Russian asset and crime family boss Donald Trump just keeps digging his hole deeper with the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Yesterday he added two more counts, for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The GOP House Freedom Caucus co-conspirators who are aiding and abetting his crimes should also be charged.
Steve Benen does a good job of breaking it down. Trump ignores security, crosses ‘red line’ with declassification gambit:
Donald Trump’s abuses have become routine, but that doesn’t make them any easier to tolerate. The president’s move yesterdayafternoon, for example, is awfully tough to defend.
In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia.
A statement by the White House press office said Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice and the FBI to declassify about 20 pages of a highly sensitive application for surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time Trump foreign policy aide.
The president suggested two weeks ago that he was considering such a move, but many hoped Trump was just blowing off steam and he’d end up in a more responsible place. That’s obviously not what happened.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Conspiracy Theory, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, GOP War On..., International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Russian Affair, Scandals
Tagged abuse of power, accessories, co-conspirators, conspiracy, Department of Justice, FBI, Intelligence Agencies, National Security, obstruction of justice, Special Counsel, witness intimidation
Last week, the Special Counsel’s office Mueller accuses Paul Manafort of witness tampering:
Federal prosecutors accused former Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort of witness tampering in a pleading filed late Monday in his criminal case and asked a federal judge to consider revoking or revising his pretrial release. [Manafort is subject to home confinement, and is wearing two ankle bracelet court monitors.]
Prosecutors accused Manafort and a longtime associate they linked to Russian intelligence of repeatedly contacting two members of a public relations firm and asking them to falsely testify about secret lobbying they did at Manafort’s behest.
The firm of former senior European officials, informally called the “Hapsburg group,” was secretly retained in 2012 by Manafort to advocate for Ukraine, where Manafort had clients, prosecutors charged.
In court documents, prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III allege that Manafort and his associate — referred to only as Person A — tried to contact the two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps. The description of Person A matches his longtime business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Elections, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, President, Russian Affair, Scandals
Tagged conspiracy, obstruction of justice, Special Counsel, suborning perjury, witness intimidation
I covered this topic in an earlier post, The GOP war on law enforcement and the rule of law to obstruct justice.
Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post adds, Republicans risk becoming accomplices in obstruction of justice (excerpt):
Republicans in Congress have shown none of the courage Comey, Wray, McGahn, etc., demonstrated. With the exception of chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Republicans have demonstrated little inclination to dig deeply into the scandal or to restrain Trump. Two bipartisan bills seeking to hinder Trump from firing Mueller remain dormant. Democrats should insist these get an up-or-down vote.
Moreover, the antics of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should be seen in the context of Trump’s multiple efforts to decapitate the FBI and the Russia investigation. Nunes is plowing the way — cooking up conspiracy theories and propounding baseless allegations against Mueller and the FBI — to predispose the public to accept Mueller’s firing. He is encouraging, almost baiting, Trump to fire Mueller. He is also assisting Trump by tainting the jury (the American people), if you will, to accept or even applaud Mueller’s firing. From the unmasking stunt to his latest “memo,” he has tried to distract from the Russian threat and discredit law enforcement.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Ethics, GOP War On..., Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged accesories, Attorney General, conspiracy, Department of Justice, FBI, obstruction of justice, Special Counsel, witness intimidation
> Steve Vladeck, professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, co-editor-in-chief of Just Security and co-host of the National Security Law Podcast: “A few hours after former FBI director James B. Comey finished testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, President Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, suggested that Comey had violated the law. By causing memos about conversations between Trump and Comey to become public, Comey had committed an “unauthorized disclosure of privileged information,” Kasowitz claimed.” Trump’s lawyer says Comey violated executive privilege. He’s wrong. “On a day characterized by hubris remarkable even for Washington, the blatant wrongheadedness of this “privilege” claim still stands out. In fact, executive privilege almost certainly does not cover the Comey memo. And even if it did, disclosing it without authorization isn’t illegal.”
> Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post: Comey’s sharing of notes about Trump doesn’t make him a criminal, analysts say: Prosecutors who bring charges against people for sharing information with the public can do so only when classified or other national security material is at issue. Material cannot be classified to conceal legal violations or prevent embarrassment, according to an executive order from President Barack Obama. Telling a reporter nonclassified information of public interest is not only legal, but it’s often the right thing to do.
> Phillip Bump, Washington Post:There’s no indication Comey violated the law. Trump may be about to. By threatening James Comey, Trump’s lawyer may be violating whistleblower retaliation rules.
> Norman Eisen, chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama, and a co-founder and the chairman of CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; and Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW and a former federal corruption prosecutor. Comey’s Case for Obstruction of Justice: “Mr. Comey’s sworn statement and answers before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee now provide strong evidence that President Trump committed obstruction of justice.” “But strong initial evidence is not the same as a slam-dunk case, and Mr. Comey’s testimony also made clear how far we have to go before the question is definitively resolved.”
> Phillip Allen Locavara, served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski: I helped prosecute Watergate. Comey’s statement is sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice case. “Comey’s statement lays out a case against the president that consists of a tidy pattern, beginning with the demand for loyalty, the threat to terminate Comey’s job, the repeated requests to turn off the investigation into Flynn and the final infliction of career punishment for failing to succumb to the president’s requests, all followed by the president’s own concession about his motive. Any experienced prosecutor would see these facts as establishing a prima facie case of obstruction of justice.”
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., International, Justice, Law Enforcement, Party Politics, President, Scandals, War
Tagged Department of Justice, FBI, Foreign Policy, National Security, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation