Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Case For Trump's Russia Collusion Is Made; We're Just Filling In The Details

There is a glimmer of hope even as Donald Trump destroys the government, undermines our core values, tries to divide us with hate and fear mongering, further isolates America from the world community and becomes increasingly unhinged. 
This is because we are at the point in the movie known as the Russia scandal where the plot, star and supporting actors are well known even if the ending is not.  Beyond the Right Wing Noise Machine, an increasing number of policy makers and mere mortals like you and I now not only believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election for the purpose of electing Trump, but his campaign -- and the Global Village Idiot himself -- eagerly participated in that effort. 
Does this bring us any closer to impeachment or forced resignation?  Not necessarily, but the path to those outcomes is clearer and the possibility that Trump will not serve out his usurped-by-cybersabotage four-year term improves with each new gut-wrenching revelation.
The case against Trump has been made; we're just filling in the details and waiting for the next round of indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. 
To wit:
* The campaign's subterranean involvement in the unholy alliance between Julian Assange's WikiLeaks and the Kremlin in its election interference plot has now been thoroughly documented, as well as serving up another batch of potential perjury charges for Mueller. 
* As the mountain of documentation of campaign collusion with the Kremlin grows ever higher, the perps are now left to argue that they were too stupid or incompetent to organize a conspiracy, which has become the go-to alibi for Jeff Sessions, among others. 
* Trump's addiction to tweeting is a priceless trove of information for investigators, a prime example of which is his October 22, 2016 tweet on hacked Democratic emails that followed by 15 minutes a WikiLeak email to eldest son Donald Jr. about their imminent release. 
 * The Justice Department, which is overseeing Mueller's investigation, has been directed to turn over a broad array of documents related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself. 
* Mueller has subpoenaed a series of documents from the campaign with a list of Russia-related search words in an effort to not miss any records as the special prosecutor’s office continues to obtain the communications of campaign members through other methods. 
* The sheer number of confirmed contacts with Russians, numbering about 20 involving some nine individuals, is not merely incriminating, the absence of any contacts whatsoever with China, Germany or any other global player makes Trump's continuing denials even more farcical.    
Ty Cobb, Trump’s lead criminal defense lawyer, is madly leaking view that Mueller is wrapping up an investigation that will exonerate Trump although the consensus view outside the White House is that he’s just getting started and already has the president by the short and curlies.  
Beyond this being exactly the kind of wishful thinking that Trump would want to hear, Cobb may merely be trying to keep him from detonating an explosion that would result in Mueller being fired. 
Trump, meanwhile, has not so much been grasping at straws as throwing them all up in the air.  In this context, the magnitude of his statements on his recent Asia trip about Putin -- about whom other world leaders have nothing good to say -- are especially striking because they are a betrayal of American interests that flirt with treason. 
"He just -- every time he sees me, he says 'I didn't do that,' " Trump said of Putin's claims that there was no election interference.  "And I believe -- I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. . . . I think he's very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth."   
That abjectly fawning statement was followed by the renewed claim that the scandal was an "artificial Democratic hit job," this time with a sinister new twist -- that not sucking up to Putin would cause people to die in Syria because of the Russian leader's hurt feelings, and that the Obama administration intelligence officials who had concluded there was interference, including Comey, were "political hacks."    
The next round of Mueller indictments promise to be yuge.  As former Dubya speechwriter Michael Gerson astutely puts it in analyzing the state of play:
I spent part of my convalescence from a recent illness reading some of the comprehensive timelines of the Russia investigation. . . . In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies.  Lies on disclosure forms.  Lies at confirmation hearings.  Lies on Twitter.  Lies in the White House briefing room.  Lies to the FBI.  Self-protective lies by the attorney general.  Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence.  This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing. 
What are the implications? President Trump and others in his administration are about to be hit by a legal tidal wave.  We look at the Russia scandal and see lies.  A skilled prosecutor sees leverage.  People caught in criminal violations make more cooperative witnesses.  Robert S. Mueller III and his A-team of investigators have plenty of stupidity and venality to work with.  They are investigating an administration riven by internal hatreds — also the prosecutor’s friend.  And Trump has already alienated many potential allies in a public contest between himself and Mueller.  A number of elected Republicans, particularly in the Senate, would watch this showdown with popcorn.  
Mueller's next round of indictments may not touch directly on election skullduggery. While that jackpot is within his grasp, he has plenty of ammo -- including money laundering, tax fraud, the surfeit of perjurious conduct and (drum roll, please!) receiving stolen property in the form of computer hacking, among other crimes -- to use in the meantime while leaning on certain perps to cooperate with his investigation. 
Once again with feeling: It doesn't matter that the self-admitted incompetence and Trump's insane tweeting would seem to mean that he and his campaign didn't have the smarts to pull off their end of a conspiracy.  That construction ignores the reality that there was a conspiracy, even if aspects were jerry rigged as candidate and handlers eagerly allowed themselves to be played by the Russians, and more frequently than not took the bait dangled by the Kremlin.   
It's a wonder that Mueller is able to keep up with it all.   

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal.

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