Renato Mariotti Profile picture
Former federal prosecutor. Legal analyst for TV and print. Host, #OnTopic podcast. Columnist, @POLITICOMag. Partner @BCLPlaw. Instagram: renato.mariotti
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Oct 1, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
1/ This is a political statement by a lawyer representing Senate Republicans, not a prosecutorial statement.

Last week’s hearing was structured in a manner to make it difficult to arrive at the truth. Only two witnesses were called, each questioner was given five minutes, etc. 2/ No law enforcement official (prosecutor, FBI agent, etc.) would conduct an investigation in the very limited manner done by the Senate Committee.

It is also worth remembering that Mitchell was hired by Senate Republicans and has a duty to advocate their positions.
Sep 28, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
1/ Because it’s now relevant, I’ll expand on a point I made on today’s #OnTopic podcast—a very plausible reason why Republicans don’t want to subpoena Mark Judge is because he could take the Fifth.

Now that there will be a FBI investigation, Judge could refuse to be interviewed. 2/ If Judge does refuse to be interviewed, that would be noted in the FBI report memorializing his interview or would otherwise be noted in the investigative file.

The Senate could still subpoena him (if Republicans vote to do so) but he could take the Fifth if they do.
Sep 28, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read
1/ We learned about Ford and Kavanaugh today by observing their demeanor, but the structure of the hearing made it hard to get at the truth. We learned from this hearing *despite* the format, not because of it.

A real trial or evidentiary hearing would have been very different. 2/ If an experienced trial lawyer had hours to cross-examine Kavanaugh, they would have been able to pin him down. At times, Senators elicited testimony that was not credible (like his answer about “Renate Alumni”) but couldn’t follow up before he ran out the clock.
Sep 19, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
1/ Tesla CEO @elonmusk is reportedly under criminal investigation for his tweet stating that Tesla was going private at $420 a share.

This is bad news for Musk and Tesla. DOJ wouldn’t get involved if they didn’t think they could conceivably make a case.… 2/ The SEC is already conducting a civil investigation and the likely result remains civil penalties, which could involve Musk being barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company. The DOJ has a higher burden of proof that is harder to meet.
Sep 15, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
1/ Giuliani told @washingtonpost that "Trump and Manafort continue to have a joint defense agreement" making it "impossible for Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's office to imperial the president."

That's false. Giuliani is either lying or incompetent.… 2/ Joint defense agreements are agreements between defense teams that are make it easier for them to maintain privilege when the lawyers communicate with each other under what's called "common interest" doctrine.
Sep 14, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: Can Manafort tell Mueller about the communications between his team and Trump's team under their joint defense agreement? 1/ Earlier this week, Giuliani confirmed that Trump's legal team had a joint defense agreement with Manafort's team. The purpose of these agreements is to ensure that communications between the attorneys remains privileged under something called the "common interest" doctrine.
Sep 14, 2018 12 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What can we learn from Paul Manafort’s plea agreement? 1/ The Manafort plea agreement has been released, and it gives us a lot of information about what Manafort is facing and what he gains from the deal with Mueller.…
Sep 14, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What does Manafort’s cooperation tell us? 1/ Today prosecutors with Mueller’s office announced that Manafort’s plea agreement in the D.C. case was a “cooperation” agreement. That is big news—Manafort has agreed to tell Mueller everything he knows about potential criminal activity by anyone.
Sep 14, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
1/ We haven’t seen the plea agreement yet, but the new charges against Manafort indicate that a benefit to Manafort in the plea deal will be that his sentence is capped at ten years because he is pleading to two counts with a maximum sentence of five years each. 2/ It is normal for federal prosecutors to allow defendants to plead guilty to fewer counts, which caps their sentence, as long as the cap is higher than the Federal Sentencing Guidelines range.

The Guidelines are advisory, but DOJ policy is to recommend a Guidelines sentence.
Sep 13, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
1/ Earlier this week I tweeted about Rick Perry’s trip to Moscow, and repeated an assertion from a Reuters article I linked to that said he would be in Moscow on September 11th.

