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Every indication is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's activities regarding our dear President Trumputin are nearing their conclusion.

mueller time

More indictments should be forthcoming, in four areas:

  • Russian money laundering into Trumputin real estate investments;
  • Russian interference in the 2016 American Presidential election and collusion by Trumputin operatives;
  • obstruction of justice by same; and
  • violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

The race murder case

This all looks a little similar to a legal case I handled in the late 1960s when I was a Navy JAG lawyer on the Island of Guam in the Pacific, and was the sole prosecutor of a capital case race murder. The victim entered a bar, and he was attacked and taken out the back of the bar and kicked to death. About 25 people either observed or participated in the murder.

We developed maps showing each person who was present inside the bar and out back, and where they were located when the key events happened, at the time of the initial attack on the victim, and when the fatal blows were delivered. As we interviewed more and more participants, we refined and corrected the maps. We started with persons we were fairly certain were more likely to have been observers and not participants. Many of them denied any knowledge, but we were able to get their cooperation when we told them that others had identified them as being present and where they were located at key times.

We worked our way up to those people who were clearly identified as major participants in the murder: one who stole the wallet of the victim, another who struck the victim in the bar and kicked the victim outside, possibly delivering the fatal blow which fractured his skull; and several others who dragged the dead body into the jungle, where it rotted in the tropical sun for eight days before it was discovered.

Ultimately, we gave immunity to the guy who stole the wallet, and prosecuted the sailor who struck the victim in the bar and delivered what likely was the fatal blow with the pointed shoes he wore. Amazingly, his defense counsel put the accused on the witness stand to deny his involvement. I was able to cross-examine him and get him to admit things that led to his conviction and a long prison term.

The coming indictments

Russian Money Laundering:

When his sources of capital dried up after his fourth bankruptcy, and the looting of the Russian treasury and government assets by Putin and his thugs was well under way, Trumputin resorted to funding his real estate ventures with dirty Russian money, as did his son-in-law Jared Kushner, separately.

President Trumputin's real estate activities over the past decade attracted the attention of the FBI well before he announced for President in 2015. When his sources of capital dried up after his fourth bankruptcy, and the looting of the Russian treasury and government assets by Putin and his thugs was well under way, Trumputin resorted to funding his real estate ventures with dirty Russian money, as did his son-in-law Jared Kushner, separately.

It is likely that Trumputin and some of his assistants in The Trump Organization will be indicted (Michael Cohen?), as will those in the Kushner group. It is interesting that Trumputin's long time (30 years) secretary and gatekeeper Rhona Graff, who should know much of what Trumputin has been engaged in over the past three decades, has been interviewed by the Special Counsel, as well as his "personal bodyguard" until recently, Keith Schiller, who quit the White House because Trumputin was not paying his legal expenses.

These indictments will be unrelated to the criminal activity relating to the 2016 Presidential campaign, except that it shows how close the dealings of Trumputin and his henchmen have been to Russians close to Putin over the past decade. It is significant that Mueller brought on board his Special Counsel's staff several lawyers skilled in tracking money laundering operations.

Collusion with the Russians during the Presidential campaign:

Michael Flynn and George Papadopolous have already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their dealings with the Russians, and Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have been indicted for their activities, some of which may involve money laundering as well as collusion. Carter Page, Roger Stone, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka, Michael Caputo, Boris Epshteyn, Corey Lewandowski, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, and many now unknown campaign operatives may be indicted. Interestingly, Trumputin's young assistant for the past several years, Hope Hicks, who sees everyone who visits Trumputin during working hours and often travels with him, has also been interviewed, and may be singing, along with the now-fired Steve Bannon, who has been quoted calling the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians "treasonous".

