Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pardon Me? Trump Gives an Interview and Hell Breaks Loose
"Trump sounded nervous, and rightly so. His son took a meeting with a Russian accused of international money-laundering, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer with ties to the international hacker community, and a Russian attorney devoted to lifting the sanctions against a bunch of Russian oligarchs who had their assets seized after the man who exposed their massive money-laundering operation died in prison -- all this, it seems, in service to the Russian government's professed desire to help the Trump campaign.  An investigation by former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara into Russian money-laundering with ties to "Manhattan real estate entities" ended when Bharara was fired by Trump. That investigation has been folded into Mueller's. The lawyer representing the Russian being investigated by Bharara was the lawyer at Trump Jr.'s meeting. Yeah, I'd be nervous, too. At the end of the conversation, Trump refused to say whether he would fire Mueller if he took the investigation in that direction because, Trump said, "I don't think it's going to happen." It happened, almost immediately. The next morning, Bloomberg News revealed that Robert Mueller is, in fact, pursuing an investigation into the financial dealings not only of Trump, but of Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and perhaps others. By Thursday evening, The Washington Post was reporting that Trump was in the mood to talk about his pardoning powers: "Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe … A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves. " This is, simply, unprecedented. Of course, every single president at some point probably joked about pardoning themselves. Trump is the first president to really mean it. Even Nixon had more shame than that. The "red line" has been crossed, and all the secrets are waiting for daylight."

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