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Robinson writes: "We know that President Trump and his campaign either colluded with the Russian effort to undermine U.S. democracy or tried mightily to do so. We know that Trump has apparently obstructed justice to try to halt investigation into what happened. What we don't know is whether Congress, in the end, will do its sworn duty to protect the Constitution."

President Trump gives a thumbs up. (photo: Jabin Botsford/WP)
President Trump gives a thumbs up. (photo: Jabin Botsford/WP)


What Is Trump So Desperate to Cover Up?

By Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

05 December 17

 

e know that President Trump and his campaign either colluded with the Russian effort to undermine U.S. democracy or tried mightily to do so. We know that Trump has apparently obstructed justice to try to halt investigation into what happened. What we don’t know is whether Congress, in the end, will do its sworn duty to protect the Constitution.

We also don’t know what else special counsel Robert S. Mueller III might have discovered, especially about the Trump family’s international financial dealings. Or what Mueller might be learning from Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with investigators. Or how far Trump, who is increasingly frantic, might yet go to squash the Mueller probe.

It is true that there is no federal statute against “collusion.” But a specific law is not necessary for citizens and their representatives in Congress to make a judgment: Is it acceptable for a presidential candidate and officials of his campaign to encourage an adversarial foreign power’s efforts to meddle in the U.S. election process — and then seek to reward that foreign power by easing sanctions? Yes or no?

I’m no fan of conspiracy theories, which usually fall apart under scrutiny; and I’m not interested in carrying water for the Democratic Party, which should have been able to beat Trump, who was manifestly unqualified and unfit, no matter what the Russians did. But what we have learned thus far is truly shocking.

In July 2016, Trump issued a public plea: “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” He was referring to deleted material from the private email server Hillary Clinton used when she was secretary of state. Previously, according to U.S. intelligence officials, state-sponsored Russian hackers had obtained thousands of private emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and the material was being released in a manner clearly intended to damage the Clinton campaign.

We now know that in June 2016, three of the most important figures in the Trump campaign — Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort — had eagerly met with a Kremlin-tied lawyer who promised to share damaging information the Russian government had on Clinton. We also know that in April, another go-between had promised Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos “thousands of emails” containing “dirt” on Clinton.

Did anyone report these shady approaches to the FBI? No.

We know that in the last days of the campaign, Russian cyberwarriors targeted the social media accounts of potential Trump voters in key states. We don’t yet know how they aimed their propaganda so accurately.

We have learned, however, that after the election, the Trump transition team actively undermined sanctions that President Barack Obama had imposed on Russia for its election interference. Flynn discussed relaxing the sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak — then lied about it to the FBI. Transition adviser K.T. McFarland wrote in an email that the sanctions would make it harder for Trump to improve relations with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.” The White House says McFarland meant only that Democrats would claim Russia had thrown the election to Trump.

And we know that members of the Trump campaign’s inner circle consistently failed to disclose their meetings with Russian officials and emissaries. There is a pattern of behavior here. It may or may not be illegal, but it is certainly shocking and unacceptable.

As for obstruction of justice, Trump tweeted Saturday that “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” This indicates the president knew Flynn had committed a crime before meeting with FBI director James B. Comey and, according to Comey, instructing him to drop the Flynn investigation. Trump later fired Comey, telling NBC’s Lester Holt that the reason was the Russia probe. Trump has reportedly hectored other administration officials and members of Congress to stop investigating the Russia connection.

One of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, said that he, not Trump, authored that incriminating tweet. He later argued to Axios’s Mike Allen that the president “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer” under the Constitution.

With Flynn now cooperating, Mueller’s investigation enters a new phase. But let’s not lose sight of the big picture. Ask yourself a common-sense question: If nothing wrong happened with Russia during the campaign, why is Trump so desperate to cover it up?


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Comments   

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+53 # krazykwiltkatt 2017-12-05 15:59
My guess would be criminal ties to money laundering with various mobs all over the world run out of various Trump properties along with quid pro quo deals with governments for financial favors.
 
 
+8 # Robbee 2017-12-06 10:11
Quoting krazykwiltkatt 2017-12-05 15:59:
My guess would be criminal ties to money laundering with various mobs all over the world run out of various Trump properties along with quid pro quo deals with governments for financial favors.

