Feb 23 2019

Comet Pizza

I’ve mentioned I’ve eaten there before. I was visiting my Cousin and her family which included 2 kids who happily disappeared into the heavily monitored back room to play, yes, Ping Pong. Fortunately since my interest in children is only as potential entrées (don’t be ridiculous, I had an Anchovy, Bacon, and Onion pie) they had Sports on the forward facing monitors. There is no basement and “Two Pies with everything” doesn’t mean “I need two 14 year old hookers, stat.”

On the other hand, Republicans

Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules
By Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald
February 21, 2019

Federal prosecutors, under former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, broke the law when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

While the decision marks a victory for crime victims, the federal judge, Kenneth A. Marra, stopped short of overturning Epstein’s plea deal, or issuing an order resolving the case. He instead gave federal prosecutors 15 days to confer with Epstein’s victims and their attorneys to come up with a settlement. The victims did not seek money or damages as part of the suit.

It’s not clear whether the victims, now in their late 20s and early 30s, can, as part of the settlement, demand that the government prosecute Epstein. But others are calling on the Justice Department to take a new look at the case in the wake of the judge’s ruling.

“As a legal matter, the non-prosecution agreement entered into by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida does not bind other U.S. Attorneys in other districts. They are free, if they conclude it is appropriate to do so, to bring criminal actions against Mr. Epstein and his co-conspirators,’’ said lawyer David Boies, representing two of Epstein’s victims who claim they were trafficked by Epstein in New York and other areas of the country.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced it was opening a probe of the case in response to calls from three dozen members of Congress. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee, on Thursday asked the DOJ to re-open Epstein’s plea deal.

Jeffrey Epstein trafficked over 80 underage girls, served 13 months (with access to his employment and workplace) and is a registered sex offender which is not nothing but paltry in comparison to the crimes of which he was convicted.

He is said to be chummy with Bill Clinton, Prince Harry, and Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio.

Feb 23 2019

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt


What To Cook

There are four more weeks until Spring, but Winter is still with us. Here are some recipes from Epicurious that will warm the still cold evenings. Bon appétit!

Chicken and Bacon Choucroute with Potato Salad

This chicken-meets-bacon-meets-sausage-meets-sauerkraut showstopper takes only 25 minutes in the oven. And there’s no carving needed: once this hearty main goes into the oven, your work is done and you can enjoy the party too.

Savory Dutch Baby for Two

Parmesan and thyme make this Baby savory, which makes it perfect to eat alongside eggs. But the real beauty of this recipe is that the batter can be made up to two days in advance—and kept in the fridge for an easy romantic breakfast for two.

Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Soup

Chicken noodle soup never gets old. If you don’t have udon for this recipe, use rice noodles or regular old spaghetti. A small knob of fresh turmeric can replace the dried type.

Make-Ahead Sheet-Pan Meatballs

This is the simplest way to make a large batch of meatballs that you can turn into a variety of dinners, from pasta to soup to sandwiches. Stash them in the freezer so they’re ready to cook at a moment’s notice.

Meatball Frittata with Mozzarella and Tomatoes

There may be no better way to stretch odds and ends around the kitchen than to make a frittata: there’s no crust to fuss with, the eggy matrix can handle almost any savory inclusions, and the frittata itself can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

A healthy dose of olive oil gives this rosemary-infused bread a rich, moist crumb and pale golden hue; it also helps it keep a little better than other European-style breads. Among other things, this is a wonderful and unconventional loaf for sandwiches.

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Feb 23 2019


Auditions for Blue Man Group

TV Heads – Blue Man Group

The Forge – Blue Man Group

Feb 23 2019

The Breakfast Club (Stereotypes)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Iconic photo captured in Iwo Jima; Persian Gulf War begins in Kuwait; Scottish scientists clone first mammal; Stan Laurel dies; Carlos Santana wins 8 Grammy awards.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

We must reject not only the stereotypes that others have of us but also those that we have of ourselves. Shirley Chisholm

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 22 2019


I thought we were the Judean People’s Front.

