With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe concluded, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have latched on to the “time to move on” mantra incorrectly suggesting that Mueller was hired to investigate TrumpRussia collusion and found no evidence of such collusion. This is a very clever argument, which Republicans have calculated will be widely accepted by their voting base. From a factual basis however, the argument that Mueller never found any evidence of collusion is as deceptive as it gets.
It is a well established fact that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had multiple contacts (while chairman), with Russians tied to the country’s military intelligence. It is also a well established fact that Manafort as Trump campaign chairman, shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with a Russian military intelligence aide(Konstantin Kilimnik). It is also a well established fact that Manafort fought tooth and nail to keep his communications with the said Russians away from Mueller’s team, even risking spending the rest of his life in prison to that end. In his recent press briefing, Robert Mueller concluded by saying this about Russian meddling, “There were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
Any reasonable presented with these set of facts will inevitably arrive at the conclusion that Manafort’s obfuscation/refusal to fully cooperate was the reason Mueller failed to establish a clear cut TrumpRussia collusion case. In other words, Mueller had evidence of TrumpRussia collusion but without cooperation from Manafort, could not make an an iron-clad case. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did an excellent segment on this very topic.
Bottom line, there cannot be a conclusive determination as to whether Trump campaign colluded with Russians without getting to the bottom of Manafort’s well documented contacts with Russian military intelligence. What was the content of his communications with them? Why did he share polling data with a Russian with close ties to Russian military intelligence? What exactly was the polling data he shared with them? What discussions did Trump’s lawyers have with Manafort regarding his cooperation with Mueller? These and many more, are questions that must be posed to Mueller and Manafort if they ever testify before Congress. Preferably, the Manafort question should be a key aspect of Trump’s impeachment hearings because it would force Manafort, Trump and his lawyers to testify about this incident under oath. Simply put folks, #YesCollusion!!
Yes, folks – “conspiracy” crime, btwn trump camp & kremlin, to defraud the American people and attack United States of America, could not be established 100% b/c Manafort (and others) lied, deleted docs, pled the 5th, and b/c trump Obstructed The Core of the Investigation.
A spectacular segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show drawing from the Mueller report shows how the activities of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort leave absolutely no doubt that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in 2016. Maddow’s straightforward argument is that a decade before Manafort joined the Trump campaign, he was already being paid to install Kremlin-friendly leaders worldwide. Therefore the fact that the same Manafort who was being paid to install Kremlin-friendly leaders somehow ended up as Trump’s campaign manager should leave no doubt in any objective person’s mind that the Kremlin had a vested interest in Trump being elected president and more importantly, that they(Kremlin) actively worked to achieve that goal(colluded with TeamTrump). The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below
Specifically, Maddow said, “Manafort’s job for more than a decade before he started working for Trump was that he installed friendly political officials in office on behalf of a Kremlin-connected Oligarch. The Oligarch paid him to install people in high office in foreign countries for the convenience of the Kremlin. That was Donald Trump’s campaign chair…..Manafort did repeatedly send detailed internal polling data from the Trump campaign to a Russian guy[Kilimnik] who it was understood would then send that information to the Kremlin connected Oligarch[Deripaska]. He repeatedly provided internal polling data to that Russian guy.” Maddow added that in August 2016 Manafort also provided Kilimnik with Trump campaign plans to win the battleground states which he identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Also very noteworthy is that according to the Mueller report, Manafort communicated with the Russians using highly encrypted communications that Mueller’s team was unable to recover. Manafort has fought tooth and nail to keep such communications hidden, even risking death in prison if that is what it would take. What Manafort did with the Russians in aid of the Trump campaign remains an open question meaning even with the release of the Mueller report, the collusion question is not yet resolved.
Bottom line there is no way any reasonable person looking at the Manafort episode can conclude that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Think about that folks, the Kremlin settled on Trump as the U.S President who would best help them advance their interests. The guy(Manafort) the Kremlin had been paying to install Kremlin-friendly leaders worldwide ended up as Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with Kremlin operatives and has fought tooth and nail, even risking death in prison,to hide his communications with Kremlin operatives while he was Trump campaign chair. Simply put folks, unless and until there is enough sunlight shed on the Manafort-Kremlin contacts especially as relates to the sharing of internal polling data, any reasonable person would conclude at this juncture that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin in 2016 and that Manafort was a key player in such collusion.
Also as a side note, it has been widely reported that it is Manafort who brought Mike Pence into the Trump campaign. Now would be the perfect time to find out whether VP Pence was brought in at the request of the Kremlin.
