Patterico's Pontifications

12/26/2020

A Note About Facts and the Rules Here

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:14 pm



This is not a post about the fate of one commenter on this site. I wouldn’t want to waste a post on that. It’s a rumination on Web discourse, and the importance of facts — and the problem that solid facts can come from sources you may not like, and misinformation can come from people you do like. (Helpful tip: if you find the people you like constantly feeding you misinformation, or if you find that their reaction to being called out on misinformation is to double down, obfuscate, or otherwise obscure the point, you might try finding different people to like.)

So: I wrote a post the other day that noted that there were some Trumpy cretins on the Twitters who were spreading disinformation about the Manafort investigation and convictions. Since I know Manafort to be a straight criminal, I thought I would take a moment to clear up some of that misinformation here. I have read not one, but several books that touch on the Special Counsel investigations. Since not everyone here has (and who can blame you?), I figured part of the value that you get from coming to a site like this is to get information you’re not necessarily going to see elsewhere, which helps you form opinions based on accurate facts.

In my post I said the following:

I have seen two defenses raised by Trumpy liars on Twitter. Both are false.

One is that Manafort never would have been investigated but for his involvement with Donald Trump. We are told that all investigations into Manafort had been closed, and were reopened by the Special Counsel. This is false. Whoever is saying it is either ignorant or is lying to you. I know this because I read the book by Manafort’s chief prosecutor, Andrew Weissman: Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation (affiliate link). I spent my morning reading time today re-reading several relevant passages from the book, to confirm my memory that four separate investigations were already ongoing and had not been closed when the Special Counsel entered the picture. The investigations included FARA, money laundering, bank fraud, and tax fraud issues. A new prosecutor had recently been appointed on one of those investigations.

While it is true that those investigations were being handled incompetently in many cases and at an indefensibly slow pace, they were ongoing. Manafort’s involvement with Trump did not “reopen” those investigations. It just got a competent and speedy prosecutor in charge of them.

That was part of my effort to set the record straight, since I knew that people with a poor track record of truth-telling were out there trying to convince people that Obama had shut down all the Manafort investigations and that Mueller had “reopened” them. It’s not true, and I wanted people to know it’s not true.

Onto that thread toddled a commenter who has been here a while, mostly repeating nonsense from the batshit insane lawyer Sidney Powell on behalf of Michael “hey how about a round of martial law to steal the election” Flynn. This particular time, this commenter unceremoniously squatted down in my comments section and pinched this off:

Paul Manafort was probably the only guy who deserves convictions for his crimes.

However, DOJ had closed the Manafort investigation during the Obama Administration.

It was resurrected by the SCO so they could use it for purposes of quickly gathering evidence with GJ subpoenas. There was no open GJ case in DOJ prior to the SCO being created…there’s documented evidence of that.

(This is completely false, as you should know by now — and if you don’t, you’re about to find out in detail.)

The commenter went on to say that in his opinion it was “absolutely disgraceful that anyone would take Weismann’s word on this” and argued that the FBI would have warned Trump about the investigations (who presumably would have warned Manafort, who presumably would have disposed of much of the treasure trove of evidence that hung him, so it’s pretty easy to see why the FBI would not warn Trump, and anyway Manafort’s dirty ties with Yanukovych were well known and a matter of public record). The commenter concluded by stating that the pardon did not bother him much because there are other examples of corrupt pardons in U.S. history — a common Trumper defense: the firehose of corruption displayed by Trump can be rationalized by reference to occasional trickles of past corruption by others.

It’s not my point here to focus on the commenter’s lame defense of the pardon, but to take issue with his decision to come into my comments section and drop a steaming pile of falsehood referenced in the immediately preceding block quote. We are told there is “documented evidence” that DoJ had “closed the Manafort investigation during the Obama administration” and that it was “resurrected” by Mueller. That is precisely the misinformation I had been at pains to correct in my post. And here comes this guy to tell us all that Patterico is not only wrong, but that it is “documented” that Patterico is wrong, and that it is “disgraceful” that Patterico is trusting the source he cited.

