31 October 2017

Mueller news

I take no pleasure in any of this. I regard Trump as a scourge and a tragedy, but I'd much rather focus on positive things for our country. But anyway, Mueller's job is to investigate crimes in the arena he's investigating, whether or not they are directly connected to Trump's own culpability. Certainly the questions of why Manafort was so anxious to assume the role of campaign manager when he was some $17 million in debt to a Russian oligarch, and then proceeded to commit massive tax evasion and money laundering while concealing the fact that he continued to act as a foreign agent, even while Trump's campaign manager and afterwards, while not directly implicating Trump or his family members, casts his entire campaign in a very dark light. And the Gates indictment is just sort of a "mini me" for Manafort. Both these guys now have a tremendous incentive to cooperate in the investigation from here on out, because without the leniency that cooperation could bring, they are facing many years in prison. 

And if Trump is foolish enough to pardon them, I have to believe that will be a bridge too far for enough Republicans, combined with nearly all Democrats, that he will be impeached. These indictments are airtight document cases. These guys are guilty as hell, and there's no way out for them other than cooperation or pardon. And I suspect both of them know about some skeletons in the closet, because Trump is so stupid he doesn't even understand that it actually is illegal to cooperate with foreign governments to interfere in elections. Remember he said "a lot of people would've taken that meeting" about Don Jr.'s meeting with Russians in June of '16... if it can be proven that that meeting resulted in the transfer of "a thing of value" (such as oppo. research, like the emails themselves), it would be a felony. But Trump pretty obviously doesn't grasp that. He keeps saying "everyone's saying there's no collusion." Which is just plain stupid. What 'everybody says' is totally irrelevant. 

But the real news on Monday no one saw coming. It's the seemingly minor case of George Papadopoulos. A Trump campaign staffer. One of the guys he mentioned (along with Carter Paige) to the Washington Post as "an excellent guy" and a foreign policy advisor. (Actually a 30 year old, rather undistinguished fellow of the Hudson Institute). Anyway, this guy rather clumsily lied to the FBI back in January and February of this year (before the Mueller appointment)(a felony), and then tried to cover it up (ineptly). According to not an indictment but a plea agreement. He told them he hadn't met with Russians, but he had. He talked to Russian "danglers" no doubt working at the behest of Russian intelligence services, back as early as April of '16, about getting "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, and learned, long before this was public knowledge, that the Russians had "thousands of e-mails." Did he report this to the FBI at the time? No, he reported it to his "supervisor," who said, "good work," and discussed sending him to Russia to follow up. Remember, this is an adversary of the United States, attempting to influence the outcome of a US election. Cooperation with that endeavor is a serious crime if committed by a US citizen. Papadopoulos was not charged with that, and did not plead guilty to it, but he did plead guilty to lying about it, and he has been a "proactive cooperator" since his arrest in July. The conclusion that he has been wearing a wire and/or otherwise helping investigators get evidence against higher ups in the Trump campaign, who knows how high up, is inescapable. And this guy pleaded guilty, turned states' evidence. This is very, very bad news, far worse that Manafort and Gates, for Trump, and, like I said, no one saw it coming. 

I think it's now more than likely that Trump will be forced out of office by, say, 2019. And a week ago I did not think that. 


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