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As the TrumpRussia investigation chugs along, the public has become accustomed to public pronouncements by Trump and his GOP operatives that there was no TrumpRussia collusion. To prove their point, they have repeatedly pointed to the length of the Mueller probe saying after one year and countless interviews there is still no collusion bombshell–their point being this late in the game, the public should stop expecting a collusion bombshell
So, the Democrats make up a phony crime, Collusion with the Russians, pay a fortune to make the crime sound real, illegally leak (Comey) classified information so that a Special Councel will be appointed, and then Collude to make this pile of garbage take on life in Fake News!
Goodman's strongest argument for collusion is that there are emails proving that then Trump Campaign Chairman Manafort knew of the Russian DNC hack in April 2016, way before this became public information(reported in the media). According to Goodman, Trump Campaign Chair Manafort learnt about the Russian hack through emails that were copied to him by another Trump Campaign operative George Papadopoulos. Manafort apparently was coordinating with the Russians, including a known member of the Russian military intelligence on how to disseminate/weaponize the hacked DNC emails to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. In an email Manafort sent to Rick Gates, also a member of Trump campaign, Manafort reportedly said "we shouldn't let DT do this, we should let somebody low level do this so as to send no signals."
Think about that folks--way back in April 2016 before the public was aware that Putin-allied Russians had hacked DNC emails, Trump Campaign Chair Manafort and Papadoupolis already knew about it. They not only knew that the emails had been hacked, but they were also communicating/colluding with the Russians on how to disseminate/weaponize the hacked emails to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign--something they eventually did. Manafort even sent an email to Rick Gates, a Trump campaign operative suggesting that they should disseminate the hacked emails in a way that does not implicate "DT"--a clear cut consciousness of guilt on Manafort's part. Folks this is a slam dunk case of TrumpRussia collusion and the Dems better get on it--fast.
Bottom line, its about time Dems started pushing back on Trump and his GOP's bogus claim that there was no collusion between Trump campaign and the Russians. Manafort's case proves clearly that there was not only TrumpRussia collusion but that Team Trump violated federal law(s). A large part of the reason Dems are excited to go to the polls this November is to finally get rid of Trump-supporting GOP Members of Congress who have made a conscious decision not to take any action on what clearly appears to be a Trump Administration in bed with Putin's Russia--an enemy of the United States. Dem candidates need to forcefully make the case that there is strong evidence of TrumpRussia Collusion as we head into midterms 2018
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In a troubling Bloomberg piece, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller says the same Russians who interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections are busy trying to interfere with the upcoming midterms 2018. TeamMueller reportedly made this argument in a court filing trying to get a protective order on certain evidence they’ve collected related to TrumpRussia investigation. The lawyers for one of the companies Mueller has indicted in the TrumpRussia investigation, Concord Management, has requested the judge to release the evidence Mueller has against their client–a standard/routine criminal defense procedure
Team Mueller is arguing that releasing such evidence while TrumpRussia investigation is still ongoing will not only weaken their investigation into other players, but could also give Russian intelligence agencies an advantage which they can use to attack midterms 2018 and beyond. Whether TeamMueller’s legal arguments will prevail in court remains to be seen but the important takeaway for Democrats/DNC is that Mueller’s worries are yet another reminder to Dems not to be complacent over election security issues. Grassroots Democrats, including Yours Truly have been screaming for stronger action by Dems on election security issues, especially as it relates to unverifiable voting machines
There are encouraging signs that Congressional Dems are beginning to listen to the election security cries of grassroots Dems as evidenced by the recent introduction of “PAVE”(Protecting American Votes & Elections) Act by Dem Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass
Finally! The just announced Protecting American Votes & Elections (“PAVE”) Act mandates that states give all voters a #handmarked#paperballot option & that they conduct manual risk limiting audits for all federal races! Sponsors include @RonWyden, … 1/ https://t.co/lfEr1FTSW7
While this is clearly very encouraging news, Dems must not stop there. Dems must not only scrutinize voting machines but also look deeper into this so-called “Trump phenomenon” where Trump supposedly favors an underdog candidate in a GOP Primary and all of a sudden they become the favorite, as was the case in South Carolina with Rep Mark Sanford’s loss. Think about that folks–if the fear is that Russians interfered in 2016 and they are still interfering today, why is it such a giant leap of faith to assume that the so-called “Trump Phenomenon” is not a phenomenon at all? Are these primary wins verifiable? If not, will the 2018 midterm results be verifiable–auditable paper trail? These are the type of questions Democrats/DNC need to start asking and asking forcefully as we approach midterms 2018 and beyond. It is not a crime to pester the GOP Secretaries of State with these kinds of questions
Grassroots Democrats are extremely excited about Dem chances in midterms 2018. It will be sad if after all that we end up with very questionable election results which nobody can verify all because the election security/voting machine questions that needed to be asked were never asked by the right people–Democratic Party establishment/DNC/Media–especially where, as here, grassroots Dems have been screaming about voting machine security all along.
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