We don’t need the Mueller report to prove that Donald J. Trump colluded with the Russians and committed obstruction of justice.
The evidence on this is overwhelming and incontrovertible. We have video and audio. We have eyes and ears. We know what we’ve seen. We know what we’ve heard.
We’ve seen Trump — the candidate — make a personal plea to the Russians to go after his political opponent.
We’ve seen Trump — both the candidate and the president — repeatedly deny that he had business dealings in Russia.
We’ve seen Trump — the president — lie boldly and incessantly when asked if any of his aides and/or family members secretly communicated with officials working in coordination with the Russian Government.
We’ve seen Trump — the president — viciously attack those connected to the investigation, fire those who could do him harm, ridicule and intimidate witnesses, and threaten his own former associates who gave their cooperation.
We’ve seen Trump — the president — fuel the incendiary fires of a so-called “Deep State” conspiracy, deliberately and actively trying to discredit a federal criminal investigation.
We’ve seen Trump — the president — openly admit to firing former FBI Director James Comey after he fumbled his excuses and couldn’t get his (entirely fabricated) story straight in a nationally-televised interview.
We’ve seen Trump — the president — demand loyalty pledges from prospective appointees to the Justice Department.
It’s all there, in blood orange.
No number of lies, no amount of deflection, no degree of masquerading, no barrage of name-calling alters the fact that on July 27th, 2016 candidate Trump stood before television cameras and actively encouraged foreign powers, including Russia specifically by name, to hack into his political, Hillary Clinton.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
In other words — go for it.
It’s all right here:
No candidate has ever so brazenly solicited the help of a foreign government in a presidential campaign.
We just don’t know all the facts, yet.
What we certainly do know is that about a year prior to Trump green-lighting Russian meddling, hackers affiliated with the Russian government penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s network, stealing large volumes of data and then maintained that access for about a year. The timing of this nesting of potentially-damaging information is critical. Shortly thereafter, thousands of Russia-backed social media accounts began sprouting up and spreading propaganda and disinformation, attacking Clinton while exhibiting a clear preference for Trump.
What we certainly do know is that George Papadopoulos (later convicted) joined the Trump campaign as a special adviser. A short time after joining the campaign, Papadopoulos knowingly met someone who had connections to Russian government officials.
What we certainly do know is that Donald Trump, Jr. received an email from a Russian expatriate professing close ties to Moscow with allegedly “incriminating evidence” against Hillary Clinton. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” the email stated. The younger Trump replied that same day: “If it’s what you say — I love it.”
Both during the campaign, and as president, Trump used surrogates, including campaign aids, advisors, and even his own family to create secret backchannels of communication with the Russians that couldn’t be deciphered. Jared Kushner, the president’ son-in-law was one of those directly involved.
What we certainly do know is there’s a cesspool of troublesome circumstantial evidence that remains unexplained. Why has Trump never criticized Russia for meddling in the election, nor for any of a myriad of other international violations and transgressions? Why did Trump openly take Putin’s side in front of the entire world while when asked about the comprehensive assessment of American intelligence agencies that Russia had indeed meddled in the 2016 campaign? Why does Trump go after virtually every other political leader on social media, but remains silent when it comes to anything connected to Putin and Russia?
Yes, there was collusion. Yes, there was obstruction of justice. Yet, we still don’t know what Trump knew, how much Trump knew, or anything about Trump directing his associates to break the law. Despite the investigation’s findings, to borrow the late Sen. Howard Baker foreshadowing phrase from 1974’s Watergate proceedings, we must continue to ask: What did the president know and when did he know it?
I was not surprised by the Mueller report’s “conclusions” — at least what we know, so far. Keep in mind, few details pertaining to the president’s conduct have been released yet. Let’s also remember Trump backtracked from his public statements that he’d agree to be interviewed in person by Mueller’s investigative team. Trump’s awkward flip-flop probably saved him from perjuring himself, which would clearly have been an indictable offense. Trump’s echo chamber of delusion probably means that he wouldn’t know the truth about much of anything, anyway.
Another legal battle is certain to follow, as to the actual details within the Mueller report and what information will be available to the American people. Don’t be misled by the smokescreen of professed transparency. Mark my words — Trump and his legal team attempt to block every facet of discovery related in any way to his conduct. He will use every trick in his ghostwritten book to stonewall potentially damaging information. There’s certainly dirt in there. Trumps’s background, character, and conduct are way too jaded to believe otherwise.
