With the announcement this week that Trump and Mueller are entering final negotiations for an interview, our long national nightmare may be entering the lightning round. Trump has told reporters that there was “no collusion of any kind” and “no obstruction of any kind,” but I think as you look at what has been fully released about this investigation, and what seems to be very clearly indicated, the bottom line is most likely to be that in the end, the obstruction—which is quite obvious starting with trying to strong arm both James Comey and Andrew McCabe, as well as crafting the false Air Force One statement claiming that Don Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with Russians was merely “about adoptions”—was entirely intended to help divert attention from the multiple crimes that had been committed by Russia against the U.S. and the Clinton Campaign for their own maximum benefit and gain.
This case is most likely going to turn largely on what Trump knew from the very first day that he personally interviewed George Papadopoulos and tasked him specifically with reaching out to the Russians. From that point forward, they were engaged in a conspiracy, and all their efforts from that point forward were to conceal and deny the existence of that conspiracy, up to and including Trump’s comments and denials this week.
Maggie Haberman this week asked Huckabee-Sanders exactly what Trump means when he says “There was no collusion.”
Her answer was that he meant that they won the election on their own by being a “stronger candidate,” not because they got any help from anyone else or some “made-up hoax that was created to delegitimize” him. Which is bullshit because for one thing Trump mentioned the stolen documents released by Wikileaks over 164 times during the end of the campaign. They were absolutely dependent on those releases in the last days of the election when the pussy grab tape came out, which shutdown the Intelligence Agencies report about Russian interference that same day, only to be overshadowed 30 mins later by the release of the John Podesta emails. Don Jr. was in direct contact with Assange and even helped promote their releases by sharing special search links that they had provided, but no—they “didn’t collude.” Sure, fine. Whatever.
Haberman pressed again asking if he rejected the reporting from the intelligence community on Russia.
Huckabee-Sanders then said essentially that Trump himself “didn’t participate” in that, that he “wasn’t involved in anything illegal, stating the existence of something happening is very different from helping make it happen” which is a completely different argument from “we had no help!”
Clearly Russia did help them, that’s not really up for debate. But also helping after the fact is just as big a problem as “making it happen.”
Haberman then asked if he was talking about “himself or his entire campaign” and then she suggests that there might have been some people in their campaign who knew about the Russian crimes, and may have either helped them or benefited from them, but those persons weren’t Trump and he didn’t know anything about it—which is now a completely different kettle of fish particularly since there have been two guilty pleas for lying to the FBI and the first of those, Papadopoulos, DID KNOW ABOUT IT—and also this is still bullshit since he personally asked Russia to “Release the Missing Hillary Emails” out of his own mouth. That was a direct attempt to “help make it happen.”
But that was after the fact, first thing’s first. It is rarely reported but the determination that Russians performed the DNC hack is not just the theory by the intelligence community, there have in fact been two guilty pleas from two different hackers in two different countries who both point to the same major in the Russian Federal Security Service, Dmitry Dokuchaev, as being the architect behind the hacks:
Karim Baratov, aka Kay, aka Karim Taloverov, aka Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov, 22, a Canadian national and resident, pleaded guilty today, to charges returned by a grand jury in the Northern District of California in February 2017. Baratov and three other defendants, including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s domestic law enforcement and intelligence service, were charged with computer hacking and other criminal offenses in connection with a conspiracy to access Yahoo’s network and the contents of webmail accounts that began in January 2014. Baratov’s co-defendants, all of whom remain at large in Russia, are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident; Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident; and Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka Magg, 29, a Russian national and resident. [….]
The US Department of Justice believes that Baratov worked on the orders of FSB officers Dmitry Dokuchaev and his boss Igor Sushchina. Fourth involved in the attack on Yahoo! American law enforcers consider the hacker Alexei Belan, who is among the ten most wanted cybercriminals in the US. […]
As it became known to The Bell, Konstantin Kozlovsky, a hacker from Yekaterinburg, one of the main defendants in the Lurk case , stated about his involvement in the crackdown of the committee of the Democratic Party of the United States [...]
