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Excerpt: "For nearly two years, since the U.S. intelligence community released its report on the Russian campaign to assist Donald Trump in the 2016 election, the American people have been seeking an answer as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with its Russian counterpart."

Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)
Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)

Mueller Is Telling Us: He's Got Trump on Collusion

By Max Bergmann and Sam Berger, The Daily Beast

08 December 18

The special counsel is connecting the dots and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the president.

or nearly two years, since the U.S. intelligence community released its report on the Russian campaign to assist Donald Trump in the 2016 election, the American people have been seeking an answer as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with its Russian counterpart. In the endless speculation about the direction of the investigation, a common view was that maybe the investigation would never implicate President Trump or find any collusion.

But a flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election.

First, Mueller has clearly identified collusion in the efforts of Trump aides and associates to contact WikiLeaks. In a draft plea agreement provided to conservative operative Jerome Corsi, Mueller details how Roger Stone, who the special counsel notes was in frequent contact with Donald Trump and senior campaign officials, directed Corsi to connect with WikiLeaks about the trove of stolen materials it received from Russia. Corsi subsequently communicated WikiLeaks’ release plan back to Stone, and the Trump campaign built its final message around the email release. That is collusion. 

Second, we now know that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn have provided evidence to Mueller related to collusion. In Cohen’s sentencing memo, Mueller said that Cohen provided his office with “useful information” on “Russia-related matters core to its investigation.” One of those central elements, according to the Justice Department: “any links and/or coordination” between the Kremlin and Trump campaign figures. Collusion, in other words.

In Flynn’s sentencing memo Mueller said that Flynn’s false statements to the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition were “material” to the investigation into “links or coordination between Russia and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”

Third, Mueller has found evidence that Trump was compromised by a hostile foreign power during the election. In his plea deal, Cohen revealed that Trump had repeatedly lied to voters about the then-candidate’s financial ties Russia. While Trump claimed during the campaign to have no business dealings with Russia, he was negotiating a wildly lucrative business deal not simply with Russian businessmen, but also involving with the Kremlin itself. Trump’s team even reportedly tried to bribe Russian President Vladimir Putin by offering him a $50 million penthouse.

Worse, Russia not only knew that Trump was lying, but when investigators first started looking into this deal, the Kremlin helped Trump cover up what really happened. That made Trump doubly compromised: first, because he was eager to get the financial payout and second because Russia had evidence he was lying to the American people—evidence they could have held over Trump by threatening to reveal at any time.

Since the president’s embarrassing performance at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin—when he kowtowed to a foreign adversary rather than stand up for American interests—there has been open speculation about what leverage the Kremlin has over him. Now we know at least part of the picture, raising the specter of what other information Putin has, and how he is using it to influence Trump’s policy decisions.

Fourth, we know that Trump has engaged in an increasingly brazen attempt to cover up his actions: installing a political crony to head the Department of Justice by potentially illegal means in an effort to shut down the investigation; using his former campaign chairman and convicted criminal Paul Manafort to find out information about Mueller’s investigation; and even appearing to offer Manafort a pardon if he helps him obstruct the Russia probe. These may be components of an obstruction of justice case, but they also provide strongly circumstantial data points as to how serious Trump himself views the allegations of collusion being levelled against him.

Lastly, federal prosecutors have told us Trump broke the law to influence the 2016 election by hiding evidence of his affairs. Trump clearly had no qualms about breaking the law to win an election.

In the face of what Mueller has revealed, there is little question where this is going. Mueller may still be only showing us part of his hand, but it’s a damn good hand. He has signalled to us he’s found collusion. He has shown us that the president is compromised. He has told us that he has gathered information important to his investigation about contacts with people in the Trump Organization, the campaign, the transition, and even the White House. That’s everyone Trump has been connected with since he started running. And given all the redacted information in his filings and all that he’s been told by cooperating witnesses, we can be confident that Mueller will show us even more.