So things are not going well for Theresa May. By Wednesday of next week (the 27th) she has to get a positive vote on her Brexit Plan (roundly defeated last time out and little changed since) and the Tories, already divided by the Hard Brexit European Research Group has just acquired a new faction, the Independent Group made up of currently serving Ministers, not mere Back Benchers, who, contrary to form, vow to make their departure as spectacularly ugly as possible.

The plan is to join with 7 Labour MPs dissatisfied with Corbyn’s zeal for Remain (though he has agreed to their demand for a second referendum should a Soft Brexit Plan fail to gain approval), main Labour (which needs no urging to stick it to the Tories at any opportunity), and the Scottish National Party and force a vote to petition the EU for a deadline extension which so far the EU has indicated it will grant, though why they should is beyond me.

Theresa May faces ministerial revolt over no-deal Brexit
by Rowena Mason, Jessica Elgot, and Severin Carrell, The Guardian
Thu 21 Feb 2019

Theresa May is facing the most serious cabinet revolt of her premiership next week, with as many as 25 members of the government ready to vote for a Brexit delay unless she rules out “no deal” – in a move that will challenge her to sack them.

Rebel Conservatives believe there are now enough MPs across the House of Commons to pass an amendment that would require May to extend article 50 rather than allow the UK to leave without a deal.

At least four cabinet ministers, almost a dozen junior ministers and many others on the government payroll are understood to be prepared to back the motion proposed by the Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour’s Yvette Cooper, due to be debated on Wednesday. A senior source close to those plotting the rebellion said there was no way the members of the government would resign voluntarily and May would have to sack them.

The move comes with moderates emboldened by the formation of the Independent Group, which some see as providing leverage to push back against the influence of the European Research Group of hardline Brexiters.

The cabinet ministers David Gauke, Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Mundell told the prime minister in a private meeting earlier this week that she would have to delay Brexit if there was no Commons majority for her deal by 27 February.

Speaking in Edinburgh on Thursday, Mundell told an audience he would do “everything I can and whatever I deem necessary to prevent a no-deal Brexit”, and refused repeatedly to rule out resigning from the cabinet if necessary.

May has already survived two rounds of resignations by the Brexit-supporting cabinet ministers David Davis, Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Dominic Raab, but a wave of sackings would plunge the government into crisis at a crucial time for the Brexit talks.

Pro-Brexit MPs said the outcome of next week was unpredictable but, if it came to the vote, May would have to get rid of the rebellious ministers.

One cabinet source said: “It would be a huge mistake not to sack them. It would be effectively conceding we had lost control of the party.”

To avert a crisis, No 10 is racing to secure changes to May’s withdrawal deal with the EU that will satisfy hardline Eurosceptics and the Democratic Unionist party, enabling parliament to approve it. Their central demand is the removal of the Irish backstop from the text of the agreement because it could indefinitely bind the UK into a customs union.

Downing Street sources said the prime minister ideally wanted to hold a parliamentary vote and win approval for her deal early next week, but sources conceded time was running out to pull off such a move.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, told reporters in Brussels he was “not very optimistic” about the progress of talks so far.

“If a no-deal would happen – and I can’t exclude this – this would have terrible economic and social consequences, both in Britain and on the continent, and so my efforts orient in a way that the worst can be avoided,” he said.

If May does not manage a breakthrough by Wednesday, several senior cabinet ministers are pushing her to give assurances from the dispatch box that she is so close to a withdrawal deal that there is no need to consider the possibility of Brexit without one any more. “If you think you can get a deal with the EU by early April, what’s the point of crashing out on 29 March?” said one source close to the rebels.

However, that strategy risks infuriating the DUP and hardline Eurosceptics, many of whom favour a no-deal Brexit and would want to see the text of an agreement with the EU before removing that possibility.

