As I write this article the talking heads on television are battling over the significance or lack thereof of the competing memos. In reality they will be lucky to be footnotes in history when the final story of Russiagate is told. The saddest part is that this conversation is reducing media coverage of serious issues like mass shootings, DACA, climate change and social injustice and in doing so plays right into the hands of evil doers like the Trump administration. Speaking of the organized criminal enterprise in the White House, they spin all this as vindication. They are effectively claiming victory at halftime. Let’s explore.
The current count is nearing a half dozen former Trump campaign and/or administration officials that have pled guilty to felonies at this point. That is the number publically available – who knows if Robert Mueller’s team has some sealed plea agreements that the news media is unaware of.
I will give the right wing their talking point that none of the publically disclosed information directly proves that Trump personally conspired with the Russians. Of course none of it exonerates him either; in fact far from it. So senior people on his campaign and in his White House have proven to be crooks; that either means Trump was conspiring with them or he is incredibly incompetent at vetting. (Remember this is the extreme vetting guy. I guess that only applies to people lacking white skin.)
Trump via his business dealings is linked to a large number of Russian oligarchs (who all have shady business practices) and people named in the Panama Papers. For those needing as quick refresher, the Panama Papers basically revealed international money laundering activity. The money to be laundered mainly came from ill-gotten gains.
So here is my bottom line: Trump surrounded himself with a bunch of crooks but contends he is not one of them. Mueller has yet to complete his investigation and may well be far from the finish line. To any but those experiencing a bout of willful ignorance things look worse for Trump almost weekly if not daily. My conclusion is that Mueller hasn’t conclusively proven that Trump conspired (collusion is not a legal term for the crime) with the Russians yet. Oh and then there are little things like obstruction of justice and money laundering.
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