We keep noting that Mr. Mueller knows who’s been bad and who’s been worse, and we also keep reminding ourselves that we don’t know anywhere near as much as he does. The only person who might know more is the Russian Usurper himself, who took to Twitter yesterday following the sentencing guidelines release and defended himself by quoting —and I am not making this up— ¡Geraldo!, who has added some exciting, new & improved Lemon Scent to the ol’ Witch Hunt! See if you can spot it:
“This is collusion illusion, there is no smoking gun here. At this late date, after all that we have gone through, after millions have been spent, we have no Russian Collusion. There is nothing impeachable here.” @GeraldoRivera Time for the Witch Hunt to END!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2018
¡Geraldo! gets paid the big bucks for Collusion Illusion. It’s why he did so well on The Apprentice!¡ But I digress.
Axios morning email thingie leads with an amazing bullet list summarizing what we know about the Little Kremlin-on-the-Potomac investigation (idiosyncratic emboldening theirs):
- We now know several Russian officials reached out to a half dozen Republicans very close to Trump and his campaign, including his eldest son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. We now know they took the meetings, often enthusiastically, during and after the campaign.
- We now know Russia offered in those chats campaign assistance — “synergy,” they called it. We know now of no one around Trump who alerted the FBI of this effort to subvert our elections.
- We now know that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking the DNC and systematically releasing material for the purpose of hurting the Clinton campaign via WikiLeaks.
- We know that Trump associates Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi attempted — successfully, in some instances — to get in touch with WikiLeaks and that they are under investigation for whether they had advance knowledge about the email dumps.
- We now know Donald Trump, Jr and others took a meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. We now know Don, Jr., when approached with the promise of dirt, wrote: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
- We now know Trump was negotiating a Trump property in Moscow during the presidential campaign — and hid this from the public and lied about it. We now know Mueller believes, based on his court filing, the “Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
- We now know every arm of the US intelligence community concluded Russia sought to systematically influence the election outcome. We now know this was an unanimous conclusion, save one dissent: Trump.
- We now know Trump officials continued talking with the Russians during the post-election transition. We now know Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions failed to initially disclose any contacts with Russians on their government forms.
- We now know Jared Kushner suggested a secret backchannel with the Russians, which had it happened, would have been free of US eavesdropping.
- We now know Trump soured on FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and White House counsel Don McGahn in part over their handling of the probe.
- We now know Paul Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, lied about his Russia contacts, was indicted, and is going to jail.
- We now know Flynn lied about his Russian contacts, was fired and pleaded guilty, after agreeing to become a key witness in the investigation.
- We now know Cohen lied about his Russian contacts, was indicted, and then flipped to become a key witness against Trump.
It’s a pretty astonishing list of facts, and keep in the back of your mind that Mr. Mueller knows so much more.
UPDATE 1: NYTimes doesn’t sugarcoat it –
“The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged. In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him.
“At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law. The prosecutors made clear in a sentencing memo filed on Friday that they viewed efforts by Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election — and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.”