Three MPs in the ERG – Priti Patel, Maria Caulfield and Anne-Marie Trevelyan – wrote a joint article for the ConservativeHome website on Thursday, saying: “Nothing changes the fact that, as the prime minister herself has said, we need to see meaningful, legally-binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, removing the backstop.

“We remain open-minded as to how this is achieved, but it must be a treaty-level clause that brings about substantive legal changes. It cannot simply re-emphasise the temporary nature of the backstop, because the attorney general has already said that it could ‘endure indefinitely’.”

One source close to a soft-Brexit minister said there would be “fireworks” either way as next week is the point at which May will have to throw her lot in with either them or the ERG.

The soft-Brexit rebels are particularly buoyed by the idea that the power of the ERG was waning because they would no longer win a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, given that the new Independent Group MPs would be likely to abstain to avoid an election – and their price would be a second referendum.

At the same time as ministers are threatening to resign, May is also facing the possibility of more MPs quitting the party, after Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen joined the Independent Group citing her Brexit policy and the destruction of the modernising wing of the party. With her working majority down to just eight, May called in two potential defectors – Phillip Lee, a former justice minister, and Justine Greening, the former education secretary – to Downing Street in a bid to persuade them to stay.

The prime minister also wrote back to the defectors saying she “did not accept the picture you paint of our party”, arguing it was still a “moderate, open-hearted Conservative party in the one nation tradition”.

Greening said earlier that she would stay in the party “for the moment”, while Tobias Ellwood, a defence minister, also gave a sympathetic statement about the three defecting Conservatives. “Losing three colleagues raises serious questions about our brand, our core mission and ownership of the very soul of our party which we must address,” he said. “If we have any ambitions of winning support beyond our base we must remain a centre right, inclusive, vibrant and progressive party.”

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, is unlikely to quit, but said he would have to leave the party if the government implemented a no-deal Brexit. He told the Guardian “the numbers are there” for May to be defeated on the Cooper-Letwin amendment unless she rules out a no-deal Brexit.

On Wednesday, Philip Hammond repeatedly refused to say whether or not he would resign as chancellor if May decided to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

Feb 22 2019

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Democrats for Family Values

Elizabeth Warren has another very good proposal.

For millions of Americans with children, life is a constant, desperate balancing act. They must work during the day, either because they’re single parents or because decades of wage stagnation mean that both parents must take jobs to make ends meet. Yet quality child care is unavailable or unaffordable.

And the thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Other wealthy countries either have national child care systems or subsidize care to put it in everyone’s reach. It doesn’t even cost all that much. While other advanced countries spend, on average, about three times as much as we do helping families — so much for our vaunted “family values” — it’s still a relatively small part of their budgets. In particular, taking care of children is much cheaper than providing health care and retirement income to seniors, which even America does.

Furthermore, caring for children doesn’t just help them grow up to be productive adults. It also has immediate economic benefits, making it easier for parents to stay in the work force.

Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues

This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.

And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.

For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.

But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.

I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.

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Feb 22 2019

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Cody’s Showdy-

Very fine people

Feb 22 2019


White Savior: The Movie

Feb 22 2019

The Breakfast Club (Mind Control)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Highlights of this day in history: George Washington, America’s first president, is born; Iraqi insurgents destroy a Shiite shrine’s golden dome; the ‘Miracle on Ice’ during the 1980 Winter Olympics; Pop artist Andy Warhol dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.

Malcolm X

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Feb 21 2019

The Mueller Report?

Make no mistake- Jennifer Rubin is a conservative, albeit a never Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio one, an ally of momentary convenience only.

Still her commentary on the impending end of the Mueller Investigation into the Russian Treason Plot, unconfirmed by Mueller and his Office and potentially taking many forms if true, is at least less breathless than the Henny Penny cries of doom heard in some quarters so I highlight it as being instructive.

Mueller’s ‘winding down’ may be less than it appears
By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
February 21, 2019

The Post reports, “Justice Department officials are preparing for the end of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and believe a confidential report could be issued in coming days, according to people familiar with the discussions.” That report will go to Attorney General William Barr, who refused to promise during his confirmation hearings that he would release the entire report but has little reason to bottle up a report that Congress could subpoena anyway.

The Post report continues, “An adviser to President Trump said there is palpable concern among the president’s inner circle that the report might contain information about Trump and his team that is politically damaging, but not criminal conduct.” That would be the best-case scenario.

Let’s start with what will not be in the Mueller report: The findings from the Southern District of New York, which is exploring possible violation of campaign finance laws and Trump’s financial dealings. That could go on for years, and has always been a more serious concern for Trump’s inner circle. The report will also not contain the finding from any Roger Stone trial and/or plea deal, since that is being handled by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, not the special counsel’s office. There could be other parts of the investigation Mueller has farmed out to other prosecutors involving Trump, his company, his foundation and his family members. That universe of legal activity will not stop even if Mueller’s part of the investigation does.

As for Mueller’s report, no one outside the special counsel’s team really knows what form it will take. Everything from a simple declination to prosecute to a Leon Jaworski’-like road map to impeachment to a Ken Starr-like potboiler is possible. The restriction on release of grand jury testimony could be lifted by Chief Judge Beryl Howell, the very same judge who recently approved unsealing the Jaworski road map.

I am less concerned than many that Barr, who is a respected lawyer and owes Trump no particular loyalty, will bury the report, especially if Mueller has obtained approval from the chief judge to release grand jury materials to Congress. Perpetuating rumors and speculation about what is in or not in the special counsel’s report serves no one’s interest.

Just as the form of the report is as yet unknown, no outside observer can predict what it will contain. Mueller — who was charged with overseeing both a criminal and counterintelligence investigation — has, with each indictment and conviction, provided previously unknown details, introduced new characters and enlightened us as to the extent of the Russian scheme to interfere with our election.

While court documents and news reports indicate that many members of the Trump team (Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner) had contacts with Russians or the Russian cutout WikiLeaks during the campaign, what Trump knew about these and what actions, if any, he approved have not yet been revealed. He might have been privy to every move, utterly clueless or somewhere in between. Without knowing what a host of cooperating witnesses, including Cohen, Michael Flynn and Donald McGahn, has told Mueller, it’s foolhardy to speculate as to what Mueller has learned.

The only “collusion” by Trump we can definitively identify occurred in plain sight — his public request for the Russians to go find Hillary Clinton’s emails. WikiLeaks would later oblige, releasing the first emails within hours of the “Access Hollywood” tape’s release. (Trump’s efforts to pursue the Moscow Trump Tower deal despite Trump’s public denials provide a possible motive for Trump to cover up his Russian connections, but do not on their face appear to be illegal.)

More likely to be included in Mueller’s report is a catalogue of Trump’s efforts to disrupt and interfere with investigations into his and his campaign’s Russia contacts. Trump’s role in concocting phony cover stories (regarding the reason for firing James Comey as FBI director, to explain the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting), his offers to pardon witnesses, his efforts to influence the Manafort jury by publicly disparaging prosecutors, his attempts to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself, his attempt to persuade Comey to go easy on Flynn, and any potentially misleading written answers by Trump to Mueller’s written questions could be laid out so as to bring us to the inescapable conclusion that Trump obstructed justice.

Trump and his team are right in one respect: Mueller is highly unlikely to indict a sitting president in violation of Justice Department guidelines. (As a former Justice Department official who has worked with Mueller over the years told me, “He’s not a guy to color outside the lines.”) The immediate consequences for the president will be political. Once Mueller is done, the host of other investigations will continue while the focus moves to Congress. Congress and the voters get the last say as to when and under what conditions Trump’s presidency will end.

Personally I agree more with emptywheel who is less impressed by the rumors of “winding down”.