Mueller is coming. And he is clearly coming for Trump. Not simply for obstructing justice but for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win an election. This is a scandal unlike any America has ever seen.

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-57 # yolo 2018-12-08 19:23
If Corsi's seeking of emails from Wikileaks is proof of collusion with Russia you might as well indict every politician who attempts to dig up dirt on their opponent. From people in the know, it is quit apparent the leak which released the internal emails of the democratic party to Wikileaks came from an insider not Russia. Which is why the FBI agent Peter Strzok in his text exchange with his mistress before he was assigned to Mueller's team said, “my gut sense and concern is there’s no big there there." If there was something there I'm sure Mueller and others especially in the intelligence community would have found something by now, as all communications get recorded just ask Edward Snowden. But this investigation will continue as Trump has made many enemies and it is a way to weaken him and his presidency, but it also weakens our democratic system because it isn't we the people who decide who we want but others in positions of power.
+22 # Freddy 2018-12-08 20:53
Given that about 3 million more people voted for Clinton than for Trump, you're right that the people don't decide.
+13 # Farafalla 2018-12-08 23:25
New troll? Where is Raskolnikov?
+4 # johnescher 2018-12-09 09:23
Quoting Farafalla:
New troll? Where is Raskolnikov?

Tail between his legs? About time!
-7 # yolo 2018-12-09 11:19
Yes anyway who doesn't think the same as everyone else on this site is a troll. Rather than questioning the messenger why not try questioning the evidence of collusion with Russia. I agree Trump is a bad president and probably has done questionable stuff, but the point of Mueller's investigation was to determine collusion with Russia and he hasn't proved that and I'd bet never will, because as the other FBI agent said there is no there, there. Don't let your hatred of Trump blind you to the reality and the misuse of the law, by those in power because it may come back to haunt you later when a president you do like is in office.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-10 08:18
yolo -- it is sad that you get so many negative votes for telling the truth. William Binney has said over and over that if the DNC emails were hacked by an outside intruder into the DNC server, the NSA would have the records of that.

There is not enough recognition on RSN of the importance of Corsi's criminal complaint to the Justice Department against Mueller and his whole team. Corsi is charging they threatened him unless he lied for them. The new Attorney General will probable take this seriously. There will be others who join this criminal complaint. Most of the "collusion" Mueller is claiming he has found has come from his forcing people to lie or to admit to things that did not happen.

Mueller's only hope is that he can keep people who really know the truth, like Assange, silent and locked up.
+55 # MPCicerchi 2018-12-08 19:55
+27 # sriskin 2018-12-08 21:07
Digging up dirt is one thing; trading American foreign policy for personal gain - the election itself, shady business deals - quite another thing. It is, in plain flat out fact, TREASON. Weaken the Trump presidency?? There is no Trump presidency; there is only the Trump personal business empire leveraging the power and wealth of the United States for his personal gain. We are in the midst of a Brecht play: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
+16 # 2018-12-08 22:36
"The tyranny of the majority is an inherent weakness of majority rule in which the majority of an electorate can and does place its own interests above, and at the expense of, those in the minority."
quote by de Tocqueville about the inherent flaw in democracy

He also summarized how bad or good people will reflect how power is used. You can troll and argue about the process all you want but as far as the will of the people, we are getting ratf#%d by a narcissistic President who lost the popular vote by 3 million. If you are black, brown, or educated and white, need affordable and comprehensive medical coverage, want a clean environment, investment in education and infrastructure, want a foreign policy as opposed to no foreign policy, et al, you are not very happy right now because the will of the people did not prevail. My impression is you are one of the deluded white folk who still thinks Trump is making America Great by encouraging fringe white alt right violence against minorities and creating a country where all will become as truly miserable as you imagine your privileged white self to feel. PS I am Caucasian and an outcast moderate Republican.
+1 # johnescher 2018-12-09 09:25
Better to identify exactly who you mean by "you?"
+21 # croc1 2018-12-09 01:05
Espionage, treason, corruption, conspiracy, fraud, racketeering, lying, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, intimidation, misuse of campaign funds, defamation,tax evasion, coercion, witness tampering AND a miserable human being ------the President of the United States is by definition and example - a heck of a "good" Republican! Best wishes Mr. Mueller and team! Thank you! The swamp will be drained!
+15 # treerapper 2018-12-09 05:43
Absolutely, MPCicherchi. And, I'll match your TREASON with CRIMINAL FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING and, if all else fails, the Capone strategy - TAX EVASION!