But the Energy Department said Perry was in D.C. that day. I’ve deleted this tweet and a later one. 2/ Here is the tweet from @EnergyPress stating that Perry was in Washington D.C. on September 11th.
Sep 13, 2018 15 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What should we make of news that Paul Manafort is pleading guilty? 1/ Today multiple outlets reported that Manafort is close to a plea deal with Mueller as to his upcoming trial in Washington D.C.…
Sep 13, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
1/ Joint defense agreements are common in all types of criminal cases. Whenever multiple people are under investigation, they enter into joint defense agreements so they can communicate and coordinate strategy while maintaining privilege. 2/ It's typically in the interest of individuals who are under investigation (or charged) to exchange information unless they've flipped, because they often have limited information about what the prosecution is doing.
Sep 7, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
1/ Can you spot all of the false or misleading statements in this tweet by Fox News “Legal Analyst” @GreggJarrett? First, Papadopoulos was not a “junior campaign volunteer.” He interacted with high level campaign officials, such as Trump and Sessions, and reported to Sam Clovis. 2/ There is also no evidence that Comey (or anyone else) defrauded the FISC judges. Jarrett is referring to the disclosure of who paid for the dossier—the disclosure was made in the typical manner disclosures are made to courts, but Trump’s allies claim it wasn’t sufficient.
Sep 6, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
1/ "Jerry Corsi made decisions that he would not take actions that would give him criminal liability." This quote from the attorney for Jerome Corsi, an associate of Roger Stone, strongly implies that Corsi was offered an opportunity to commit a crime.… 2/ Corsi is the eighth Stone associate to be questioned by Mueller that we know about publicly. The others are:

John Kakanis
Andrew Miller
Kristin Davis
Jason Sullivan
Randy Credico
Sam Nunberg
Michael Caputo
Sep 5, 2018 10 tweets 2 min read
1/ A senior Trump Administration official wrote an op-ed for the @nytimes describing how the author and "many" others within the Trump Administration "frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations" until it ends "one way or another."… 2/ The author describes Trump as "amoral" and describes a president so dangerous that many in his Administration "have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions" from dangerous decisions he makes. In one sense, this is admirable devotion to our nation.
Sep 3, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Look out tomorrow (Tuesday, September 4th) for the second episode of my podcast #OnTopic, an in-depth look at a timely topic.

This week we discuss the implications of the firing of White House Counsel Don McGahn with Bob Bauer, who served as White House Counsel to Barack Obama. Radio host @PattiVasquezCHI and I asked Bob about his experiences as White House Counsel. Among other things, Bob talked about the privilege issues raised by that position, whether he was asked to cooperate with investigators, and the role of White House Counsel in firing staff.
Aug 29, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
The debut episode of my new podcast is available! #OnTopic breaks down the week’s news in depth, and this week @PattiVasquezCHI and I discuss the implications of Cohen’s plea and Weisselberg’s testimony with reporter @NatashaBertrand. Listen to it here: It is also available on @Stitcher:…
Aug 28, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What does news that Trump is considering firing Jeff Sessions mean for Mueller's obstruction investigation? 1/ Trump has revived the idea of firing Sessions this month, and there's no question that if he does, it will become a focus of Mueller's obstruction investigation, if the new Attorney General doesn't successfully shut it down, which would be difficult.…
Aug 24, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: What does the grant of immunity to Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg tell us? 1/ Today @WSJ reported that Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg received immunity from the federal prosecutors who investigated Michael Cohen.…
Aug 23, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
1/ Giuliani revealed that Trump asked his lawyers for advice about how to pardon Manafort, and it has an obvious purpose: to signal to Manafort and other potential cooperators to "refuse to break," to use Trump's words. The message: don't flip.… 2/ Giuliani couldn't reveal confidential attorney-client communications without Trump's permission, which suggests this release is strategic. Since Manafort was convicted, he's under pressure to strike a deal with Mueller rather than spend a lot of money fighting a second trial.
Aug 23, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: What does the cooperation of David Pecker, chairman of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, mean for the investigation of Trump and his associates? (Short answer: it's not good news for them.) 1/ David Pecker, chairman of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, has reportedly backed up Michael Cohen's claim that Trump knew about the payments at the core of the campaign finance crimes Cohen pleaded guilty to.…