While we’ve all been focused on what’s happening in Southeast Texas, Politico’s Josh Sawsey broke a momentous story last night:
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.
The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.
It’s no secret that federal and state authorities often engage in turf battles over investigations. I’m thrilled to learn that’s not the case in this important investigation of egregious white-collar criminality. Donald Trump is not just an asshole white nationalist, he’s a criminal who associates with other criminals from both the Italian-American and Russian mobs.
Speaking of criminal associates, I somehow missed the story from late July:
President Trump’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian A. Benczkowski, said on Tuesday that he helped Russia’s Alfa Bank investigate whether its computer servers contacted the Trump Organization.
Mr. Benczkowski had told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he represented Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s largest financial institutions and whose owners have ties to President Vladimir V. Putin.
On Tuesday, as Mr. Benczkowski came before the panel for his confirmation hearing, he acknowledged that his work for Alfa Bank directly touched on suspicions related to the bank in connection with the Trump-Russia affair.
Is there anyone in the Trump administration* without ties to the Russians? They seem rather hard to find. Benczkowski has not and should not be confirmed. Do they have a job lined up for Felix Sater next?
The news about the Mueller-Schneiderman compact (I know there’s nothing formal but I like how that sounds) may lead to renewed speculation that the Insult Comedian will try to fire Mueller. I don’t think that will happen: it’s apparent that one of Kelly’s conditions for taking the Chief of Staff job was that the president* keep his tiny hands off the Mueller probe. Kelly, however, is unable to prevent Trump from acting so guilty. Of course, he *is* guilty.
The last word goes to the late Paul Hester with a tune he wrote for Split Enz: