Now That Michael Flynn Pled Guilty, What’s next for Donald Trump?

Now that Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn has pled guilty to a felony, people are wondering what it means.

The big ticket conversation item right now is that Trump tried to influence a foreign government before he took office and was a private citizen.  This would be a violation of the Logan Act.  The Logan Act, however, is a 200 year old criminal law and has never been used to prosecute or convict anyone in its entire history.  In fact only two people have even seen charges under the Logan Act, and neither were convicted.

So if the fact that Trump was conspiring with Flynn and others to influence Russia to take certain foreign policy actions before the election is not enough to go the distance, what else is there?

The second, stronger, but still fairly weak theory is that Trump and his team conspired with the Russian government to steal electronic data from Democrats.  This would be a computer crime.  But the record indicates that Trump and his flunkies only made contact with the Russians on this specific topic after the data was already stolen.  So without more information, it does not look like Trump asked Russia to steal the data (before the fact) or planned or conspired to steal it.

A sub-category of potential crimes in this area is a violation of campaign finance law.  It is illegal for a U.S. political candidate to take something of value from a foreign government during a campaign.  Something of value usually equates to campaign money or other assistance.  There’s evidence that Russia spent a lot of money on social media ads that directly benefited Trump.  There was also the famous meeting between one of Putin’s lawyers and Trump’s top campaign officials in Trump Tower.  And of course, Trump’s campaign directly benefited from all of the leaked Democrat emails.  So this could go somewhere, but the question would be how much involvement did Trump’s team have with the actions of the Russians?

Trump’s obvious defense would be, “I can’t tell the Russians how to spend their money, that’s up to them and I didn’t tell them how to do it during the campaign.”  There is some evidence suggesting he did try to tell the Russians how to help him during the campaign, but proving it beyond a reasonable doubt to get a criminal conviction, with what we know right now, would be difficult.

The third option goes back to Paul Manafort, who was indicted for, essentially, corruption and fraud by taking millions from a foreign government and laundering the money and taking a cut.  This could be why Trump has absolutely refused to release his tax returns–because they could show that he is on Russia’s payroll.  If it is the case that Trump was also on the take, and worked with Paul to take millions from the Russians in exchange for influence and favorable policy decisions, this would be a very serious criminal case of corruption, fraud, money laundering, and perhaps even treason against the president.

The third option would also go far to explain why Flynn, and Papadopoulos before him, intentionally lied to the FBI–a felony–about the campaign’s contacts with the Russians.  If Flynn and Papadopoulos knew that Trump and his team were taking millions from the Russians in exchange for helping the Russians (and it looks like Flynn was also taking money from the Russians), then any action taken on behalf or in coordination with Russia is clear evidence of serious criminal wrongdoing.  And the FBI would be the last people you would want to talk to about that.

If, on the other hand, we were still discussing potential Logan Act violations, it seems like the Trump Team, given their willingness to be loud mouths, would have basically said, “Yeah so what we talked to the Russians, we were about to take over the White House and we didn’t want Obama’s stupid decisions to get us off to a bad start.  So of course we talked to the Russians during the transition.  Of course we were talking to them a few weeks before we took office.  We were going to be in charge, so why wouldn’t we do that?”

This is probably why the Logan Act, while still good law, has never been effectively used in over 200 years and is doubtful to be the main dish in the Mueller investigation.  It’s all about the money at this point.

Advertisements

Trump’s National Security Advisor Mike Flynn Pleads Guilty to Felony

Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn just agreed to become a felon. You don’t agree to become a felon and plead guilty to a serious crime unless you are getting something out of it. Flynn was facing more serious charges, and instead of rolling the dice, he turned rat on Trump and/or the vice president, Pence.

Per Business Insider reporter Natasha Bertrand:

This is a “clear sign” that Flynn is cooperating against Trump.  We also aren’t dealing with a hypothetical, we know Flynn has definitely pled guilty:

So what did Flynn give up to avoid more serious criminal charges? Per ABC news, Flynn is prepared to testify against Trump, members of his family and Trump’s staff. Flynn will testify that Trump, as a candidate (not as president), ordered him to contact Russians.  The “as a candidate” part is important because it’s illegal for a presidential candidate to be coordinating with a foreign government, especially one that is an enemy to the US, like the Russian government.

https://www.mrctv.org/embed/525596

According to Bloomberg news, Flynn also admitted that he had a call with Trump at Trump’s private resort, Mar-A-Lago, to plan how they would approach the Russian Ambassador. That’s is conspiracy, folks.

