EVIDENCE TRUMP CAMPAIGN COLLUDED WITH RUSSIA MOUNTS

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By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2017  (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump, his top aides and family members have repeatedly dismissed claims that his campaign conspired with Russia to win the election as “fake news” and “lies.”   (See a timeline of denials compiled by the BBC.)  But evidence is now clear that those statements were untrue. 

The email chain released  by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., shows "an intent to collude with Russia, veteran prosecutors and white-collar defense attorneys.” Politico reports, handing special prosecutor Robert Mueller a “smoking gun.” A Time Magazine cover shows Trump Jr.’s face and the headline, “Red-handed: the Russia scandal hits home.”

Trump Jr. released emails,  the Washington Post reported, after learning the New York Times was about to do so, which reveal that  he set up a meeting with an attorney who was “part of Russia and its government support or Mr. Trump.” specifically because the attorney claimed to have “official documents” that would “incriminate Hillary.” 

A family friend, publicist Rob Goldstone, helped set up that June 9, 2016 meeting and wrote Trump Jr. in a June 3 email, “The crown prosecutor of Russia…offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” Reuters reports.

Copied on those emails were Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, his then-campaign manager.  All three attended the meeting with the Russian lawyer, Natalyia Veselnitskaya

Trump Jr.’s response?  “I love it,” he replied via email. He later claimed the lawyer did not deliver the damaging material on Clinton as promised, but instead shifted talk to the Magnitsky Act which sanctioned Russian human rights abusers and the Russians’ retaliation by stopping adoptions of Russian children. 

Prior to learning the New York Times was about to release the damning emails,  Trump Jr. had claimed the meeting was set up to discussion Russian adoption policies. Even after disclosing the meeting, he initially failed to mention that Russian counterintelligence officer and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetsin also joined the meeting, the Washington Post reports.  Akhmetsin has previously been accused of illegal corporate hacking, Courthouse News reports. 

Might Akhmetsin have been engaged to hack into Hillary Clinton or DNC email accounts?  Or into U.S. election systems directly including systems of multiple states' voting rolls where phishing attempts were made?  Such hacks have been confirmed, testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee and other accounts have indicated, but it's not yet clear who authorized or carried them out.  Those are questions the ongoing investigations may seek to probe.

Did President Trump know of the meeting, which took place at Trump Tower, while he was also in Trump Tower?  He has claimed he had no knowledge of the meeting.  But two days before the meeting with the Russian lawyer,  he told media he would soon be making a “major speech” with damaging information about his opponent, Hillary Clinton, a  speech and revelations he never made. 

Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin says the question of the campaigns involvement appears “settled now” adding “The conversation will now turn to whether President Trump was personally involved or now,” the Reuters report states.

Trump has defended his son’s actions and dismissed them as merely seeking “opposition research.”

But  conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer  blasted that excuse on Fox TV. “This is not just opposition,” he said. “This is a foreign power, and not just any foreign power, an adversary foreign power.”

Krauthammer further ridicules suggestion that it’s not a crime if the damaging info wasn’t delivered. “It’s a hell of a defense to say your collusion was incompetent,” he said, likening the situation to agreeing to accept delivery of stolen goods—a crime, even if those goods were not delivered.

The Constitution defines treason as conspiring with an adversary foreign power. Only 30 individuals have ever been prosecuted for treason, a tough standard to prove.

 But other crimes, such as a criminal conspiracy and violations of election laws, are far easier to prove. Federal law prohibits any contributions, or soliciting contributions for anything of value, from a foreign government. 

That includes results of research, hacking, or other in-kind contributions, contents a lawsuit just filed against the Trump campaign by Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center, and Democracy 21.  It accuses the Trump campaign, as well as Trump Jr. Kushner and Manafort of soliciting a contribution from a foreign national, PBS Newshour first reported, according to TPM. The suit also names Goldstone for providing “substantial assistance” in soliciting a foreign donation.

