Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism
Paul Manafort. Tony Podesta. Tad Devine. Greg Craig.
Manafort worked for Trump. Tony Podesta is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Tad Devine was Bernie Sanders’ chief strategist. Greg Craig was Obama’s White House Counsel.
All four men also, directly or indirectly, allegedly did work for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. And the ECFMU was allegedly a front for Yanukovich’s Ukrainian pro-Russian faction. Manafort and the Podesta Group had failed to register as foreign agents. Tad Devine had worked for Manafort on the Ukraine project. Craig had written a report on Ukraine for one of Manafort’s lobbying efforts.
But only Manafort had the predawn raid, the solitary confinement and the high profile show trial. Mueller referred Podesta’s case to the Southern District of New York, which has been doing some of his dirty work, even though the Podesta Group was based out of Washington D.C. Tad Devine was called as the first witness at Manafort’s trial. (Next up was Daniel Rabin, a Democrat ad man who had worked with Manafort on Ukraine and who had worked on Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign. O’Malley’s partner had been O’Malley’s campaign manager and was a former Obama senior advisor.)
Podesta, Devine and Craig are getting a pass because it’s not really about Manafort. It’s about Trump.
The Federal courthouse in Alexandria where the trial is taking place may be the final stop of a political hit job that makes the ECFMU look like amateurs. Its tentacles bind together the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, national security agencies, a former British intel agent, a firm of former journalists and a scandal bigger than Watergate. But in Alexandria, the hit job may have met its match.
Until now, the Mueller coup had gotten exactly the judges that it wanted.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee and Clinton donor, had been shepherding the Manafort case while giving the Mueller gang everything they wanted. And then there was Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama nominee and Dem donor who was friends with Andrew Weissmann, the most aggressive figure on Mueller’s team, who tore up Manafort’s attorney-client privilege.
But now Judge T. Ellis is presiding over the Manafort trial and the free ride is over. Ellis, as the media is fond of reminding us in every one of its feverish stories about the trial, is a Reagan appointee. But due to a Democrat congress, Reagan appointees were a mixed bag. Unlike Judge Jackson and Judge Howell, Judge Ellis hasn’t favored a side. Instead he he’s refused to put up with any nonsense from either side.
The Mueller gang realized that the free ride was over when back in May when Judge Ellis directly called out the prosecution over its real motives in bringing the case.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” he snapped. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead to Mr. Trump.”
Judge Ellis wasn’t happy at being used as a prop in a fake trial whose only purpose was to pressure Manafort into turning on Trump. Unlike the previous rubber stamp judges, Ellis showed little patience with Mueller’s nasty habit of treating everything involving the case as top secret. He demanded to know the limits of Mueller’s authority and a copy of the unredacted DOJ memo on which it was based.
And he got it.
The Manafort trial was not to mention Russian collusion, oligarchs and most of the staples of the media’s obsessive coverage of the case. While the media and the protesters howled outside, Judge Ellis kept order inside the courtroom. Even the reporters covering the case were not allowed to speak those words to each other. As the trial proceeded, the media wasn’t getting its money’s worth.
And Judge Ellis had his share of fun at their expense, at one point referring to reporters as having “scurried out of here like rats out of a sinking ship” after a particularly troubling development.
While Mueller and the media want to drag out their show trial for as long as possible, Judge Ellis has made it very clear that he wants to get the trial over and done with as quickly as possible. His favorite phrase in the case has been, “move along.” The Mueller gang had built much of its case around showcasing Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. And Ellis has been disdainful of the prosecution’s theatrics.
He’s refused to allow the prosecution to parade photos of Manafort’s expensive clothing before the jury and he dismissed efforts by the prosecution to play the class warfare card in the Alexandria courtroom.
The pointless tour of luxury clothing vendors through the courtroom was deflated by Ellis’ impatience and the only thing it established is that Manafort had bought expensive suits with international wire transfers. And that could have easily been established in a fraction of the time without dragging in witnesses to testify to Manafort’s shopping habits.
After wasting two days on showcasing luxury clothing store vendors and Democrat political pros like Tad Devine and Daniel Rabin, the prosecution went right back to talking up the size of Manafort’s pond and the price of his karaoke machine before shifting over to more serious testimony from financial pros. Some of these witnesses had received immunity in exchange for their testimony against Manafort.
And yet the obsession with Manafort’s suits, karaoke machine and pond reveal the hollowness of the case. If the prosecution really had Manafort down cold, it wouldn’t need to talk about his ostrich jacket. There are only two purposes to such theatrics, to bias the jury or to play to the cheap seats in the media.
As Judge Ellis had already pointed out, the trial really isn’t about Manafort. It’s about Trump. And Manafort is Mueller’s last and only hope. After all the pressure, Manafort still hasn’t given Mueller what he wants. And so the Mueller gang needs to score as hard as it can in either this trial or the next one. If Manafort walks or gets off with a slap on the wrist, the Mueller investigation is effectively over. It may drag on for another five years, as special counsel circuses have been known to do, but it will be over.
