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Mueller filing in U.S. District Court for D.C.

Bob Mueller used the "Track Changes" function in Microsoft Word for Mac to make new accusations against Paul Manafort in a court filing yesterday — a new sign of the special counsel's creative, unsparing approach:

Key quote from the 41-page filing: "Manafort's conduct ... raises serious concerns about his trustworthiness that warrant denial of the motion to release Manafort from home confinement."

  • The backstory, via AP: Prosecutors for the special counsel argued that the former Trump campaign chairman is attempting "to mount a public relations campaign to defend himself while under house arrest."
  • Mueller discovered Manafort "was heavily involved in the drafting of an opinion piece about his involvement in Ukrainian politics. ... Mueller's office had accused Manafort of ghostwriting the op-ed with a colleague who they said had ties to Russian intelligence."
  • The response: "Manafort's attorneys had argued that Manafort had only edited the piece after receiving it from a former Ukrainian public official whom he knew through his consulting work in Ukraine. They also said Manafort hadn't violated the judge's order and was exercising his free speech rights to defend himself."
  • But now — with the filing of page after page of "Track Changes" notations from a document that was "Last saved by paul manafort" — "prosecutors revealed that they knew nearly every detail of that editing process."

Be smart: This is a rough message by Mueller to witnesses and targets that they can be tracked and recorded even when they don't realize it. Every signal Mueller sends — with his early-morning raid on Manafort, his hires of Enron and Mafia prosecutors, and his quick flips — is that he is playing ruthlessly.

P.S. N.Y. Times, on introductory emails to Hope Hicks from Russian government addresses during the transition:

  • "In some ways, the Russian outreach to Ms. Hicks undercuts the idea that the Russian government had established deep ties to the Trump campaign before the election. If it had, Russian officials might have found a better entrée to the White House than unprompted emails to Ms. Hicks."
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Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
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6 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

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