Investigating Trump

3-mayflower

The Mayflower Hotel

When Richard Nixon was investigated for his role in Watergate, the underlying story was relatively straight-forward.  A group of Republican operatives was caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex.  The gist of the investigation was whether Nixon was somehow involved.  Basically, there was one act and an ensuing cover up.  No one got confused trying to understand which particular malfeasance was being talked about.

Trumpgate is much more complex because the actions that are being unveiled are substantially more wide ranging.  Here’s my list for keeping track:

The Trump-Russia Scandal:  US intelligence has confirmed that Russian operatives actively undermined the integrity of the 2016 election, among other acts releasing hacked emails and misinformation intended to damage the Clinton campaign.  Numerous Trump aides were in contact with Russian officials during this period and many of the contacts were initially denied.  Several theories have arisen as to what was going on, including the possibility of direct collusion between Trump and Putin to swing the election, the possibility of an oil deal underlying such cooperation, and the possibility that Trump was compromised by Russian intelligence.

Here are a couple recent pieces addressing where that stands.  Jefferson Morley article posted on Salon,  5 key questions about the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation“.  Read the Morley piece for five areas he would like investigated.

See also Seth Abramson’s Twitter threads.  Following these threads is a bit more work – Abramson hasn’t yet collected it together, or if he has I didn’t find it.  Still, the threads are compelling and raise questions concerning  whether a deal for oil was cut at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, and concerning the Christopher Steele dossier.

Secondly, Was there a Domestic Manipulation of the Election?  Did Trump operatives work with a faction in the FBI New York office to manipulate intelligence information?  Again, see Abramson, in The Huffington Post,   The Domestic Conspiracy That Gave Trump The Election Is In Plain Sight.”

Here’s Abramson’s lead: “Information presently public and available confirms that Erik Prince, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump conspired to intimidate FBI Director James Comey into interfering in, and thus directly affecting, the 2016 presidential election. This conspiracy was made possible with the assistance of officers in the New York Police Department and agents within the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All of the major actors in the conspiracy have already confessed to its particulars either in word or in deed; moreover, all of the major actors have publicly exhibited consciousness of guilt after the fact. This assessment has already been the subject of articles in news outlets on both sides of the political spectrum, but has not yet received substantial investigation by major media.”

Read Abramson for the underlying allegations.  I found the information concerning Erik Prince new and interesting.  Abramson notes that “Erik Prince—the founder of Blackwater private security, one of Trump’s biggest donors, a conspiracy theorist who’d previously accused Huma Abedin of being a terrorist in the employ of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a man who blamed Clinton family friend and former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta for outing him as a CIA asset in 2009″ was actively involved in the Clinton disinformation campaign.  Prince, it turns out, is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother.  Consider this excerpt: “It seems clear that Giuliani, who was the top surrogate for the Trump campaign and in near-daily contact with the candidate, acted under orders from Trump, and that Prince either acted under orders from Trump or Steve Bannon—well-known to Prince from their mutual association with, and financial investment in, Breitbart and its ownership, including Robert Mercer—and, moreover, that all those associated with the conspiracy were subsequently rewarded. Erik Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, was named Education Secretary by Trump, despite having no experience for the job other than advocating sporadically for charter schools in Michigan. Prince himself was named a shadow adviser to Trump, even though, by November 8th, the fact that his statements to Breitbart had been part of a domestic disinformation campaign was clear. Prince is so close to Trump that he appears to have been present at the election-night returns-watching party to which Trump invited only close friends and associates…”

Violation of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Third, while the questions of Trump’s collusion with Russia and manipulation of the FBI seem to be the most visible areas of investigation, Adam Davidson in The New Yorker, “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal”, presents a strong case that Trump violated The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by partnering with organized crime in a Trump hotel project in Azerbaijan.  I am puzzled that Davidson’s piece has gained so little traction in Congress, given that proof could be reasonably obtained through available paper and money trails.

Violation of the Emoluments Clause.  Even more puzzling is the failure of Congressional members to pursue Trump’s violation of the Emoluments Clause, given that Trump is profiting from a world-wide web of business ventures that create an inevitable tangle of conflicts of interest.  Trump, in public view, benefits every time a foreign entity contracts with a Trump facility.  There was a brief flurry of headlines when China granted Trump valuable patents.  It is difficult to construct an innocent explanation for the Republican leadership ignoring such a direct and visible Constitutional challenge.

 

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