Donald Trump picks up the pepperoni phone. He orders the usual: “Double meat. Double cheese. No collusion.”
No collusion? Whatever the truth might be, this man is the very last source to which to turn.
In sweet, deceitful spin, that single word – “collusion” — which doesn’t even fit into criminal statutes — somehow has become the Fox News/Lindsey Graham/Rudy Giuliani standard for sparing the Greatest Con Man from reckoning by Congress.
Not so fast.
That Mueller issued no further indictments was grounds for reverie at Mar-a-Lago. Yet no one knows better than the Trump clan that a starburst of legal dread fills the Washington sky over their heads.
I’m no criminal investigator, not like, say, the folks at the Southern U.S. District of New York, but I know sulfur when I smell it.
No indictments? Oh, yes — several. Read ’em all.
Indictment 1 – Russia attacked our elections system, and our president didn’t care.
The first intelligence briefing Trump received as Republican nominee contained intelligence assertions that Russia had done this, yet he went right out and made a “400-pound” joke about the very matter the Mueller report will affirm.
Not only did Trump make sport of the matter, but he proceeded to prostrate himself before America’s attacker, Vlad Putin. Defend that, Sen. Graham.
Indictment 2 – Trump has shown “willful ignorance” of intelligence.
This is about more than Russia. This is about the whole of U.S. intelligence, and that “willful” quote, though anonymous, comes from one among of several senior intelligence experts who have briefed Trump about matters ranging from North Korea to ISIS.
As one told Time magazine when several briefers were interviewed, actual intelligence isn’t what Trump wants to hear. What he wants to hear is what he wants to hear. Defend that, Fox News.
Indictment 3 – Trump has lied to us more times that one can count about Russia.
If his interactions were superficial and incidental, if his interests in a Trump Tower Moscow were fleeting, he could have said that. They weren’t. They were deep, passionate and went back decades.
Yet he lied with the rapidity of a jackhammer about this stuff, even going all-caps in July of 2016 with, “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
Ah, but: Trump was pursuing a Moscow tower well into that summer as he sought to become our president. That business dalliance would have continued had Trump not won the GOP nomination.
The New York Times calculates that Trump and his campaign had more than 100 contacts with Russians. That’s a whole lot of “no contact.”
The most grievous instance we know of involved Michael Flynn’s intimation to Russia’s ambassador, even before Flynn was employed by us as Trump’s national security adviser, that sanctions would be lifted from Russia under a Trump presidency. That conversation – a civilian doing foreign policy – is a violation of the Logan Act. We are to believe that Trump knew nothing about this.
Indictments 4 through 28 – What Michael Cohen said.
The moment Trump’s former fixer testified before Congress, this whole scandal (an ongoing scandal which William Barr’s CliffsNotes cheat sheet does not put it to bed) became something quite apart from “Waiting on Mueller.”
Since then, Congress has subpoenaed 81 people, and well it should have.
Those who know criminal law say that Cohen asserted 14 crimes by his boss, from insurance fraud, to tax fraud, to bank fraud, to whatever fraud ultimately will define this man.
If true, many people in criminal justice have observed, the Trump Organization has been knee-deep in RICO territory. That stands for “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Corporations” and covers a gamut of crimes that one person directs another to do, or assists another in doing.
Cohen is set to go to prison for a crime he committed as a subordinate to you-know-who, and he has testified to more.
No one identified as “Individual 1” should be doing an end-zone dance just because one investigation finds “no collusion.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.