a fall 2016 warrant to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page concealed the role a controversial private dossier alleging Kremlin influence over Trump played in their decision.

A senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said withholding the memo from the Justice Department and FBI makes sense given its charges of misconduct among senior federal law enforcement officials.

 

 

“They’re the ones that have the problem,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas). “I think given the seriousness of this one and the players, this should go to the president first.”

Atomizer Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:49 Permalink

No assholes, we have already subpoenaed carrier phone records. Your going to be terminated from your job. During a homicide case, we pull phone records and find out telephone pinged off towers. 

Go fuck yourself FBI. The text messages are matched with phone calls. Time stamped. 

 

Golden Showers Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:58 Permalink

OH FUCK THIS BULLSHIT.

Fuck you. Fuck your fucking co-dependence and kiss my ass.

Oh. All of a sudden the leaders are no longer Adult men?

What are they then? adult carrots?

Ok. Some adult men are really not people but they are kind of like people except that laws don't apply to them and they create laws because they work in government and worry about legal things all day.

Fuck you. Fuck that. Fuck your mother. No fucking way.

This is how entirely stupid and retarded you expect and allow your government to act. No law. No authority. Nothing. Fuck you.

It must be such a sweet fruit to suck on. Oh that fruit! Ymmmm. Yummy.

Believe me: I don't care what the fuck you do. But I also don't care what happens to you, I won't be there to help you. And I hate you. So keep it up.

Atomizer Tue, 01/23/2018 - 01:09 Permalink

Soy boy RINO's and #Metoo cunt rags. Trying to destroy the United States of America. 

Our country is not going to turn into a European Union cesspool. Get over it. 

PGR88 Tue, 01/23/2018 - 01:51 Permalink

And despite all the year-long Strzok bullshit, the only "special investigator" is still the one investigating the fantasy of Trump and Russia.

Mike Masr Tue, 01/23/2018 - 08:40 Permalink

Mueller's anti-Trump witch hunt can be summed up:

"“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”"

- Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police

VideoEng_NC Tue, 01/23/2018 - 08:48 Permalink

Direct answer to the direct question is no.  Fact is Manafort should no longer be under investigation if the original campaign premise was still part of the agreement.  Mueller & good faith parted ways a long time ago.

johnnydoh Tue, 01/23/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Funny, how when it is other peoples "crimes" they are investigating, they can find everything, but when THEY are being investigated, it all just magically goes into the technical glitch basket.