Then there is Trumputin himself. He is known not to use e-mail (except for Twitter), and seldom writes letters or memos himself. He has others do this, such as Hope Hicks (whose documents have been subpoenaed), except when he signs documents with his manic scrawl. But he does often telephone friends such as Chris Ruddy and Tom Barrack, and they may be witnesses to his thinking and decision making, including regarding collusive activities with the Russians. We know that at the late March 2016 "Security Conference " held at the still-uncompleted Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Trumputin made it clear that he wanted to improve relations with the Russians as a major part of his Presidency, and that he tasked his campaign subordinates to work towards that end.

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How far they went with this directive is not yet known publicly, but Roger Stone, who was at the meeting, has boasted that he got the Russians to release the hacked DNC e-mails before the Democratic Convention. And it seems clear that Trumputin personally drafted the initial response to the June, 2016 meeting in the Trump Tower with the Russians, claiming it was about the adoption of Russian children. Much more to come here when Mueller Time hits.

To date, the White House has turned over to Mueller 5,079 pages of documents regarding Flynn and the Russians, 7,799 pages regarding Comey's firing, and 1.4 million pages of campaign documents. 20 White House employees have been interviewed by Mueller's staff, as well as 17 campaign employees and 11 others associated with the campaign.

Obstruction of Justice

Like many of the Nixon operatives in the aftermath of the Watergate breakin, who went to prison not for involvement in the break-in but rather in the coverup, many of Trumputin's subordinates will go to jail for obstruction of justice, i.e., lying to the FBI. Flynn and Papadopolous have already pleaded guilty, and Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have been indicted for this offense. The FBI agents are expert at asking questions regarding which they already know the answers, and getting witnesses either to lie or tell damaging truths. Either way, they are screwed. And some witnesses may be doing a John Dean, the Nixon White House Counsel who told all to the Watergate investigators (and still went to jail), by fully cooperating with the Special Counsel to avoid going to jail.

And Trumputin himself is clearly guilty of obstruction of justice through his stated reasons for firing FBI Director Comey, and other actions which he has taken to obstruct or delay the progress of the Mueller investigation, publicly known and unknown.

Sitting Members of Congress are not exempt from being drawn into the Trumputin obstruction of justice circle: Section 6 of Article I of the Constitution provides that they can be arrested for "Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace". In fact, many Congressmembers over the years have gone to jail for various offenses, usually bribery, campaign finance violations, and the like.
Are you listening, Devin Nunes?

The Emoluments Clause Issues

The Emoluments Clause of Article I, Section 9 to the Constitution reads in part that: "no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, or any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State". Trumputin has repeatedly refused to divest himself of his businesses prior to assuming the Presidency, and conflicts continue to result from the operations of the Trump International Hotel in D. C., where foreign dignitaries seeking to obtain favors from Trumputin agree to stay at his hotel while transacting business with the U.S. Government or with Trumputin directly. Many other conflicts have emerged or will emerge due to the far flung nature of the business operations of The Trump Organization.

Compared to the other serious legal offenses outlined above, emoluments violations are less significant, but support the other impeachable offenses committed by Trumputin against the American people.

The classic way to conduct such investigations, as I did in the race murder case, is to start with low level, basically noninvolved people and work your way up to the top banana. Along the way, you try to convince people to "sing like a bird" to avoid going to jail themselves. You may never get to the top dog, as it is often clear by that time that he or she is guilty or not of the charges being investigated.

It looks like the only person not yet interviewed by Mueller to date is Trumputin himself. If I were his lawyer, I would recommend against it.

The above indictments and criminal charges should be coming down soon, and it looks like Trumputin is about to trigger a Constitutional crisis that could lead to his impeachment: he could fire FBI Director Wray, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, his deputy Rachel Brand, and Robert Mueller, after he finds a Bork-like character in the Justice Department who would do Trumputin's bidding.

Trumputin might also pardon himself of all crimes, as well as all the above named people and unnamed staff members, present and past, who may have contributed to the Russian collusion or obstruction of justice, or the money laundering and emoluments clause violations.

And he might just start a war with North Korea to make all this insignificant…

Ted Vaill