Trump Russia Collusion Is No Delusion
Donald Trump going on his victory tour and gloating over the results of Mueller investigation is like a school kid gloating over getting a D on a test rather than an F. What we know is that no crime could be established but the report still remains hidden from the public, summarized only through lens of the partisan political appointee, Attorney General William Barr. This is a man that was publically critical of the Mueller investigation and the likely reason he was offered the job because he gives Trump what he wants above all other qualifications for cabinet positions: loyalty.
While the full report still has yet to be made public, we already know that, although Mueller could not make a case for criminal obstruction of justice or conspiracy with regard to Trump himself, there were countless instances of inappropriate contact and meetings of Trump’s inner circle with Russian operatives during the campaign. The investigation also unveiled a systemic pattern of Trump campaign officials lying to authorities and resulted in many felony counts and convictions, meaning that the President of the United States surrounds himself with criminals and people with poor ethics and character.
In all, 34 people and three companies have been criminally charged as a result of the probe. Mueller was named special counsel in May 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and directed to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” All references to Russia among those charged by Mueller are in bold and italics.
Paul Manafort ran Trump’s campaign for part of 2016 and was convicted in August on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors proved that he’d hidden millions of dollars overseas. Prosecutors had recommended he get up to 24 years, but he was sentenced to just 47 months in that case. He pleaded guilty in a second case brought by the Mueller team in September, and was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.
Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and Trump’s former deputy campaign chair pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to Mueller’s team of investigators about his business dealings with Manafort. Gates, who also worked on Trump’s inaugural committee, has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and testified against Manafort at his trial in Virginia. His sentencing has been repeatedly delayed since he is continuing to cooperate with prosecutors in other case that have been spun off from the Mueller investigation.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime right hand man and fixer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the duration of Trump’s plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He was sentenced to three years in prison for that plea and another in a case that had been brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, where he admitted to eight felony counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He is to begin serving his sentence May 6.
Michael Flynn, a top Trump surrogate and foreign policy adviser during the 2016 campaign (and Trump’s first National Security Advisor) admitted to lying to the FBI about the substance of his conversations with Russian ambassador and known spy Sergey Kislyak during his brief tenure as national security adviser. He is to be sentenced later this year.
George Papadapoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about the timing of his conversations with a professor who had ties to Russian intelligence. He’d said he’d spoken with the professor before he went to work for Trump, when it was afterward. The professor had told Papadopoulos that Russia had “thousands of emails” that would damage Trump rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Papadopoulos was served 14 days in jail.
Alex Van Der Zwann, a London-based lawyer, admitted to lying to Mueller’s investigators about his contacts with Gates. Van der Zwaan had worked with Gates and Manafort for a Ukrainian political party that was closely allied with Russia. He was sentenced to 30 days behind in jail and fined $20,000.
Richard Pinedo was sentenced to six months in federal lockup and six months of home confinement for selling bank account and other stolen identity information to a group of Russians accused of interfering in the election. The Russians allegedly used the information to create fake online identities. The California man has said he didn’t know who his clients were, and Mueller’s office has said he was cooperative with their investigators.
So what is Trump gloating about? The reporting on the investigation revealed that Trump’s inner circle is full of unethical, lying, bad actors, some of which are now convicted felons. If motivational speaker Jim Rohm is correct in his famous statement that a person is the average of the 5 closest people he surrounds himself with, what does that say about Donald Trump? Once the democratic controlled House is successful in obtaining the full Mueller report, we can only guess how much more inappropriate behavior will be discovered by the American people within its 400 plus pages. And even through William Barr’s partisan summary of the report he could not hide the fact that the report “does not exonerate” Trump.