Questions to Ask before Reporting a BREAKING Mueller Report
February 20, 2019

Because a lot of people have asked me about this and because Williams (and some other journalists) don’t appear to know enough about the Mueller investigation to ask the proper questions to assess that claim, I’d like to lay out a little logic and a few facts. It’s certainly possible that a Mueller report is coming next week — I’d argue that one is assuredly coming on Friday. But I doubt that means what Williams thinks it does.

The conclusory report is not coming next week

When Mueller is done, he has to submit a confidential report to the Attorney General (who is now Mueller’s friend William Barr) telling him what he did and didn’t do. Given everything Barr said as part of his confirmation process, we’re unlikely to see this report.

To assess whether this report is what Pete Williams thinks is coming, we should assess whether public evidence is consistent with Mueller being done.

The answer to that is clearly no. He’s still chasing testimony from Roger Stone flunkie Andrew Miller and from some foreign owned corporation (and has been chasing that, in the case of Miller, since last May).

Given that Miller already interviewed with the FBI for two hours and the foreign company is, by dint of being foreign, a no-brainer target for NSA, it’s quite likely Mueller knows what he’s getting from both of these entities. He just needs Miller on the record, so he can’t change his story to protect Stone, and needs to parallel construct the information from the foreign company. So it’s possible that as soon as Mueller gets both of these things, he’ll finish up quickly (meaning The Report could be soon). But there is no way that’ll happen by next week, in part because whatever the DC Appeals Court says in the Andrew Miller case, the loser will appeal that decision.

So it’s virtually certain that The Report is not coming by next week.

A report talking about “collusion” is coming this week

But maybe NBC’s sources are speaking metaphorically, and mean something else that isn’t the conclusory report but that will more closely resemble what everyone thinks of when they talk about The Report.

That’s likely to happen, but if it does, it’ll just be a partial report.

That’s because both Mueller and the defense have to submit a sentencing memo in Paul Manafort’s DC case Friday. As I noted back in November when Mueller’s prosecutors declared Manafort to have breached his plea agreement, this sentencing memo presents an opportunity for Mueller to “report” what they’ve found — at least with respect to all the criminal actions they know Manafort committed, including those he lied about while he was supposed to be cooperating — without anyone at DOJ or the White House suppressing the most damning bits. DOJ won’t be able to weigh in because a sentencing memo is not a major action requiring an urgent memo to the Attorney General. And the White House will get no advance warning because Big Dick Toilet Salesman Matt Whitaker is no longer in the reporting chain.

So, as noted, Mueller will have an opportunity to lay out:

  1. The details of Manafort’s sleazy influence peddling, including his modus operandi of projecting his own client’s corruption onto his opponents
  2. The fact that Manafort already pled guilty to conspiring with a suspected Russian intelligence asset
  3. The details about how Manafort — ostensibly working for “free” — got paid in 2016, in part via kickbacks from a Super PAC that violated campaign finance law, possibly in part by Tom Barrack who was using Manafort and Trump as a loss-leader to Middle Eastern graft, and in part by deferred payments or debt relief from Russian-backed oligarchs
  4. Manafort’s role and understanding of the June 9 meeting, which is a prelude of sorts to the August 2 one
  5. The dates and substance of Manafort’s ongoing communications with suspected Russian intelligence asset Konstantin Kilimnik, including the reasons why Manafort shared highly detailed polling data on August 2, 2016 that he knew would be passed on to his paymasters who just happened to be (in the case of Oleg Deripaska) a central player in the election year operation
  6. The ongoing efforts to win Russia relief from the American Ukrainian-related sanctions by pushing a “peace” plan that would effectively give Russia everything it wants
  7. Manafort’s ongoing discussions with Trump and the Administration, up to and including discussions laying out how if Manafort remains silent about items two through six, Trump will pardon him

Because those items are all within the substance of the crimes Manafort pled guilty to or lied about during his failed cooperation, they’re all squarely within the legitimate content of a sentencing memo. And we should expect the sentencing memo in DC to be at least as detailed as the EDVA one; I expect it, like the EDVA one and like Manafort’s plea deal, will be accompanied by exhibits such as the EDVA one showing that Manafort had bank accounts to the tune of $25,704,669.72 for which suspected Russian intelligence asset Konstantin Kilimnik was listed as a beneficial owner in 2012. Heck, we might even get to see the polling data Manafort shared, knowing it was going to Russia, which was an exhibit to Manafort’s breach determination.