And everyone knows it.
Democrat judges had lent Mueller a hand until now. But the actual case is now in the hands of a judge who doesn’t like Mueller, doesn’t like his people’s tactics and doesn’t like being used as a pawn.
Unlike the Democrat judges with an axe to grind, Judge Ellis is following the law. And he hasn’t gone outside it to favor either side. Nor is there any reason to believe that he will. He has questioned and challenged the agenda behind the trial, but he will leave it up to a jury to come up with a verdict.
And yet the wind has gone out of the prosecution’s sails.
The friendly relationship that the gang enjoyed with its fellow Democrat collaborators on the bench has been replaced by an impatient judge who isn’t treating the show trial like a vital institution, but with the skeptical impatience that veterans of the system reserve for the table pounders wasting their time.
Judge Ellis isn’t interested in a show trial. He’s asked the prosecution whether it thinks George Soros is also an oligarch. He’s made it clear that while he knows the agenda behind the case, there won’t be a Russiagate circus in his courtroom, no paranoid hysteria or sinister speculation. Nor will the case be allowed to linger on endlessly attracting swarms of reporters, activists and deep staters.
Manafort may well be convicted, but it won’t be on the terms that Mueller wanted. Mueller may get Manafort, but lose Trump.
He may win the battle in Alexandria, but lose the war.
Netanyahu’s support for the settlement enterprise, is believed to have been reigned by former democratic US president Barack Obama who was in office from January 2009 to January 2017.
A man photographs a woman as she stands next to a mural depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Is
Spending on West Bank settlements spiked by 39% in 2017, the first year US President Donald Trump was in office, the left-wing group Peace Now reported on Tuesday.
Weekend work permits for Eurovision complicate Netanyahu’s coalition bargaining with ultra-Orthodox parties
Israeli singer and past Eurovision winner Dana International at the Orange Carpet event in Tel Aviv, May 13, 2019.
Israeli singer and past Eurovision winner Dana International at the Orange Carpet event in Tel Aviv, May 13, 2019.Tomer Appelbaum
Seeking to quell ultra-Orthodox anger over holding the Eurovision Song Contest’s final in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday it was an “individual international event” not sponsored by the state, and that the government doesn’t want to violate the Sabbath.
French Holocaust denier Alain Soral. Photo: Egalite et Réconciliation.
The mayor of one of southern France’s most picturesque towns expressed fury on Tuesday after learning that a group of right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists — including convicted Holocaust denier Alain Soral — were planning to hold a “summer school” there at the end of August.
“I say it clearly, Soral is not welcome here,” Alexandre Reynal — mayor of the town of Amelie-les-Bain in the spectacular Pyrénées-Orientales region — told a local news outlet on Tuesday.
I urge all visitors to join me in a conspiracy to violate the UN Security Council Resolution…Obama, himself, engineered the Resolution. He pushed it through the Security Council despite some reservations by other members, including Egypt, which believed that the Resolution itself could become a barrier to a negotiated two-state solution. After all, if Israel’s control over Judaism’s holiest site is deemed illegal, then Israel would have to negotiate its legality with the Palestinians.
The ruling Law and Justice Party views Poland as a victim of World War II, and that therefore Poland should not be required to pay damages to other victims.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government s
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government swearing-in ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, December 11, 2017..
Only three-quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them, we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures.
I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views.
One of the most influential newspapers in the world, the Jewish-owned New York Times decided to present the Jews with a gift in honor of the last day of Passover – a major Jewish holiday – an antisemitic caricature. The controversial cartoon shows US President Donald Trump as a blind man with a skullcap on his head, being led by a dog that looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And to make sure the reader knows it is indeed the Israeli premier, the dog has a Star of David dangling from its collar.
Last week, Jared Kushner, one of the administration’s point men on the Middle East, dispensed with the term “two-state solution” in its impending peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. “The two-state solution has failed,” he said.
The “two-state solution” does not appear in the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called only for “interim self-government” for the Palestinians. The goal was a negotiated final status agreement, in which independence was not specified.
Religious fervor always picks up before the Jewish holidays. Not surprisingly, Israeli undercover police arrested Jewish activists from the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the Mount) organization early Friday afternoon, just before the onset of the Passover holiday, after an apparent attempt to bring a young goat on to the Temple Mount for a self-proclaimed sacrificial rite. Indeed, this drama plays itself out every year, but according to Jerusalem police, this year a record of at least twelve members of the organization were arrested throughout the course of the day on counts of disturbing the peace.
Every year when Passover eve arrives, I do my best not to think about that night; to allow the joy of cherished rituals meant to renew our family’s tribal history and faith envelop us in its warm glow as whoever among the kids and grandkids it’s our turn to host partake of the matzoh, bitter herbs, and wine. Often – actually most often – I succeed.