It is absolutely absurd for anyone to claim there was “no collusion” between anyone with the Trump campaign or the Trump Administration and anyone with direct communication with Vladimir Putin or anyone in Russian intelligence.
Now, let’s be transparent here. “Collusion” isn’t the legal term. While the term collusion isn’t a criminal legal term, collusion can sometimes become a crime, depending on who you’re colluding with and the intent f the collusion. For example, every year, NFL owners get together. Now, if they get together to change the rules for the next season, that collusion is fine. However, if they “collude” to plan how to hide a massive amount of their income from the IRS or to push players’ salaries down, that can become a criminal conspiracy.
Unfortunately for the Trump family, colluding with Russian officials during a campaign to get anything of value to the campaign is potentially illegal, and conspiring to “get opposition research” on Hillary Clinton is almost definitely illegal, and to knowingly collude to arrange for Russians to rig an election is definitely illegal.
We have all seen the emails Tweeted in July 2017. I saved them to my computer and I’m certain I’m only one of tens of millions. (Source)
I you bother to actually read the emails, one of the attendees described herself as a “Russian government attorney,” thus rendering moot the supposed Mueller Report suggestion that no one from the Trump campaign met with anyone from the “Russian government.” Even if she wasn’t a “Russian government attorney,” she claimed she was and he thought she was and met with her anyway.
In other words, we have collusion. Donny, Jr. tried to wish away this conspiracy by claiming he was only trying to get opposition research, but for a campaign to accept anything of value from any foreign person or power is against FEC law. Period. End of story.
Now, I don’t want to be the type to pre-judge a case before a judge or jury have heard it, so I am not going to claim contacts between Russia and Then Trump campaign absolutely rose to the level of conspiracy, but come on…
Nearly 100 people from the Trump campaign had contact with Russians. I have been active in dozens of campaigns over the years, and I can’t imagine why anyone from an American presidential campaign would have to speak to anyone from any other country, let alone Russia. I know some seem to operate from the delusion that the Cold War meant Russia became a full-on democracy and the US and Russia became the best of friends, but, um, no.
Russia government is easily one of the most corrupt in the world. When you use the word, “oligarchy” and don’t use the current Russian Federation as an example, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Contrary to the bullshit Donny Trump has been spewing forth the last few days, there has been plenty of evidence that Russia hacked our election and tried to influence the outcome. In fact, 17 intelligence agencies confirmed this before the election. There were two separate hacks of the Democratic National Committee’s email system, as well as a hack of John Podesta’s personal Gmail account, all within a period of a few months during 2016. Not only were the hacks traced to Russian operatives, but more than a dozen Russians were indicted by Robert Mueller and the indictment itself gave plenty of detail regarding how they pulled it off.
Though Donny has been trying to sow doubt for years now, there is little to no doubt that Russia had hacked us and tried to throw our democratic system into chaos. And why not; they have been pulling this crap for years now in other democratic countries; why wouldn’t they try it here? After all, the people of the United States have been ignoring their democracy for years. And before you take me to task for saying so, consider, the turnout in 2018 was the highest for a mid-term election in a
The fact that we set the stage to make it possible for a foreign power to interfere with our democracy doesn’t make it right, however. And there is no way they could have cheated effectively without help from Americans. They seem to have targeted 4-5 specific swing states in their attempt to make Trump president, and there is no way that could have happened without inside help.
And while there were two different hacks of Democratic Party emails, they were not immediately released, and the hackers didn’t do the releasing. The Hillary Clinton emails, for example, were disseminated by Wikileaks and Julian Assange (who was also indicted by Mueller), and their release was times to put a spotlight on Hillary at a time when Trump was having to deal with the infamous Access Hollywood tape that, ironically, cut short Billy Bush’s career, but seemed to have little or no effect on Donald Trump, even among evangelicals, who have easily proved themselves to be the biggest hypocrites in American society.
Trump seemed to know the Wikileaks release was coming and, rather than point out the un-American infringement of Hillary Clinton’s rights and take the Russians to task for such an ethical breach, Trump repeatedly said, “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks” while on the campaign trail. At one debate earlier, Donny inexplicably called on the Russian government to find 30,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails and release them for him.
That wasn’t the only evidence in plain sight of conspiracy between Trump and Russia. In fact, Trump’s entire campaign was like a valentine to his new love, Vladimir Putin. Whether the intent was to give himself an advantage in the election or to get Vlad to let him build “Trump Tower Moscow” and/or “Trump Tower St. Petersburg” almost doesn’t matter because he was kissing Putin’s ass while he was running for president. The fact that he was running for public office means he was and is accountable to the American people. He doesn’t understand that, of course; in his mind, he was running for “Boss of America,” and thinks he can do the same things as “America’s CEO” as he did as the CEO of a privately held family company.
Anyway, getting back to the Trump-Putin nexus, if he’s not “colluding with Putin and Russia,” why was he praising Putin’s leadership, excusing his penchant for murdering his political opponents and taking his position on both Ukraine and Syria, at a time when the United States’ position was strategically at odds.
None of this serves as evidence of “collusion,” and certainly not proof. However, it does bring up a lot of questions that need to be answered. Does Trump just honestly like Putin, or does Putin have something on him? Throughout the campaign, Trump lied about Putin; claiming he didn’t know him; claiming he’d never done business in Russia; denying that he was trying to get a Trump Tower built in Moscow. All of those have been proven to be lies, so is Putin applying pressure to Trump by promising him a Russian foothold?
