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World & Current Events > New Evidence in the Trump-Russia collusion case

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message 1: by Matthew (last edited Jul 03, 2017 01:17PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments Okay, so there have been some developments in the ongoing investigation. The first concerns a GOP operative - Peter W. Smith - who was apparently a recruiter looking to get people to help obtain Hillary Clinton’s private emails, and then pass them on to Michael Flynn.

The second development came when a UK-cyber analyst claims that he was one such recruit, and confirmed much of the information in the first story. In addition to Michael Flynn, other officials named as being involved include Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Sam Clovis.

What's more, the campaign described here - which sought emails from Clinton's own server - occurred right after the DNC email dump where Trump said publicly: "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-acti...
https://lawfareblog.com/time-i-got-re...


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) | 2971 comments Yep, (as I said a few months ago) Flynn is the smoking gun. But even if he takes the fall, he'll be pardoned.

Here's a recap of the WSJ article:

https://www.vox.com/2017/6/29/1589658...


message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments Alex wrote: "Yep, (as I said a few months ago) Flynn is the smoking gun. But even if he takes the fall, he'll be pardoned.

Here's a recap of the WSJ article:

https://www.vox.com/2017/6/29/1589658......"


True. I'm betting he already was promised the immunity he asked for in exchange for this information. As always, the lesser rats get away as long as they turn on the bigger ones.


message 4: by Nik (last edited Jul 04, 2017 11:10AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 8053 comments Sounds kinda inconclusive with this as a subtitle of the first article:
"Peter W. Smith listed Bannon, Conway and Clovis, besides Flynn, in a recruiting document; his purpose isn’t clear and there’s no indication he asked for or received any coordination with them"
and a punch line of the second:
"We couldn’t show that Smith had been in contact with actual Russians. And while I believed—as I still do—that he was operating with some degree of coordination with the campaign, that was at least a little murky too. The story just didn’t make much sense—that is, until the Journal yesterday published the critical fact that U.S. intelligence has reported that Russian hackers were looking to get emails to Flynn through a cut-out during the Summer of 2016, and this was no idle speculation on my part.

Suddenly, my story seemed important—and ominous."

I guess, Mueller & Co have a lot where to investigate


message 5: by Matthew (last edited Jul 04, 2017 12:04PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments Nik wrote: "Sounds kinda inconclusive with this as a subtitle of the first article:
"Peter W. Smith listed Bannon, Conway and Clovis, besides Flynn, in a recruiting document; his purpose isn’t clear and there’..."


Not conclusive, sure, but you're kind of missing the headline here. The first article indicates that the Trump team was in fact colluding with the Russian hackers directly. This is the first evidence (testimony at this point, not yet confirmed) that the Trump team's contact with the Russian during the election went far beyond talk of sanctions and private meetings.

And the second article shows that Matt Tait confirming the details of the first article. He says in the very passage you quoted (i.e. the "punch line") that he realized his actions had a purpose he didn't understand until the story broke.

But you're right, this means more investigating needs to happen. And in the meantime, Trump is likely to keep deteriorating as he has been. I imagine he will continue to incriminate himself too.


message 6: by Matthew (last edited Jul 12, 2017 09:25PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments And just like that, Donald Trump Jr. releases his emails and provides the smoking gun! So not only was the Trump campaign aware that the Russians were seeking to interfere in the US election in support of Trump months before it was announced to the public, they actively took part in that effort!

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...

As the emails and this growing story attest, Trump Jr. accepted a meeting with a known Russian agent (which Trump's campaign manager Mannafort and son-in-law Kushner also attended) and heard from said agent that they had dirt on Hillary which constituted "official documents" and "highly-sensitive" information - aka. state secrets. And the issue of sanctions was raised even then, thus revealing that what Flynn spoke about in Dec of 2016 to the Sergey Kislyak had a precedent.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...".

If there is anyone who still maintains that there is no evidence, I would have to ask what planet they are on! I would also remind them that collusion has been obvious from the get-go, be it passive or otherwise. Trump knowingly benefited from Russia's efforts to ensure he became president, and for obvious reasons. They wanted someone who was soft on them in office so they could get the sanctions lifted and have a US president they had leverage over.

