Memo: How Recent Developments Impact Our Understanding of the Russia Investigation
To: Interested Parties
From: The Moscow Project
Date: November 30, 2018
Re: How Recent Developments Impact Our Understanding of the Russia Investigation
This week’s dramatic developments are a game changer in the Russia investigation: They clearly indicate that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election. This attack continues to this day and is an ongoing threat to our national security that President Donald Trump continues to abet. It’s time for policymakers to shift their focus to not only protecting the Mueller investigation, but also preparing the public for the full breadth of corruption that the investigation will reveal.
To do so, policymakers should avoid focusing on legal maneuverings and instead focus on the nature of the criminal conduct by the president and his close associates that is being exposed. To put it simply, the Mueller investigation has shown that Trump is compromised and has put his own interests before the safety and security of the American people from the very beginning.
Here are the four key developments we learned about this week:
- Mueller has identified collusion. In the draft plea agreement provided to Jerome Corsi, Mueller details how Roger Stone, who Mueller notes was in frequent contact with Donald Trump and senior campaign officials, directed Corsi to connect with WikiLeaks about the trove of stolen materials it received from Russia. Corsi subsequently communicated back to Stone WikiLeaks’ release plan. Laid bare, this means that a Trump associate engaged with a Russian-affiliated organization to learn about its plans to disseminate information the Trump campaign knew had been stolen by a foreign adversary, all for the purpose of benefitting Trump. That is collusion.
Key takeaway: Mueller has evidence that the Trump team in fact colluded with Russia. They coordinated with WikiLeaks, which they knew was a Russian front, about the release of the emails, which they knew had been stolen by Russia.
- Trump is compromised by a hostile foreign power. Michael Cohen’s plea revealed that Trump repeatedly lied during the campaign about Russia’s financial leverage over him. While Trump falsely claimed to have no business ties to Russia during the campaign, the Trump Organization was having discussions with high-ranking Kremlin officials to build a lucrative Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump’s team even tried to bribe Russian President Vladimir Putin by offering him a $50 million penthouse. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, then lied to Congress about the discussions to hide them from investigators.
Key takeaway: Trump knowingly and repeatedly lied to the American people about a business deal he was negotiating with the Kremlin during the campaign. Worse, Trump gave the Russians leverage over him because they knew he was lying and helped him do so. We now have direct evidence that the president of the United States is compromised by a hostile foreign power. People have wondered why the American president has kowtowed to Putin rather than standing up for America’s interests. Now we know.
- Trump is engaged in a vast cover-up. The events of this week further demonstrate that Trump is engaged in a vast effort to cover up his actions during the campaign and is working aggressively to obstruct and undermine the investigation. We now know that:
- Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress to protect Trump.
- Trump illegally put in charge of the Justice Department a political crony who had previously outlined a strategy to shut down the investigation.
- Trump’s legal team sought to use Paul Manafort’s cooperation with the Mueller investigation to gain information on the direction of the investigation.
- Trump’s legal team has established joint-defense agreements with 32 individuals, indicating the breadth of their concern. Trump has encouraged others to lie and deceive investigators, dangling pardons to those who obstruct the investigation.
Key takeaway: Trump is acting guilty. You don’t work this hard to obstruct an investigation and engineer a vast cover-up if you’re innocent. Trump is trying to hide even more damning evidence that he and his campaign conspired with the Russian attack on our democracy.
- The Mueller investigation is on course to reveal explosive crimes and must be protected. Doubts about whether the Mueller investigation would find evidence that the president colluded with Russia are no longer warranted. While the full scope of the Mueller investigation is still unknown, it looks increasingly clear that Mueller is on track to expose significant crimes by the president and his campaign.
Now is the time for policymakers to defend the Mueller investigation by both reminding Americans about the results of the investigation thus far and attacking the credibility of Trump, a serial liar willing to do anything to protect himself.
- The Mueller investigation is producing results, with 36 indictments and 7 guilty pleas, including four members of Trump’s inner circle.
- This is about protecting America. Mueller has exposed a Russian conspiracy against the United States and is now bringing charges against Americans that aided and abetted that conspiracy.
- The story of Trump and Russia is simple: A corrupt businessman was offered a corrupt deal by the Russians to betray the country. He took that deal and now is compromising our national security to pay back his debts to the Kremlin.
For the full story, see the Moscow Project’s new report, “Conspiracy Against the United States: The Story of Trump and Russia,” or visit www.themoscowproject.org.