Seth Abramson Profile picture
Oct 30, 2017 57 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
(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.…
31/ Trump announced his plan to give Clovis a key job 6 days before Papadopoulos was arrested—did he know something?…
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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More from @SethAbramson

Sep 21
How many MAGAs do you think know enough about the Trump-Russia Scandal to know that the “pee tape” the FSB recorded during Trump’s “Glory to Urine” Moscow trip in 2013 wasn’t even compromising and didn’t involve sexual conduct?

It’s *amazing* how little the MAGAs know about him.
That’s the funny thing about the pee tape allegation—it’s not harmful to Trump and it’s not kompromat.

The issue was that Trump had never been cautious during his trips to Russia, and per the CIA the FSB had recorded him doing *actually* compromising things during *other* trips.
That’s why, in the first presser Trump gave about the “pee tape”—which was full of obvious, provable lies—his focus was on how careful he always is when he goes to Moscow.

It was because the pee tape didn’t concern him at all—it was the tapes the CIA told the BBC about that did.
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Sep 12
I’m reading the Musk biography, and it’s a real rags-to-riches story! When 23-year-old Elon dropped out of graduate school and told his parents he wanted to start a business, they instantly gave him $77,500 (in 2023 dollars), a car, and a credit card. And somehow he made it work!
Within 48 months Musk had turned the $77,500 his parents had gifted him—plus the value of a car and regular use of his mom’s credit card (and free labor from her)—into $41 million (2023 dollars), though beyond coding it’s not clear that Musk was anything but a disruption at Zip2.
It’s an odd story. Musk worked hard at coding but bristled at everything else and consistently acted unprofessionally. But either he (or his brother) had at least had *one* good idea at the right time, so Musk ended up with $41 million—none of it possible without his folks’ help.
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Sep 12
Musk now says he wouldn’t have screwed Ukraine in Crimea had the White House asked him not to.

So... is he now admitting that he was consulting with the Kremlin but *not* the White House on how to handle Starlink in Ukraine?

What the hell? Why not check in with the White House?
Every instinct I have as a former criminal investigator who also represented thousands of defendants as a lawyer is going off. Musk admits he was willing to consult with the White House; admits it would’ve been dispositive; but didn’t do it and spoke to the Kremlin, instead. Why?
This appears to be an attempt to deflect blame to the White House by a man who is not as intelligent as he thinks but is acting like a suspect desperate not to incriminate himself. I’m not saying whether Musk committed a crime or not, but the *consciousness of guilt* is palpable.
Read 10 tweets
Sep 12
(1 of 5) Ian, you’re correct that Musk chose to involve himself in the Russia-Ukraine war on the front end in a way that appeared heroic and was surely important. Did he do it because he believed in Ukrainian sovereignty, or because he wanted to advertise Starlink? We don’t know.
(2 of 5) Then three things happened:

1️⃣ It became clear the Russians were committing daily war crimes.
2️⃣ Musk started having backchannel discussions with the Russians.
3️⃣ Musk started publicly pushing a Kremlin deal that amounted to a surrender by Ukraine.

So what changed?
(3 of 5) I’m merely proposing that nothing did. Occam’s Razor suggests that when an amoral billionaire narcissist always looking out for his business interests suddenly pivots from a just cause to a band of war criminals, it’s reasonable to assume a business interest is involved.
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Sep 11
Came back from a movie to find my feed thick with apparently illiterate Elongelicals who claim I think Musk should be put to death—of course I don’t and have never said anything within a *galaxy* of that—even as it is Musk who says anyone who criticizes him has committed Treason
Only far-right nitwits who’ve never worked in the justice system—I did, and for years and years—would equate me saying there's evidence Musk aided war crimes (but would never be prosecuted, because the America isn’t part of the ICC) with me saying he should face the death penalty
Indeed I suspect one reason Musk admitted publicly to secretly discussing the war with the Kremlin, admitted publicly to being “in” the war (after Russia’s actions were declared war crimes) and admitted he aided the Russian war effort is because he *knows* the ICC can’t touch him
Read 8 tweets
Sep 11
I’ve been trying to figure this comment out.

Do others read this, as I do, as Elon Musk confessing that he knowingly assisted the Kremlin in an international war crime, but that he’s not guilty of a death penalty-eligible offense solely because America is not at war with Russia? Image
(PS) To be clear, I’ve never said Musk committed Treason. He didn’t, because we’re not at war with Russia. But if he's confessing to aiding and abetting an international war crime, that is certainly a problem. And he appears to already have confessed to violating the Logan Act.
(PS2) The point I’m making here is that he seems to be conceding that what he did *would* be Treason if America were at war with Russia, which means he’s admitting to materially aiding the Russian war effort—which effort is an undeniable international war crime. See the problem?
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