By Steven Jonas
"Trump-Russia" covers a variety of possible crimes (in the criminal law sense) and possible high crimes and misdemeanors (in the impeachment sense) of which President Trump and a variety of people around him are being investigated. Unlike many of my fellow left-wingers, I have thought pretty much from the beginning that where there was smoke there was fire, whether about "collusion" (possibly a crime, if with a foreign power to influence an election), "obstruction of justice" (a crime), money laundering (certain types are crimes), tax evasion (a crime), bribery/pay-offs (crimes or ethical violations), and who knows what else.
Why did I believe that there is "something there" and still do? Well there are the bits and pieces of evidence of acts of commission, such as the famous "Don Jr. meeting;" the continuing re-do's by Jared Kushner on his security form; Kushner's attempt to set up a "back channel" for direct communication with the Russians during Transition (!); the lying by Attorney General (!!!) Sessions before Congress; the guilty pleas by Flynn and Papadopoulos (they wouldn't have pleaded guilty to the FBI for lying if they were not lying about something there, no?); the "Manafort Thing," just Manafort (a certified crook/money-launderer was for a time Trump's campaign manager), and etc.
As for other evidence of, say, obstruction of justice, Trump himself did say on national television that the fired former FBI Director James Comey "because of Russia." And he had to be talked out of trying to fire Bob Mueller by his far right-wing White House Counsel, presumably because that would be seen as obstruction of justice. (Far right-wing, you say? Well yes. McGahn has the principal responsibility for picking all the far right-wingers who are being appointed to seats on the Federal bench and for implementing much of Steve Bannon's favorite: "deconstruction of the administrative state:" the massive deregulation that is going on under Trump. I always wondered where all these Trump moves were coming from in detail. Now we know.) And Trump is still thinking about it, actually trying to figure out a way to do it --- like getting rid of the Deputy Attorney General and putting someone in his place who would do it. But why, if there is nothing to hide?
And then there was "it's Trump, and we know that he's a crook." I remember in June, 1972, when I saw a p. 1 headline (but below the fold) in The New York Times that there had been a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washing, D.C. I had followed President Nixon since he ran his first red-baiting campaign in 1946 against a totally unsuspecting Cong. Jerry Voorhis. The first thing that crossed my mind upon seeing that headline was "Nixon's behind this." So, it was only natural that when I first started hearing reports of what has become "Trump/Russia," I said to myself: "Trump's behind this."
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