DID TRUMP COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA?

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Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, by Seth Abramson (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2018, 448 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for promise of future business and covert election assistance.

January 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Coming at a time when President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify publicly in Congress on February 7, 2019, Seth Abramson has written a provocative and timely book; Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.

 

Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circles.


Perhaps the most profound statement by Abramson in this riveting and insightful book, is made in the very first chapter; “Russia and the Trumps”, as he states: “AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS OF FINANCIAL FAILURES IN RUSSIA – failures born not of a lack of desire to succeed but a lack of access to the people in Russia who make wealth creation possible – the Trumps discover that the key to making a fortune in real estate in Russia is greasing the skids with influential Russian officials. When the Trumps finally learn this lesson in the early 2000s, the result is the Russian riches that the family, particularly its patriarch, Donald Trump Sr., has long sought. The family gains, too, a new set of Russian, Russian-American, and Soviet-born allies who will in time rescue the family from its business struggles in the recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, when many U.S. banks are declining to lend to the Trump Organization. Many of these new allies have criminal histories, dubious business practices, close ties to the Kremlin, or all three.”

 

Seth Abramson has tracked every one of these far-flung reports and now, in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, finally gives us a record of the unthinkable – a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organize and analyse every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for conclusion is staring us in the face.

 

Drawing from American and European news outlets, Abramson takes readers through the Trump-Russia scandal chronologically, putting the developments in context and showing how they connect. His extraordinary march through all the public evidence includes:

 

·         How Trump worked for thirty years to expand his real estate empire into Russia even as he was rescued from bankruptcy by Putin’s oligarchs and Kremlin agents.

 

·         How Russian intelligence gathered compromising material on him over multiple trips.

 

·         How Trump recruited Russian allies and business partners while running for president.

 

·         How he surrounded himself with advisors who engaged in clandestine negotiations with Russia.

 

·         How Trump aides and family members held secret meetings with foreign agents and lied about them (i.e., Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner).

 

·         By pulling every last thread of this complicated story together, Abramson argues that – even in the absence of a Congressional investigation or a report from Special Counsel Mueller – the public record already indicates a quid pro quo between Trump and the Kremlin. The most extraordinary part of the case for collusion is that so much of it unfolded in plain sight.

 

This writer, having earlier written reviews of Donald Trump’s Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, Donna Brazile’s Hacks, Malcom Nance’s The Plot to Hack America and Dr. Bandy Lee’s The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, in the East County Magazine, Abramson’s book ties all these others together and puts the issue of collusion into proper perspective.

 

George Papadopoulos, recently pleading guilty and sentenced to prison, is profiled in Abramson’s book as a connection to the proof of collusion by Trump, as he states: “George Papadopoulos now urges the Russians to move forward with back-channel negotiations, which they do.” Papadopoulos is pictured here with President Trump and Attorney General Sessions at a National Security Meeting before he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was sentenced to prison.

 

It should be interesting to note that the George Papadopoulos referenced by the author in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, would plead guilty in the attached court transcript of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1001, and serve prison time. Read court transcript here.

 

Specifically, the court transcript would state: “In the course of that interview, the Defendant made a series of deliberate false statements and deliberate omissions that are including, but not limited to the timing of when he met certain individuals that the Defendant understood had substantial connections to high-level Russian government officials; and the extent and nature of his communication with those individuals and with certain Russian nationals that he was communicating with during the campaign.”

 

The attached transcript that George Papadopoulos would plead guilty and be sentenced to prison would further state: “The Government would be able to prove this conduct by, among other evidence, a record of the statement itself, which was recorded; e-mails; text messages; communications via social media such as Facebook; Skype records; records of internet searches; location data; and other evidence which would show that the Defendant’s statements that were made during that January 27th interview were false. And that he knew that they were false at the time they were made, and that there was a deliberate effort to provide false information to the government.”

 

It is also interesting to note in this revealing and intriguing book by Abramson, the following passage that relates to Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who as mentioned earlier is scheduled to testify in public before Congress on February 7, 2019: “At his in-court allocution, Cohen unambiguously identifies Trump (using a euphemistic appellation required by Department of Justice protocols) as the man who directed him to commit a number of crimes.”