Before I address how utterly offensive that is, let me elaborate a little bit on the proof that what I said in the post is true. I’ll start by elaborating on what is in Weissman’s book, and move on to corroboration from other sources.

Weissman does not simply mention in passing that he took over active investigations. He describes in great detail his meetings with various teams that had been investigating Manafort for years, from the lawyers who oversee FARA registration to a team investigating money laundering by Manafort. All in all, Weissman says, four investigations that were ongoing at the time the Special Counsel entered the picture. Weissman says all of the prosecutors and investigators were gracious and helpful. But he does describe some appalling shortcomings in the investigations, and I’ll go through some of those here, to describe the level of detail that Weissman sets forth. Keep in mind that, according to our commenter who claims to know better, Weissman has to be lying about taking over active investigations, so all of the interchanges I am about to describe are supposedly “made up” and never really happened.

Weissman describes meeting with the team investigating Manafort’s money laundering, and how the higher-ranking folks took seats at the table while lower-level people who had a greater handle on the facts sat in chairs against the wall. Since the gravamen of the money laundering investigation centered on evidence that Manafort was hiding tens of millions of dollars in offshore accounts that he would subsequently launder through LLCs, Weissman asked what the status of the “MLATs” to the offshore banks were. He explains that MLATs are Multi-Lateral Assistance Treaties that allow U.S. law enforcement to seek bank records from foreign banks and other entities. Weissman was told that no MLATs had been issued but that the matter was on their “to do” list — an answer that showed Weissman that the people involved were not terribly focused or motivated, since MLATs are notoriously slow processes that take months. Weissman decided that it was clear he would have to take over the investigation. He resolved to issue the MLAT requests immediately, but in the meantime would issue subpoenas to domestic banks to jump-start the process of acquiring information about Manafort’s finances.

Weissman also asked prosecutors looking into possible tax fraud what Manafort’s tax returns showed. Here again, he was shocked to learn that the prosecutors had not obtained Manafort’s tax returns — usually a fairly routine request to a branch of the IRS (if memory serves) that makes such determinations. Weissman says that it was possible that the IRS was throwing up artificial roadblocks to an investigation of one of the president’s buddies, since the request to the IRS had apparently been made during the Trump administration, but he also believed that it was possible that this team had simply screwed up the paperwork and made an insufficient showing. He knew there was a workaround: subpoena Manafort’s tax documents from his preparers, and use any information thus obtained as part of a revised request to the IRS.

Weissman also describes meeting with the people who had been investigating Manafort’s failure to register as a foreign lobbyist. Manafort had been stonewalling them, falsely claiming he no longer had documents that related to his activities on behalf of Ukraine. Weissman asked what they had subpoenaed, and they responded that criminal subpoenas were not authorized to investigate FARA — something Weissman knew not to be true. He took over that active (but poorly run) investigation as well.

This is a tremendous amount of detail set forth by someone supposedly making up the whole story. Further, imagine how many people could prove Weissman a liar if he were making all of this up. Weissman ended up bringing into the Special Counsel’s office several of the forensic accountants and other investigators who had worked on the matter before Mueller took it over. Weissman names some of them and has praise for their work. If Weissman were making up these stories out of whole cloth, there are probably dozens of people who could come forward and show him to be a liar.

The story Weissman tells is generally one of incompetence and sloth on the part of the people investigating Manafort. But our commenter’s allegation that “DOJ had closed the Manafort investigation during the Obama Administration” and that it had been “resurrected by the SCO” (Special Counsel’s Office) is flatly false. All of these investigations had been going on for years and were still ongoing when Weissman took them over.

If you don’t like Weissman, you might not be inclined to take his word on the more granular details of precisely what took place at these meetings and how every subtlety played out.

But to believe that he simply made up the fact that the investigations were ongoing and that the Special Counsel took them over is tinfoil hat stuff.

