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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I'll say it as simply as possible: the Patten news is *big*—the Papadopoulos news is *huge*. Papadopoulos being willing to say in a sentencing memo that Trump and Sessions approved a Russian backchannel means he knows Mueller believes him—and the three other witnesses who concur.
2/ If Trump, Sessions, Gordon, and two other members of the National Security Advisory Committee (the Trump-Russia scandal's CREEP-equivalent unit) were willing to lie about what happened at that meeting, it's to cover their involvement in things that came *after* that meeting.
3/ Simply put (and we need to be *clear*, as this is shattering information): Mueller believes Trump and Sessions approved a Russian backchannel in March 2016; he believes both of them have lied about their actions since then (Sessions under oath), and he has a case against both.
4/ Papadopoulos positions Sessions in particular as one of two things: either a current cooperating witness in the Mueller probe *or* a target of that probe. And he positions Trump as the target of the collusion probe—not merely the coverup after the offense. I was right about...
5/ ...the March 31, 2016 meeting when I first raised it in Summer '17—I said Papadopoulos' entreaty *had* to have been approved by Trump and Sessions on that day, given what came after—and I was right. But incredibly the media continues to not see what this sentencing memo means.
6/ Papadopoulos' lawyer wouldn't put facts in a sentencing memo that either a) isn't what his client told Mueller OR b) is a thing Mueller disbelieves—as it'd be another false statement by the defendant in a case ABOUT false statements. We have a window on Mueller's thinking now.
7/ While I was a criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator, there are men and women out there in those fields with even *more* experience than me, and I've *no idea* why they aren't all making this very obvious point about the Papadopoulos news—which, again, is *major*.
8/ Was there corruption with the inaugural fund? Yes—and Barrack, Vekselberg, Burnett, Patten, and others will have to answer questions about that (or simply answer for that, as the case may be). But that is garden-variety Bribery compared to what the Papadopoulos memo tells us.
9/ Major media reports that *three witnesses*—people who attended the March 31, 2016 meeting—concur with what Papadopoulos says, so calling it the "theory of the case" for Mueller and his team is no stretch (particularly given who says something else happened, and their motives).
10/ The only question is why Papadopoulos persists in saying he told no campaign official of the hacked emails Mifsud alerted him to—but *did* tell the Greek Foreign Minister, who the campaign sent him to meet. Impossible. I suspect it's a fact it's been agreed he won't disclose.
PS/ Yes, I realize the possibility Sessions is a cooperating witness would suggest a stunning answer to my question from last week ("Why doesn't Sessions just resign?"): because Mueller has told him *not* to.

A crazy thought—a cooperating witness protecting his prosecutor's job.
NOTE/ My own opinion? It's likely that no assurances have been made by Mueller to Sessions, but that based on Mueller's interview with Sessions it's clear to both men that Sessions has liability here for perjury and more—so Sessions stays on in order to maintain leverage to deal.
NOTE2/ If you're thinking, "this sounds crazy," realize *I agree with you*. I think this case breaks all molds—I'm *not* pretending that any of what I've described is normal in the criminal justice system. It is *not*. But I believe, as a professional, it's what's happening here.
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