 

Equally revealing and prophetic in Abramson’s Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, is him stating: “In Washington, the top three Republicans in the House of Representatives talk about Donald Trump and Dana Rohrabacher getting ‘paid’ by Putin to take the policy positions they do; the three men do not realize their comments have been recorded.”

 

This is a fascinating book, with a cast of characters from Oleg Deripaska to Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn, giving ample reason and proof of collusion, that I highly recommend.

 

Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the Book Review Editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @Dennis Moore8.

 

Comments

Trace the Greed

Poor Jussie Smollett. He thought we needed an actor to convince us the Trump regime was harmful. A good author is just fine and so far, its been many an author piercing this tangerine tinged elephant sucking up Democracy for personal profit and a family legacy fueled by the desire to outdo daddy. Trump is certainly a juicy case for a head (and maybe hair) shrinker, but Seth Abramson does a tidy job by connecting the dots of this megalomaniac on this map of overwhelming evidence towards undermining and concealing. Dennis Moore provides an excellent review prompting the reader to stop reading immediately and purchase the book. I've often found this to be the case of Moore's take on various topics and his ability to flesh out the essence of the author's intent and grounded message. America is being sold out by a man who's goal was not to be president, but to survive in the quagmire of global real estate, having botched his investments and good will here. Russia was a safe haven, ripe opportunity and who would ever think to bother him there? Hell, Mitt Romney brought up the Russian threat, but who listened to that guy? Barack Obama got this entire nightmare started by joking about Trump's lack of pure power at that infamous White House Correspondence Dinner. Thanks, Barry for poking the birth-certificate searching bear. Anyway, as an author I am constantly checking to see which new book Moore is reviewing so I can get a good assessment of what new interesting offerings are in the market place. I anticipate his review of my upcoming comedy encyclopedia, "This Day in Comedy" by TrineDay and being released this Fall. Thank you Dennis, for another exciting and informative review. Darryl Littleton, historian and author of "Black Comedians on Black Comedy" and the upcoming "This Day in Comedy: The Ethnic Encyclopedia of Laughter". funnylit.com

Did Trump Collude?

The last few days The Washington Post has uncovered more information into The Trump investigation. Now Cohen has decided to Testify after backing out for fearing for his life and his family. Mr. Cohen will open up and reveal secrets that have a major impact on other individuals who may also be implicated. We shouldn't be surprised by his testimony. Remember he was the Fixer. Mobile Notary

More conspiracy/collusion evidence

Today Mueller asked a judge to sentence Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to 18-24 years in prison after he breached his plea bargain deal for financial crimes. Why did Manafort blow his plea deal?  From Axios:

Judge fixates on Manafort’s ties to suspected Russian intelligence operative (Axios)

… Manafort… had the chance to cooperate with the special counsel in exchange for leniency. And yet he chose to throw that opportunity away and risk spending the rest of his life in prison by lying to investigators, including — among other details — about his interactions with Kilimnik….Kilimnik served as Manafort's liason to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and was in frequent communication with Manafort while he was working as Trump's unpaid campaign manager, according to the Washington Post. He served in the Soviet army and is believed to have been an officer in the GRU, the Russian intelligence agency indicted by Mueller for hacking and leading the interference effort in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Deputy Trump campaign manager Rick Gates, who is a cooperating witness, told the special counsel that Manafort shared 2016 campaign polling data with Kilimnik. Manafort subsequently lied to investigators about doing so — one of the false statements that caused him to breach his plea deal.

Judge Jackson called Manafort's lies "a problematic attempt to shield his Russian conspirator from liability," raising "legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie." It's a remarkable statement from a federal judge who knows far more than the public about what exactly Robert Mueller has uncovered.

Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, by Seth Abramson

This book is timely, the title newsworthy, and the cover design is interesting. I think most Americans and the world, probably believe that Putin has something or a number of things on President Trump, and as a result the latter has no choice but to be "nice" to him. I am not sure how much we will get from the Mueller investigation, but I do believe that both Michael Cohen and Roger Stone will shed some much needed light, and will help put the missing pieces together. I agree with the author when he says that “AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS OF FINANCIAL FAILURES IN RUSSIA – failures born not of a lack of desire to succeed but a lack of access to the people in Russia who make wealth creation possible – the Trumps discover that the key to making a fortune in real estate in Russia is greasing the skids with influential Russian officials"" I think if Mueller, who has been quite secretive thus far, follows the money trail, subpoena tax returns and get deep into his dealings with Deutsche Bank, I do believe that we will all get closer to the proof collusion. Seth Abramson, has done his research, and has carefully detailed it in this book which is aptly timed. Submitted by Jacqueline Carr - Author of "Hands of Time", "Quiet Thoughts", and "A Selected Few Just For You"

The President and his Lies

I have covered this Administration since the election. This President has colluded with Russia he is the ring leader. Our Country is in shambles he is the biggest con artist ever. Lock them all up. We as Americans need a honest leader. Shame on the Republican Party for allowing such a stain on our Democracy.

The Flat Earth Society Called....

wondering where you've been. Two years of investigation, millions of wasted tax payer dollars = ZERO collusion. The only proven collusion has been between the DNC and Fusion GPS. It is truly sad that there are people out there as ill-informed as this that don't take the time to think objectively, and look at evidence rather than tote the party line. Educate yourself. There's another weasel in the woodpile

There is abundant evidence of collusion,

and remember the Mueller investigation is not concluded yet.  He has already indicted and gotten guilty pleas from many Trump conspirators and the indictments are moving closer and closer to Trump, higher and higher up in his inner circle. This is the same means Mueller has used through the years to take down organized crime rings. You don't start at the top.  Prosecutors start at the loweset tiers, get plea bargains or people to turn state's evidence and work their way up the chain of commend. This goes beyond Trump to include operatives and leaders of Russia, a foreign power.  To say there is no collusion means you haven't bothered to read the mountains of evidence that are now in the public domain.  Read the court records, Congressional testimony, investigative reports, news interviews, etc.   It won't be long before Trump's family members are indicted, but already there is evidence showing Trump knew of some of the key meetings/contacts and has lied to cover up the conspiracy.  Those are crimes. The only question is how and when he will be held accountable -- will be be impeachment, indictment while in office, or indictment after he leaves office.

Now what, Miriam?

Here's the real question, will you have the character to admit you were wrong? For the sake of your reputation as an Editor, I truly hope so. I'm still waiting for you to publish and editorial on the front page with the title "Mueller Recommends no further indictments" God knows it'd be on every page of this site had it gone the other way. Anxious to see how you'll twist this, hope you had a great weekend.

Here is my story:

https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/congress-and-attorney-general-wrangle...

 

Untill we see the full report, we only have the word of one man, Barr, who many believe was appointed to protect Trump and kill any potential for charging him with obstruction.  Barr said a year or so ago he didn't believe any president could be charged with obstruction, so it's understandable why people would believe he is biased and that his word alone is not enough to put this to rest.  Let the American people see what Mueller actually wrote.

Here are articles I recommend reading on the Mueller report,

with the caveat that we've only seen AG Barr's summary, not the full report which may be released in the future at least in redacted form:

Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction (New York Times)

The investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III found no evidence that President Trump or any of his aides coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference, according to a summary of the special counsel’s key findings made public on Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr…Mr. Mueller’s team drew no conclusions about whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice, Mr. Barr said, so he made his own decision.

Barr’s Declaration on Trump Puts Justice Dept. Back in Political Crucible (New York Times)

William P. Barr was a lawyer in private practice in June when he wrote an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department that was sharply skeptical of the special counsel’s inquiry into whether President Trump illegally obstructed justice. Nine months later, Mr. Trump is cleared of that offense, and he has Mr. Barr, his new attorney general, to thank.

Democrats demand Mueller’s full report by next week (Politico)

House Democrats hinted they’d issue a subpoena to the attorney general to get the report.

Robert Mueller once again failed as federal prosecutor (Reno Dispatch)

… Any prosecutor worth his or her salt could and should have brought a substantial obstruction of justice case against Trump. But as I've been reporting for the last 18 years, Mueller has a tendency to choke when it comes to going after American Presidents. ..Mueller has no trouble going after the bottom feeders, the Paul Manaforts of the world, but he remains loathe to implicate the Big Fish. He refused to question the motives or actions of President George W. Bush during the 9/11 investigation.