Judging by the documents published on Kozlovsky's page, he first announced his work for the FSB in a letter of November 1, 2016. In it, he mentions and attacks on the servers of the Democratic Party committee. Kozlovsky writes that he was engaged in them on behalf of an FSB officer, whom he calls "Ilya." Later the hacker began to assert that under the pseudonym "Ilya" he was overseen by FSB major Dmitry Dokuchaev.
Also during the Summer of 2015 Dutch Intelligence services detected the Cozy Bear/FSB hack and managed to infiltrate their systems and surveillance cameras, they then documented exactly who enters and exits the “hacking room” and inform the FBI.
This in turn has led to additional hacker arrests overseas. [Via Fox News. Yes, really]
Five Russians accused of being hackers have been arrested in a series of American-led raids over the last nine months – all of them grabbed while on vacation across Europe.
Russian computer programmer Stanislav Lisov attends a court hearing at the Spanish National Court in Madrid, on extradition request to the U.S. for alleged crimes related to the 'NeverQuest' malicious software, which syphoned 855,000 U.S. dollars (743,000 euros) from bank clients in the country. (AP)
According to Axios, the arrests also come as Russian security services struck a deal with the country’s cybercriminals that allow them to work as long as they also conduct state-ordered missions.
The five men have been identified as: Pyotr Levashov, 36; Evgeny Nikulin, 29; Alexander Vinnik, 38; Stanislav Lisov, 31; and Yury Martyshev, 35. They were all grabbed outside of their homeland, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.
So it’s not like we don’t know who the hackers were and we’ve done nothing about it, we have. And they didn’t just infiltrate the DNC but also our voting systems in dozens of states not to mention thousands of social media trolls and online bots which distorted the media feeds of many Americans during the election cycle and are still distorting things with Text-Gate, Memo-Gate and Secret Society Gate. Exactly what impact all this had on the final election result is unknown but that isn’t the point.
Attempted Murder is just as much of a crime as Murder, even if no one dies. The fact that as many of seven of the hackers who attacked the U.S. are in custody and may be able to provide evidence of what Russia was doing and why to Mueller is a signifiant element that I suspect event Trumpsters are unaware of.
This was the first felony, directed specifically by Russian Intelligence. It was Wire Fraud:
- Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
This was already in place and had begun in 2015 before Trump had even announced his candidacy, so the argument he “caused” any of it is off the table. Trump’s first direct involvement in these crimes began when Papadopoulos was originally hired and sat down one-on-one with Trump and specifically discussed reaching out to the Russians.
Marianna Kakaounaki, an investigative reporter for the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, said Papadopoulos told her that Trump called him personally after he was hired to the campaign in March 2016. Trump later met with Papadopoulos one-on-one, when the aide told Trump about his ongoing efforts to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kakaounaki said. [...]
Papadopoulos's latest recollection about his close relationship with Trump refutes the Trump administration's claim that he was a low-level "coffee boy" on the 2016 campaign, a narrative pushed as the Trump team downplayed his role and influence during the election. But Politico reports that Papadopoulos is "prone to self-promotional exaggeration" and that there is skepticism surrounding his claims that Trump had written him a "blank check" for any job in the administration.
it doesn’t matter if the Russians actually changed the outcome of the election because any agreement between one or more persons for corrupt purposes is a conspiracy even if the purpose itself isn’t accomplished.
- If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Simply having an agreement isn’t a crime, keeping a secret isn't a crime either. It doesn’t become relevant until the agreement continues while a crime has been committed or is in progress that is known to the participants.
As part of his guilty plea Papadopoulos promised to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, including providing his emails to senior members of the Trump campaign where he again, quite specifically talked about his efforts to start talks with the Russians.
He told them that he spoke with a London-based Professor John Mifsud, who in turn introduced him to Sergei Millian who had connections to the Russian foreign ministry and also a woman who claimed to be “Putin’s niece” but was actually a model named Olga Vinogradova and wasn’t related to Putin and was more likely a Russian Intel “honeypot” asset like Anna Chapman had been.
From what we know now Papadopoulos communications were first detected and reported to U.S. intelligence by Estonia in March of 2016.
Estonia’s foreign intelligence service, the Information Board (EIB), last year listened in on a meeting in an unnamed eastern European country between an associate of Donald Trump and a pro-Putin member of the Russian State Duma, Newsweek reported on Wednesday. […]
“About that time, according to reports obtained by Western intelligence, a Trump associate met with a pro-Putin member of Russian parliament at a building in Eastern Europe maintained by Rossotrudnichestvo, an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is charged with administering language, education and support programs for civilians. While Newsweek could not determine the purpose of the meeting, a Western intelligence official said that surveillance of the meeting was conducted by or on behalf of the Estonian Information Board (EIB),” the article said.
It was not long after this point between March and April as additional reports from GCHQ, Poland and Germany began to pile up that John Brennen at CIA made a referral to FBI and the official investigation of these matters created a group involving FBI, DOJ, NSA and Treasury called the “Kremlin Task Force” —coincidentally Christopher Steele’s first memo wasn’t even written until June 20.
In April, Professor Mifsud revealed to Papadopoulos that the above cyber crime had taken place when he said the Russians had “thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails”—which is where the criminality begins to spread. This ties him directly to Russian Wire Fraud.
Under law being notified of a felony and failing to report that information to law enforcement is itself a crime called Misprision of Felony.
Misprision of Felony:
- Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
The failure to report this to the FBI, particularly at a point in time where the hack of the DCCC and Clinton Foundation hadn’t even occurred yet—is highly problematic.
Papadopoulos’s failure to report this falls primary on him personally, except for where he may have informed other members of the campaign, and they also chose to keep quiet which extends the criminal conspiracy of silence beyond Trump and George but to others such as Manafort, Gates, Clovis, Lewandoski and others. [Update: More recently Papadopoulos has stated that Sessions had asked him to “find out everything the could about the Hillary emails and dirt” and Carter page was told “Russia has compromising materials on Hillary”, that means they were also aware of it which grows the conspiracy circle to at least four, Trump, Papadopoulos, Page and Sessions and makes at least Page, Sessions and Papadopoulos potentially violators for failing all to inform the authorities of a felony in progress. ] Papadopoulos was far from a lone actor in all of this, he kept his superiors in the campaign completely in the loop about his actions reporting back to them via email frequently. We do know that he didn’t keep secret from them his primary effort to setup a high-level meeting directly between Trump and Putin as he sent an email to others in the campaign titled: “Meeting with Russian Leadership—Including Putin.”
Three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advisers sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: "Meeting with Russian Leadership - Including Putin."
The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up "a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump," telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.
The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.
So in addition to wire fraud, misprision of felony and conspiracy we see right here an intent to violate the Logan Act, even though they were warned about it by their own people.
The Logan Act
- Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Doing financial or business transactions with Russia, as Admiral Kubic stated could be a Violation of Sanctions.
- [Treasury’s] Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for creating, implementing and enforcing the United States’ sanctions. All parties under US jurisdiction must abide by OFAC sanctions and associated regulations. Exemptions to sanction orders can be granted by OFAC, but only under certain circumstances. If you or your company wishes to obtain an exemption license,, you must contact the Treasury Department. For certain exemption licenses, you can also apply online.
- OFAC considers non-compliance with sanctions to be a serious threat to national security and foreign relations. Consequently, those who breach OFAC sanctions without obtaining the proper license can face severe legal repercussions. Fines range up to $20 million, depending the offence, and prison sentences can be as long as 30 years.
And also in some cases these actions can violate the Trading with Enemy Act which prohibits private citizens with dealing with countries that are sanctioned and designated “enemies” of the U.S.
Trading with the Enemy Act
- (a) For any person in the United States, except with the license of the president, granted to such person, or to the enemy, or ally of enemy, as provided in this chapter, to trade, or attempt to trade, either directly or indirectly, with, to, or from, or for, or on account of, or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, any other person, with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that such other person is an enemy or ally of enemy, or is conducting or taking part in such trade, directly or indirectly, for, or on account of, or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, an enemy or ally of enemy.