By the way, you don’t have to take Weissman’s word for it, either. Public reports corroborate the truth: that Mueller took over already active investigations into Manafort. For example, on June 13, 2017, Newsweek reported:

The special counsel investigating U.S. President Donald Trump team’s alleged ties to Russia has taken over a separate criminal probe into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

. . . .

The Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Manafort reportedly pre-dates the July launch of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

The “July launch” refers to July 2016, as the Newsweek story was published in June 2017. The counterintelligence investigation into Manafort was first reported by the New York Times in January 2017, months before Mueller was appointed Special Counsel on May 17, 2017.

It’s simply beyond rational dispute that the Special Counsel took over existing investigations, which had been ongoing for years.

I demanded that our commenter either back up the claims he had made (claims he had said were backed by “documented evidence”) or retract it. In response, he delivered a word salad that remains in moderation because it does not comply with my demand. The commenter notes that Manafort was investigation during the Obama years (correct) and that “for whatever reasons no charges were filed until the SCO took over” (also correct) and then says:

I know FBI investigations don’t really get “closed” in the sense that it’s chucked into the ether never to be seen again. It’s really about what resources are used and the level of actives stemming from such investigations.

Actually, this commenter had said the Manafort investigations had indeed been “closed.” And yes, investigations are often “closed” in precisely the manner he denies. So is this a retraction? Not clear enough for me. And then he goes on to say: “I distinctly remember from either CNN or FoxNews (my two go-to news sites) that Manafort wasn’t charged during the Obama administration due to that, to paraphrase, it wasn’t worth it.” Oh! And here I was saying he had no evidence to back up his statement, when in fact we know that God knows who, with God knows what expertise or level of knowledge, asserted on one of two networks that it “wasn’t worth it” to charge Manafort. I mean, our commenter remembers this distinctly — so distinctly that he places the word “distinctly” in bold and italics!! His memory is so distinct in fact that he has narrowed down the place he saw it to one of two networks — although the distinctness does not extend to the identity of the person who made this claim.

Then he says:

Obviously, Manafort deserved to be prosecuted, but for whatever reason (either prosecuturial discretion or incompetence or whatever) he wasn’t charged then.

I spent nearly two days and I couldn’t find it, so I’ll own up to that. But I’d bet good money that it’d exist because it formulated my opinion right then and there.

Then the commenter goes on to do some ad hominems on Weissman.

Now. Does “I’ll own up to” the fact that I can’t find a link to something that doesn’t even contradict what Patterico said, or support what I previously said count as a retraction? I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, the notion that Manafort deserved to be prosecuted, but wasn’t because of prosecutorial incompetence, is completely consistent with the story I have told. And that does not support the claim that the commenter made, which was, just to remind you:

DOJ had closed the Manafort investigation during the Obama Administration.

It was resurrected by the SCO so they could use it for purposes of quickly gathering evidence with GJ subpoenas. There was no open GJ case in DOJ prior to the SCO being created…there’s documented evidence of that.

That claim is false. It directly contradicts what I said in the post to which that comment was appended.

I am not going to allow this commenter to comment again until he owns up to the fact that what he said is false. I want him to admit that he had not a single shred of evidence to back it up. I want him to retract it without any reservation or caveat whatsoever.

Frankly, I would appreciate it if he also shared the source of his false information, and revealed that he has now learned that the source he relied upon was wrong, and that in the future he should be more careful about relying on that source of information.

And if that commenter does not give me that retraction, he has left his last comment on my site.

Because here’s the thing, folks. This commenter has shown that he is willing to throw out false assertions of fact — and when called on it, he has tried to obfuscate. And again: I would not write a long post about my decision to moderate and perhaps ban (depending on whether I get my unreserved retraction) a single person — but there is a larger lesson here.