And now, we have the proof that team Trump was lying all along and were in on the effort because they cared more about winning the election than the did about the law, national security, or loyalty to their country. I hate to say I told you so, but... I can't think of a way to finish that sentence! ;)


message 7: by Graeme (last edited Jul 15, 2017 03:51PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Receiving criminally obtained information is not itself a crime, there is a long history of precisely that happening and the receivers never go to jail for it - for a recent example consider Snowden/Greenwald.

Greenwald hasn't been charged with anything because as the receiver - he hasn't committed a crime.

No one's going to jail on this email - [EDIT: 16/July/17 - text removed] it's not a criminal act to receive information that has been sourced through a criminal act such as theft.

Politically problematic - yes, because Jr has been caught lying. Criminally problematic - no.

What you need is clear evidence of criminal action, you haven't got that yet.


message 8: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Excuse me, but that email by Donald Trump Jr do point to one illegal act that could result in criminal prosecution: attempted collusion with a foreign national to influence an American presidential election. What makes it worst is that Jared Kushner, someone who actively works at the White House and has access to top secret documents, willingly went to that meeting, hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian national. At the minimum, he should rightly lose his security clearance, something that the FBI now has more than enough reasons to do.


message 9: by Matthew (last edited Jul 13, 2017 02:01PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments Graeme wrote: "Receiving criminally obtained information is not itself a crime, there is a long history of precisely that happening and the recievers never go to jail for it - for a recent example consider Snowde..."

Uh, yes it is, Graeme! For one, it's a violation of the Campaign Finance Law, which states that foreign people are forbidden to interfere in an election. The fact that Trump expressed interest in obtaining it and met with her makes him an accessory. And that's putting aside the fact that this constitutes involvement in a plot by a foreign, hostile power to undermine a US election, for which he could face a charge of treason!

Second, when has a presidential candidate ever accepted illegally-obtained documents provided by a foreign agent representing a foreign hostile power? Snowden/Greenwald is a false equivalences, since that involved an American citizens who shared information publicly. And last I checked, Snowden was still facing charged under the US Espionage Act and hasn't been pardoned, so your example isn't even accurate.

Worst of all, you're saying we still need evidence. We've just have been given the evidence, FFS! For months, the Trump camp has been saying that there is no evidence Trump knew or took part in the Russian hacking campaign. Now Trump Jr. surrendered his email chain which proves they did and sought to profit from it! And yet, people like yourself still maintain this ridiculous fiction that a crime wasn't committed and this is somehow normal.

And you have the audacity to say that I'm blinded? You're the one maintaining the pretense that this isn't criminal and its normal, which are arguments as ridiculous as they are baseless. I'm not sure if it's ignorance of the law, but you're hopelessly misinformed here.


message 10: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments Seriously, I expect this level of ignorance and denial from my Trump supporter friends, but this is just plain sad. It's the classic denial chain, as exemplified by Trump himself:

description


message 11: by Graeme (last edited Jul 13, 2017 02:28PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments First off Matthew, I'm not a Trump supporter, so don't insult me by tarring me with that brush.

I promise you - I'm not in any political category that you care to assume.

I do not fit in any of your boxes and you do not have the right to put me in one.


message 12: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments I'm going to split up my responses into separate comments to facilitate mutual understanding.


message 13: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Let's go through some points.

[you wrote] Snowden/Greenwald is a false equivalences, since that involved an American citizens who shared information publicly. And last I checked, Snowden was still facing charged under the US Espionage Act and hasn't been pardoned, so your example isn't even accurate.


[I wrote] Receiving criminally obtained information is not itself a crime, there is a long history of precisely that happening and the recievers never go to jail for it - for a recent example consider Snowden/Greenwald.

Greenwald hasn't been charged with anything because as the reciever - he hasn't committed a crime.


[i] I was explicitly pointing out that Greenwald as the reciever hasn't committed a crime.

