Did the news service, Associated Press collude with the DOJ to try to catch up some little guys from the campaign of President Donald J. Trump so that they could assert pressure on them with lawfare- to try to capture a sitting US President?
Are we looking at a massive Carrot and Stick scheme to frame Trump?
Judicial Watch is on it. I add some background about what was described to me by a White Collar Criminal lawyer, who described the frightening powers legal powers of federal prosecutors to go after their target.
The trials in the media that appeared to be similar to the dreaded “soviet show trials” may have been the tip of the iceberg of corruption- what if the media actually started the “criminal charges’ ball rolling against regular Americans?
Check out what Watchdogs say about it it a recent post about a years-old investigation into the matter:
“What sort of reporters would do this?” Tom Fitton said introducing his 2019 Judicial investigation into the actions of the AP Newsgroup when they assisted the US DOJ to delve into Paul Manafort’s life- so they could bring a criminal investigation onto him.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) March 23, 2022
CHECK OUT WHAT I FOUND:
And there is a powerful reason why they were going after a little guy like Manafort. For the same reason, they went after other little guys- allegedly to get them to make up stories to entrap their target.
Because- it was most likely to set up the “swamps” known tactics, which they use on their opponents; they may have wanted to force him to “roll” on President Donald J. Trump.
Judicial Watch thoroughly explains their investigation, in a press release and video on the matter.
Perhaps the AP reporters are the sort of reporters who are working with law enforcement to get a “little guy” who was an associate of the Trump campaign- so they could collude together, by using the power of the media- for soviet show trials, as we have seen them do constantly for five years- and create public pressure- to get the President of the United States.
Those legal tactics were described to me in 2018, by criminal lawyer David Benowitz when I interviewed him, at the time- about the George Papadouplous inditement, and are found, Benowitz told me, in something called Part 5k-Departures.
Benowitz told me that the process of catching the little guy- often starts with a proffer letter, as with the case of Papadouplous. In the case of Manafort, it appears as if it were the Media, who pushed for criminal charges.
Then once they have gotten the little guy, Benowitz told me about the provision of the law Part 5k-Departures which gives substantial assistance to authorities to use to get the little guy to roll, which is most important in Federal criminal cases, he said.
“If you cooperate with the prosecutor he or she can ask the judge for a lesser sentence,” Benowitz told me, describing what he believed was the purpose behind Papadouplous’s actions then.
“Sentencing guidelines show the prosecutor has enormous power. And Papadopoulos wants to cooperate because he can plea down to probation. He has done well for himself with his cooperation agreement. He pled to one of the lowest charges,” Benowitz told me.
According to Benowitz, Section 5K 1.1 gives federal prosecutors all of the power they needed to force any number of little guys to make up a good story about Trump, so they could go after him.
He then directed me to:
“In the Thick book it talks about and describes crimes and enhancements there are guidelines like if you are using sophisticated means of influencing more than 5 people, you have a higher sentence. That could be Treason in this case, which is a crime. There is no crime called Collusion,” Benowitz said.
“Papadopoulos isn’t a major player in the administration. “It’s the little guy who knows a lot , who they go after” Benowitz said. So- it isn’t a far stretch to believe the same goes for Manafort.
BACK TO THE MEDIA- DID THE AP COLLUDE TO START THE CRIMINAL PROCESS?
“During 2016 campaign, @APreporters lobbied anti-Trumpers at DOJ to prosecute Manafort and gave them the code to his private locker,” Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch posted on Twitter this week, with a link to an Oct. 2019 Press Release from his group.
From The JW Press Release at the time:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released two productions of heavily redacted FBI documents – 28 pages and 38 pages – about an April 11, 2017, “off-the-record” meeting set up by then-Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann, between the DOJ, the FBI and the Associated Press in which AP reporters provided information on former Trump Campaign Director Paul Manafort, including the numeric code to Manafort’s storage locker.
Two months later, in early June, Weissmann was hired to work on Robert Mueller’s special counsel operation against President Trump. Weissman then reportedly spearheaded the subsequent investigation and prosecution of Manafort.
Included among the new documents are two typed write-ups of the meeting’s proceedings and handwritten notes taken during the meeting by two FBI special agents.
According to a June 11, 2017, FBI write-up:
The purpose of the meeting, as it was explained to SSA [supervisory special agent, redacted] was to obtain documents from the AP reporters that were related to their investigative reports on Paul Manafort.
No such documents were included in the documents released to Judicial Watch.