Web discourse is possible only when people can agree on a common set of facts — or, if they cannot agree on a set of facts, they must be able to discuss using logic, reason, and evidence why they disagree about what the underlying facts are. For someone to come into the comment sections of one of my posts and take a giant dump on it by flatly asserting that I am wrong and that it is “disgraceful” for me to trust the word of someone they don’t like — while giving zero support for their own contrary factual assertions and obfuscating when they are called on it — that is unacceptable. You don’t have to like everything about Andrew Weissman — I am quite sure I don’t like his politics — to be able to evaluate what he says with a clear head. Just because he says it doesn’t mean you get to declare it false.

This is important — for many reasons. One reason it is important: this is how we end up with this insane situation where tens of millions of people seem to believe a narrative about voting fraud in this country that is entirely made up out of whole cloth. (Yes, there are minor and isolated examples of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, including charged cases of Republicans voting on behalf of dead people, but the narrative of widespread Democrat fraud sufficient to swing any state’s election is utter and complete horseshit.) I am done conversing with people who aggressively advance a false set of factual assumptions and refuse to acknowledge when they are wrong. Such people contribute nothing to Web discourse, and in the case of the dispute over voter fraud they pose an actual danger to our republic. I used to be more patient with such people, but I’m done with that.

If I strongly suspect or know that you are propagating falsehoods, I will give you a chance to back it up. I’m not here to squelch legitimate discourse. And if you try to back up your statements but you’re wrong, I’ll show you where you are wrong and expect you to acknowledge it. If it’s a matter of opinion and not fact, I may disagree and we can part ways agreeing to disagree. If it’s a matter of fact, and you persistently refuse to acknowledge that you are wrong, I am done with you. It is as simple as that.

If I am wrong about anything I have said in this post, anyone can tell me. If you can prove it, I will acknowledge it. I expect the people I deal with to do the same. If they can’t or won’t, I will no longer deal with them.

Thus ends the rant.

UPDATE: I have received a sufficient response from the commenter, here, and I accept the apology and will unmoderate him.

I note that he did not identify the source of his misinformation but I hope that he will be more careful about trusting that source going forward.

Hopefully the post still contains useful information and was not a waste of readers’ time. Some of the detail is useful, and the discussion of the importance of facts is (to me) critical.

39 Responses to “A Note About Facts and the Rules Here”

  1. Sorry to step on the weekend open thread, but I had something to say.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. Opinionated disagreement: your grievance is fair but the remedy you demand is slightly too harsh. It’s reasonable to demand that the commenter acknowledge that he’s full of shit, has no idea what he’s talking about, and should not have contradicted you without evidence or argument on an issue he knows nothing about. But it’s not reasonable to demand that he concede that you are right, on this highly-specific issue on which it is non-trivial to fact-check you and about which he clearly is not deeply knowledgeable. Such a concession would be a mere simple submission to your authority anyway, not a real acknowledgement of a reasoned belief that you are right, and it’s unhealthy to demand those sort of dishonest displays of submission. Conceding that he can’t back up his claims should be enough to earn mercy.

    Cabbage (934c22)

  3. And likewise, it’s frustrating that allegations of “rigging” and/or large-scale fraud continue to be made without serious evidence, thus prolonging the sore loseriness of our sore loser president.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  4. Montagu #2:

    I hope the Dominion defamation lawsuits that are coming against Giuliani and Lin Wood and Sydney Powell and hopefully Trump himself are going to start providing some needed hygiene in this area. Sanctions for abusive litigation would be helpful too.

    Sorry about the certain commenter, as he can be interesting. I don’t understand his vehement partisanship on this issue.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  5. Opinionated disagreement: your grievance is fair but the remedy you demand is slightly too harsh. It’s reasonable to demand that the commenter acknowledge that he’s full of shit, has no idea what he’s talking about, and should not have contradicted you without evidence or argument on an issue he knows nothing about. But it’s not reasonable to demand that he concede that you are right, on this highly-specific issue on which it is non-trivial to fact-check you and about which he clearly is not deeply knowledgeable. Such a concession would be a mere simple submission to your authority anyway, not a real acknowledgement of a reasoned belief that you are right, and it’s unhealthy to demand those sort of dishonest displays of submission. Conceding that he can’t back up his claims should be enough to earn mercy.