[ii] I didn't say that Snowden hasn't been charged, I don't know where you got the idea I was saying that from. I'm left bemused that you have so misinterpreted my words such that silence on Snowden's being charged with a criminal offence implies that I think he wasn't charged?


message 14: by Graeme (last edited Jul 13, 2017 05:47PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments I was talking about Donald Trump 'Jr.'s' email and his meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Not Donald Trump Sn.


message 15: by Nik (last edited Jul 13, 2017 02:42PM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 8053 comments I might be wrong, but both campaigns seemed more about smearing the competitor than anything else. Can I safely assume that anyone connected to either Hillary's or Donald's campaign never missed a meeting, where anything spicy about the rival was offered?
Surrendering e-mails? For some reason I believe Trump juinior consulted at least a couple of lawyers before doing it..
Is Natalia FSB, GRU or just a lawyer?


message 16: by Graeme (last edited Jul 13, 2017 03:07PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments
[You wrote] [1] For one, it's a violation of the Campaign Finance Law, which states that foreign people are forbidden to interfere in an election.

[2] The fact that Trump expressed interest in obtaining it and met with her makes him an accessory.

[3] And that's putting aside the fact that this constitutes involvement in a plot by a foreign, hostile power to undermine a US election, for which he could face a charge of treason!


[i] Does 'Campaign Finance Law' cover the transmission of information? Or is it limited to the provision of funding/finance/money? Does 'Campaign Finance Law' cover the particulars of the meeting, or is this a stretch?

[ii] WRT [i] above and my earlier point re 'receiving information' - these points only matter if you can show a crime has been committed. Have the FBI arrested Donald Trump Jn? What is the charge?

[iii] I have no view on the idea of a Russian plot to undermine the US election and the treasonous actions of any people. I waiting for charges to be laid and court cases to be run before I form an opinion.


message 17: by Ian (last edited Jul 13, 2017 03:17PM) (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments Just to throw in some further confusion :-)

Nik, Natalia Veselnitskaya is a private lawyer. Worse, she informed Trump Jr that she had information about criminality of Clinton obtained from a senior Kremlin position. That position apparently does not exist. So had Trump Jr done any background research, he would have known that meeting was a fraud before he went to it.

Graeme, I agree, receiving information about criminality is not a crime. If there were not intermediaries informing police, etc, the police would never get anywhere. Police work depends heavily on informers.

Natalia Veselnitskaya did not hand over any information at all. At the meeting it turned out she had misrepresented her position to get someone to listen to her objections to the Magnitsky act and to try to ease the way for adoptions. So Trump Jr cannot be accused of a crime if the offence was not a crime and in any case the offence did not take place.

Putting yourself in Trump Jr's place, would you turn down evidence of criminality? Is it better to overlook a crime because the evidence came from somewhere else?

To summarise, my view is Trump Jr was somewhat politically naive, and had this gone further, who knows - a crime may well have been committed, but so far, I don't think so. Whatever else, Trump Jr meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya in private and listening to a plea about orphans will not have changed a single vote at the ballot box. If anything, it would have been detrimental to Trump as it wasted good campaigning time..


message 18: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments
[You wrote] [1] Worst of all, you're saying we still need evidence. We've just have been given the evidence, FFS! For months, the Trump camp has been saying that there is no evidence Trump knew or took part in the Russian hacking campaign.

[2] Now Trump Jr. surrendered his email chain which proves they did and sought to profit from it!

[3] And yet, people like yourself still maintain this ridiculous fiction that a crime wasn't committed and this is somehow normal.


[i.a.] There is a key point here: Donald Trump Jn didn't disclose this meeting and he should have done so well in the past. What he has done by not disclosing the meeting is politically toxic for the Trump camp. Foolish behaviour for a political operative.

[i.b.] Did Donald Trump Sn. know what Donald Trump Jn was doing and when did he know it? Was it before or after the hacking of the DNC servers? If it was before and D T Sn. conspired to participate in the crime and the FBI can demonstrate that is the case, then DT Sn. is in real trouble with the law and has a real chance of going to jail.

[i.c.] I haven't seen anything that demonstrates in a way that would stand up in a court of law that [i.b] above has been answered.

[ii.a] The email chain demonstrates that he met with a russian lawyer pedling information. The information is presumably from the DNC hack and therefore illegally obtained. The russian lawyer broke the law. Given that it's not against the law to receive illegally obtained information, then D T Jn. didn't break a law by receiving that information.

[ii.b] 'and sought to profit from it!' In what way? Financial gain? Political influence? What was the profit? Did money change hands?