Most importantly, this is such a criminal, I certainly wouldn't bother with impeachment, I would indict the bastard and throw it into the mat horrible prison imaginable, filled with dirt and germs and all sorts of creepy crawlies = enough to drive a malevolent, misogynistic ne'er-do-well completely mad!!!
-24 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-09 07:29
Wow, it is hard to imagine a worse mis-reading of the fact so far. Take this,

"Mueller has clearly identified collusion in the efforts of Trump aides and associates to contact WikiLeaks."

No, he has established no such connection. Stone, Corsi, and most of us were watching the news and twitter in great anticipation of what WikiLeaks would release. We all shared emails, texts, and web posts speculating about the releases. This is how the breaking news business works. It is not a crime. WikiLeaks publishing leaked materials is not a crime.

I have no doubt that Mueller is coming. He was hired to destroy Trump and the FBI/DOJ are very good at destroying people. But his case need not be true.
+2 # johnescher 2018-12-09 09:28
Here the comb murderer is. No tail between his legs. Just the same denial.
+2 # ojkelly 2018-12-09 09:17
In Flynn’s sentencing memo Mueller said that Flynn’s false statements to the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition were “material” to the investigation into “links or coordination between Russia and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”

Huh? The FBI had the transcript already, Flynn's failure to remember the specifics helped some investigation?P retzel logic
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-09 19:14
oj -- "The FBI had the transcript already,"

This is the real crime. The FBI/NSA/CIA had the whole Trump team under blanket surveillance from the campaign up to now. They shared private communications among themselves. They leaked information from the intercepted files to the media -- another violation of the law. But don't expect the FBI/DOJ/CIA to investigate themselves. They don't have to obey laws.
+9 # Elroys 2018-12-09 15:20
It is likely true that many RSN readers see trump as a depraved, genocidal criminal. His clear lack of intelligence and rebuke of the actual science and truth over the massive existential threats like climate change, Putin, his love affair with Kim Jong-Un, MBS (Saudi guy) and others is not only immoral but places him in the running for not merely worst and most corrupt president in America's history, but will make him #1 contestant for a new pin striped suit and new tower with iron (not gold) bars and guards with all the AR-15s trump would ever hope to see, free of charge.
May he be relegated to the deepest and darkest dustbin in history.
Good bye, Donald.
+5 # tsyganka 2018-12-09 17:30
The Republicans are screeching that Mueller is taking too long; i.e., they appear to think that the issue of election theft is of no importance to national security.

I hope that Mueller will take long enough so that Trump is out of office and is thus unable to pardon anyone.

I hope that resolving the issue and removing Trump from office will end the current two-party whipsaw, with the GOP and the DP essentially dissolving due to public disgust with the parties' failures to move to the left.

I want them replaced with legislators who will secure the elections (paper ballots), slow climate change (go renewable), ensure public health (universal single-payer healthcare, non-GMO food, clean water, etc.), protect the utility grid against EMPs, increase taxes on the rich, cut the war budget, provide debt-free education, house the homeless, provide food programs, reform the prison and 'justice' systems, and so forth. Sigh. But I hope, and I vote and act accordingly.
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-12-10 10:13
One quibble: ‘Russia…a hostile foreign power….’
Russia is not attacking the USA with military or diplomatic force: it may be annoying, or troubling, or simply opposed; but /hostile/ is a weighted exaggeration.

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