While the world was marveling at Trump’s crowd size fetish during that fateful first week of his presidency, George Papadopoulos and allegedly Mike Flynn were lying to the FBI, Sally Yates was scrambling to warn the White House, and Donald Trump himself was pressing Jim Comey for personal loyalty in a private dinner. Notably, the seeds of what would become the first charges in the special counsel probe came four months before Robert Mueller arrived on the scene. Sam Thielman reviews the newly updated timeline for the last week of January.

President Donald Trump's former business associate Rick Gates, right, leaves federal court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This is just what I was thinking (from the Post) …

Away from the podium, Trump staffers fretted privately over whether Manafort or Gates might share with Mueller’s team damaging information about other colleagues. They expressed concern in particular about Gates because he has a young family, may be more stretched financially than Manafort, and continued to be involved in Trump’s political operation and had access to the White House, including attending West Wing meetings after Trump was sworn in.

Rick Gates is 45, 23 years younger than Manafort. He was also with Trump much longer than Manafort. Any guesses about whether he saw anything bad when he was in the Trump orbit?
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Will Fischer is a nationally recognized progressive leader. A decorated Marine Corps veteran of the war in Iraq, he is the director of government affairs for VoteVets, which, with more than 500,000 members, is the largest progressive veterans organization in America (and was also blocked on Twitter by President Donald Trump in June). Prior to his work at VoteVets, Will spent nearly a decade working at the national AFL-CIO and in a variety of political, legislative, and organizing campaigns across the country.

Will will be in the Hive to discuss veterans, military, and foreign policy. Post your questions and join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

We can’t know these things for sure. But it certainly seems like Mueller was sending a message and sending a shock to the Trump White House by releasing the Papadopoulos charges mid-morning. The Manafort/Gates charges are very serious as crimes and bring heavy punishments. They’re a big deal. But they do not connect directly to the campaign’s ties with Russia or even the campaign itself. The White House can accurately say that these are crimes that do not relate to them, as they have. (Set aside for the moment that they are serious crimes undertaken by the campaign chairman while the campaign was underway and that they provide Mueller with immense leverage to extract more information from Manafort.)
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George Papadopoulos, another of those first five campaign advisors announced in March 2016 (Carter Page was another), pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, to making false statements to FBI. Unsealed this morning.

More soon.

Remember, days after being appointed, Papadopoulos went to work trying to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and “Russian Leadership – Including Putin.”

We’re reading through the Papadopoulos charges now. They are pretty bad and go directly to the Russia issue. More soon.

Stunned by the news of Mueller indictments coming as soon as Monday, Trump advisors get angry at Hillary, according to Politico.

The lack of information, on a case that could have major ramifications for the president, left many current and former Trump advisers livid, focusing their rage on how the information leaked and on a forever target: Hillary Clinton.

Damaged, infantile, dangerous people.

We know President Trump’s confidante Roger Stone is intemperate and aggressive. We also know he often blurts things out that end up being accurate or highly prescient. On August 21st, 2016, Stone tweeted: “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel.” A few weeks later (Oct. 7th, 2016), that’s just what happened. Wikileaks, with whom Stone had been in active and direct contact, began releasing thousands of Podesta’s stolen emails.

That’s not all we know.
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Now we know the “Republicans” who first funded Fusion GPS’s investigation of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia (before seeing him win the nomination and thus losing interest.) It was The Washington Free Beacon. Wait, you’re thinking, isn’t that a news site? Well, maybe, maybe not. We also learn the Beacon turns out to be funded “in large part” by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer. The Beacon reportedly frequently employs opposition researchers to drum up news stories. It did so in this case and was reportedly getting a lot of information about Trump’s ties to Russia. But when Trump secured the nomination they lost interest. Here’s the story.

From CNN

A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

As best, I can tell there’s no clarity on who has been charged or what crimes they have been charged with. Here’s a thread on Twitter, from a former federal prosecutor, setting forth some theories about what this could mean. Obvious candidate: Paul Manafort.

This overhead view of President Kennedy's car in Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, was Warren Commission Exhibit No. 698. Special agent Clinton J. Hill is shown riding atop the rear of the limousine. The Warren Commission said agent Hil had to leave the left front running board of the President's follow-up car four times because of dense crowds to ride on the rear of the presidential limousine. (AP Photo)

“The thing I am concerned about … is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

This appears to be the most quoted document so far in the trove of Kennedy assassination documents released early this morning. It is a memo dictated by then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. And it is dated two days after President Kennedy died, November 24th, 1963. It is very fair to say that it is hard to see what blanket certainty he could have had at that point just who killed President Kennedy or more specifically whether anyone else was involved. (The evidence from the start that Oswald was at least a shooter was pretty strong.)
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Tell us what you think are the most interesting documents in the big Kennedy Assassination document dump. Send to our main email address right under the site logo and include the citation!

“This is really a very simple effort by an entrepreneur to get on the plane, fly to Puerto Rico, talk to PREPA when no one else would.”

The spokesman for Whitefish Energy pushes back on ‘conspiracy theories’ and says the whole issue is just that their people had the gumption to get to Puerto Rico first and say they wanted the work.

Devin Nunes says it’s now clear the Democrats made it possible for Russia to subvert the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd as he hands out supplies at Calvary Chapel, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A quick follow up about my questions from last night about the situation in Puerto Rico. I noted yesterday that the White House wants to have the board overseeing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy appoint an emergency manager to oversee the territory’s power company and its accompanying reconstruction efforts. The guy they want to appoint is named Noel Zamot, a retired Air Force Colonel.
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With Devin Nunes now going to town over the “dossier” and trying to get the FBI to turn over materials from an active counter-intelligence and criminal investigation, we should remember the following. Whatever President Trump’s level of complicity in the Russian disruption campaign, there was a disruption campaign. Trying to disrupt the investigation may be something people think will protect Trump. But it impedes the actual investigation.
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Cam’s piece this morning on Democratic fundraising is a must-read. It also answered a key question for me. In every ‘the Dems will still blow it’ article I’ve read in recent weeks I hear that Republicans are beating Democrats in fundraising. Each time I read that I scratch my head because it certainly doesn’t square with what the political environment looks like. More specifically, I keep hearing that Republicans feel so under the gun about Obamacare because funders are simply refusing to keep giving unless the GOP can deliver some legislative victories. I also see example after example of Republicans retiring or considering retirement because they’re behind in the money chase. So what’s the deal? The key seems to be that the RNC actually is beating the DNC pretty handily. On every other front though, the Democrats are sporting the kind of big money advantage that usually presages big midterm gains. Read Cam’s report here.