[iii.a.] My original post was scoped to the meeting between Donald Trump Jn. and the Russian lawyer - that's what I'm writing about here. Within that context, there is no evidence that a crime has been committed. If you would like to assert that a crime was committed could you please,

[a] Provide the specific charge that would be laid, by which agency under which jurisdiction, and

[b] Provide the specific evidence that would convict D T Jn.

[iii.b] If receiving illegally obtained information is a crime, could you please name the applicable statute, charge and enforcing agency, and

[iii.c] Given iii.b above, could you please explain why Glenn Greenwald and the various news outlets that published Snowden's illegally obtained information were not charged and prosecuted.

Thanks.


message 19: by Graeme (last edited Jul 15, 2017 03:52PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments
[You wrote] [1] And you have the audacity to say that I'm blinded?

[2] You're the one maintaining the pretense that this isn't criminal and its normal, which are arguments as ridiculous as they are baseless.

[3] I'm not sure if it's ignorance of the law, but you're hopelessly misinformed here.

[i] Hi Matthew, my sincere apologies, I was interpreting your state of mind from your words. I will endeavour not to do that again. [EDIT: 16/July/2017] I have removed the offensive text.

[ii] See above. The ball is in your court to demonstrate that Donald Trump Jn receiving illegally obtained information is a crime.

[iii] To be determined.


message 20: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Hi Matthew, a question for you.

What will be the political outcomes of Democrat/DNC pursuit of the "Russian Collusion/Conspiracy/Hacking" narrative on the outcomes of the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential elections?


message 21: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Michel wrote: "Excuse me, but that email by Donald Trump Jr do point to one illegal act that could result in criminal prosecution: attempted collusion with a foreign national to influence an American presidential..."

Hi Michel, this point is the more interesting point. even if all that happens is that some people lose their clearances - wont that be a big issue for them working at the White House, or with the President...

They would lose their jobs.


message 22: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Nik wrote: "I might be wrong, but both campaigns seemed more about smearing the competitor than anything else. Can I safely assume that anyone connected to either Hillary's or Donald's campaign never missed a ..."

Standard behaviour for a political operative in a political campaign is to find dirt on their opponents.


message 23: by Graeme (last edited Jul 13, 2017 05:50PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Ian wrote: "Just to throw in some further confusion :-)

Nik, Natalia Veselnitskaya is a private lawyer. Worse, she informed Trump Jr that she had information about criminality of Clinton obtained from a seni..."


(As I said above) Looks like Trump Jn. was foolish.

Time for "You're Fired!"


message 24: by Graeme (last edited Jul 15, 2017 04:17PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Hi Matthew, when you refer to
For one, it's a violation of the Campaign Finance Law, which states that foreign people are forbidden to interfere in an election.

Are you refering to the REF: Wiki: Federal Election Campaign Act?

The Federal Election Campaign Act is enforced by the REF: Wiki: Federal Election Commission

The FEC have demonstrated zero tolerance in the past REF: Inside Political Law FEC Issues Zero Tolerance Decision on Foreign National Contributions so we can reasonably expect them to pursue any wrongdoing vigorously and without hesitation.

The FEC recently (13/July/2017) issued a statement germain to this discussion, REF: SCRBD: FEC: STATEMENT OF VICE CHAIR CAROLINE C. HUNTER AND COMMISSIONERS LEE E. GOODMAN AND MATTHEW S. PETERSEN REGARDING “DISCUSSION OF COMMISSION’S RESPONSE TO ALLEGED FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS”

From the SCRIBD document, the FEC state,
We believe that this agency’s enforcement process is the proper mechanism for addressing any allegations about foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. The enforcement process must be conducted in an impartial and deliberative manner, free of prejudgment, bias, or politicization.

Further, the FEC document points out
In addition to this agency’s enforcement process, several other federal agencies and congressional committees are currently investigating or engaging in fact-finding regarding allegations of foreign participation in the 2016 election. The Special Counsel at the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network are all reported to be investigating alleged foreign election activity. At the same time, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee are conducting fact-finding investigations while at least six other congressional committees look into various aspects of the 2016 election. Each agency brings its unique authority, statutes, and expertise to bear upon these issues.

My personal positions on (i) Donald Trump Jn. meeting with a Russian lawyer, (ii) allegations of Donald Trump Sn. collusion with a foreign power to influence the 2016 elections, and (iii) allegations of Russian actions to influence the 2016 election are 100% aligned with the stated position of the FEC.

May I restate that for the record: My personal positions are 100% aligned with the stated position of the FEC.

I hope that is clear.

Feel free to wrongly accuse me of being a Trump supporter for wanting to see an enforcement process conducted in an impartial and deliberative manner, free of prejudgment, bias, or politicization.

Feel free to wrongly accuse me of being a Trump supporter for (to paraphrase) waiting for other federal agencies and congressional committees who are currently investigating or engaging in fact-finding regarding allegations of foreign participation in the 2016 election. The Special Counsel at the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network are all reported to be investigating alleged foreign election activity. At the same time, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee are conducting fact-finding investigations while at least six other congressional committees look into various aspects of the 2016 election. To bring their unique authority, statutes, and expertise to bear upon these issues.

Matthew - you have publically insulted me with your comment at https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... - I expect an apology and a deletion of the offending comment.

Thank you.

Kind regards.

Graeme


message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments As far as I am aware, nobody has as yet accused Russia, or any foreign country, from funding any part of the election, and if there were, I would imagine that would be one of the easiest crimes, if it is a crime, to detect because money leaves a trail (other than bitcoin for drug traffickers.)

Another point is, it is important to distinguish between Russia and people of Russian descent, especially if they are actually citizens of the US. I expect once you become a US citizen, you have the rights to participate in the electoral process that same as any other US citizen.


message 26: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 1320 comments It is funny hearing foreigners acting like experts on American campaign finance laws when those laws are so complex, not even the candidates bound by them understand them; they generally have legal counsel telling them what they can and cannot do, and warning them when something crosses the line. Our last governor for example had to update a disclosure form because he forgot to report a personal financial transaction, and it only became an issue after he made the correction; ie., he wasn't prompted by legal action to make the correction. Then for some perspective on what happens under these laws, I'll reference the biggest offender in the last few years, Illinois Congressman Aaron Shock.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/lo...

You might remember this guy as the one that spent campaign funds to redecorate his office in a Downton Abbey style. He did a lot more than just that and was indicted on 24 counts, including "wire fraud..., mail fraud..., and theft of government funds." So far he accepted a $10,000 fine for one charge and according to other sources, his trial should be starting any day now if it hasn't already.

Looking over the emails released, I don't see where Trump was directly involved in this particular meeting. Sure it's pretty silly to think so many people so close to him were doing this without his knowledge, and maybe such emails will turn up later. But fact is, our Presidents try to put some degree of deniability between them and anything questionable in case it does turn out to be a problem. For the time being, it looks like his own son may be the scapegoat. Then again, it might be hard to bring charges since there was nothing gained from the meeting. It looks like this lawyer was baiting the campaign to get that meeting, and what's more interesting is that from the text of the emails, Don Jr. was after what looked like evidence of Clinton's collusion with the Russians. "offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia." (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...) Maybe it's no wonder Trump has such a low opinion of the Justice Department if he believed such information was out there and the Obama Administration wasn't following the lead. And it's funny to think it should have been trusted to the government to follow up when Clinton was under an active investigation while Loretta Lynch was holding private meetings with Bill Clinton (the tarmac meeting, anyone). It wouldn't be difficult to to paint this meeting as a similar scenario to all the leaks coming out of the Trump Administration, that if Trump's campaign didn't pursue this, it wouldn't come to light...it would be covered up and brushed aside. Of course that's neither hear nor there since the information didn't exist, and that fact alone could save Don Jr. from charges.

As far as this constant charge of collusion, I'll post this legal definition I come across. Feel free to find your own to supplement.
https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/col...

"Collusion occurs when two persons or representatives of an entity or organization make an agreement to deceive or mislead another."

So far, we still have no evidence that there was such an agreement. This string of emails shows there was an attempt to seek information, but it ended in a failure to come to an actual agreement. Here in the US a person is not guilty of a crime simply because CNN or the NYT or the BBC or whatever other source says he is. Our law requires an actual crime to have been committed in the first place, not just the perception of one, and second, that crime has to be proven above all reasonable doubt.

There have been a few instances in the past few years where law enforcement has taken down so-called lone wolf terrorists before they commit a terrorist act. Usually these cases involve some idiot that wants to blow something up, but doesn't want to build their own bomb, so they foolish ask about and end up with an undercover law enforcement official offering to supply one. When they take delivery of what is ultimately a dummy device, they're arrested on auxiliary charges. They can be charged for soliciting the weapon, but since they didn't actually blow up a target or kill real people, they cannot be charged for actually carrying out an attack.

Right now that's where we're at with the investigation. No actual evidence of collusion has been presented to the public, though we have a lot of suspicious behavior. Things are heated enough on this side of the border right now without having liberals calling people stupid, whether implicitly or explicitly, simply for believing in our legal process and waiting for actual charges to surface before we move to convict.


message 27: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) | 2971 comments (Note: I'm not here referring specifically to JJ's post, but to the entire series of posts and the trend.)

I'd like to take a moment to note that we are all human beings--and in this particular thread, we are all intelligent and reasonable-- who are interested in having a healthy debate and voice our opinions and maybe come to some conclusions about the truth of the matter.

I understand that it can get pretty heated in this kind of thread, but in light of a healthy debate, I'd like to encourage everyone to consider the emotional effects of their words before hitting that Post button.


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments I think JJ has summarized the position rather well. I should add that I, as a foreigner, was not claiming to be an expert in US electoral finance law. What I was asking was, where is the evidence of a crime, and I cannot see it. US law is rather similar to ours, as I understand it, and to charge someone with a crime you have to state clearly which law has been broken, although that can be implied for crimes that everyone recognises, such as murder. Then, after stating the particular offense, you have to provide evidence. Don Jr may have been politically fooled, but that in itself is not a crime, and it is not a crime to solicit evidence of a crime provided said evidence is given to the authorities.

As an example the proposed new head of the FBI argued that Don Jr should have immediately contacted the FBI. That would be true, had anything arisen from the meeting, but why would he think to report "I went, and absolutely nothing happened."?


message 29: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Alex wrote: "(Note: I'm not here referring specifically to JJ's post, but to the entire series of posts and the trend.)

I'd like to take a moment to note that we are all human beings--and in this particular th..."


Agree in full.


message 30: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 1464 comments In the latest revelation to come from the investigation, it turns out Sessions lied (yet again) about his meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak (pause for gasps of surprise). Apparently, Session's talks with the ambassador involved sharing information about the Trump campaign and policy-related matters, as confirmed by US intel intercepts.

This not only confirms that Sessions lied about his contact with the Russians, but about what was discussed and disclosed. Yet another indication that the Trump camp was actively engaged with the Russians and coordinating their plans. Getting real tired of having to explain to people how this constitutes collusion and is somehow wrong.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...


message 31: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Hi Matthew, who do you think will be the first to be charged?


message 32: by Alex (last edited Jul 22, 2017 03:17PM) (new)

Alex (asato) | 2971 comments I don't think that this information is necessarily damning in and of itself, but it does add fuel to the fire. And it hasn't been independently verified.
Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.
...
Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.

But U.S. officials with regular access to Russian intelligence reports say Kislyak — whose tenure as ambassador to the United States ended recently — has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...)
My speculation leans towards believing that Sessions will be thrown under the bus (seems like that's the pattern) and resign before the end of next month (August 2017).


message 33: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Well, it seems that the bus will have probably a lot to grease its wheels with, the way Trump is jettisoning those who are not complete tools for him. You are probably right about Sessions being the next one to be thrown under the bus, along with possibly his deputy, Rosenstein. Trump may also try to jettison Special Prosecutor Muller, but Muller could end up acting like an anti-tank mine that could well blow up Trump's bus. Many top Republicans have already warned Trump not to touch Muller. But why would Trump feel the need to listen to them? After all, he is the only one to have the real truth, right?


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments As many will know, I am still seeking real evidence of the collusion that is criminal, but it does seem to me that Trump has really lost the plot. I am a little surprised that people find Trump's lying to be "bad" - I mean during the campaign his dedication to the truth was almost totally absent, and since he surrounded himself with people who would go along with him, then surely we expect that their dedication to the truth will also be somewhat absent.

