“Released to home confinement amid growing outbreak of white privilege”
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Wednesday released convicted felon Paul Manafort to home confinement, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. But many online quickly expressed outrage upon learning the President’s former campaign chairman who has ties to Russia is housed in a prison that has no coronavirus cases.
Under Attorney General Bill Barr federal prisons have slowly been releasing prisoners from jail to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but certain conditions must be met. Prisoners have to have served at least half their sentence, or served at least one-quarter of their sentence and have less than 18 months remaining.
Manafort meets none of those requirements.
“Manafort, 71, has been serving out his more than seven-year sentence for charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a federal correctional institution in central Pennsylvania,” ABC News reports. “He was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced by a federal judge in March 2019. He was slated to be released from prison November 4, 2024. The charges stemmed from his work related to Ukraine between 2006 and 2015.”
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC contributor and a University of Alabama law professor, says Manafort simply doesn’t qualify.
“This raises real fairness concerns. Manafort doesn’t qualify for compassionate release,” Vance says on Twitter. “Did he get special treatment ahead of others who do? People in facilities with outbreaks or closer to the end of their sentence? Did Trump’s friend get preferential treatment under the guise of appropriate releases to protect BOP inmates?
She notes that former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, “much closer to the end of his sentence, was denied release after news he would be was made public.”
Some are suggesting Manafort’s release proves Trump intervened in keeping Cohen in jail.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty while showing something approaching genuine recognizance, remains in jail. Manafort and Flynn, who stuck by Trump and actively worked to sabotage law enforcement, are being openly rewarded by the administration. https://t.co/r0FNROVLEq
— Will Stancil (@whstancil) May 13, 2020
Last year CNN reported “Special counsel Robert Mueller believes that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-Ukrainian policy with his close Russian-intelligence-linked associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, while he led the Trump presidential campaign, according to parts of a court filing that were meant to be redacted by Manafort’s legal team Tuesday but were released publicly.”
Outrage over what many see as unwarranted preferential treatment was widespread.
Some, perhaps mockingly, wondered if Manafort might get his old job back, working for the Trump campaign, given the President is reportedly considering re-hiring his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Here’s what some others are saying:
It’s good to be a criminal who is friends with the President. Congrats, Paul Manafort.
Poor white, black and brown prisoners? Sorry. Stay in jail and get #coronavirus.
The Trump Administration is so openly corrupt. No shame.
— Wajahat “Social Distance Yourself” Ali (@WajahatAli) May 13, 2020
Recently, Andrea Circle Bear died of COVID-19, after giving birth via c-section on a ventilator in a federal prison, where she was serving 2 years on a minor drug charge.
Today, Paul Manafort was released to serve his 7 year sentence on serious tax and fraud charges at home.
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) May 13, 2020
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort released to home confinement amid growing outbreak of white privilege https://t.co/LJO7mbKW1d
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) May 13, 2020
What message does it send that the president’s campaign chairman can cheat to win an election, go to prison for fraud, and be released because of a crisis caused by the same president he helped elect, even though that president says it’s all under control? https://t.co/r9QvKqZuyt
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 13, 2020
Reality Winner was denied. Michael Cohen’s release (along with many others) was cancelled. But Manafort, who has multiple jurisdictions of trouble and hasn’t completed half his sentence, is released.
It’s as if this isn’t about the pandemic at all. https://t.co/WMr6ldZz2T
— Alison Grinter Allen (@alisongrinter) May 13, 2020
Manafort released. But Yusef still locked up. He’s served 25 years. Been in since he was 16. He’s 41 now. Should have been resentenced 5 years ago. Lost 4 friends already to COVID, now running rampant in Michigan prisons. Highest death toll in country. Why is he still in prison? https://t.co/lMPXtVughJ
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) May 13, 2020
Paul Manafort—who committed some of the most egregious crimes against our nation—gets to go home today to spare him from COVID19.