Once a member of the campaign, Adm. Kubric brought up that even attempting to speak with Putin or Russians about business issues would violate sanctions and possibly the TWEA, and that attempting to talk about them about government issues would violate the Logan Act, there’s really nothing that they could legally talk to them about. They were now aware that any further talks were illegal.
And yet Papadoplous persisted and brought up the possibility of this meeting directly with Trump during a March 31 policy meeting only to be shut down completely by Jeff Sessions—who later testified under oath that he didn’t know of any persons in the Trump campaign who were in contact with Russians. Obviously, he did.
Mr Sessions denied that he lied in October when he told a Senate panel that he knew of nobody in the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russians during the run-up to the 2016 election.
“I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened,” Mr Sessions said at the time.
Court records later showed that Mr Sessions led a March 2016 meeting in which George Papadopoulos, who was part of the campaign's foreign policy council, discussed his Russian ties and suggested setting up a meeting between Mr Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Mr Sessions said on Tuesday. “I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting.”
Amazing how swiss cheese memory works, ain’t it?
Thanks to Sessions, Putin and Trump didn’t have a pre-election meeting which would have violated the Logan Act. But although Sessions had blocked the plan at this time, other members of the Trump campaign including Manafort and Gates discussed sending someone else besides Trump according to details of Papadopoulos guilty plea.
Some of Papadopoulos emails were forwarded by Manafort to Gates “Let[‘]s discuss, We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
Send a Signal to who, perhaps the FBI?
On the very same day that Millan agreed with Papadopoulos that someone besides Trump should go to Moscow for the meeting Lewandowski approved a trip to Moscow by Carter Page, who while he was there managed to meet the Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Andrey Baranov, Rosneft's head of investor relations who told him of an impending sale of large portion of their stock. Why he would tell him this when Rosneft was sanctioned is a good question, but the Steele memo alleges that Rosneft’s CEO offered Page a percentage of this sale in exchange for influencing Trump to drop sanctions. Naturally Page denies this offer, but he does admit discussing the stock sale with Baranov.
So now we have the original Trump/Papadopoulos conspiracy to reach Putin, which violated the Logan Act and Sanctions, expanded to include Manafort, Gates and potentially Lewandowski and Page. That’s not a good look.
In addition to Papadopoulos effort for a direct meeting with Putin which was turned down by Sessions, in May Kushner rejected an emailed meeting request from Russian banker and reported gangster Aleksander Torshin which was relayed by a contact of Sessions staffer Rick Dearborn. Torsin had requested a “Backdoor overture and dinner invite” to an NRA event with senior Trump officials and hinted at possibly providing a message for Trump from Putin. Yet despite Kushner turning it down Don Jr. actually did meet and briefly chat with Torshin about guns at an NRA event - so it’s pretty clear that these guys really didn’t get the problem with meeting with foreign nationals during the campaign.
But what I think is far more interesting and strategic by Mueller is the fact the Papadopoulos plea documents are extremely vague about what information he shared with other members of the campaign about the “Russian Dirt” on Hillary. The requirement to report such information was so obvious that when Papadopoulos drunkenly blabbed it to a member of the Australian Diplomatic team—they didn’t keep it to themselves, they told U.S. authorities.
WASHINGTON — During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.
So the Australians told the State Department and the FBI, the Estonians told the CIA who told the FBI, but Papadopoulos didn't tell anyone in the Trump campaign about what he’d learned, except he told a total stranger in a drunken rant?
That doesn’t pass any kind of smell test.
And this is crucial because if “the Russians have Dirt on Hillary” was well known within the Trump campaign when Rob Goldstone emailed Don Jr. and said the “Russian Government Supports Trump’s campaign”—we’re in a completely different can of worms.
The core theory of the Mueller case in my opinion is that over and above potential Logan Act, Sanctions and Trading with the Enemy Act violations Mifsud’s revelation to Papadopoulos obligated him to report this claim to the FBI, and by not doing that—and potentially sharing this information with others in the campaign who also didn't inform the authorities—they were participating in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice to coverup, aid and abet ongoing cyber crimes committed by the Russians.
All of them lied about this until Papadoplous guilty plea was revealed. Every single person, including Trump.