- or, as robbee always says, dickhead is a cheap crook with tiny hands in other peoples' pockets - what if, for example, interest on the money deutchebank loans dickhead gets paid by putin?

it appears that today mueller wants us public to know what every member of dickhead's family knows, because a copy of each subpoena goes to the person whose account got subpoenad - that mueller has subpoenad accounts held by dickhead and his family! that's how the net of "quid pro quo deals with governments for financial favors" tightens!

is dickhead the siberian candidate? if dickhead has deep levels of ties to putin, then that would explain pretty much every conduct how dickhead acts and tweets
 
 
-4 # bardphile 2017-12-06 11:37
Right now, Robbee, you're holding at zero. I wonder if this means no one has reacted, or that, say, forty reds cancel out forty greens, with insults and imprecise language counterbalancin g a kernel of basic sense.
 
 
+8 # MikeAF48 2017-12-05 17:10
Mr. Trump what do we do now! No Russia participation at the 2018 Olympics. I mean this is not how Putin gets pooped on. Can't you buy this deal???
 
 
-63 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-05 18:53
"We know that President Trump and his campaign either colluded with the Russian effort to undermine U.S. democracy or tried mightily to do so."


We don't know that. And neither do you, Eugene. This is just the mantra that zombie journalists repeat day after day. They mumble it in their sleep. It keeps the paychecks from the Wapo coming. If anyone, like Eugene, were to stop, he'd soon discover that his paycheck stopped coming.

This is all just boilerplate. It is embarrassing that a very good journalist would put his name on this pablum.
 
 
-24 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-06 06:49
Once again, Robert Parry nails it:


"Once a Washington groupthink takes hold, as it has in the fervent belief about Russia-gate, respect for facts and logic fly out the window since all these important people can’t be wrong."

"The Tangled Threads of Russia-gate"
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/05/the-tangled-threads-of-russia-gate/


Eugene Robinson's article is only more groupthink. Breaking free from groupthink seems to me the most important thing everyone needs to do. Critical thinking and reasoning is the foundation of democracy. America has lost its democracy because of groupthink. Only efforts by individuals can recover it. The purveyors of groupthink, such as the major media, are not the solution. They ARE the problem.
 
 
0 # bardphile 2017-12-06 11:48
There is plenty of groupthink on all sides these days, RR, and indeed, Robinson's article has its weaknesses ("We know that Trump has apparently . . ."). It really puzzles me that some on this list seem as eager to stop the Russia probe as Trump is. The interference is undeniable at this point. The collusion question is still open. In the meantime, the curtain that obscures the shady world of money laundering and tax evasion is being slowly pulled back. Patience! Let's let Mueller pull it back some more.
 
 
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-06 14:47
bard -- "The interference is undeniable at this point."

Maybe you could briefly and quickly enumerate the points of proof you have for Russian interference in the 2016 election. I don't see any. All the points that have been suggested seem to me to have been refuted.


We don't have a choice. Mueller will go on for a long time more. He'll do his work just like Ken Starr did. There seems to be no way to stop this process once it starts. All I'm saying is that I think he is wrong.
 
 
-13 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-06 12:16
The Russia probe never had any credibility. The so-called hacked e-mails could just as easily have come from inside he U.S. because the CIA has the ability to spoof IP addresses to make them look as if they came from Russia. Nothing in your post proves Russia hacked anything. This is the sort of lazy, guilt by imputation that sustains this non-story.

Have a look at the zionist that runs CrowdStrike, which cooked up the scandal a the DNC's behest.
 
 
-9 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-06 12:18
Clearly, when you resort to ad hominem you admit defeat. Why don' you read what Rodion posts instead of engaging your denial mechanism!
 
 
+1 # ericlipps 2017-12-07 06:09
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
Once again, Robert Parry nails it:


"Once a Washington groupthink takes hold, as it has in the fervent belief about Russia-gate, respect for facts and logic fly out the window since all these important people can’t be wrong."

"The Tangled Threads of Russia-gate"
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/05/the-tangled-threads-of-russia-gate/


Eugene Robinson's article is only more groupthink. Breaking free from groupthink seems to me the most important thing everyone needs to do. Critical thinking and reasoning is the foundation of democracy. America has lost its democracy because of groupthink. Only efforts by individuals can recover it. The purveyors of groupthink, such as the major media, are not the solution. They ARE the problem.

Replying to your own posts, RR? Don't you trust your loyal fans to do it for you?

As for "groupthink," as you use it that term is Newspeak for "lots of people saying what I don't want them to."
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-07 21:27
No, sometimes I want to add a comment to what I said. In this case, I read RSN first and them went over to Consortium. I thought the article there was relevant.

Actually I am quite tolerant and accepting of different opinions and viewpoints. I think difference is the essence of a modern democratic society. We have mechanism for making decisions when they have to be made. Elections are one mechanism. Ours is broken right now.

Let's face it, none of us out here in the cheap seats knows the full truth of Russiagate. The best we can do is make an honest assessment of the information presented to us by the media -- all of it, mainstream and alternative. That's what I try to do. I think some others are just partisan: they love Hillary and want vengeance against Trump. They really don't care about a careful analysis. OK. I understand where they are coming from. I'm just not persuaded by their passion.
 
 
+1 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-08 02:05
Instead of running RR down, why don't you read what Robert Parry said, or is it that you can't address the criticism?
 
 
+21 # astralrick@aol.com 2017-12-06 09:02
Hey Rodion Raskolnikov are you a Russian bot? Eugene's comments are more or less correct: the evidence that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia is at this point bursting at the seams. We know from the Papadopoulos indictment that the Trump campaign was approached with hacked emails. We know they had meetings with Russians, many of them. We know Don Jr was directly in contact with WikiLeaks. We know that the Trump campaign changed the Republican party platform to be more Putin friendly. We know Flynn tried to undercut the Obama sanctions. But there is someone who DOES know that there was collusion and that is Robert Mueller, who is methodically laying siege to the Trump White House.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2017-12-06 10:15
Quoting astralrick@aol.com:
Hey Rodion Raskolnikov are you a Russian bot?

- robbee has been dying for someone to ask this! thanks!
 
 
+1 # PCPrincess 2017-12-07 11:00
astralrick, I'll answer on his behalf, because yours is a name that is newer here. Rodion is a progressive and critical of the DNC and the power they exert over D.C. It is known by many people that the DNC went to GREAT lengths to cover up what really was the cause of the leak of the 'emails' and WikiLeaks tried everything up to the line they won't cross about revealing sources to show, that the emails DID not come from Russia. Rodion is absolutely correct about 'group-think'. Believe it or not, there are a large group of true progressives here that are very informed about the true nature of our political institutions and what they are capable of. Many newer readers may just assume that anyone who doesn't 'buy-in' to the latest story(propagand a) must be a Republican, or a troll.

I challenge all readers to research everything and never react quickly to what is read.
 
 
+1 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-08 02:09
Outstanding post! Indeed, Rodion is correct. The real problem is separating intelligent opinion from Democratic Party propaganda.
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2017-12-08 18:20
Thank you, PCP -- great post.
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-07 21:33
astral -- OK, just to make you feel better I'll confess to being a Russian Bot. That's a capital B, by the way.

Maybe Mueller knows. He has not shown anything yet but he may show something someday. I remember very clearly that people said what you just said about Ken Starr -- "methodically laying siege to the [Clinton] White House." And after 6 years all he could come up with was a stain on a dress. but we will see about Mueller. My bet is Mueller ends up the same. You think he'll hit a home run. We will see in a few years, if Mueller is around that long.

The cases against Flynn, Papadopoulos, Manafort definitely do not establish a connection between the campaign and Russia. Flynn and Papadopoulos were charged with lying, not with conspiring with Russia to corrupt the election. Manafort's indictment never mentions Russia. It mentions Ukraine. Flynn's plea mentions Israel and Israel's request that Flynn talk to the Russian ambassador.
 
 
+1 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-09 04:37
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
astral -- OK, just to make you feel better I'll confess to being a Russian Bot. That's a capital B, by the way.

Maybe Mueller knows. He has not shown anything yet but he may show something someday. I remember very clearly that people said what you just said about Ken Starr -- "methodically laying siege to the [Clinton] White House." And after 6 years all he could come up with was a stain on a dress. but we will see about Mueller. My bet is Mueller ends up the same. You think he'll hit a home run. We will see in a few years, if Mueller is around that long.