And what about the Steele Dossier? The fact that Trump dismisses it as much as he does is certainly suspicious and should be further examined. Most of the dossier has been proven, except for the infamous pee tape, but Trump himself pretty much proved the existence of that tape when he spoke to James Comey during their infamous White House meeting, where Trump asked if Comey and the FBI had the tape. If there was no tape, he wouldn’t have asked about it.
What if Putin has everything in the dossier and is using that to leverage Trump? This is one of the problems with not forcing a “president” to place all of his assets in a blind trust; Trump is more invested in his business and his brand than he is in the state of the country.
And again, despite at least 20 direct denials of contact between the Trump campaign and Russians, the Moscow Project and the Committee to Investigate Russia document extensive correspondence and communication between Trump’s campaign and Russians; some of the Russians are/were government officials, but many were believed to be oligarchs and lawyers closely associated with Russian intelligence officials, the government or Putin himself. Most of the indictments and convictions in the Trump-Russia probe have gotten in trouble for lying about their contacts with Russians, which means they must have had contact with Russians and denied it.
In the public domain, we have emails from both Michael Cohen and Ivanka Trump to Russian operatives regarding a Trump building in Moscow. And while Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who had extensive contact with Russians, were not major players in the Trump campaign, but they did attend campaign meetings attended by Trump, which indicates they may have been more involved than advertised. We also have Donny Trump Jr.’s meetings with a high-profile executive at Russia’s central bank while he attended the 2016 NRA Convention, and that meeting was arranged through officials with the Trump campaign. And we all remember Jared Kushner’s statements during the transition, in which he and Donny Junior were anxious to set up a “backchannel” to Russia. Why the hell would someone not dealing with Russia need a backchannel to the Kremlin or Putin?
Again, none of this “proves” conspiracy with Russia, but it sure does raise a lot of questions that need to be answered. It’s possible the Mueller Report does answer these questions, which is why the American people should have access to it as soon as possible.
And that doesn’t get to the infamous Trump Tower meeting, which most certainly included a number of Trump campaign operatives, as well as more than half of the Trump crime family, most of whom are currently working in the White House. As we noted earlier, Junior gave us those emails almost two years ago, and he was excited to get dirt on Hillary, despite the fact that it was coming from a hostile foreign power. As long as they got what they wanted, the good of the United States was not a factor.
All of this is in addition to the Dealings of Paul Manafort, who was in charge of the Trump Campaign for a time, but even when he wasn’t campaign chairman, he was still in touch with Trump. The communications between Manafort, who now sits in a jail cell, away from his family, was a very close associate of Trump’s for many years. And his relationship with Oleg Deripaska and Konstantin Kilimnik is the stuff of bad Russian spy novels. Like Trump, Manafort was deeply in debt to Derapaska, an extremely wealthy Russian oligarch. Manafort famously worked for the Trump campaign for free, but how would he repay his debt to Deripaska by working for free?
Put simply, one reason Manafort is in jail is because his work for Trump was directly linked to the work he did for Deripaska. Manafort’s activities on behalf of Trump were almost definitely payback to Deripaska; there is little doubt of that. We have an email exchange which makes that crystal clear:
“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort wrote. “Absolutely,” Kilimnik responded a few hours later from Kiev. “Every article.” “How do we use to get whole,” Manafort asks. “Has OVD operation seen?” (OVD refers to Deripaska)
Manafort’s work for Trump, free as it was to Trump, was clearly a way to repay his debts to Deripaska; it was his way to “get whole” with the powerful oligarch. While his attorneys repeatedly stress that all of Manafort’s charges are unrelated to Trump and the campaign, what we know indicates that other charges may be pending, as long as the Mueller Report gets to Congress before Trump’s dementia takes over completely.
One of the biggest problems we have with all of this is, the press has managed to treat all of this “collusion in plain sight” as if it is somehow “normal.” (There’s that word again.) For some stupid reason, journalists have tended to frame the question of collusion and conspiracy as if a presidential candidate dealing with a hostile foreign power is no big deal.
Of course, it’s a big deal. For some reason, the press has been treating Trump with kid gloves throughout. Can you imagine if any other candidate, including most Republicans, were openly working with Russia to do a private business deal with oligarchs? It would be different if Trump was keeping everything secret, but he’s been open about all of it. In fact, he’s too incompetent to keep a secret; we know that because the U.S. intelligence community is (apparently) keeping things from him, for fear that he’ll blab about it to Russia, or even North Korea.
During his asinine campaign, Trump was openly pro-Russia, and his views on such issues as Syria and Ukraine were essentially aligned with Putin’s view, not that of the United States. His promise to pull out of NATO and kill the Iran nuclear agreement, were straight out of Putin’s playbook. Once, during an interview with Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl in 2017, O’Reily called Putin a “killer,” and Trump responded:
“There are a lot of killers,” Trump says. “Do you think our country is so innocent? Do you think our country is so innocent?
While it’s technically not illegal for a candidate to be pro-Russia, it is clear that the Trump campaigns work with Russia went beyond that. We all need to see the Mueller report and investigators need to continue their work, and put together the details about all this collusion. Anyone who claims there was never any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is lying to you. And that includes Trump and anyone at Fox News.
An awful lot of Trump associates are crooks heading to jail, so why would we ever believe them over FBI and intelligence officials who are certain of an elaborate conspiracy to take down Hillary Clinton.