Such actions, apart from likely being crimes, also leave the Trump family and Trump’s inner circle vulnerable to possible blackmail, critics point out.

The Senate Intelligence Committee says it plans to call on Trump Jr. to testify, Reuters has reported.  The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, told the press, “The American people need to know that our president is acting on their behalf and not acting because he has a fear that the Russians could disclose things that would harm him or his family.”

 Republican Senator Lindsey Graham shares that concern. “We cannot allow foreign governments to reach out to anybody’s campaign and say, `We’d like to help you.’”

Trump has repeatedly claimed not to have ties to Russians, other selling a property once to a Russian.  But numerous reports have documented far closer ties through Trump’s business enterprises and his campaign.  A CNN video just released also shows Trump meeting in 2013 with the actual Russians who allegedly asked Goldstone to later set up that meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. 

Trump is heard on the videotape saying “These are the most powerful people in Russia; these are the richest people in Russia.” 

Trump Jr. has denied wrongdoing but has hired New York criminal defense attorney Alan Futerfas, a who has represented organized crime mob figures, to represent him.

Kushner, meanwhile, has suddenly remembered over 100 foreign contacts he claims he forgot to disclose when he obtained a White House national security clearance. He’s revised his disclosure list of foreign contacts to add more than 100 names including Russians. Senate Democrats have demanded that Kushner’s security clearance be revoked, a request denied by Republicans.

Not everyone agrees that the Trump team's intent to collude with Russia is a problem.  San Diego Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric has bizarrely blamed the media for reporting on a scandal many legal experts view as more serious than Watergate. n a survey of GOP leaders on the matter by Politico, which found many dismissive of the seroius nature of the allegations, Krvaric stated, " "Democrats and their allies in the media are actually doing the country a disservice with their 'scandal each day' narrative,"  Newsmax reported.

The ongoing investigations by the Senate, House, special prosecutor and lawsuits make it likely that key figures, potentially including the President himself, may be forced to testify under oath on what they knew, and when they knew it.   That could open the door potentially to charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, since it’s a crime to lie under oath, unlike statements made to the media or voters in the American public. 

Resources: 

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/11/donald-trump-jr-emails-smoking-gun-robert-mueller-240414

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-revelation-unlike-any-other-in-the-russia-investigation/2017/07/11/7985fa14-666b-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_take-6pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.87fe1fcdf3a6

http://mindy-fischer-writer.com/2017/07/wow-charles-krauthammer-destroys-conservatives-defense-don-jrs-russia-meeting-video/?utm_content=buffer127bb&

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-emails-idUSKBN19W1VW

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/watch-cnn-obtains-footage-of-trump-palling-around-with-russian-figures-at-the-center-of-don-jr-s-emails/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-tillerson-idUSKBN19V00Y

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/what-donald-trump-knew-and-when-he-knew-it?cid=sm_fb_maddow

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/kushner-adds-more-than-100-names-of-foreign-contacts-he-initially-left-out-of-required-forms-report/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_russiahack-1215p%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d3081394e7a6

http://time.com/4856233/donald-trump-jr-emails/?xid=homepage&pcd=hp-magmod

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/advocacy-groups-accuse-trump-campaign-violation

http://www.courthousenews.com/mining-company-sayslaw-firm-hacked-it/

 

Comments

miriamg

We will agree to disagree. I love your local coverage and only watch FOX News for everything else. I love it when they bring on the "progressive's" and watch them make fools of themselves. On the rest, I do not believe I have ever seen 1 positive Trump story here. I don't remember ever seeing any links to Fox News.

FOX reporting

Mike Wallace has become much more balanced in asking questions and acting like a Journalist. He does a very good job. At times Tucker Carlson approaches with some modicum of informative balanced debate. Shepherd Smith and Neil Cavuto are also trying to be good reporters in my opinion. Juan Williams is okay but watching him being the brunt of the rest of the Fives painful idiocracy becomes quickly boring unless your a right wing zealot.

https://youtu.be/qaVInY84oXM

.

Thank you for the respectful tone.

