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(THREAD) It's now almost certain Papadopoulos *wore a wire* during the last 90+ days. Here are the implications. Hope you'll read and share.
1/ The FBI arrested Papadopoulos on July 27th, 2017.
2/ Papadopoulos plead guilty to Making False Statements on October 5th, 2017.
3/ At the time Papadopoulos pled guilty, the government requested that his guilty plea be "sealed"—invisible to the general public.
4/ Here's the relevant language:
5/ "Proactive cooperator" in this context means someone who is willing and able to wear a wire to help the government get more information.
6/ So Papadopoulos was wired up, at the latest, between October 5 and today, October 30. But he could have started cooperating before then.
7/ Prosecutors often require a defendant to perform cooperative services for the government well in *advance* of his or her formal plea.
8/ The reason for this is that—via both "proffer" and sometimes actual performance—a defendant must show they're of value to the government.
9/ So there is *every* reason to think that Papadopoulos was wired for sound not long after his arrest on July 27th, 2017 at Dulles airport.
10/ For Papadopoulos to get his October 5th plea, one of two things had to be true: (a) the feds had already got good sound from him; or...
11/ ...(b) he'd made a sufficient proffer establishing that he *could* get good sound for them—valuable evidence—shortly after October 5th.
12/ If the former, Papadopoulos gave Mueller evidence he now holds that's of critical importance to his investigation—sound from higher-ups.
13/ If the latter, it means Papadopoulos convinced law enforcement that he *still has access to people who were/are high up on Team Trump*.
14/ Here's the KEY point: EITHER WAY, it means the White House is dissembling when it says that Papadopoulos was a minor Team Trump figure.
15/ In fact, Papadopoulos still had *consequential access to top Trump officials* this *October*—18+ months after he came aboard Team Trump.
16/ So news of "proactive cooperation" means Mueller has more than we know *and* Papadopoulos was *far* more critical than we're being told.
17/ And if he was more involved than we know, the likelihood is that he pled to Making False Statements—and not more—for the sake of a deal.
18/ In other words—contrary to what some say now—it's likely Papadopoulos did more and told the feds more than his current charge suggests.
19/ Note his affidavit actually *says*, "This does not include all the facts known to me regarding this offense." And of *course* that's so.
20/ Papadopoulos would have had to promise the feds a *senior* Trump official in order to warrant getting a plea deal now. Page wouldn't do.
21/ (I'm putting aside the possibility, admittedly a slim one, that what Mueller wanted and Papadopoulos offered was just Russian sources.)
22/ (I doubt any Russians would've spoken to Papadopoulos post-Russia probe—but if so, he certainly had a nice email contact list to offer.)
23/ So if Page wouldn't have been a good enough "get" for the feds to wire Papadopoulos and give him an early plea deal, who would've been?
24/ Well, consider all this—Sam Clovis had hired him; current AG Jeff Sessions was his supervisor; and Paul Manafort was another supervisor.
25/ Would Mueller have used Papadopoulos to get Manafort, who he had on other charges? No—unless Manafort could give good sound on others.
26/ So the two most likely people for Papadopoulos to have spoken to over the last 90 days while wearing a wire are (a) Clovis (b) Sessions.
27/ I've said here Sessions is one of the key targets of the Russia probe—though now that he's AG and "recused" he might avoid Papadopoulos.
28/ So far and away the most likely "get" off Papadopoulos would be Sam Clovis—Trump's liaison to his Foreign Policy/National Security team.
29/ It's worth noting that (a) Clovis went to ground months ago, and (b) Trump offered Clovis a cushy job he had no business at all getting.
30/ Trump nominated Clovis—who is *not a scientist*—to be top scientist at the USDA. He's awaiting confirmation now. http://www.farmfutures.com/usda/controversial-trump-pick-sam-clovis-awaits-hearing
31/ Trump announced his plan to give Clovis a key job 6 days before Papadopoulos was arrested—did he know something? http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/politics/clovis-nominated-to-usda/index.html
32/ Well, here's one thing Trump *definitely* knew—Clovis knows *everything* Trump communicated to his National Security Advisory Committee.
33/ As Trump's liaison to his NatSec team, Clovis could testify about what information Trump took out of and put into that key committee.
34/ Clovis would know what info Trump had and how he'd processed it—for instance—when he ordered the NatSec team to change the GOP platform.
35/ Clovis would know of any info being reported from Sergey Kislyak to the NatSec team (e.g. Page and Gordon) and thereby to Trump himself.
36/ In essence, Clovis is almost certainly—along with Manafort and Flynn, the first already indicted—*the* key witness for indicting Trump.
37/ And Mike Flynn already offered to flip—whereas we don't know Sam Clovis did or has—so Mueller would want Papadopoulos to access Clovis.
38/ The fact that Papadopoulos was cooperating and likely wearing a wire means today is the *best* things will ever get for Trump on Russia.
39/ That is to say, *every day* from here on out will be *worse* for Trump in terms of impeachment and removal—whether he knows it or not.
40/ I can assure you the amount of intel Mueller already has *dwarfs* what we know—and what he *has or will have* is enough to impeach. /end
PS/ NOTE: The "proactive cooperator" language is from a July Motion to Seal—so Papadopoulos has cooperated since then (h/t @kurteichenwald).
PS2/ A defendant can start cooperating *before* a Motion to Seal an arrest record—so Papadopoulos began cooperating in July *at the latest*.
PS3/ The next thing you'll hear here, then shortly in major media: Trump sending Papadopoulos to Israel in April 2016 to talk Russia policy.
PS4/ Trump transitioned Papadopoulos into a *Russian policy* spokesman *after* learning he was a Kremlin intermediary—he *hadn't* been that.
PS5/ So Trump *positioned* Papadopoulos—once he *knew* he was a Kremlin intermediary—as a key mouthpiece on his no-Russian-sanctions policy.
PS6/ That fact *alone* establishes Trump was using Papadopoulos—quite mindfully—to communicate his sanctions plan to Putin and the Kremlin.
PS7/ Remember, we discovered early in 2017 that Trump entered office with a "secret plan"—splashy quotes, but true—to drop Russia sanctions.
PS8/ And Trump's "secret plan" on Russian sanctions was that he was going to—for the first time in U.S. history—drop sanctions unilaterally.
PS9/ Understand, too, the news Papadopoulos flipped and wore a wire will cause ALL lower-level Trump aides to run to the FBI trying to flip.
PS10/ Ignore the "volunteer" line on Papadopoulos—he was *recruited*. The NatSec team expected to be paid. It disbanded when they *weren't*.
NOTE/ As I said yesterday to a poster below, there are other means to use a CI to covertly intercept inculpatory evidence (e.g., via email).
NOTE2/ CIs often must give law enforcement access to their social media, email, and texts. CIs then use these tools to gather more evidence.
NOTE3/ So as I said yesterday, today being "wired" can be literal (a microphone on or near the body) or figurative (with the same result).
NOTE4/ We know Papadopoulos had better email than live access to top Trump aides—so "proactive cooperation" would've included email contact.
NOTE5/ So it's *certain* Papadopoulos was used to covertly intercept inculpatory evidence—*almost* certain a wire would've been part of it.
NOTE5 (cont.)/ And when I refer to "a microphone near the body" as constituting a digital-age "wiring," that would include cell intercepts.
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