Trump claims ‘no collusion’

Donald Trump has claimed there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians.

That is incorrect. No collusion has been shown or claimed in the FBI investigation – yet. But the investigation also hasn’t shown that no collusion occurred.

In his notice to the Court on the Michael Flynn charges deal Special Counsel Robert Mueller stated:

“These facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offenses. They are being submitted to demonstrate that sufficient facts exist that the defendant committed the offense to which he is pleading guilty.”

So what the Special Investigation knows is not known to the public – nor to Trump. Mueller may or may not have evidence proving collusion or pointing to possible collusion.

An ABC News report that a Flynn confidant said he would testify that Trump directed him to contact the Russians during the campaign has been corrected, citing a clarification from the source.

The ABC report Flynn prepared to testify that Trump directed him to contact Russians about ISIS, confidant says now states:

Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.

The confidant provided ABC News with new details on Friday about Trump’s instructions to Flynn. During the campaign, Trump asked Flynn to be one of a small group of close advisors charged with improving relations in Russia and other hot spots. The source said Trump phoned Flynn shortly after the election to explicitly ask him to “serve as point person on Russia,” and to reach out personally to Russian officials to develop strategies to jointly combat ISIS.

The confidant told ABC News that Flynn felt abandoned by Trump in recent weeks, and told friends about the decision to make the plea deal within the last 24 hours as he grew increasingly concerned about crippling legal costs he would face if he continued to contest the charges.

“Flynn is very angry,” the confidant told ABC News Friday. “He will cooperate truthfully on any question they ask him.”

Of course the ‘confidant’ cant be sure what Flynn will testify.

Meanwhile Stuff reports: Kiwi spies knew of Donald Trump’s ‘collusion’ with Russia as it unfolded – book

New Zealand spies knew about Donald Trump colluding with Russia in the lead-up to the extraordinary 2016 US election, an investigative journalist says.

Luke Harding is a Guardian journalist and author of Collusion, a new book exploring the US president’s longstanding ties with Russia.

It was the evidence of European spy agencies and, according to one source, the Australians, that helped nudge an initially reticent FBI into investigating the Trump-Russia ties that continue to unfold.

Five Eyes intelligence partners, including the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau, were monitoring the meetings between Trump associates and “known and suspected” Russian agents in the year preceding the US election, Harding says.

“This information would have been shared with New Zealand’s spooks, and they will have a clearer picture, privately, of what degree Trump colluded,” Harding says.

The book goes deep into the publication of the Steele dossier, Russian hacking of the Democrats email servers, failed bids to build a Trump Hotel in Moscow, and the dealings between Trump’s associates and Russians now subject to FBI scrutiny.

It’s more damning than Watergate, Harding says, but he doesn’t expect it to topple the White House.

His prediction: Trump will last the four-year term. “Impeachment is a political question. So, I think he’ll tough it out.”

That’s just guessing.

The investigation appears to be far from over and more is almost certain to come out. We will need to wait and see whether collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia can be proven or not.

 

 

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18 Comments

  1. David

     /  December 3, 2017

    Absence of evidence of collusion doesnt neccesarily mean they havent found it yet it is more probable that it never happened.
    If Russia wanted influence why not back the candidate likely to win who,s husband was paid by you 500k for a speech and the candidate herself had taken 145 million for her foundation and helped you get a uranium deal, it makes absolutely zero sense for Russia to want Trump in the whitehouse.
    Hilary,s campaign bought the Fusion dossier which was assisted by Russian intelligence for 8 million ! and turned out to be fake.
    How exactly did Russia influence the election, was that by persuading Hilary not to campaign in Wisconsin and others, did they set up her private email server, did they show her to be an appalling candidate, did they plant Bill,s sexual assault victims in the front row at the debates, to help Trump win. Its ridiculous to think some fake twitter and facebook accounts swung the election, utterly ridiculous.
    I was in the US for the primaries and literally staying 50 metres away from Trump Tower when he got the nomination, I go every year, and there are so many domestic things that have been allowed to slide under Obama/Bush that any potential Russian influence if it happened would not make the slightest difference of where a vote would go.
    Hilary was a rubbish candidate and thats why she didnt win, Washington has long stopped functioning for the american people and thats why they gave Trump the nod. Too much illegal immigration keeping wages down and spreading crime, too many jobs going over the border to Mexico, healthcare costs going through the roof, no wage increases in a decade, a coastal liberal elite who sneer at the ordinary hard working american middle class and the way poor old Bernie was shafted by the Clinton machine and a presidential candidate who called half the country “deplorables”.
    Post Meuller all we have seen is concrete evidence of Clinton Russia collusion.

    • “Hilary was a rubbish candidate and thats why she didnt win.”

      I agree. She’s largely political history now, or should be.

      Trump was a rubbish candidate and won largely because Clinton was more rubbishy than him and ran a worse campaign than him.

      Russians may or may not have assisted, but a decent candidate should have been able to beat Trump easily.

      But now the US has Trump as President.

      If Clinton is prosecuted or found to have colluded with the Russians illegally she will sink further into political failure.

      If Trump is prosecuted or impeached or found to have colluded with the Russians illegally or immorally then the United States of America will become even more of a political mess than it already is, putting the world at greater risk.

      Of course Trump could turn out to be a great President, but on his first nearly a year in office it’s difficult to see him coming close to uniting the country and repairing the damage and draining the swamp.

      One major problem is that Trump has successfully used divide and conquer to get to the White House, and to defend himself as President, and shows every sign of continuing to be abrasive and divisive.

      It looks to me like Trump can’t get popular support and unite the country and win accolades politically, given his methods of winning to date.

