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NightlyPoe said:
Hiku said:

I think it's fairly obvious that Trump has done something illegal in regards to Russia. He's gone out of his way to protect Michael Flynn and risk obstruction of justice charges over something he had no part of?
He was warned by first the Obama administration, and then later Sally Yates that Flynn may be compromised by Russia. Knowing this he chose to ignore the warnings, and instead fired Sally Yates. It was not until New York Times were about to go public with this information and gave the white house a heads up that he fired Flynn right before that story broke.
The very next day he invited James Comey over, and ordered everyone else to clear the room (despite Jeff Session's reportedly not wanting to leave at first, presumably because he thought it would be a bad idea) and then he reportedly told James Comey that "Flynn is a great guy." Asked for Comey's loyalty three times, and said "I hope you can see to letting this thing with Flynn go."
Just one day after firing Flynn for lying to Mike Pence and the FBI.

Then as you know, he fired James Comey (when he wouldn't let it go) and admitted on TV that he did so while thinking about the Russia investigation. Etc.

These things will likely come up in court if Trump is impeached. I don't see why he'd go out of his way to risk obstruction of justice charges multiple times if he's not involved. Add to the fact that he is hiding his tax returns, and there's definitely something he doesn't want people to see. It may just be money laundering or something, rather than collusion. But he's very much behaving like a guilty person.

Then we have the Trump tower meeting, where his son Don Jr already admitted to attempting to collude with a Russian official. His story is that they never got anything, and instead talked about adoption. Even if that's true, he went there with the intention of conspiring, which is enough. And in case his story about the abortion isn't true, Manafort may have something interesting to say about it.

As for Manafort would have agreed to cooperate already if he had something. That's possible, but it's not certain. Unlike Cohen who pleaded guilty, Manafort's approach was to plead not guilty. And on 10 of the 18 counts, the jury was indecisive. (Resulting in a mistrial on those counts.)
This trial could have ended with him being found not guilty on any count. And no matter how it ended, his lawyer could dispute the convictions. It seems like they won't though, because his lawyer thanked the judge for "being fair".

Let's assume Manafort has something on Trump and Trump knows it. The first course of action, if they believe they have a case for 'not guilty' would be to try that in court first. It's not a good look for Trump to pardon him all of a sudden, so that would be a last resort.
If that is the situation, then these convictions Manafort got may serve to provoke Trump to pardon him. Because now, Manafort is facing jail time. Possibly for the rest of his life. And most certainly, if he is found guilty of some of the upcoming charges. Now that jail time is not just a possibility, but a certainty, he'd be more inclined to coperate with the special council if he has something of value.

There's no reason to go over the history.  Asking Comey not to pursue Flynn was inappropriate as far as norms and appearance of propriety ethics go, but is in keeping with Trump's general behavior.  You assume criminal intent, but it's something he would do either way, so there's really no significance.

He's hiding his tax returns from the press, not the IRS.  Why you think that would be significant to Russia, I don't know.

Don Jr. has never admitted to anything that would amount to collusion.

You can believe what you will about Manafort.  I don't see him holding back and putting the rest of his life in the hands of a jury to protect Trump.  Just not going to happen.

I'm not sure why you brought up Sally Yates being fired as her firing was for gross insubordination, and properly so.  If she couldn't perform her role, she should have resigned instead of instructing her department to undermine the president's policies.  If she had resigned, that would have been the honorable path and I would have respected it.  And, ultimately, the travel restrictions that she ordered her department not to defend were upheld in court.  Frankly, she has no business in government if she thinks she can set up her own policy directly contradicting her superiors and should be forever disqualified from public service.


No reason to go over the history?
After you said "I rather doubt that the Russia stuff amounts to anything", I should just reply with "I think there's something to it", with no explanation given?
I prefer to explain my reasoning. And in order to do that, I'd have to go over the events.

Trump's general behavior does not mean his behavior doesn't have legal consequences. I'm sure he doesn't know what he's doing half the time, like when he told Lester Holt on air that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation, and that he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he did it. Accidentally admitting to possible obstruction of justice on TV just because it's something Trump would normally do wouldn't make it any less severe if he stands trial for it.
Likewise if a jury decides that he was trying to influence Comey to stop a criminal investigation. Doesn't matter if it's something Trump would normally do. You don't have to be aware of the laws you break, in order to be convicted of committing the crime.
By the way, even Bill Clinton was charged on obstruction of justice regarding the Monica Lewinski case.

Regarding his tax returns, I said "there's definitely something he doesn't want us to see." That would include giving people a reason to look deeper into his finances. Now that there's a special council involved, they can probably access his tax statements though.

Can you explain how Don Jr saying he agreed to meet with a Russian government official “as part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” (it stated clearly in the email he so kindly provided for us to read) to get dirt on a political opponent isn't attempt to collude? I believe the exact legal term is 'conspiring against a US citizen'. 

This is the law he may have admitted to breaking:

A provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Section 30121 of Title 52, broadly outlaws donations or other contributions of a “thing of value” by any foreigner in connection with a US election – or even an express or implied promise to take such action, directly or indirectly.

As for Manafort, I didn't say I believed anything. I have no reason to believe one way or another regarding him (unlike Trump). I simply told you one possible scenario, because you ruled it out.

I brought up Sally Yates being fired, because Trump fired several people involved in the Russia/Flynn investigation. Around the same time as Yates there was another man who I forget the name of. Then Comey. Then "according to sources", he tried to fire Muller in June of 2017. I don't know exactly where this information came from. But when Sean Hanity of Fox News' sources tell him the same thing, and prompts him to do a 180 on TV after he just a few hours earlier said he heard nothing of the sort, it looks like it's someone they trust to be in a position of that information.


Either way, whether it's firing people involved in these investigations, risking criminal charges to protect someone who lied to the vice president and the FBI (and has since pleaded guilty for doing so), and continuously trying to discredit the investigation, he certainly isn't acting like a man who is innocent.
If he wasn't guilty, he'd gladly let the investigation clear his name rather than complaining about it every day, and firing people. Whether you count Yates to that or not, Comey certainly was, and Muller is.

Cohen choosing to plead guilty on that specific charge does not strengthen the legal theory that it's a campaign contribution.  All it means is that Cohen chose not to challenge it as a part of the deal he made.

It's still a fairly weak legal theory.  I wouldn't want to base a prosecution on it.

I understand your point here, and I agree. I'm just saying that for now, we have a man who under oath pleaded guilty to campaign finance crimes.
Right now, no one is contesting this legally. And the only way that could even happen (I think) is if Trump stands trial. That's what I was getting at.

Whether it's something you want to base your prosecution on, I'd say that depends on how much else Muller uncovers in the meantime. You don't ideally want to build a case against a president that isn't very strong. However, if there's nothing more severe uncovered by the Russia investigation, then I wouldn't rule out a case built on this, because like I said, Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex in the oval office.

Btw, you may have missed the edit in my post above, but it had some interesting information from Cohen's lawyer.
Apparently Trump's lawyers told the special council that Trump "directed Cohen to make that payment."
So if it goes to court, they already admitted that it was Trump's idea. So it would seemingly indeed come down to them trying to disprove that it broke campaign finance laws. in that case.

Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018