Prosecutor Brandon L. Van Grack said in court that “a very senior member of the transition team directed” Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador at one point. At another, Flynn “called a senior official of the Trump team at Mar-a-Lago” to discuss a United Nations resolution that Flynn talked about with Kislyak.

Trump’s inner circle is now shitting bricks, they are absolutely freaking out and going crazy, they are very scared and in very big trouble.  One person “very close” to the president said that the Flynn development is “very very bad” because Flynn knows a lot of Trump’s criminal secrets, and he will tell them all to the Feds to avoid going to jail for a very long time.

We have also have a fact statement filed in federal court about Flynn. You can read it here. It’s very obvious that more people are going to be arrested over this. And since Flynn was so high up in the food chain, there are only a few directions this can go in:

  • Trump
  • Trump’s family (sons, daughter, son in law)
  • Attorney General Sessions
  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Other high-level Trump campaign officials (Bannon, Conway, etc.)

This is history in the making, folks.

Trump Jr.’s Meeting with Russian Spies

Over the course of the last week, we’ve learned about a meeting between Russian spies and Trump Jr., which took place during the presidential campaign and in Trump Tower.  On Sunday, we learned there was an unreported meeting between Donald Trump Jr., and potential Russian foreign agents.  On Monday, we learned that the meeting was arranged by a Russian.  on Tuesday, we learned that the meting was with Russian foreign agents and about Russian sanctions.  On Wednesday, we learned that the meeting was specifically about the Russian government helping Trump with the “Hillary problem.”  On Thursday, we learned that a second Russian agent was at the meeting, and that the person is a known former counter intelligence spy and Russian lobbyist.  Yesterday, Friday, we learned that there were actually twice as many people at the meeting than was originally reported.

There are many angles to this meeting, but probably the most significant is the fact that Russian lawyer, with deep ties to Putin (and therefore a likely government agent), Natalia Veselnitskaya, was present.  Veselnitskaya represented Russian company Prevezon, which was indicted in the U.S. for money laundering.  After Trump took office, however, the case was abruptly dismissed.

The timeline is interesting.   On September 10, 2013, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicted Prevezon for money laundering in New York.  Prevezon then hired Veselnitskaya to represent it in the case.  Three years into the representation, on June 9, 2016, Veselnitskaya contacted the Trump team and promised to give them dirt on Hillary Clinton.  Trump Jr., was excited, claiming he’d “love” to get dirt on his political opponent from a foreign agent (which is a crime).

On November 9, 2016, Trump wins the election.  Then on March 11, 2017, two months into his presidency, Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney that indicted Prevezon.  Two months after that, Trump’s DOJ, which is led by Jeff Sessions, a man that also had contacts with Russian foreign agents during the campaign that he lied about, settles the $230 million money laundering case against Prevezon for $6 million.

Was such a low settlement reasonable?  The Russians claimed that it was so low it proved that the U.S. was basically apologizing for filing the suit.  So either it was a bad, dead end lawsuit–which is unlikely since the U.S. Attorney’s office is filled with absolute top-notch lawyers–or it was settled for other reasons:

The settlement was so meager that one of Prevezon’s US attorneys said it was “almost an admission that they shouldn’t have brought the case.” Veselnitskaya herself crowed that it was “almost an apology from the government.”

It is important to also noted that some in the U.S. viewed the $6 million settlement as a victory since the key witness was thrown out of a window in Russia and all the U.S. could ultimately prove was money laundering of about $1.9 million.  Even the fired Preet Bharara seemed to think the resolution was a good one.

In any event, at the end of the day, Veselnitskaya got exactly what she wanted.

 

 

Russians Target Donald Trump Jr.

There have been a lot of development since I last posted, that have significantly changed the landscape of the Trump-Russian conspiracy.  But this latest development is significant.  In fact, George W. Bush’s own ethics chief is flat out calling the latest news “treason” or “very close to treason.”  Click here to watch the video.

So what is this treason?  If you missed it, the New York Times is reporting that Donald Trump Jr., met with an agent of the Russian government to discuss receiving Hillary’s e-mails in order to damage her campaign.  Furthermore, that the meeting was confirmed to Donald Jr., in writing, before hand.  This means that prosecutors can now prove that Donald Jr., was knowingly attempting to work with a foreign agent/government to disrupt the election, and directly connects the dots between the Trump campaign and Russian agents who stole Hillary’s e-mails.

Beyond making a direct connection between Don’s campaign and the Russian government, the article is interesting because it reports that the source of the information which led to the article was the Russian government itself.  A few days ago, Trump met with Putin and by all accounts was very friendly to Putin and kissed the Russian dictator’s ass.  Just a few days later, however, it appears that Putin has put the knife in the back of Don Jr., releasing information that directly, and in writing, ties the Trump campaign to the Russian government hackers.