Their failure to come forward, followed by reams of self-serving lies was deliberate knowing obstruction designed to help the Russians get away with their crime—which is in itself—collusion after the fact .
This becomes even worse when we see that Trump Jr.’s demand for the “Hillary dirt” was before Wikileaks began to release the stolen emails from the DNC in June and John Podesta in October—meanwhile Wikileaks remained in contact with Junior and Roger Stone as they put out the releases— which all began right after Veselnitskaya asked for Magnitsky Act sanctions to be dropped, which Junior agreed to do as long as they got the “dirt.”
Veselnitskaya said she went to the New York meeting to show Trump campaign officials that major Democratic donors had evaded U.S. taxes and to lobby against the so-called Magnitsky law that punishes Russian officials for the murder of a Russian tax accountant who accused the Kremlin of corruption.
“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,’’ Trump Jr. said of the 2012 law, she recalled. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it,” he added, according to her.
Veselnitskaya also said Trump Jr. requested financial documents showing that money that allegedly evaded U.S. taxes had gone to Clinton’s campaign. She didn’t have any and described the 20-minute meeting as a failure.
Simply agreeing to the meeting where they could accept “anything of value” from a foreign government or citizens is a violation of campaign finance rules. Obviously Don Jr. knew this because the dirt they were offering was the allegation that Russians have illegally given money to the DNC. Actually having the meeting and discussing anything about either sanctions or adoptions, which were matters of government policy, were both potential Logan Act violations.
But the bottom line here is that this meeting was a shakedown. Give us the “dirt” now, or else scram. It was just nine days later on June 15 that Guccifer 2.0 released the first set of DNC stolen documents. The next day DCLeaks released the first set of DNC emails which Cyrillic characters and Russian urls in their metadata. Then came periodic releases by Wikileaks. That was the quid, then came to pro quo. The Trump administration went on to block anti-Russia planks in the RNC platform in July and made multiple attempts to cut Russia Sanctions once they “came into power” leading right up to Michael Flynn’s statements about sanctions to Ambassador Kislyak which he chose to lie about to the FBI.
And then the very next day after Flynn lied, Papadopoulos also lied about his Russian contacts, attempting to claim it had happened before the campaign specifically so he “wouldn’t make Trump look bad” because he’d publicly denied all contacts. Trump’s false statements are why Papadopoulos lied and eventually pleaded guilty to those lies.
It’s telling that when the initial DNC hack occurred and Robby Mook said it was done by Russians Don Junior went ballistic claiming this was a moral low for the Democrats.
CNN July 24, 2016 [TAPPER] So, I don’t know if you were hearing earlier, but Robby Mook, the campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I asked him about the DNC leak.And he suggested that experts are saying that Russians were behind both the leak — the hacking of the DNC e-mails and their release. He seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?
[TRUMP JR] Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, well, I say this. We hear experts. You know, here’s (INAUDIBLE) at home once said that this is what’s happening with the Russians. It’s disgusting. It’s so phony. I watched him bumble through the interview, I was able to hear it on audio a little bit. I mean, I can’t think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.You hear it with the DNC where they’re leaking emails about Bernie Sanders and his Jewish heritage, to be able to try to destroy him in the south. It’s a rigged system. It’s disgusting and the people who should be fed up because when I heard it I certainly was.
That’s clearly an over the top reaction, but when you realize that Junior had already personally met with Russians just a month previously on June 9th who then offered him “Dirt” on Hillary, and Papadopoulos had been told they had “thousands of emails” — the vehemence of his protestations that Russia could have been possibly involved in this in anyway become more than just political posturing. It’s a strategy to cover up their own legal violations and being complicit in Russia’s actions. it’s helping the Russians by keeping their actions secret. The lies, the denials, the diversions and the obstruction are all part of the collusion.
Ironically, the same month that Junior was screaming bloody murder about Russia being accused of anything untoward Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort who had keeping taps on his own long time Russian benefactor Oleg Deripaska had even offered to give him a personal briefing on the status of the Trump campaign as an effort to “get whole” regarding an $18 million dispute between them. Which again is very quid pro quo-ish of him.