My view at the moment is that irrespective whether Trump was doing something illegal during the campaign, and significantly more illegal than anyone else (because I am far from convinced that many campaigns will survive really close inspection), he is fixedly on a course for self-destruction. Not only that, but he will take a rather large number of people with him. Also, the later they go, the bigger the bang, so to speak. I rather fancy Flynn will be starting to feel relieved he went so early, and I also think Spicer is the first to recognize what is happening and that the situation is really uncontrollable and duty only goes so far. This is not going to get better any time soon, in my view.


message 35: by Graeme (last edited Jul 22, 2017 03:35PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments @Alex, I read the same article and drew the same conclusions. Although I would make one change.

It fuels the fire smoke. There's lots of smoke. I can agree there is a fire once we see actual charges laid.

My definition of fire is "evidence that will stand up in court."

My chief concern is the "Russia Collusion Narrative" is sucking all the oxygen out of current & future Democrat party political campaigns.

I honestly think the Democratic Party are in great danger of shooting themselves in the foot politically. They have been largely unsucessful in multiple political arenas since the Obama 2012 campaign. They only have 16 governerships, are the minority in both houses, and obviously don't have the presidency.

IMHO, the number one problem the Democrats have is not Trump or the Russians - it's that they keep losing elections.

Imagine if the US reaches the 2018 mid-term elections (which are not that far away), there have been no charges laid, and the "Russia Collusion Narrative" is still dominating Democratic Party messaging - edging out any discussion of actual policy positions, or positive for the voter messaging.

If that happens, they'll get thumped in the elections, delivering additional seats in congress and the senate to their opponents.

The risk of this happening increases every day charges are not laid.

And if this situation persists for the next 3 1/2 years, the DNC and the Democrat party will deliver Trump a 2nd term.


message 36: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 8053 comments With so much evidence why Muller can't announce the results already?


message 37: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments Nik wrote: "With so much evidence why Muller can't announce the results already?"

My view is the evidence is still not convincing. Things have certainly happened, and the cowboys everywhere are firing guns like crazy, but they have all forgotten to take them out of their holsters and focus an aim. Assuming you have a judge who is prepared to enforce the law and follow proper procedure, evidence must be factual, not merely the trotting out of opinions and interpretations of thin evidence that could have many interpretations.

But I don't agree with Graeme re the Dems chances. The current farce over Obamacare must be really hurting the Republicans in Congress, because too many people are going to be without insurance. It is all very well to say there are flaws in Obamacare, but if you believe that, the correct thing to do is either to fix it, or replace it with something better. Just to throw a bomb into the lot and give the Koch brothers big tax relief shouldn't be a big election winner. If the Dems can't make something out of that, they deserve to go down the drain.


message 38: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Interesting points Ian. I'm very curious to see how this plays out.

Mind you, US Health care is a nightmare. I don't have the data handy, but they pay something like double what anyone else pays in the world for health care and I doubt they are actually getting a health service that is twice as good.

I'm glad I live in Australia.


message 39: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments You are right, Graeme. I had a cousin in the US and when I visited LA for the first time, her husband had had an operation - and while there were no special complications, it was over three times the cost of the same sort of operation back here. The US is not the place to get sick without insurance, and the insurance, naturally enough, is not cheap.


message 40: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 1320 comments Graeme wrote: "@Alex, I read the same article and drew the same conclusions. Although I would make one change.

It fuels the fire smoke. There's lots of smoke. I can agree there is a fire once we see actual charg..."


On the Democratic Party, there's the sense they're out of touch with Middle America for sure, but I think there is a serious credibility issue as well. This is no doubt a Republican Congress that has instigated the investigations and appointed Robert Mueller as special procescutor. Just as they ran the hearings into Clinton's email scandal, and (going back further) pushed impeachment proceedings when Bill Clinton lied to Congress under oath. Democrats act outraged, and they've been calling for everything from investigation to impeachment against Trump, but they have no credibility for calling for justice when the investigations into Hillary Clinton were nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the IRS scandal was handled on a purely partisan basis and Obama went on the Daily Show blaming Republicans, Rep. Elijah Cummings called Fast and Furious a "conspiracy theory" and his fellow Democrats issued a report blaming local law enforcement for the gunwalking, even going back to Clinton's impeachment with every Democrat standing behind their President and voting against the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Don't forget we had the Democrat's last Majority leader, Harry Reid proudly admit he lied on the floor of the Senate regarding Mitt Romney in order to influence the 2012 race. They don't have a reputation for doing the right thing, and their calls for whatever with the Trump mess is pure hypocrisy and the reason why a lot of Trump supporters see these scandals as just the Democrats out to get him.

