Friday, December 07, 2018

Quote of the Day

We are deep into the worst case scenarios. But as new sentencing memos for Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen make all too clear, the only remaining question is how bad does the actual worst case scenario get?

The potential innocent explanations for Donald Trump’s behavior over the last two years have been steadily stripped away, piece by piece. Special counsel Robert Mueller and investigative reporters have uncovered and assembled a picture of a presidential campaign and transition seemingly infected by unprecedented deceit and criminality, and in regular—almost obsequious—contact with America’s leading foreign adversary.

A year ago, Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic outlined seven possible scenarios about Trump and Russia, arranged from most innocent to most guilty. Fifth on that list was “Russian Intelligence Actively Penetrated the Trump Campaign – and Trump Knew or Should Have Known,” escalating from there to #6 “Kompromat,” and topping out at the once unimaginable #7, “The President of the United States is a Russian Agent.”

After the latest disclosures, we’re steadily into Scenario #5, and can easily imagine #6.

The Cohen and Manafort court documents all provide new details, revelations, and hints of more to come. They’re a reminder, also, that Mueller’s investigation continues alongside an investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that clearly alleges that Donald Trump participated in a felony, directing Cohen to violate campaign finance laws to cover up extramarital affairs.

. . . Put together all the clues, and Occam’s Razor comes to mind: The most obvious scenario is the most likely scenario. And the most likely scenario now is that there was no division between the apparent Trump-Russian collusion on business matters and in the 2016 election. The coincidences are piling up. The conversations are piling up.

And Mueller’s evidence is clearly piling up as well.

– Garrett M. Graff
Excerpted from “The Mueller Investigation Nears the Worst Case Scenario
December 7, 2018

Related Off-site Links and Updates:
Friday Was a Very, Very Bad Day for Donald Trump – Chris Cillizza (CNN, December 7, 2018).
Takeaways from the New Cohen and Manafort Filings – Jeremy Herb, Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen (CNN, December 8, 2018).
Mueller Says Paul Manafort's Plea Deal Void Because Former Trump Campaign Manager “Told Multiple Discernible Lies” – Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, December 8, 2018).
Mueller Is Telling Us: He’s Got Trump on Collusion – Max Bergmann and Sam Berger (The Daily Beast, December 7, 2018).
Donald Trump Directed a Criminal Conspiracy with Michael Cohen's Campaign Finance Violations, Federal Prosecutors Have Concluded – Alexandra Hutzler (Newsweek, December 7, 2018).
Donald Trump Has Been Tied to a Federal Crime by Prosecutors. Can a President Be Indicted?ABC News (December 8, 2018).
Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean? – Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos (New York Times, December 8, 2018).
If Trump Obtained Presidency by Fraud He Should Be Treated As He Treats Illegal Immigrants, Former Prosecutor Says – Ramsey Touchberry (Newsweek, December 8, 2018).
Russians Interacted with at Least 14 Trump Associates During the Campaign and Transition – Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig (The Washington Post, December 9, 2018).
Is There Anything Trump, Cohen, and Manafort Didn’t Lie About? – James Risen (The Intercept, December 9, 2018).
Senate Republicans Are Responsible for the Most Unethical and Incompetent Administration Ever – Jennifer Rubin (The Washington Post, December 9, 2018).
Trump’s Latest Meltdown Shows Even He Knows This Could Be the Beginning of the End – Inae Oh (Mother Jones, December 10, 2018).
Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison Following Plea That Implicated Trump – Ryan Lucas and Philip Ewing (NPR News, December 12, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – July 16, 2018
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
Trump's Playbook
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
A Profoundly Troubling and Tragic Indictment
Michael Sean Winters: "The Entire Republican Establishment Has Caved to Trumpism"

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