“I’ll give you inside details of what’s happening in Trump world for a credit on that cool $18 Mil I owe you. Deal?” Or else he was basically a spy for the Russians from the start just like when Deripaska originally hired him back in 2006 to promote Putin’s interests in the U.S. and former soviet states for $10 Million per year.
At any rate it was never required for them to specifically ask the Russians to attack the U.S. election for them to “collude”—that attack had already occurred back in 2015— all that is required is for them to be aware of the attack then try to hide it, benefit from it, then reward it by lying about it, hyping the Wikileaks releases and then attempting to drop sanctions. They didn’t have to sign on the dotted line for this. They didn’t need a contract, they didn’t need a secret password, all they needed was to understand what each other wanted—and the Don Jr./Veselnitskaya meeting established exactly that. TrumpCo wanted the Hillary Dirt, the Russians wanted sanctions dropped—then both of them went out of their way to give each other exactly what they wanted. That’s exactly how “collusion” and cooperation works.
If Mueller has documentation and emails—and I strongly suspect he does, but hasn’t released them yet for strategic reasons—to connect what Papadopoulos learned from Mifsud to Don Jr.’s decision to meet with Veselnitskaya to obtain Russian “dirt” and/or “emails” on Hillary Clinton that he already knew they had and then, as we’ve seen afterward, Trump himself concocted a false cover story on Air Force One that the meeting was really “about adoptions,” they are in deep, deep trouble.
Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”
The claims were later shown to be misleading.
Is it possible that both might have done exactly the same thing anyway? Possibly, but then they wouldn’t have any reason to lie about it nearly as much as they have. Don Jr. would’ve answered the question about Russians hacking the DNC with “I have no idea if that’s true” rather than “This is an yet another example of how Clinton Lies” — why’s he got a dog in that hunt otherwise? They wouldn’t have denied they changed the RNC plank. Flynn wouldn’t have lied. Papadopoulos wouldn’t have lied. Trump wouldn't have crafted a lie to cover Don Jr.’s ass.
Trump was part of the plot when he tasked Papadopoulos to “go forth and find Russians,” and he was part of the plot when he personally decided to craft a false statement about Don Jr.’s meeting which let the Russians know they wanted the Hillary Dirt, and the Russians wanted sanctions cut.
If this was done in order to protect the cover up as their attempts to satisfy Russia’s request to drop sanctions they are all, and Trump personally, potentially liable for conspiracy, misprision of felony, obstruction of justice and now aiding and abetting a crime after the fact.
Aiding and Abetting:
- (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.
- (b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.
Obstruction of Justice:
- Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
Additional examples of obstruction would be asking James Comey to “go easy on Flynn” after getting him alone in the Oval Office and pressuring him to “remove the Russia cloud”, then repeating that same overture following a scheduled WH briefing by clearing the room except for DNI Coats and CIA Director Pompeo and asking them if they could publicly state that there is “no evidence of collusion with Russia” and also if they could ”intervene with FBI Director Comey’s investigation” of Russian collusion.
Then he fired Comey because he didn’t comply with those improper requests, and the next day he bragged about it to the Russians and grilled then Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on his personal politics. Later he tried to get Sessions to force the new FBI Director Chris Wray to push McCabe out until he also threatened to resign, all because IMO McCabe was a witness to his phone conversations with Comey where he kept asking for the “cloud to be lifted”, which is potentially witness intimidation and again, obstruction.
[If you need to cut and paste a quick summary paragraph of all these crimes for friends — this is it.]
The initial hack by Russia Intelligence was a crime (Wire Fraud). Papadopoulos (and any others who knew) not reporting it when they were informed by the Russian professor was a crime (Misprision of Felony). Chosing to remain silent, to covertly meet with Putin and other Russians as private citizens was a crime. (Conspiracy, Logan Act, Sanctions, Trading with the Enemy Act) Trying to get the dirt from Russia in order to use it for their own purposes, then attempting to pay them back by repeatedly trying to cut sanctions for no good reason was a crime (Aiding and Abetting). Trying to get Comey to “let Flynn go” after he was caught talking about sanctions with Kislyak in yet another violation of the Logan Act, which again smacks of rewarding the Russians for their hack to deliver dirt on Hillary — was a crime (Obstruction). Firing Comey for his not complying on Flynn is retaliation and again potentially obstruction. Repeating his Comey mistake with Coats & Pompeo, trying to get them to improperly influence the investigation was the crime of obstruction again. Trying to fire Mueller after just one month into his taking over the investigation, only to be stopped by McGahn threatening to resign — just like FBI Director Wray threatened to resign over McCabe — was also again potentially obstruction.