    Sorry, can you quote for me my demand that he acknowledge I am right?

    This is what I thought I demanded:

    I am not going to allow this commenter to comment again until he owns up to the fact that what he said is false. I want him to admit that he had not a single shred of evidence to back it up. I want him to retract it without any reservation or caveat whatsoever.

    I can’t find the part where I demand he admit I was right. (If I did demand that somewhere in the post, I think you are persuasive here and I will retract it, but I don’t see where I did that.) All I seem to be doing here is to demand, as you put it, that he “acknowledge that he’s full of shit, has no idea what he’s talking about, and should not have contradicted you without evidence or argument on an issue he knows nothing about.” Indeed, I don’t even demand that he admit he knows nothing about it, or say that he himself is “full of shit.” I would be happy enough with a statement that he had absolutely no evidence to back up what he said, that he recognizes he contradicted me without evidence and in a rude way, and that he fully retracts both his statements and his rude attacks on me.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  6. @Patterico

    I am not going to allow this commenter to comment again until he owns up to the fact that what he said is false. I want him to admit that he had not a single shred of evidence to back it up. I want him to retract it without any reservation or caveat whatsoever.

    Frankly, I would appreciate it if he also shared the source of his false information, and revealed that he has now learned that the source he relied upon was wrong, and that in the future he should be more careful about relying on that source of information.

    I fully retract that post and I apologize for spreading misinformation where you specifically have your facts. Nothing in your OP was incorrect and I let my own animus towards Weissmann taint my responses on your website.

    Furthermore, I will work on identifying possible misinformation before I spread it elsewhere.

    I hope you accept my apology and again, I’m sorry you had to spend so much energy on this, particularly during the holidays.

    whembly (c30c83)

  7. Sorry about the certain commenter, as he can be interesting. I don’t understand his vehement partisanship on this issue.

    I have tolerated people who were rudely and snarkily and aggressively incorrect before, because I thought they sometimes had things of interest to say. This led to months of trying to set boundaries and wasting time trying to reason with someone who turned out to be a conceited asshole.

    And who ironically is also almost certainly the source of this current commenter’s misunderstanding.

    I don’t intend to waste my time in a similar fashion again. Being interesting is not a sufficient counterbalance for a firehose of misinformation delivered in a rude and haughty fashion.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  8. That was a cross-post. Thank you, whembly. I accept the apology. It was a lot of time on a holiday weekend, but as I said, it’s a larger issue that may be of some general interest anyway. So little harm done.

    I will unmoderate you.

    I notice that you have not identified the source of your misinformation but I hope this has been a cautionary tale for you in terms of who you rely upon for truth.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  9. UPDATE: I have received a sufficient response from the commenter, here, and I accept the apology and will unmoderate him.

    I note that he did not identify the source of his misinformation but I hope that he will be more careful about trusting that source going forward.

    Hopefully the post still contains useful information and was not a waste of readers’ time. Some of the detail is useful, and the discussion of the importance of facts is (to me) critical.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  10. @8 Thank you for being so gracious Pat… and I again, I apologize for being a jackwagon.

    whembly (c30c83)

  11. Appalled (1a17de) — 12/26/2020 @ 2:20 pm

    Me too, Appalled. It would be ironic that Lin Wood, the guy who won a financial settlement for defamation, stands a good chance of paying a settlement to Dominion for defamation.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  12. There are things I believe without a shed of evidence other than a lifetime of observation and Mssrs Occam and Hanlon. Such as:

    1. A large conspiracy is impossible to keep secret. Someone will talk and the evidence will be plentiful once they do.

    2. Election fraud is only possible by individuals, although there may be individuals positioned to affect hundreds of votes. A proper election system should guard against this, however.

    3. Software fraud is possible, although exposing the code to adversarial inspection would make that impossible to get away with*. That Dominion is willing to accept that (part of discovery) makes it highly unlikely that the Dominion systems were buggered.