The cases against Flynn, Papadopoulos, Manafort definitely do not establish a connection between the campaign and Russia. Flynn and Papadopoulos were charged with lying, not with conspiring with Russia to corrupt the election. Manafort's indictment never mentions Russia. It mentions Ukraine. Flynn's plea mentions Israel and Israel's request that Flynn talk to the Russian ambassador.


Yep! Mueller needs to investigate the Israelis, not the Russians. This isn't the first time Israel has attacked the U.S.
 
 
+22 # Dietz 2017-12-06 09:29
What is even more embarrassing is your steadfast denial of the obvious. I am waiting for your agreeing with trump that the Holywood Access tapes are fake, that he never encouraged the Russians to meddle (as in "find the emails!"), that he had no knowledge of what his consiglieris were doing, that he only wants the best for America, that he is not the chief apologist for Putin because he is, of course, not beholden to him for the goods that Putin may have on him, that his loans of $300 Million from Deutsche Bank at way below market interest rates not unusual for someone whom US banks will not touch with a ten- foot pole, that his using his properties for official functions at tax payers' expense is only an indication of his brilliant business sense...I could go on and on, but just maybe you get the picture. Collusion? How could there be by a man who does not want to win AT ANY COST, who would sacrifice all for his country and who forgot which foot had the terribly debilitating bone spur that resulted in draft deferments. Do you live in Kellyanne Conway's alternate universe ??
 
 
+16 # 1solartopia 2017-12-06 01:00
clearly Trump owes whatever fortune he has left to Putin.

the Russians were not needed to steal the US election---Kris Kobach & the GOP were more than capable of doing that.

clearly they didn't need to intimidate hillary clinton, who opted to walk her dogs, sip chardonnay and write a snippy book rather than fight for the presidency.

but trump has multiple-bankrt ucies on his balance sheet and somebody has been funding him---in rubles.
 
 
+4 # Jim Rocket 2017-12-06 06:22
Trump's lawyer knows what he's talking about. I believe it's the Constitution that says, "if the president does it, it's legal". Or maybe it's in the Bible. I know I've heard it somewhere...hmm mmmmm.
 
 
+18 # relegn 2017-12-06 06:53
The question is whether or not the people's representatives in Congress really represent the people or only the wealthy and corporate interests? To impeach d.trump both the wealthy and corporate interests would have to come to see him as a liability.
 
 
+15 # Working Class 2017-12-06 09:27
What Trump is so desperate to coverup is how, and with whom, he has financed his real estate empire. That is the foundation that everything else is built on. It is why his campaign drew the interest of Russian concerns. I predict that if they continue to follow the money they will find that Trump and his empire have been one 'Huge" money laundering operation for Russians, including Russian organized crime.
 
 
0 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-06 13:59
Quoting Working Class:
What Trump is so desperate to coverup is how, and with whom, he has financed his real estate empire. That is the foundation that everything else is built on. It is why his campaign drew the interest of Russian concerns. I predict that if they continue to follow the money they will find that Trump and his empire have been one 'Huge" money laundering operation for Russians, including Russian organized crime.


What does this have to to with Russian hacking? Nothing.
 
 
0 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-06 14:02
RSN: Why don't you run Robert Parry’s analysis, as Rodion Raskolnikov pointed out. Unlike WaPo hacks like Robinson, he can write intelligently and avoid empty speculation.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2017-12-06 19:14
Yes, but he has a blind spot. He doubts Russiagate, which is only rational, but he uses that to argue than investigating Trump from anything is illegitimate. He goes so far as to imply that it is unconstitutiona l, which is of course nonsense.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2017-12-06 19:10
We don't know that because we don't know that there Was any Russian effort to undermine US democracy. CIA propaganda does not make it so.
What is more likely is that he is trying to hide money laundering and tax evasion and other similar corruption tied to the Russian mob, but not exclusive to Russia. He enterprises all over the world are suspect. He has been trying to intimidate Mueller into sticking with the original collusion r, but he doesn't appear that Mueller is inclined to be intimidated. The sooner he gets to the real criminal stuff the better.
 
 
-4 # Secret Squirrel 2017-12-08 02:07
Of course, whatever business dealings Trump may have with Russians is irrelevant to this WaPo propaganda, which too many people take at face value. WaPo should be off RSN’s aggregation list.
 

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