      Last year was a case of the least worse loser won. His best chance of winning a second term is for the Democrats to come up with another toxic and crappy candidate.

      • MaureenW

         /  December 3, 2017

        “Trump was a rubbish candidate and won largely because Clinton was more rubbishy than him and ran a worse campaign than him”

        Was he a rubbish candidate though? He blitzed the other Republican contenders and funnily enough, the other electable democrat contender was cheated out of a fair race for the nomination (and seemed to be prepared to accept being cheated by Clinton).
        Trump is now President because he is not a card-board cut-out of all the others.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  December 3, 2017

        If only. What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists

        So many ‘ifs’, so many successes …gdp growth, inflation, unemployment, 70b off regulatory costs, illegal immigration, bombs the bejeezus out isis and more. I would cut the man responsible a little slack

      • David

         /  December 3, 2017

        Trump beat 16 other candidates to win the nomination and with a much smaller spend and he was a brilliant candidate albeit one you may not approve of then he beat the Clinton machine and a largely Clinton loving media.
        If you look at what is happening in the real economy it is really quite spectacular and as you will see in NZ in reverse is Trump is shredding regulations but also in nearly every speech he talks about winning, about jobs, about lowering taxes its all about confidence to invest and grow. So while some of his stuff is cringe worthy every voter knew exactly what they were getting and will ignore some of the loopy stuff if America keeps winning.
        I would say the media and the Democrats are doing more to divide by treating everything as if there is some racial tinge to everything he says, rubbish Trump gets into anyone regardless.
        Obama lost 1000 elected seats during his term and while treated saintly by the media he was deeply unpopular.
        Trumps approval ratings while low are better than Macron, Merkel, May and before long Trudeau.

        • Gezza

           /  December 3, 2017

          every voter knew exactly what they were getting
          Yeah … hmm … I dunno. My bet is Rex didn’t realise Trump was a moron until he’d been in the job a wee while, by the sound of things. And I think Sean had the same problem – he wasn’t expecting that either. And there’s a website and/or Twitter account for disillusioned Trump voters somewhere which seemed to be reasonably popular. 🤔

  2. George

     /  December 3, 2017

    Its the usual
    No matter who the President is we didn’t vote for him/her/it so we’ll just have a hissy fit and waste billions trying to get rid of him/her/it..
    And thinking of countries that have gone in for regime changes in other countries ………

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 3, 2017

    Talking to the Russians about issues that affect both countries is normal, not collusion. Trying to cast it as collusion is a political action and will receive a political reaction.

  4. PDB

     /  December 3, 2017

    The whole thing is getting sillier by the day – unless Russia physically held guns to the heads of voters in order for them to vote a particular way the whole theory of Russia heavily influencing a general election, particularly one that should have been a cake-walk for a decent democratic candidate, is fanciful at best.

    Trump and Clinton were awful candidates with many choosing the least of two evils, voting more against Clinton rather than for Trump, or in Trump’s case giving the benefit of the doubt to the new guy who promised at least some degree of political change.

    • Gezza

       /  December 3, 2017

      Their whole political & judicial system’s rooted.

      • MaureenW

         /  December 3, 2017

        Corrupted would be a better word

        • Gezza

           /  December 3, 2017

          It didn’t quite capture my feeling about it as well as the word I eventually settled on, but ok, that’s a slightly less intense version of what I meant.

  5. unitedtribes2

     /  December 3, 2017

    Its not uncommon for the leader of a country to show a preference for one side or the other of another countries upcoming election. Obama did it all the time. This isn’t interference. Nor should it be seen as collusion by the preferred side

  6. wackAmole

     /  December 3, 2017

    ABC is now walking back its fake news headline about Flynn:

    Oliver Darcy‏Verified account @oliverdarcy
    2m2 minutes ago
    Replying to @oliverdarcy

    ABC says the report @BrianRoss went to air with “had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process”

    Oliver Darcy Retweeted
    Brian Stelter‏Verified account @brianstelter
    8h8 hours ago

    ABC’s outrageous error: Will there be disciplinary action? The network declined to say when @oliverdarcy asked. Details in @ReliableSources: http://mailchi.mp/cnn/reliable-dec-1-2017

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 3, 2017

      We await with interest the apologies from all the rabid Trump haters.

  7. Trump continues to take legal risks with his tweeting.

    Newshub: Trump’s tweet ‘bolsters an obstruction of justice charge’ – expert

    US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that actions by former national security adviser Michael Flynn during the presidential transition were lawful, and that he had had to fire him because Flynn had lied to the FBI and the Vice President.

    The President’s comment suggested he may have known Flynn lied to the FBI before he urged the FBI director not to investigate his former adviser, legal experts said. But they noted that it was unclear from the tweeted comment exactly what the President knew when.

    “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

    Legal experts said if Mr Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI and then pressured then-FBI director James Comey not to investigate him, that would be problematic.

    If that were the case Mr Trump’s tweet “absolutely bolsters an obstruction of justice charge”, said Jimmy Gurule, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Notre Dame University. “It is evidence of the crucial question of whether Mr Trump acted with a corrupt intent.”

    Andrew Wright, a professor at Savannah Law School, said the tweet is open to interpretation and that Mr Trump’s lawyer would downplay its significance.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/12/trump-s-tweet-bolsters-an-obstruction-of-justice-charge-expert.html

    It may get difficult to keep downplaying an accumulation of risky tweets. He may end up dropping himself in the crap, or tweeting one of the final nails in his political coffin.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 3, 2017

      The Democrats will stand on one leg with their head up their backsides to find something to attack Trump with on his every tweet. Ludicrous.