    The only thing that concerns me with respect to the election is PA’s reported pre-canvassing rules that may have allowed ballots to be counted despite signature mismatches. If there were a large number of these, and if they only were allowed in permissive (i.e. liberal) counties, there could be an issue. But then I have conflicting reports about what was actually allowed, and where, and how much was affected. In general, rules that invite fraud are a problem.

    Of course, even winning PA doesn’t help Trump.

    Going forward, if we are to have more of these absentee elections (which used to be the exception, not the rule), we need a more robust and uniform method of attesting to ballot provenance, as injecting false ballots into the system is one form of fraud that a small group can accomplish if the system is not able to detect it.

    ——————-
    *simply rerunning the count is not sufficient if a software fraud is competent.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  13. #7

    The moderation is useful. I fled from a site a few years back where the host did not moderate his acerbic birthers and was eventually gifted with a vehemently Trump-ist and conformist comment section. (Though the host is a good guy, and NOT Trump-y). I appreciate a site where rules do get enforced. It improves the discussion, and prevents a section from being effectively moderated by extremists.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  14. Further off-topic:

    I would also point out that the election of 2020 makes it clear how valuable the Electoral College is. While the popular vote was not close, and equally litigious losing candidate in a close election would have many causes for action. By firewalling each election to individual states, comparisons of balloting among several states have no meaning. That Texas suit about ballot counting in other states would have merit in a purely popular election, but the Electoral College makes it ridiculous.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. This post is the way back to reason after Trump et al‘s lies. Cleaning up misinformation is a long, hard road compared to the easy path of constantly throwing out unsupported fiction, but it is where we are.

    DRJ (aede82)

  16. DRJ (aede82) — 12/26/2020 @ 3:10 pm

    I completely agree. Reason must be defended with order. Without order, well…

    felipe (630e0b)

  17. Hey, Pat, while we are on the topic of moderation, my comments have been in moderation for about a year now and I have no idea why.

    I think JVW tried to look into it at some point but I’m not sure what the result was.

    Any thoughts?

    nate (1f1d55)

  18. nate,

    I think I found it!!!

    Looks like the last 8 characters of your email address were apparently a troll’s email address at one point, and you were victimized by my trying to address that problem.

    Try a test post.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  19. Test post

    nate (1f1d55)

  20. Wow ok great!

    I’ve been reading every post here since the red state purge but hadn’t been commenting much because of this issue.

    Weird bugs like that are hard to find sometimes. Thanks for your effort.

    nate (1f1d55)

  21. Guess Kellyanne ‘alternative facts’ Conway won’t be ‘guest posting’ any time soon. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  22. Whembly, I’m glad you’re back. I enjoy your comments (most of the time)
    Pat, your synthesis and analysis of detail heavy books such as the weisserman one is definitely part of why I read here.

    Time123 (130539)

  23. Looking forward to more posts on pardons, especially ones done for political purposes. Look at what Cuomo just did in NY, pardoning a bunch of illegal aliens to try and prevent deportation as well as multiple murderers.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  24. Looking forward to more posts on pardons, especially ones done for political purposes.

    There’s open thread, just put out today. You can write your own post instead of backdoor complain about the writers here not doing your bidding.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  25. I, too, remembered some claim about the Manafort case not being pursued, because some avenue of investigation in 2014 was not pursued, and that claim was made some time during the special counsel’s investigation.

    Like whembly, I can’t find it. But I do distinctly remember it. It just wasn’t precisely what whembly said.

    It was, once you think about it, not a claim that the investigation was “closed” but that it wasn’t going anywhere and was revived only because Manafort had a connection to Trump. Which is true.

    I don’t remember what it was that wasn’t done – but it was something they avoided doing. Example:

    the prosecutors had not obtained Manafort’s tax returns — usually a fairly routine request to a branch of the IRS (if memory serves) that makes such determinations…

    …Weissman asked what they had subpoenaed, and they responded that criminal subpoenas were not authorized to investigate FARA — something Weissman knew not to be true.