All that's released is a summary by Barr, the AG, not the report

So none of us really know what Mueller wrote.  We do know that Barr said over a year ago that he didn't believe a sitting president could be indicted on anything, and he punted on the obstruction of justice charge but Congress could potentially impeach. There is plenty of evidence for obstruction just from what's been out in the public domain. Even Barr's likely-biased summary says Mueller's report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice, meaning it shows some evidence to substantiate it.

We are hearing that becaue the DOJ is so biased and Trump has already dangled pardons to try and influence people's testimony, Mueller likely shared evidence of various crimes including financial ones and more with New York state prosecutors since those cannot be dismissed through pardons. There are still sealed indictments, too.

I suspect the NY prosecutors will be indicting some of Trump's family members on corruption and financial crime scandals, and possibly even Trump himself.

As for the  no collusion with Russia, I am surprised at that characterization of Mueller's report but if that is true (or even if it is not) the only way many people will believe it is if the full report is published, redacting out only items that must be protected for national security or privacy of grand jurors etc.  It's also possible this, too, is spin. For instance, if Mueller said he could not prove collusion involving the president himself because the White House refused to allow Trump to speak with the FBI,that could have been shortened to just say Mueller couldn't prove collusion. Mueller may also have had to end his probe early because funding was running out of the DOJ under Barr refused to renew it, as some have speculated.  What we do know is that several top members of Trump's campaign DID collude with Russia to get dirt on Hilary Clinton for example, and the Trump family profited off various shady connections to Russian mobsters, and laundered money for Russians and others through Trump hotels and casinos.  This reminds me of Bill Clinton's denial of "sex" with Monica Lewinski, taking a very narrow defition of sex to exclude the oral version.  Just what is collusion?  Surely conspiring with a foreign power for profit and to procure illegally obtained information on your opponent -- hacked and stolen by a foreign power -- is not something of which you approve?  It is illegal, as are so many other actions of this corrupt bunch.  And let's not forget the many indictments, guilty pleas and convictions already obtained from the top people in Trump's campaign as well as his National Security Advisor.

I am astounded that you approve of all those things or seem to see nothing wrong with any of it. How could anyone other than Russian troll believe all of that is acceptable behavior in a presidential campaign and administration?

 

I did seek reprint rights to one well-written piece on this but the writer wanted an astronomial sum. I will be linking to several takes on this story in this week's world watch and if I can find time, will take a stab at writing  my own analysis.  I am in the midst of two grant projects on short deadlines, plus the SPJ journalism awards all due before I leave town for a few days, so timing couldn't be worse.

 

 

 

You're definitley predictable!

Well, I can’t say I’m at all surprised by your response, it was a rhetorical question anyway. I’m not upset over it, I actually feel sorry for you and the rest of your party. You’ve been lied to for so long by the media and politicians you so fervently revere, you’ve lost the ability to think objectively, rather than emotionally. Prepare yourself for future disappointment.

JDInSD why don't you listen to this audio by Andrew McCabe

JDInSD, why can't you just wait until the full Mueller report is revealed before you jump to conclusions, and please listen to the attached radio interview with former FBI assistant director Andrew McCabe, who talks about Rod Rosenstein repeatedly discussing wearing a "wire" to catch Trump saying something incriminating. Listen here.

Easy answer, Dennis.

Because I do not trust, or believe anything Andy McCabe has to say. He lied under oath, multiple times, how is that so hard to grasp? What's next, I should seek investment advice from Bernie Madoff? The man's a proven liar and has political motivation for every interview he's done and each article he writes. What exactly do you think is going to change when the full report is made public? What conclusions do you think I've jumped to? Both the AG and Robert Mueller have publicly stated that there will be no further indictments resulting from this investigation which translates to no collusion. You want to talk about jumping to conclusions, lets talk about the fact that the entire liberal media, including those on this site, have been propagating the forgone conclusion that there WAS "collusion" for two years! It is truly fascinating to watch the media and others, struggle to spin their way around the fact that after two years of investigation, Mueller and his team were unable to indict a single American for conspiring with Russia to steal the election. Not a single one. Enjoy your book, Dennis.

