If someone is suspected of having committed a crime, this does not make him a criminal. As long as no judgment has been passed, there is a presumption of innocence. This also applies when the focus is on a man who lies every day. This even applies in the case where the commander in chief of the United States is concerned.
And yet Donald Trump is a president encircled.
In addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations, there are proceedings against Trump and his company, the Trump Organization. Trump’s campaign team, his inauguration committee, his hotel in Washington, D.C., and the fundraiser “Rebuilding America Now,” which gave him money in 2016, are all under investigation. His family foundation was closed by authorities after the New York attorney general found a “shocking pattern of illegality” there.
Journalist and FBI expert Garrett Graff counts 18 cases closely related to the Russian saga. The particular number and frequency of investigations shows how serious the accusations against Trump and his environment are and how sensitive his legal problems have become. It makes it apparent which shady, sometimes criminal figures he still surrounded himself with in the White House: tax evaders, financial fraudsters, liars and secret lobbyists of foreign donors who have since been convicted.
For the past year and nine months, Mueller has been investigating whether Trump and those around him knowingly received support from Russia a full two years ago. His report’s release is apparently imminent, though nobody can say what it will say. Mueller’s mandate was to determine whether there existed “links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
It is incumbent upon Attorney General William Barr to make the Mueller report, or parts of it, public. If the special counsel doesn’t find anything that incriminates the president or his family, Trump should do everything he can to publish the report.
Regardless of the outcome, it has become clear over the past two years how eager people around Trump were to get help from the Russians. Trump’s ally, Roger Stone, on instruction from “high-ranking members of the campaign team,” contacted WikiLeaks to find out when and how the disclosure platform would put stolen emails from Democrats online. That’s what is stated in Mueller’s indictment of Stone.
In June 2016, Trump’s son, Donald, Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, met with a Russian lawyer in anticipation of getting “dirt on Hillary Clinton.* This, too, has been proven over and over.
In addition to this, there are 100 confirmed contacts between Trump and his campaign team on the one hand and Russians on the other: personal meetings, phone calls, texts, emails, direct messages on Twitter and much more. All of this has already been documented, regardless of Mueller’s forthcoming report.
Trump’s Allies and Helpers Have Lied and Deceived
It has also been proven that Trump’s allies and helpers lied and deceived, most often when it came to connections to Russia — Stone, Manafort, Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. Mueller has so far charged 34 suspects and three companies; seven defendants have pleaded guilty. A web of lies and criminal energy was woven under Trump. Of course, this could just be a coincidence or a spontaneous accumulation of individual decisions.
FBI expert Graff has isolated seven threads in Mueller’s investigation alone: first, the Russian espionage attack on the presidential elections; second, the role of the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform; third, possible attempts to influence actors from the Middle East. Fourth, Mueller was investigating ex-campaign manager Manafort. Fifth, he investigated a planned construction project in Moscow, the Trump Tower, and sixth, other contacts between the campaign team and Russians. And he was investigating charges of obstruction of justice, thread number seven.
The investigations of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York can be added to the Mueller investigation: Allegations of violating campaign finance law, allegations of illegal contributions from abroad, allegations of illegal donations, allegations of secret lobbying for a foreign government, in this case Ukraine — these are proceedings number eight through 11.
In Washington, an espionage case against Russian suspect Maria Butina is pending, case number 12. In the federal Eastern District of Virginia, investigations are underway against an accountant from the Russian Internet Research Agency and on the question of the extent to which Turkey secretly wanted to exert influence on the U.S. government – proceedings number 13 and 14.
In New York, an investigation is underway into charges of tax evasion, as well as proceedings against the Trump Foundation. Prosecutors in Washington and Maryland are investigating the Trump Hotel in Washington for possible violation of a constitutional amendment prohibiting presidents from accepting money from foreign powers. And the attorney general of New Jersey is investigating whether Trump’s golf course in Bedminster hired domestic workers who had no work permits – proceedings number 15 to 17.
In December, The New York Times reported on a woman from Guatemala who had allegedly entered the U.S. illegally and often made the president’s bed in Bedminster – procedure number 18.
Trump has been acting like a mafia godfather for two years. He thinks in terms of loyalty, speaks to his co-workers in coded language and trusts only those within the closest circle of his family. He fired former FBI Director James Comey, who refused to swear loyalty to him, in the hope that “that Russian thing” would finally be buried. According to media reports, Trump has at least twice tried to fire Mueller, but has been brought round by advisers.
He wanted the special counsel to disappear, he wanted to get rid of the dark cloud hanging over this presidency. Even if the Mueller report doesn’t bring anything new, Trump’s problems will not be over.
*Editor’s note: This quote, accurately translated, cannot be verified.