Indeed, the disinformation campaign has already ramped up into high gear. Trump’s sycophants are claiming a victory. But Trump’s own hand-picked Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary-letter included this public statement:
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while the report does not conclude that the President has committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
“…..it also does not exonerate him.”
Since the statement was released, Trump and his lackeys have ignored half of it. They have falsely and repeatedly claimed the report “exonerates” Trump. Is anyone shocked by this flagrant dishonesty?
No, the report does not “exonerate” Trump. Apparently, they can’t read.
Let’s acknowledge that there was a conspiracy of some kind connected to the 2016 presidential election. The Russians and its proxies used social media as a weapon to assist the Trump campaign. That’s neither a hunch nor a hoax. It’s a fact that’s been established by multiple intelligence agencies. Even conservative pro-Trump media have retreated from their previous false claims the Russians “no impact on the 2016 election.”
Let’s also knowledge Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election because he believed Trump’s policies would be more friendly to the Kremlin.
“Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal,” Putin said, standing alongside Trump at a joint news conference in Helsinki.
Trump denies all of this, of course. Trump has falsely claimed on numerous occasions that Putin would have preferred to see his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the White House. He’s completely delusional.
Let’s acknowledge Trump’s statements remain fishy. And smelly. His own actions and tweets baited the waters of suspicion. A little truth from Trump might have gone a long way toward silencing critics and dissolving the many claims against him. What else were we to think when Trump lied so many times about his surrogates meeting with Russians when the record showed that at least 16 Trump campaign officials were in direct contact? [CLICK HERE]
Let’s also acknowledge Republicans apparently have no problem at all with foreign nations meddling in American elections. In July 2018 the Republican-controlled Congress voted against protecting our national security by refusing to increase funding to counter high-tech espionage in future elections. This is madness. [CLICK HERE]
What if before the Mueller investigation began we had a crystal ball? What if we were told that 34 defendants would be charged with various crimes, including six close Trump associates, including his former campaign manager and disgraced National Security Advisor? Would anyone claim the president had been “exonerated?” Would anyone think this was a “witch hunt?”
Trump would have gone ballistic if the indictments would have been delayed until the very and and basically revealed he operated as a political mafia don. Apparently, the timing of embarrassments is everything.
If nothing else, Trump has clearly exercised appallingly bad judgment and might be the most naive individual ever to occupy the Oval Office.
Trump and his defense team claim indictments stemming from the Special Counsel’s investigation didn’t prove collusion. since some of the charges were for crimes not directly related to Russia’s nefarious role in the 2016 election. This is true. But it’s also circumstantially relevant to our assessment of what really happened. If all those Trump associates did nothing wrong, then why did they repeatedly lie about it so many times?
That Trump hasn’t been led away in handcuffs and paraded around in an orange jumpsuit doesn’t alter an irrefutable historical timeline. It doesn’t erase what we have seen and what we already know — yet alone, things we don’t know and will gradually come out. History isn’t written in a flurry. History is typically more of a slow trickle, like sandstone, carved out over time.
Twenty years ago, following a long ordeal, O.J. Simpson exited from a Los Angeles courtroom a free man and declared victory. A “not guilty” verdict in the criminal trial happened because the evidence wasn’t there to convict and many say the prosecution did a poor job. But the court’s verdict didn’t change the prevailing public perception and the fact he committed the crime.
Trump too, is exiting this legal round as a victor in the eyes of some. But he still faces a gauntlet of legal hurdles ahead for a myriad of other crimes, mostly committed prior to taking office. Barring an expiration on the statute of limitations, those charges will plague him to the grave.
We don’t need Mueller’s report to tell us what we know, what we’ve seen, and what we’ve heard, directly from Trump himself.
Trump is guilty of collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. As he wiggled out of legal troubles so many times in the past — in racial discrimination, bankruptcies, sexual assault charges, affairs, fraudulent business dealings, and fake diploma mill — his lawyers will continue putting in plenty of overtime to shield a guilty man from justice.
We don’t need a special report to know Trump remains a vile, dishonest, corrupt, incompetent, self-serving, vindictive, horror show for this country.
The evidence on this is conclusive.