But Suran Farrell, a woman who killed her abuser & served 30+ years, died in prison from COVID19.
Reprehensible injustice. https://t.co/5eYoL9Xrny
— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) May 13, 2020
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Trump’s DHS Chief Delayed and Altered Report on Russian Election Interference Because It ‘Made the President Look Bad’
Chad Wolf, Trump’s Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) who was unlawfully installed, delayed and altered a federal government intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election because it “made the President look bad.”
A new Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report says Wolf for months delayed a report that was initially titled, “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics.” It later was altered to “blunt” the focus of Russia’s attack on Democratic nominee Joe Biden by adding claims about China and Iran’s alleged attempts to denigrate then-President Donald Trump, who was running for re-election.
“A Tuesday report from DHS’s Office of Inspector General concluded that DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) wrongly let politics interfere with the dissemination of the report, which documented a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding President Biden’s mental acuity,” The Hill reports.
“I&A employees during the review and clearance process changed the product’s scope by making changes that appear to be based in part on political considerations, potentially impacting I&A’s compliance with Intelligence Community policy,” OIG concluded in a report that found that “DHS did not adequately follow its internal processes.”
The Inspector General’s report says “the Acting Secretary [Wolf] asked the product be held because it made President Trump look bad and hurt President Trump’s campaign — the concept that Russia was denigrating candidate Biden would be used against President Trump.”
The Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis “also told us he took contemporaneous notes of the meeting, a copy of which we obtained. The notes…read ‘AS1 – will hurt POTUS – kill it per his authorities.’”
The Office of Inspector General “concluded Wolf’s interference and other changes violated requirements that require intelligence products to be objective and independent of political consideration,” The Hill adds.
‘Smoking Gun’: Former US Attorney Labels Don Trump Jr’s Election Texts ‘Powerful Evidence’ of Fraud
Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” with host Jonathan Capehart, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance made the case that Don Trump Jr’s texts about overturning the 2020 election results — coming just a few days after the public went to the polls — could end up being the “smoking gun” investigators are looking for.
Reacting to the CNN report that the oldest son of former president Donald Trump was pitching suggestions to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on how to remain in power, Vance called the texts “powerful evidence” that could be used in a criminal indictment.
“Is this proverbial smoking gun, especially after the Ginni Thomas texts?” host Capehart asked.
“It feels like it could be a smoking gun,” Vance conceded. “This is two days after the election, the election result hasn’t been called yet, but Donald Trump Jr. is already acting on the assumption his father is going to lose the election and, of course, the entire predication that his father has for maintaining that everything he did after the election, up to and including the march on the Capitol, was legitimate was this notion that he had not legitimately lost the election.”
“So to the extent that this becomes a powerful piece of evidence that they were aware that they had lost, that they were aware it wasn’t fraud and they were going to have to come up with these alternate schemes, including fake slates of electors to get across the finish line, this really could be very powerful,” she added.
Ginni Thomas Demanded Republicans Go ‘Out in the Streets’ to Protest Election, Support Donald Trump
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas demanded Congressional Republicans take the fight to overturn the 2020 election to the streets after Donald Trump lost his re-election bid to Joe Biden.
Thomas, a veteran far-right activist and lobbyist, and spouse to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is under fire after multiple news organizations Thursday reported on 29 texts she exchanged with then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows demanding he work to overturn the election.
“Shortly after the 2020 election,” NBC News reports, Ginni Thomas “sent an email to an aide to a prominent House conservative saying she would have nothing to do with his group until his members go ‘out in the streets,’ a congressional source familiar with the exchange told NBC News.”
That email was sent to “an aide to incoming Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind.,” saying “that she was more aligned with the far-right House Freedom Caucus.”
“Just days later,” NBC adds, Texas GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert “appeared at a ‘Million MAGA March’ near the White House and told Trump supporters: ‘This was a cheated election and we can’t let it stand.’ He talked about ‘revolution.'”
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