That's not to say Republicans are any better when it comes to behavior, but when scandals reach a certain point, they will turn on the affected members and drive them out of office. And again, it's noticeable that it is the Republican Congress running the investigations, even if they're not yet at the point of turning on their President. Going back to this last election for a bit, it was a case of the Republican establishment doing what they could to defeat Trump in the primary, then struggling to reconcile support for the general election. On the Democrat's side, you had a similarly bad candidate with a slew of her own scandals tarnishing her, but the Party just looked the other way, denigrating Republicans for looking down on those issues, and doing everything they could to ensure her victory in the primary. Then the establishment more or less tells Berniecrats to fall in line, and blames everyone under the sun for losing the election - Hillary did the graduation speech thing taking the opportunity to attack Trump as a poor loser. She claimed she was taking responsibility for setting up the email server, then in interviews a few months ago, blames Comey for costing her the election because he was investigating the very same server she claimed to take responsibility for.

Politics is what it is, and people on both sides are going to take advantage when they think they can get away with it, but one of the few things the Republican Party does better than the Democrats is putting action behind claims of "taking responsibility" when push comes to shove. And until the Democrats are willing to take a critical look into their own house, they're only going to seem more and more out of touch with Middle America.


message 41: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 1977 comments Maybe Trump will self destruct. The Twitter rants aren't helping things. However it turns out, I must say that I don't care if his son wanted to hear some dirt on Hillary from the Russians. On election night, as it became clear that Hillary had lost, statements made by the press were already hinting that the election was rigged. Well, there's no evidence that the vote itself was rigged. Democrats and the press want us to believe that Hillary lost because of Russian involvement, but I'd say that the elitism of the Democratic Party, her mishandling of Benghazi, and Bill's secret meeting with Lynch had everything to do with her loss. Both sides were willing to play dirty politics. Nothing new about that.


message 42: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments @Scout.

Makes sense to me.


message 43: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments I agree Scout. I have yet to see any evidence that a vote was affected or changed by the Russians, and I have yet to see one piece of evidence the vote was rigged. My guess is that Hillary lost because as you say, she was a bad candidate. If any organisation changed the vote, it would be the FBI, through Comey. There is no doubt in my mind Comey's statement a week before voting was like a bomb thrown into her campaign, but nobody seems to be pushing that because presumably Comey can defend himself. The Russians are a convenient bogeyman when all you want is a good old whinge.


message 44: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 1977 comments I think that Comey released info about the FBI looking at Weiner's computer because Lynch was compromised and he knew she wasn't going to do it. He was covering his ass in case something was found - not because he was trying to influence the election.


message 45: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments Ha, incompetence and backside covering were the reason. That could well be right.


message 46: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments "First rule out selfish reasons before assuming noble motives..."

- A brief guide to Humanity.


message 47: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments REF: https://twitter.com/ABC/status/891107...

Apparently, Trump is sanctioning the Russians.


message 48: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) | 2971 comments I kind of doubt that he wanted to do it, but the US Congress forced the President's hand.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-cana...


message 49: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 3417 comments Hi Alex, I think it's going to be interesting to see how all this plays out. I'm glad I'm an Australian and don't have a ring side seat to the drama (like yourself and your family).

Regardless of what happens, I wish everyone the best and to keep their families safe.


message 50: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 4422 comments From what I can make out, the House of Representatives have passed a bill sanctioning Russia for interfering with the US election process. The bill is directed at anyone assisting the Russian hydrocarbon industry. One of the side effects will be to raise the price of hydrocarbons, should it work. Another goal might well be to force Europe to buy US lng produced as a consequence of fracking, and of which the US has a surplus. The cynic would say this bill is sheer economic opportunism. In any case, Germany is highly annoyed and is contemplating a response.

As a further piece of information, Trump is imposing sanctions on certain Venezuelan politicians from one specific party in front of the upcoming elections. While absolutely nobody should look as if they are interfering with US elections, even slightly, it is fine for the US to interfere as much as they like in anybody else's election.


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