Readers are free to have their own views, or ask questions about our coverage and sourcing, as long as they do so in a civil and respectful manner.

Fox is often unreliable when fact-checked.   But we have linked to them at times including in the story above where we linked to video on the Fox News site.  For example, the Pulitzer Prize Winning Politifact's "PunditFact" found  statements made on air by Fox, Fox News and Fox Business personalities and their pundit guests.(not counting politicans or paid spokespersons) were:

  http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/tv/fox/ 

Fox does tend to be reliable when covering breaking interenational stories such as earthquakes, terror attacks, etc. or at the very least are often first on the scene as not many American media outlets maintain crews around the world anymore, only Fox and CNN in most locations.  We have linked to them in some stories and in our World Watch when they are first to break something or have the most in-depth coverage. 

But their political coverage is not only often skewed but often, false. They are sometimes biased in their omission as well. For instance there are days/weeks where major news stories negative to Republicans or the Trump administration don't appear at all on Fox's site.  At the very least, they should cover such stories and add their own criticism or insights. On Politics, we're more apt to link to them to show opinions voiced by their newscasters and guests, as opposed to analytical pieces that are just too often full of inaccuracies to be deemed consistently reliable.

As for "positive" coverage of Trump,  he hasn't done a lot that hasn' been without major controversy and criticism.  We've pretty much covered all of his major actions, quoting critics and supporters though in the case of healthcare, other than conservative Congressional members or other partisan groups, there don't seem to be any impartial supporters of the healthcare bill among medical organizations representing doctors, nurses and hospitals or patient advocacy groups. He does seem to have created a lot more controversy including having many of his actions blocked by courts as unconstitutional than any other president in memory.  With other presidents, such as Bush and Obama, it was easy to find positive stories (and negative) because both did many things that were popular with most Americans and didn't run into court challenges nearly as much.

 

I just can't believe it.

"Donald Trump Jr., shows "an intent to collude with Russia..". Are you freaking NUTS? Hillary gets 4 killed in Lybia with her lack of actions, sells most of the uranium in the world to Russia, puts classified information on an ILLEGAL private file server. Sells Government access with donations to the Clinton Foundation, and THE LIBERALS SHRUG? Meanwhile Donald Jr. meets, for 20 minutes, with a 1/2 dozen other people in the room, with some nut case that the Obama Administration let in the county, against the wishes of Homeland Security, and now he is colluding with Russia? It looks like every Democratic, Snowflake, Progressive, Socialist in the entire country HAS GONE NUTS. Bet they will be really surprised in the mid terms when they loose more seats.

Note to the press. We don't give a you know what about these BS Russian stories. Russia has been trying to bring down ALL Democratic countries since Stalin. Did not any of you take history in school? WE WANT, tax reform, illegal criminals thrown out of our country, the medical insurance mess cleaned up, and our infrastructure fixed. Just for starters.

We covered most of those stories too,

including the Benghazi controversy and Clinton's email issues, at the time.  Invsetigations cleared her or legal wrongdoing, including a Republican led panel on Benghazi.  That's not saying there weren't mistakes made.

All such matters merit invsetigation. So why would you want to give a pass on a Presdent and those around him with a clear pattern of lying about ties to Russia?  I fail to understand why any patriotic American would not want that fully investigated no matter what political party they belong to.

It is true though that Russia has meddled in elections in other countries. It's wrong wherever it occurs.

Donald Trump Jr. very did show a willingness to collude with the Russian lawyer, who his own emails show he believed was tied to the Russian government, for the purpose of influencnig a U.S. election.  It's not in doubt that he was willing to do that. Read the emails yourself.  Whether he actually got illegally acquired material from the Russians has not yet been determined. But soliciting any crime is a criminal act.  Tough to see how this isn't one, or why any patriotic American wouldn't care.

If Trump were ultimately removed from office Republicans would still have Pence, who is arguably more conservative.  That's not a win for liberals.  It would simly mean the integrity of our nation was protected.