Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trump engaged in cover-up; but of what?

[This was written for Tuesday morning, before the news that Trump had revealed highly classified information to the Russians, and before the news of Comey's notes (see post below) saying Trump asked him to "let the Flynn investigation go" -- both of which pushed this aside.  But the news of both those events only add to the urgency of the larger concerns here.]

Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post what is now becoming a logical assumption:  "The only way to make sense of [last] week’s stunning events is to conclude that there is something that President Trump desperately wants to hide."

Robinson goes on to discuss what criminal prosecutors call a witness "displaying consciousness of guilt," i.e. "acting in a way no innocent person would act."   He includes Trump's refusal to accept the conclusion by our entire intelligence community that Russia was behind the DNC email hacking.

Then there's the whole Michael Flynn affair that made him vulnerable to blackmail by foreign powers -- evidence that Sally Yates took to warn the White House Counsel.   Trump waited 18 days to do anything, allowing Flynn to continue to participate in meetings where the nation's most sensitive national security secrets were discussed, and then fired Flynn only after it became public knowledge.  And then, four days later, Trump fired Sally Yates.

Robinson covers other connections between Trump and Russians (Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner).   Robinson says it's possible some of these were nothing more than courtesy calls.  And then there was Trump adviser J.D. Gordon, who finally admitted to being the one who insisted at the GOP convention that one item in the platform be changed, so that it favored Russia over Ukraine.  How many suspicious links with Russia does it take to begin to look like evidence?

And then there's Trump himself.   Something is building up that hasn't leaked fully yet, but we know that the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes division is involved.   Trump had his tax lawyer write a letter saying that he had no income from Russian sources over the past 10 years.   That is completely meaningless, because in the global world of secret money laundering, money is passed through several name-free shell companies to conceal sources.

And why was Trump so eager to get Comey's reassurance -- on three separate occasions -- that he is not personally under investigation?  Every one who knows Comey insists that this straight-arrow paragon would never answer such a question, no matter what Trump claims.   It seems pretty clear about these two men that Comey cannot tell a lie, and Trump cannot tell the truth.   So who ya gonna believe?

Even if Comey said something that Trump twisted in his own mind to be reassuring, it means nothing anyway.  In this type of investigation, you go after the little guys first, get their evidence on those above, and go up the chain to the top guy after you have some evidence.

We could go on.    Trump's public statements of admiration for Vladimir Putin as a strong leader.  His older son's statement years ago about "a flood of Russian money boosting the Trump Organization's fortunes."  The fact that no New York bank will lend Trump money except one that has strong ties to the Russian state bank, the head of which was personally chosen by Putin, had a meeting with Jared Kushner within the past year. 

And Trump's meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian Foreign Minister and the same Ambassador Kislyak that Flynn, Sessions, and Kushner had so many meetings with.   And the fact -- coincidence? -- that this highly unusual Oval Office meeting took place, unannounced and barred to U.S. media, the morning after Trump fired Comey.

Let's remember that the firings of Comey and Yates were preceded several months ago by the firing of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who had jurisdiction over the area where the Trump Organization is located.  This same office handles most of the cases involving international financial crimes like money laundering.   Recent leaks strongly suggest that there was, probably still is, an investigation ongoing that involves Trump and possible involvement in the past in money-laundering through his real estate and casino businesses -- two businesses where large sums of money can be concealed, laundered, and moved around to conceal who is doing what with shady money.  We know that great gobs of cash have been used by Russian oligarchs to buy condominiums from Trump properties, and sales can be concealed by setting up shell companies.

So Trump has now fired three prosecutors who were overseeing investigations involving him.

I'll end with Robinson's conclusion to his article:
"If Trump wanted to end this scrutiny by firing Comey, he may have had the opposite effect. Ask yourself one question: Have you ever seen a coverup with no underlying crime? Neither have I."


No comments:

Post a Comment