During the meeting, the AP reporters provided the FBI information about a storage locker of Manafort (the Mueller special counsel operation raided the locker on May 26, 2017):
The AP reporters advised that they had located a storage facility in Virginia that belonged to Manafort…The code to the lock on the locker is 40944859. The reporters were aware of the Unit number and address, but they declined to share that information.
The reporters shared the information that “payments for the locker were made from the DM Partners account that received money from the [Ukraine] Party of Regions.”
The notes suggest the AP pushed for criminal prosecution of Manafort:
AP believes Manafort is in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), in that Manafort send [sic] internal U. S. documents to officials in Ukraine AP has documentation proving this, as well as Manafort noting his understanding doing so would get him into trouble.
AP asked about the U.S. government charging Manafort with violating Title 18, section 1001 for lying to government officials, and have asked if the FBI has interviewed Manafort. FBI and DOJ had no comment on this question.
Also, according to the FBI write-up, “The AP reporters asked about FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violations and they were generally told that they are enforceable.”
Although, according to the FBI write-up, “no commitments were made [by DOJ] to assist the reporters,” Andrew Weissmann asked the AP to contact foreign authorities to follow up:
[A]fter the meeting was started and it was explained to the reporters that there was nothing that the FBI could provide to them, the reporters opted to ask a series of questions to see if the FBI would provide clarification. No commitments were made to assist the reporters in their further investigation into the life and activities of Paul Manafort and the AP reporters understood that the meeting would be off the record.
They [AP reporters] reiterated what they had written in their article, which was a response from the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority (MOKAS) that they [MOKAS] had fully responded to Department of Treasury agents in response to [Treasury’s] request. The AP reporters were interested in how this arrangement worked and if the U.S. had made a formal request. FBI/DOJ did not respond, but Andrew Weissman [sic] suggested that they ask the Cypriots if they had provided everything to which they had access or if they only provided what they were legally required to provide.
The AP reporters asked if we [DOJ/FBI] would be willing to tell them if they were off based [sic] or on the wrong traack [sic] and they were advised that they appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings.
The reporters asked about any DOJ request for the assistance of foreign governments in the U.S. Government’s investigation of Manafort:
The AP reporters asked if there had been any official requests to other countries. FBI/DOJ declined to discuss specifics, except to state that the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests are negotiated by diplomats, so they should remain at that level.
AP reporters told the FBI about payments in the “black ledger,” a Ukrainian record of allegedly illegal off-the-books payments:
The reporters advised that their next report, which was scheduled to come out in the next day or so after the meeting, would focus on confirming, to the extent that they could payments in the so called “black ledger” that were allegedly made to Manafort.
The impression that their sources give is that Manafort was not precise about his finances, specifically as it related to the “black ledger.” The AP reporters calculated that he received $60 to $80 million from his work in Ukraine, during the time period the ledger was kept. According to their review of the ledger, it appears that there is a slightly lesser amount documented based on all of the entries. The AP reporters accessed a copy of the ledger online, describing it as “public” document (Agent’s note – the ledger has been published in its entirety by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, after it was given to them by Sergei Leshenko, Ukrainian RADA member [Ukrainian parliament] and investigative reporter.)
The AP reporters discussed an extensive list of issues, companies, and individuals that they felt should be investigated for possible criminal activity, including a $50,000 payment to a men’s clothing store; a 2007 meeting with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska; Loav Ltd., which was possibly incorporated by Manafort; NeoCom, which the AP reporters implied was incorporated solely to cover up money laundering; and other matters.
The reporters described an “internal U.S. work product that had been sent to Ukraine.” The reporters described it as an “internal White House document.” The FBI report stated that it “was not clear if the document was classified.”
“These shocking FBI reports evidence a corrupt collusion between the DOJ and the media, specifically The Associated Press, to target Paul Manafort,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These reports are further reason for President Trump to pardon Manafort and others caught up in Mueller’s abusive web.”
Evidently referring to these documents, Manafort’s lawyers alleged that Weissmann provided guidance and leaked grand jury testimony to the AP reporters investigating Manafort.
This document production comes in an April 2019 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00879)) filed after the FBI failed to respond to a July 5, 2018, FOIA request for:
All records concerning the April 2017 meeting between Department of Justice and FBI personnel and representatives of The Associated Press. This request includes all notes, reports, memoranda, briefing materials, or other records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to the meeting.
All records of communication between any representative of the Department of Justice and any of the individuals present at the aforementioned meeting.
Under Mueller, Weissmann became known as “the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” which produced no evidence of collusion between Manafort, the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. It indicted Manafort on unrelated charges.
Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Cultural Marxism, grassroots activism, music, IndyCar racing and political campaigns. @Saorsa1776