It seems like little Donny Jr., is going down, and it’s the Russian government that put him there.  Perhaps Russia is disappointed that they did not get the results they wanted from Donny after he got elected.  Or perhaps Russia was just meddling in our elections to disrupt our country, which obviously it has.  But now that the election is over and they got what they wanted, Russia has no use for Trump and will slowly destroy his presidency to inflict maximum damage to our political infrastructure.  Or Maybe Donny forgot to make his loan payment to the Russian mobsters who finance his operations, and this was a reminder that he is a Russian bitch and nothing more.  Who knows.

We’ll see what happens next.

Attorney General Wants Trump To Fire Him

The morning started with reports that president Donald Trump is very angry at attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump is angry that Sessions refused to take control over the investigation into Russian hacking and campaign spying, and instead “recused” himself, or in other words, removed himself, from the investigation.  Trump was probably angry because he thought Sessions would be there to cover up Trump’s ties to Russia:

“I thought that was a pretty damning report for the president,” Miller said. “Why would the president care if Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation or not unless he wanted him to exert inappropriate influence over it. It shouldn’t really matter who’s leading the investigation unless you want the person in charge to somehow steer it in a way that benefits you.”

Article after article kept coming, talking about how pissed off Trump was at Sessions, and explaining that the Trump’s tweets about the “travel ban” were really a way for him to blow off some of the steam he has built up about Sessions.  Trump effectively strangled the justice department’s case before it ever had a chance of making it before the supreme court:

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries.

After all the bad stories about Sessions, it then was leaked to the press that Sessions actually offered to resign.  He’s had enough with El Trumpo, and seems to be who Trump is taking out his anger on these days.  Could it be that El Trumpo is getting scared?

As for Sessions, he’s ready to retire and pursue his life-long dream!

vBbyxKQhulN9fjefN2az50AGe0CKLVSfPEtgbjR8OAE

Russia Investigation Targets Current Senior White House Official, Trump Admits to Firing Comey over Russia

Just when you thought the week might be calming down, the NYTimes drops the bombshell that Trump told the Russian spies, who he invited to the Oval Office, that he fired Comey for being a nutj ob, and to “take the pressure off” the Russia investigation.  Trump’s spokesman, Spicer, refused to deny that Trump made the comment. Which either means it’s on tape or video or that there were so many witnesses to the statement it would be impossible to deny it.

Then, a few minutes later, just as soon as Trump’s plane went “wheels up” for his trip to the Middle East, the WaPo dropped another bombshell: a current, and very senior member of Trump’s White House team has been swept into the FBI’s Russia probe.

We do not know who the senior official is.  However, based on what we know, the best guess seems to be on Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner. This is based on his track record: he forgot to mention on his security clearance forms that he had a meeting with Russians, met with a Russian banker with direct ties to Putin, did not want to appoint a special counsel, and pushed hard for Comey’s firing.  Kushner has also “lawyered up.”  Kushner’s dad is also a known criminal felon for . . . you guessed it, illegal campaign contributions, among other things.

According to Washington Post reporters on Twitter, the day is not over . . .

Trump Passed Classified Intelligence to Russian Spies during White House Meeting

The fun started on May 10, 2017, when president Trump met with the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office of the White House.  Kislyak is a known Russian spy.  Trump prohibited all American media from the meeting, but allowed Russian state news agency TASS, a Russian propaganda network, into the meeting.

Then on May 15, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Trump told the Russian spies during the meeting “highly classified information.” 

Trump’s people quickly came out and said it wasn’t true. But that didn’t last long. Instead of denying that he leaked classified information, Trump admitted it. He said he had the “absolute right” to share classified information with the Russians.  He also said he shared the classified information for “humanitarian” reasons. 

In response to Trump leaking classified information, Republican senator Collins has asked for a briefing on all of the info Trump passed to Russian spies.  Republican congressman Justin Amash is demanding that Trump share with Congress, in a classified setting, the “precise” details of Trump’s meeting with Russian spies.  Republican senator John McCain said that Trump’s sharing of information with Russian spies is “deeply disturbing.”

The intelligence community is also very angry. A former CIA agent said that Trump’s leak to Russian spies “will get Americans killed.”  And Israeli media is reporting that U.S. officials warned Israel not to share sensitive intelligence with Trump because Trump would pass the information to Russian spies would would then pass the information to Iranian spies. Iran is on record as wanting to destroy Israel.

Even Trump himself demanded that Edward Snowden be “executed” for giving “serious information” to Russia.