Collusion And Coordination
A couple of days ago I wrote that these new GOP-led investigations of Hillary’s email and the seven year old uranium deal, plus the revolt by Corker and Flake, might indicate that the evidence of Trump’s collusion and coordination as well as his obstruction of justice is not only growing but has become overwhelming and indefensible. The revelations of the past two days does seem to bear that speculation out.
The news that Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, a key supplier of data analytics for the Trump campaign, actively solicited Julian Assange in distributing Hillary Clinton’s over 30,000 deleted emails is just the latest revelation of contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Assange actually confirmed the story saying, “I can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.” Of course, the reason Assange rejected the approach is because WikiLeaks did not have those emails, nor did anyone else. But Assange’s answer begs the next question of whether WikiLeaks agreed to provide other information to Nix that it might be able to get its hands on. The Trump campaign also did not deny the story but tried to say that Cambridge was not key to their campaign, despite the fact that they paid Cambridge millions of dollars and had Cambridge employees embedded in the campaign.
Cambridge Analytica is owned by the Mercers and it was active, potentially illegally, in the Brexit vote. It was my belief that Nix never would have taken this action without approval from the Mercers and tonight a report from the Daily Beast confirms that. It should be noted that Rebekah Mercer was the person largely responsible for funding Trump’s presidential campaign and in installing her hand-picked man, Steve Bannon, as Trump’s campaign manager.
This almost completes the circle of senior Trump advisers who have not only been shown to have interest in coordination actions with the Russians and/or their surrogates but have also acted on that interest. Manafort, Kushner, and Don Jr. met with the Russians in Trump Tower with the explicit expectation of receiving dirt that they could use against Hillary Clinton. Now we have Trump’s biggest backer, Rebekah Mercer, and the head of Mercer’s data analytics team, that was embedded with the Trump campaign, soliciting WikiLeaks. A prior report indicated that another GOP operative, Peter Smith, was also trying to work with the Russians to find those same deleted Clinton emails and deliver them to Mike Flynn. Apparently Bannon and KellyAnn Conway had also been briefed on that effort. Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, was trying to make a deal to build a Trump tower in Moscow during the campaign. Roger Stone has admitted to indirect contacts with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. Is there anyone close to Trump who wasn’t talking to the Russians? Melania, perhaps.
Of course, this just adds to the other numerous contacts that Trump and Republican surrogates had with the Russians during and after the campaign. These include a Republican operative in Florida who coordinated with Guccifer 2.0 to distribute the strategies and vulnerabilities of Democratic candidates in contested elections around the country, data that was stolen from the DNC. Manafort and Flynn had been paid by the Russians or their surrogates either before or during the campaign. Jared Kushner attempted to set up a secret back channel to the Russians. And so many others.
Basically, every person close to Trump during the campaign either had direct contact with the Russians, or was interested in receiving potentially illegally stolen material from the Russians, or was actively pursuing the Russians to receive potentially illegally stolen material. And of course, there is Trump himself. He openly solicited the Russians’ help in finding those Hillary emails. And, as Ari Melber reported last night, Trump made over 130 references to WikiLeaks during the actual presidential campaign that lasted only 110 days. That may not be as many lies as he told in that time, but it is still an impressive number.
Under American law, the words “collusion” and “coordination” have no real meaning. According to John Dean, the underlying crimes that those words convey “cover many potential illegal actions by the Trump campaign, which could range from aiding and abetting (18 USC 2) to conspiracy per se (18 USC 371) to conspiring to violate several potentially applicable laws like: 18 USC 1030 — fraud and related activity in connection with computers; 18 USC 1343 — wire fraud; or 52 USC 30121 — contributions and donations by foreign nationals. Also, 18 USC 2381 — for, contrary to a widespread belief that there must be a declared war, the Justice Department as recently as 2006 indicted for “aid and comfort” to our enemies, the form of collusion better known as treason.”
More importantly, Trump is continuing his collusion with the Russians by taking absolutely no actions to prevent the Russians from interfering in the 2018 and subsequent elections. Last week, Jeff Sessions admitted that the DOJ has done nothing to prepare for Russian interference in the 2018 election. Trump is apparently openly defying the Congress by intentionally delaying implementing the legally mandate sanctions on Russia which were suppose to go into effect weeks ago. John McCain declared that the administration is acting “as if they are unilateral”.
As Josh Marshall notes, “Russia may not be an enemy but it is an adversary state which has defined a strategic priority of destabilizing the US and the European Union. That includes information operations and likely actual vote tally tampering as well. This is all happening. It’s a direct attack on the country. It’s not something we need to overreact about. It’s not something we cannot combat through counter-intelligence operations and societal awareness. But it is a serious and on-going attack. If the President is out there publicly saying it’s not happening, saying it’s a hoax, he is actively and directly assisting the attack. There’s no other way to put it. He is charged by his oath with preserving the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. He pledged to defend against all attacks but he’s actively assisting one. That is just as much the case as it would be if he repeatedly denied an adversary power were moving conventional arms into positions which threatened the United States.”
“Collusion” and “obstruction” may have no legal meaning but that are proxies for real criminal acts. But remember impeachment is a purely political act and it actually requires no underlying illegality for conviction. The evidence to at least begin impeachment proceedings is clear and convincing, although we all know that it won’t happen with this Congress. And we haven’t even mentioned the even more overwhelming case for obstruction of justice.
Originally published at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com on October 26, 2017.