You're delusional

and in for yet another big disappointment. Mueller's got nothing, and your leaders know it which is why they're preparing yet another investigation of their own. The Senate Intelligence Committee spent 2 years investigating whether there was any collusion, they found NONE. The Dems have spent the past 2 years attacking anyone who dare raise questions about the foundation of the Mueller investigation. Now, they say they'll keep investigating if Mueller doesn't find what they want. This will inevitably turn around and bite your team just like Harry Reid's decision in 2013. Be prepared to reap what you sow.

Manafort's sentencing today alludes to "Collusion"

Although the charges made by Mueller in the case today did not specify collusion, you really do need to read the book to see where there is collusion. On pages 307 and 308 it specifically identifies collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In February 2018, Nastya Rybka claimed to have audio recordings of Paul Manafort's former boss, Russian oligarch and Putin confidant Oleg Deripaska, that would, she said, confirm that Russian government officials colluded with the Trump campaign.Alexei Navalny theorized that Paul Manafort's offer of private briefings for Deripaska was made as part of a slightly longer back channel intended to lead from Manafort to Deripaska, Deripaska to Prikhodko, and Prikhodko to both Putin and Medvedev. Read the book!

Judge rules that former Trump Campaign Manager lied to SCO

To counter what this reader commented on about being delusional, one would have to be delusional not to realize that there definitely is collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The attached Special Council Sentencing Memo to the judge in the Paul Manafort case, whom the judge had earlier ruled that Paul Manafort breached the cooperation agreement between him and Robert Mueller's office, recommend 19 to 24 years in prison for this former campaign manager for Donald Trump. And this is just in this particular case, while Manafort is yet to be sentenced in another federal district. When all the smoke clears, and after numerous guilty please and verdicts, one would be hard pressed not to see collusion. And then Andrew McCabe book comes out just today, which reveals a counterintelligence probe against Trump by the FBI. See Manafort sentencing memo here.

Show me collusion, I challenge you.

Please read the document in its entirety, and find me one reference to collusion between Trump and the Russians. Find the word collusion anywhere in the document for that matter. Manafort's problems have nothing to do with Trump's campaign. You folks seem to want to imply that because a former advisor is found guilty of crimes, that this by default implicates Trump even though those crimes pre-date his role with Trump. You've got the audacity to come on here and talk about Manafort being dishonest and pimping Andy McCabe's book in the same post? Just amazing, Dennis. You are aware that Andy McCabe was found guilty of lying UNDER OATH multiple times, right? Assuming you're also aware that he was the Deputy Director of our FBI, right? You bring me pennies, I'll show you dollars, and why your Party is morally broke.

JDInSD perhaps you should read the book!

JDInSD perhaps you should read the book before drawing any conclusions. In regard to collusion, it is staring you in the face; the Trump Hotel meeting between Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., along with a group of Russians. If you are being honest with yourself there is no way that you can not view that as collusion. Perhaps you should go to the dictionary to read the definition of collusion, and I don't say that to be mean. After all, this is our country that we are talking about, and Russia has long been our sworn adversary.

Not a chance

I wouldn't spend a dime or a minute to hear anything McCabe has to say, he's a proven liar and a criminal. You've drank the Kool-Aid the MSM has been selling in their attempt to divert attention from the real crime, which is the weaponizing of our judicial and legal system to overthrow a duly elected president. No president in our lifetime has been tougher on Russia since Reagan, that's a simple fact. If you think Trump is more of a crook than the Clintons, then there's no chance we'll ever find common ground.

Collusion with Russia

I definitely want to get this book. I just hope it's available for the Kindle, since I am currently in Ecuador and have no mailing address. I have believed from the beginning that Trump is somehow connected to Putin, and from Trump's body language in Helsinki, I felt that it was obvious that Putin had something on him. I'm looking forward to reading this. I can't say the subject is near and dear to my heart--it's more like it shoots knives down my spine. Great review, Dennis.