No walk this morning. Down here in North Carolina, home of Republican voter fraud, we are snowed in. It will be days before I can drive, let alone take my morning walk. So naturally, like any obsessive news junkie, I have been listening non-stop to the commentary on Mueller’s court filings this last week, along with that of the Southern District of New York. Mueller’s documents were rather disappointing, inasmuch as they contained fewer juicy details than hoped for. There was a good deal of discussion of the fact that the Southern District’s filing identified Trump as having committed a felony, but the felony was violation of laws regulating campaign finances, and no one thinks that is really big news. So the commentators were reduced to picking over the unredacted portions of the documents for hints and clues of what Mueller has on Trump.
I will leave that exercise to the experts, of whom there is no shortage on MSNBC and CNN. Rather, I would like instead to hark back to the July 2018 indictment of a dozen Russian GRU officers handed up by Mueller’s Grand Jury. That was one of the most extraordinary public documents I have ever read, and it tells me more about what Mueller has on Trump than any of the hints and winks and nods of last week’s filings.
The July indictment made it clear that Mueller knew what the Russians did. He knew exactly to the minute when they did it. He knew their names. He knew their ranks. He knew the addresses where they worked. He knew their login IDs. He knew whom they were talking to. I suspect he knew what they ate and when they took bathroom breaks. And he knew all this in Russian!
Can anyone have the slightest doubt that Mueller has at least as much detailed knowledge about the doings of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, or Donald J. Trump himself?
Were these folks, and many others besides, part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States government, as defined by the statutes? I would be happy to place a money bet that they were, and that Mueller can prove it.
Two final points, called to our attention by Rachel Maddow. First, the court filing says Trump stood to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” from the Moscow Trump Tower” project that was the focus of many of the Trump/Russia communications through the middle of 2016. For many years now, Trump has been signing leasing deals lending his name to real estate projects around the world. These leasing deals have been paying him one, two, maybe five million each. The Moscow deal was several orders of magnitude larger than anything he had been engaged in. We may be sure he knew absolutely everything that was done in furtherance of the deal.
Second, the Russian bank designated as the lending agent for the project is a bank under sanctions by the U. S. government and hence ineligible to underwrite the Moscow project. That, almost certainly, is why Trump was on board with lifting sanctions.