And all of this leads right back into Trump’s lap directly when he initially tasked George Papadopoulos with reaching out the Russians and trying to setup (illegal) meetings with them from the very beginning — and he’s been covering up and lying about it ever since.
He crafted his biggest lie about the entire thing on Air Force One when he tried to cover for Don Jr. by saying that their meeting Russians in Trump Tower was “about Adoptions”—a meeting which led Marc Corallo, the spokesman for his own personal attorney Marc Kasowitz, to resign because he felt he was being asked to take part in an obstruction of justice.
The former spokesman for President Donald Trump's private legal team quit this summer because he believed a statement dictated by the president aboard Air Force One may have obstructed justice, an explosive new book claims.
That claim is reported in "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," by author Michael Wolff, which the White House says is full of "false and misleading" information. On Thursday, Trump's personal attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt & Co., and demanded an apology for the content of the book.
And if you choose not to believe Michael Wolff—which I can understand—there’s also the New York Times Editorial Board who argued that even before he talks to Trump, Mueller has all the evidence he needs.
Giving false statements to the media is not a crime. But lying to federal authorities can land people in jail.
We know that to the media, since at least July 2016, Mr. Trump and campaign officials lied, repeatedly and often, about not having had contacts with Russian officials. As late as August 2017, President Trump held that line, telling The Wall Street Journal: “There’s nobody on the campaign that saw anybody from Russia. We had nothing to do with Russia.” […]
We know that Trump campaign associates did not report to federal authorities their information about Russian efforts during the campaign, even after the F.B.I. urged Mr. Trump and his aides to alert the agency to any suspicious overtures.
Far worse are the numerous instances in which Trump campaign officials either lied to federal officials or came perilously close.
We have two undisputed cases, through the indictments of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, and George Papadopoulos, the former foreign policy adviser. It is difficult to see how the two men could expect to get away with it. Who would lie to the F.B.I. if one’s colleagues, interviewed at a later date, would contradict the false account of the same set of events?
The above editorial correctly points out that even after the FBI directly warned the Trumpsters about potential foreign contacts which may be attempts to influence and recruit them— they still didn’t report about anything of Papadopoulos, Don Jr., Rick Dearborn, Manafort, Kushner and Carter Page’s contacts with Russians.
WASHINGTON—In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign, according to multiple government officials familiar with the matter.
The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, the officials said. A similar briefing was given to Hillary Clinton, they added. They said the briefings, which are commonly provided to presidential nominees, were designed to educate the candidates and their top aides about potential threats from foreign spies.
The candidates were urged to alert the FBI about any suspicious overtures to their campaigns, the officials said.
And yet they still, said nothing. Then when asked they lied about it. That is a very clear and obvious pattern.
And all of this is in additional to other possible charges if for example Kushner and Cambridge-Analytica provided demographic information to the Russian Troll Farm, and other issues not directly related to Russia including Rampant Money Laundering, numerous FEC Violations, and the violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
It’s not really going to be the case that Trump will easily “put this all to bed” with his typically deluded denials. Mueller already knows what he needs to know, he’s just tying up the last loose end, and very likely there may be a funky blonde chinchilla hanging at the end of that rope.
He and his cohorts may not charged or indicted on all the available charges listed above but some are very likely to indict on some of them just as Papadopoulos, Flynn, Gates and Manafort already have been hit with peripheral issues. What happens after that, is up to Congress—or perhaps, the next Congress, since the current one is totally lost in “Secret Society/Memo-Gate/Text-Gate/Seth Rich did the DNC Hack” conspiracy theories.
Frank Vyan Walton ·
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