To paraphrase an infamous tweet from the now-suspended Twitter account of long-time dirty trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone, it could soon be Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "time in the barrel", according to my guest on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]
The Trump Administration and his supporters have been very busy today, working hard to downplay the Monday indictments unsealed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against three campaign officials. Two of them, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty. The other, George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty, has been quietly cooperating with prosecutors for several months. The Campaign's former foreign policy advisor, has since been dismissed by Team Trump as little more than a "low-level volunteer" and a "coffee boy" over the 24 hours since the indictments were unsealed, revealing that Papadopoulos was charged with lying to federal prosecutors about conversations he had had with an unnamed "professor" said to be tied to Russia and claiming that Moscow had "thousands of emails" revealing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.
I'm joined today by investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to help separate partisan hope from partisan hype regarding Mueller's investigation. We focus on the Papadopoulos case specifically, discuss whether it reveals "collusion" with Russia (which both the Trump Administration and Russian officials strongly deny), and why she believes, as reported at The Intercept, that, more than anything, the specific charges in that case may signal very bad news for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
We also discuss what we now know (and don't) about the email hacks, what Mueller may have gained by waiting until Monday to reveal the indictments (Hello, unqualified USDA nominee Sam Clovis! Sam who?), and whether it's possible --- or even likely --- that Papadopoulos may have been wearing a wire during conversations with Trump officials in the months since he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.
"Papadopoulos plead guilty for lying. We don't know why he lied, and why everyone keeps lying," Wheeler observes, adding a note of caution for the many anti-Trumpers who have been giddy since "Mueller Monday". "There's some smoke there. There may well be fire. I just think that everyone who opposes Trump has to be very careful about screaming 'fire' before we have evidence of fire. We have a legal system to sort that out. And until Trump does something to fire Mueller, or in another way thwart the investigation, we should let the investigation do what our legal system is supposed to do."
Also covered on today's show...
- Reporter Mike Stark of ShareBlue, who has been dogging Virginia's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillsepsie with questions about his lobbying past in advance of the state's November 7 election next Tuesday, was violently arrested over the weekend. Stark appeared on The BradCast as our guest just last week. We've got details on what happened, including comment from Stark;
- A new poll finds Americans very pessimistic about the current state of American democracy and politics (including the vast majority of those who lived through the Vietnam era.);
- Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with what suffices for some 'good news' updates out of Puerto Rico and much more;
- And, we end with the breaking news late today of what New York officials are describing as a "terror" attack in lower Manhattan, after a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists, leaving 8 dead and 11 seriously injured as of the end of today's show...
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