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Cole writes: “Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has empaneled a grand jury in the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. The Grand Jury in turn has already issued a subpoena with regard to the meeting of Don Trump Jr.”

Robert S. Mueller. (photo: Getty Images)
Robert S. Mueller. (photo: Getty Images)

Trump’s Worst Nightmare: Mueller’s Grand Jury Subpoenas Russia Documents

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

05 August 17


pecial Prosecutor Robert Mueller has empaneled a grand jury in the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. The Grand Jury in turn has already issued a subpoena with regard to the meeting of Don Trump Jr. and other senior Trump advisors June 9 of 2016 with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump is clearly under investigation for obstruction with regard to the latter meeting, since he allegedly wrote a statement for Don Jr. to be read out for the public, in which he had his son deny that the meeting was campaign oriented, saying it was about adoption.

The mention of adoption is a tell. When Congress enacted a law permitting the sanctioning of high Russian officials around Vladimir Putin (the Magnitsky Act) in 2012, Putin’s response was to forbid Americans from adopting Russian babies. When Trump senior had his son say the meeting was about adoption, he was revealing that it was in part about the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. The Russians who set up the meeting, the Agalarovs, promised Trump Jr dirt on Hillary Clinton (presumably gathered by hackers, whom Putin once called “patriotic.”)

It now seems clear that Don Jr. released the email chain around that meeting in order to protect himself from going to jail, since his father had been imposing on him press releases about the meeting that distorted what happened and so may have involved obstruction of justice.

The Emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids politicians to accept anything of value from a foreign power. Some legal analysts have suggested that if the Trump campaign did receive significant help from Russia, even in the form of information, it could meet the definition of an emolument.

Mueller appears to think there is something to the story of Trump’s collusion with Russia during the campaign. The Veselnitskaya meeting alone is pretty strong evidence in this regard. But Mueller is also investigating Trump’s finances, including the possibility that Trump used his New York real Estate holdings for money laundering for Russian concerns. For Mueller to zero in on Trump’s business affairs is The Donald’s worst nightmare, and he tried to make it a red line, to no avail.

Ironically, Trump was just forced by Congress to sign new tough sanctions on Russia into law. The Putin team seem to have been hurt and confused. It is almost as though they knew nothing about the separation of powers and expected Trump to erase the Magnitsky Act by presidential fiat.

According to Interfax/ BBC Monitoring, Igor Sechin, the head of the Russian oil corporation Rosneft, complained, “Even the US president has said that the bill [on sanctions] is wrong. He objects it but signs it. What else can I add? Of course, the law is wrong, they understand it themselves,” Rosneft and Sechin are both under US sanctions.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev lamented this state of affairs on Facebook [BBC Monitoring]:

“the Trump administration has demonstrated complete impotence, handing over executive powers to Congress in a most humiliating manner. This changes the balance of forces in US political circles.”
“What does this mean for them? The American establishment has comprehensively outplayed Trump. The president is not happy over the new sanctions, but he could not not sign off the law. The new sanctions move is, above all, yet another way of reining in Trump. There will be more moves, the ultimate purpose of which is his removal from office.”

So Medvedev is putting his money on Mueller to dig up the kind of dirt that will get Trump impeached. And there is something guilty about his performance. your social media marketing partner


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-24 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-05 11:26
Cole actually misstates many of the fact in this matter. I'm not sure why he's doing that.

1. Mueller did not "emplanel" a grand jury. He is using one that already exists in the DC court. He just wants the subpoena power of the Grand Jury, since as Spec. Counsel he has none. But he has not taken the big step.

2. It was the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who first gave all the details about adoption and the Magnitsky act. Trump followed her.

3 The quotation Cole cited from Dimitri Medvedev was about the sanctions vote in congress, not the Mueller investigation.

4. The Emoluments clause does NOT suggest that information is something of value. Very many campaigns accept help and money from foreign sources, just as the US gives lots of money and help to foreign campaigns. But Trump Jr. got nothing at all from this meeting. He was not promised anything from the russian government but rather from a con-artist named Rob Goldstone.

5. Don, Jr. did not release the email chain to protect himself from going to jail. What is Cole thinking? He had a meeting with people he did not know. Nothing illegal about that.

With so many really lame factual errors, I wonder how Cole can be taken seriously. He used to be a really smart person. I guess his devotion to Hillary has affected his reasoning powers.
+3 # dquandle 2017-08-05 14:37
"I guess his devotion to Hillary has affected his reasoning powers."

Hillary is like lead paint in that way. Absorbing the slightest quantity has permanent deleterious effects.
+1 # librarian1984 2017-08-06 15:08
Isn't it strange? It's as if the Clintons put something in the water or use CIA techniques to hypnotize people.

A year and a half ago nobody was excited about HRC but now they'll fight to the pain if you criticize her .. hell, if you just tell the truth about her.

There are some YouTube videos of the 2007/8 Dem primary debates in which Obama, Dodd, Edwards et al say all the things we've been saying: she'll mobilize the GOP and hurt downticket races, she has too much baggage, the Republicans WANT to run against her, she has too many money conflicts, she's not a good campaigner etc.

But when it became 'her turn' the whole establishment got on board. The only good thing about the whole debacle was seeing that the Dems could be cohesive. Too bad it was for the wrong goal.

Seriously, to look at the careers of the Clintons is to see a miles long string of people who sacrificed their careers and their principles to fall on their swords protecting them. It's astonishing. For a couple of grifters who've done immeasurable harm to this country, to the party, to individuals.

The latest is their coopting the Resistance. Everything they touch turns to profit for them and doom for the rest of us, just like the Trumps. What a hellish choice we had.

Please, please let them GO AWAY.
+14 # Texas Aggie 2017-08-05 19:34
One hopes that in addition to following the money to Russia, that there also be an investigation of money laundering that occurred before drumpf ran for president. There was one in NY state but drumpf fired the federal DA who was doing the investigation once he became president.
+3 # 2017-08-06 01:13
Russian trolls have to realize we are a little be more educated and can recognize literary characters...
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-06 09:54
I certainly hope you can and I hope you have read it. It is not Dostoyevsky's best novel by a long shot. But it is his best known book, at least in the US. I chose the name because I thought it would be recognized by many people. I would have preferred Parfion Rogozhin or Lev Nikolaevitch Myshkin, but those probably would not be very familiar to many.

No troll. Just someone who reads a lot and who thinks about what goes on -- a bit like the novel's Raskolnikov, wouldn't you say?
+2 # librarian1984 2017-08-06 15:12

There are no Russian trolls here. But there might be establishment operatives who want to hurt morale and disrupt progressive activism. You should learn to better determine who the actual enemy is.

The establishment seeks to divide us and sadly it works all too well. This is class warfare.

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