The only thing limiting how much detail we’ll get about these things (as well as about how Manafort served as a secret agent of Russian backed Ukrainian oligarchs for years) is the ongoing sensitivities of the material, whether because it’s grand jury testimony, SIGINT collection, or a secret Mueller intends to spring on other defendants down the road.

It’s the latter point that will be most telling. As I noted, thus far, the silences about Manafort’s cooperation are — amazingly — even more provocative than the snippets we learned via the breach determination. We’ll likely get a read on Friday whether Mueller has ongoing equities that would lead him to want to keep these details secret. And the only thing that would lead Mueller to keep details of the conspiracy secret is if he plans to charge it in an overarching conspiracy indictment.

We may also get information, however, that will make it far more difficult for Trump to pardon Manafort.

So, yeah, there’s a report coming out this week. But it’s not The Report.

Any overarching conspiracy indictment will not be coming this week

It’s possible Mueller is close to charging an overarching conspiracy indictment, laying out how Trump and his spawn entered into a quid quo pro with various representatives of the Russian government, getting dirt on Hillary and either a Trump Tower or maybe a bailout for the very same building in which Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik on August 2, 2016. In exchange for all that, Trump agreed to — and took steps to deliver on, with some success in the case of election plot participant Deripaska — reversing the sanctions that were such a headache to Russia’s oligarchs.

Such an indictment, if Mueller ever charges it, will look like what Trump opponents would like The Report to look like. In addition to naming Don Jr and Jared Kushner and Trump Organization and a bunch of other sleazeballs, it would also describe the actions of Individual-1 in adequate detail to launch an impeachment proceeding.

But that indictment, if Mueller ever charges it, won’t be coming on Friday or Monday, as Williams predicts, because it likely requires whatever it is Mueller is trying to parallel construct from that foreign-owned company. And even if SCOTUS denies its appeal today, it’s unlikely that evidence will be in hand in time for a Friday indictment.

Mueller could ensure a report gets delivered to Jerry Nadler next week … but that’s unlikely

There’s one other possibility that would make Williams’ prediction true: if Mueller deliberately triggered the one other way to deliver a report, by asking to take an action William Barr is unlikely to approve, and if Mueller was willing to close up shop as a result, then a report would go to Congress and — if Barr thought it in the public interest — to the public.

The only thing that Mueller might try to do that Barr would not approve (though who knows? maybe what Mueller has is so egregious Barr will surprise us?) is to indict the President.

I think this is unlikely, for all the reasons the first possibility laid out here is unlikely: that is, Mueller is still waiting on two details he has been chasing for quite some time, and I doubt he’d be willing to forgo that evidence just to trigger a report. It’s also unlikely because Mueller is a DOJ guy, and he’s unlikely to ask to do what he knows OLC says he should not do.

Still, it’s hypothetically possible that Mueller believes Trump is such an egregious criminal and national security risk he needs to try to accelerate the process of holding him accountable by stopping his investigation early (perhaps having the DC AUSAs named on the Miller and Mystery Appellant challenges take over those pursuits) and asking to indict the President.

But if that’s what Williams is reporting, he sure as hell better get more clarity about that fact, because, boy would it be news.

All of which is the lesson of this post: If you’re being told — or telling others — that Mueller’s report is imminent, then you’re either being told very very big news, or bullshit. Do yourself and us a favor of learning the base level regulations to understand which it is.

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