    I don’t think a statement that the case had been specifically “closed” was made but the reader was left to believe that, if not for Trump, the case, if not abandoned, probably would have eventually expired because of the statute of limitations.

    I think the example I read was of yet a third thing not done.

    Of course, the leakers or spinners (who were almost certainly Paul Manafort’s defense counsel) pretended that the abandonment of the cases was something that should have happened rather than the tip of an iceberg of a scandal. A scandal that nobody knew about, though.

    I would not say the prosecutors were incompetent. When I read that then, I never thought it was legitimate that it (and probably many other cases) were not pursued, but just that the people in DOJ found it convenient not to go too hard on these kinds of cases, either because

    A) They wanted to get along with the defense attorneys, and cut other deals with them, in which defense counsel agreed to send their less lucrative clients to jail in exchange for protecting their highest paying clients, or because,

    B) The prosecutors thought that, when facing expert defense attorneys, they felt it wasn’t worth the effort or the budget.

    In either case, the prosecutors wanted numbers and the way to do that was to treat sensitive cases (sensitive because defense counsel with many clients were more interested in keeping some of them out of trouble than others) with kid gloves.

    I don’t believe that the way the Manafort cases were handled before 2016 was legitimate, and I don’t believe it was incompetence, either.

    In summary: There was no cause for there being a dispute between Patterico and whembly. It’s just that I don’t think whembly understood the technical meaning of “closed” and I don’t think he paid attention to the details of what Weissman said but thought maybe he was contradicting what he remembered reading.

    And his instinct was then to discount it without going into it, when if he’d thought a little bit more about it, he would have seen that what Weissman said is probably entirely consistent with what he remembered hearing.

    The cases indeed seem to have been quietly ( and informally ) dropped:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/manafort-interviewed-twice-by-fbi-before-joining-trumps-2016-campaign-new-documents-show/2018/04/24/bcf88ac6-47cc-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html

    The documents filed late Monday by prosecutors in the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, show that the FBI had interviewed Manafort in March 2013 and again in July 2014.

    And then, after that, for two years, nothing. There seems to be little doubt about that. I think maybe there’s not one thing that happened in the Manafort investigations for over two years.

    And then it was revived by Weissman:

    …Weissman decided that it was clear he would have to take over the investigation….

    ….He took over that active (but poorly run) investigation as well.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  26. I think maybe there’s not one thing that happened in the Manafort investigations for over two years.

    That is wrong, Sammy, as you would learn if you read my original post in detail. A new prosecutor had recently been appointed on one of the cases. Don’t just talk out of your ass. Go read some books.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  27. Excellent post and glad it was resolved amicably.

    I rarely post kudos for posts like this or any post that I like, which is an unfortunate failing of mine and seemingly an all too common part of the internet. I too often don’t say thanks for the good stuff in lieu of piling on the bad.

    I like this post because I like to support people who call out bullshit. I’ve mentioned before that I support Jesse Singal and Katie Herzog’s podcast Blocked and Reported, notwithstanding the fact I disagree with them on A LOT of political stuff. But they don’t tolerate bullshit, even if the bullshit helps their political preferences. Neither does Patterico. I applaud it.

    That said, in line with my recognition I don’t support the people I like enough, it dawned on me I contribute 120 a year to two people with whom I generally disagree and 0 to Patterico, with whom I largely agree. So, it being Christmas and all, let’s call it 200 to a charity or server donation or anything else of the host’s choice, in appreciation of the efforts against bullshit. johnnyagreeable@gmail.com or a reply here works for me.

    johnnyagreeable (c49787)

