Monday, March 11, 2019

If It Walks Like A Criminal Conspiracy & Quacks Like A Criminal Conspiracy . . .

The notion of what constitutes criminal conspiracy has taken a severe beating as Donald Trump and his sycophancy keep trying to move the Russia scandal goalposts.  First they said there were no meetings between the Trump campaign and Russians.  Then they acknowledged there were meetings, but they were the innocent wanderings of na├»ve upstarts.  Then they said everybody knew about the meetings, so what's the big deal?  And most recently, they said there couldn't have been a conspiracy because what Trump really wanted was to make a bundle from the Trump Tower Moscow project -- never mind that he kept saying he had nothing to do with Russia, no deals -- and the tower didn't get built. 
So there. 
Marcy Wheeler, whose preeminence as a Russia scandal sleuth with an eye for detail and big-picture logic is landing her much-deserved cable news and op-ed exposure, got right to the point in parting the mists obscuring whether Trump and his Merry Band of Colluders engaged in a criminal conspiracy. 
Writing at emptywheel, Marcy lays it out in language plain enough for even Melania to understand:
If you sign up for a deal and take steps to make good on it — as Don Jr. did on June 9, 2016 and Paul Manafort appears to have done on August 2, 2016 and Mike Flynn appears to have done, on Trump's behalf, on December 29, 2016 -- then it doesn't matter if the partner to that deal fucks you over later in the process.  And, after all, the Russians did continue to supply Trump with a steady supply of dirt on Hillary Clinton all through the election.  They got Trump elected, or at least did what they could to help, even if that payoff wasn’t the one Trump was most interested in.
This is not to say that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will make that case.  Or the Democrat-led House investigations will reach that conclusion.  Because no matter what the outcome is, Vladimir Putin gets a win-win and America gets a loss-loss. 
More Marcy:
Either Trump succeeded in compromising America's rule of law in an effort to squelch any investigation into what happened, robbing the United States of the claim to idealism that so irks the master kleptocrat, or Trump would spend his Administration desperately trying to find a way out, all the while Putin connives Trump into dismantling the alliances that keep Russia in check. . . .  
Putin doesn’t care if Trump benefits from all this -- though he is happy to keep toying with Trump like a cat plays before he eviscerates his mouse.  He cares about whether he and his cronies win.  And there are multiple ways for him to get a win out of this, whether or not Trump manages to eke out any kind of real payoff past the election.  
If there has been a payoff for Trump, I fail to understand what that could be beyond filling a few more rooms at his branded hotels. 
Trump's much-vaunted "base" has become an inert object, kind of like a doorstop, while his lip lock with congressional Republicans is illusory.  This is because his only legislative accomplishment over the last two years was a massive tax cut package for the rich and corporations that was an albatross around the GOP elephant's neck in the 2018 midterm elections, and sufficient numbers of congressional Republicans will cease being his best friends as soon as the big legal pot in which he he has plopped himself reaches a boil and they start getting burned. 
And that reelection bid hinges on Trump doubling down on his many failures by magically turning them into victories. 
Still more Marcy:
There is no Trump Tower in Moscow. But there never had to be.  All that was needed was the promise of a ridiculously lucrative narcissism-stroking deal for the Trump family to agree to shit that would hurt this country.  And all the evidence suggests that they did, and continue to do so. 
Mueller's marching orders from the Justice Department were to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump," while the special counsel's so-called speaking indictments have laid bare "an elaborate Russian operation that injected chaos into a U.S. presidential election and tried to help Trump win the White House" and news media stories have revealed over 100 contacts between the campaign and Russians. 
And then there is this: The public record is awash with examples of Trump, his family and businesses committing a staggering array of campaign finance felonies, tax fraud, bank fraud insurance fraud, and suborning perjury.  
Trump can no more resist the lure of the dark side than a meal of Chicken McNuggets washed down with a Diet Coke, be it making millions from a fraudulent telemarketing scheme, a phony university or filling his campaign coffers with contributions from Chinese businessmen with ties to Beijing intelligence agencies who bought access to him at Mar-a-Lago through a South Florida "day spa" madam.  And we're just beginning to scratch the seamy surface of Rub and Tug-Gate, if you will allow me the honor of being the first to call Trump's umpteenth scandal that.   
There is no way in Hell -- and Trump's presidency has been just that as we watch him destroy America -- that a man who has evil where his heart should be did not conspire criminally with Russia.  And continues to do so. 

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.


Dan Leo said...

Keep 'em comin', Shaun...

Bscharlott said...

Yes, it's almost certain there was a conspiracy, but what to do about it? Republican senators would protect Trump if he were impeached, unless a smoking gun is produced. And Pelosi just made it clear that she is against an impeachment, as things stand now. So doing what the House Democrats are now doing -- investigations as far as the eye can see -- is a smart play. Plus there may be sealed indictments being readied for when Trump leaves office. I'm feeling reasonably confident about the future.

Shaun Mullen said...

Pelosi's comment was poorly constructed and utterly off tune. Democratic Tourette's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Shaun, Pelosi has been pretty shrewd to date with DJT. One can hope she has a BIG plan for the man.

Shaun Mullen said...


But Pelosi should have said something to this effect (sword of Damocles whooshing overhead):

"Given the conduct of this president, I cannot rule out impeachment hearings. But, in the meantime, we're going to wait for the special counsel's final report and closely follow the various House investigations."

That wouldn't have been too hard, no?