  28. Johnny Agreeable,

    That is a very kind offer. I would be happy to have you send a donation to my church if you are so inclined. I could send you the information and I am sure they would earmark the money for the betterment of humanity.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  29. Why do trumpkins make up stuff about irregularities in the election. If you want to use fact based arguments vist greg pallast’s site He will show real fraud in electronic voting machines in the 2004 election to the present. Their is a princeton professor on the internet who shows you with a simple screw driver how he can make an electronic voting machine flip votes and then resets it self after a certain number of votes to read votes correctly. They are talking about debolt machines because they are pro-democrats talking about republicans fixing voting machines ;but the principals are the same as the democrats control the voting in these swing states in 2020. Also real investigation by the intercept found that the dnc forced Iowa democrats in the 2020 primary to use a voting app developed by clinton people to hold back bernie sanders votes so buttigeig could declare himself the winner in Iowa caucus. The dnc had to admit they lied when they said they had nothing to do with the app. These facts that can be verified.

    asset (b7d04e)

  30. Was paul manafort prosecuted for his corrupt practices or because he became trump’s campaign manager and the deep state was trying to punish him for helping trump? I believe the latter and so does trump. He had the right to pardon him for that reason. They can prosecute you and put you in jail for going 1 mile an hour over the speed limit especially if driving while black. Some years ago a fired scottsdale police officer made tapes of police radio traffic saying a black driver is entering an n-word free zone of north scottsdale I/m pulling him over!

    asset (b7d04e)

  31. Sorry, can you quote for me my demand that he acknowledge I am right?

    It’s this bit (emphasis mine):

    until he owns up to the fact that what he said IS FALSE

    I think it’s fair to expect someone to acknowledge that they don’t have evidence to back up what they’re saying, but not fair to make them affirm particular factual conclusions (immediately after acknowledging that they don’t actually have a clue).

    Cabbage (934c22)

  32. (Though it’s moot now, since it looks like the commenter was in fact happy to do both.) :)

    Cabbage (934c22)

  33. Had I not followed your internal link, I would never have known to which unnamed “commenter” you had referred.

    Man, I miss not being able to use my previous adjectives with my name!

    The Dana in Kentucky (facd7c)

  34. I think it’s fair to expect someone to acknowledge that they don’t have evidence to back up what they’re saying, but not fair to make them affirm particular factual conclusions (immediately after acknowledging that they don’t actually have a clue).

    Ah, I follow you. I think you’re right. “was unsupported by any evidence” is a fairer demand than “is false” and I would have been fine with that. In any event, as you say, it’s all worked out.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  35. Thanks for the very generous donation, Johnny Agreeable. It went to my church this morning.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  36. Weismann got a backdoor pardon for his Enron work. Because Mueller needed an attack dog with no principles to do his wet work
    Weismann should be cleaning the kitchen in a federal pen for 12 cents an hour with Manafort

    steveg (43b7a5)

  37. What a silly thing to say.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  38. I for one appreciate Patterico’s moderation. He provides us with a site for a moderate discussion of thoughts and ideas, and to tell stories. He will not tolerate disinformation or misinformation. I admire that. Like any good lawyer, he just wants to find the truth.

    I don’t know about Manafort. I am not a lawyer, so I don’t study legal cases. But I am a Realtor, and I have studied many legal cases. These are required for licensing exams.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Manafort is a criminal. I’ve been involved in real estate since I was a child. Seven years old, suddenly I was a grounds keeper and a pool cleaner. Soon I was house cleaner. Yeah, my mother became a Realtor then a Broker. I was her grunt.

    How many houses have you ever been in? Think about it. I’ve been in over 2,000. Everything from rotten, broken down houses that weren’t worth the loft they were left on, to millionaire mansions on private islands.

    I have seen it all. I have lived it; I experienced it.

    There is nothing more to say than that Trump is a total fraud. We live in this world of celebrity. That’s on us.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/25/opinions/putin-russia-navalny-poisoning-cyberattack-kasparov/index.html

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  39. “The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor from multi-million dollar union rackets, billion dollar corporate Ponzi schemes, and multi-million dollar international, bribery, money-laundering and tax evasion schemes.” — Hesperus France (Anatole’s cousin)

    Weissmann has made a career of putting gangsters out of business — from the Genoveses, to Enron, to Manafort — and that has made him unpopular to those gangsters’ media buddies, lately the Trump cadre such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and ilk, but many others as well.

    nk (1d9030)


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