House Republicans’ refusal to dig into Trump’s role in their so-called Russia investigation amounts to obstruction of justice on the part of the GOP.
House Republicans effectively terminated their investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 election, claiming they have uncovered no evidence of any collusion by members of the Trump campaign or Trump himself.
NBC News reported that:
House Republicans investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election say they have found no evidence that Russians colluded with any members of the Trump campaign and dispute a key finding from the intelligence community that Russia had developed a preference for the Republican nomineeduring the election.
Those are the initial conclusions of a 150-page report from GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are formally bringing the panel’s yearlong investigation to an end over the fierce objection of Democrats.
As expected, Trump took to his Twitter account to brag about the news, tweeting: “THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) responded to Trump, tweeting: “shhhh, don’t tell @realdonaldtrump that mueller has interviewed people that house intel hasn’t; or that mueller has documents house intel doesn’t have; or that trump’s own intel agencies disagree with gop house intel assertion that putin didn’t help trump.“
Former criminal investigator and criminal defense attorney, Seth Abramson, weighed in as well, tweeting: “Every Republican on the House Intelligence Committee will now live in infamy forever. Years and years from now, this will be the first sentence in the obituary of all of these people. Even their children will be ashamed, once the truth of what Trump did is fully disclosed.“
Indeed, both men are correct. We will detail, below, the 33 times Republicans deliberately ignored the facts to obstruct justice in what we expect to be a vain attempt to cover up Trump’s crimes and misdemeanors.
1. Republicans refused to look into Trump’s finances. CNN reported late February 2018 that:
Top Republicans on Capitol Hill have made a concerted decision in their Russia inquiries: They are staying away from digging into the finances of President Donald Trump and his family.
Six Republican leaders of key committees told CNN they see little reason to pursue those lines of inquiry or made no commitments to do so — even as Democrats say determining whether there was a financial link between Trump, his family, his business and Russians is essential to understanding whether there was any collusion in the 2016 elections.
Abramson, who has been publishing extensive Twitter threads and mega-threads regarding the ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, posted a 12-part thread stating that there is – in fact – no Russia investigation by Congress in the absence of a review of Trump’s finances.
Abramson began by posting a link to the CNN article, and tweeting: “This is why I tweeted earlier about the clear direction of the Mueller probe being Trump-Russia coordination via money laundering: so that when you read the [CNN] story below, you see that GOP obstruction on Trump’s finances is legalized Obstruction of Justice.”
2. Republicans completely disregarded the findings of American intelligence services. The New York Times reported on Monday that:
American intelligence officials concluded in January 2017 that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” and pivoted from trying to “denigrate” Hillary Clinton to developing “a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the agencies stood by their work and would review the committee’s findings.
However, House Republicans ignored the findings of intelligence agencies and discounted that Russian interference benefited the Trump campaign.
Representative K. Michael Conaway, the Texas Republican who is leading the investigation, said committee Republicans agreed with the conclusions of American intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered with the election, but they broke with the agencies on one crucial point: that the Russians had favored Mr. Trump’s candidacy.
“The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future,” Mr. Conaway said. But, he added, “We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
3. Republicans failed to interview key witnesses. The New York Times reported that:
Several witnesses thought to be central to the investigation never came before the panel, including Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Mr. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates; Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn; and Mr. Trump’s former campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, all of whom are under indictment by the special counsel.
Others, including George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates with links to current and former Trump aides, only recently came to the committee’s attention.
4-5. Republicans failed to follow the fact by compelling key witnesses to fully answer questions during testimony and to subpoena relevant documents. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released a statement on Monday, noting that:
The Majority was not willing to pursue the facts wherever they would lead, would prove afraid to compel witnesses like Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump Jr., Corey Lewandowski and so many others to answer questions relevant to our investigation. It proved unwilling to subpoena documents like phone records, text messages, bank records and other key records so that we might determine the truth about the most significant attack on our democratic institutions in history. Instead, it began a series of counter-investigations, designed to attack the credibility of the FBI, the Departments of Justice and State, and investigate anyone and anything other than what they were charged to do — investigate Russia’s interference in our election and the role the Trump campaign played. Ironically, even while they close down the Russia investigation, they plan to continue trying to put our own government on trial: this is a great service to the President, and a profound disservice to the country.
Seth Abramson responded a second time to the news that Republicans were shutting down the House investigation by retweeting an earlier thread detailing all the times Trump had colluded with the Russians, tweeting:
“Please RETWEET this for the Trump fanatics in your life. And apparently for the benefit of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, too, who after fourteen months of a fake investigation now say they’ve found zero evidence of collusion.“
Abramson’s initial list included 20 counts, but he added an additional 8 instances of collusion as post scripts to his thread, taking the list to a whopping 28 counts, which we will summarize below by a showing of some highlights from Abramson’s list. [The numbering associated with each example is Abramson’s running count of posts in the thread.]
- 2. Trump aided his son in covering up a clandestine meeting with Kremlin agents—designed to transmit stolen Clinton material from Russia to Trump—by drafting a false statement and forcing Don to sign it under his own name. Trump knew Don would be called to testify on the meeting.
- 4. Trump held a secret meeting with Putin at an international conference, during which he discussed sanctions with the Russian strongman. His administration had no intention of acknowledging or admitting the meeting until a journalist happened to find out about it accidentally.
- 6. An eyewitness to the judging process of the 2002 Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico has told Special Counsel Bob Mueller that Trump directly and unambiguously attempted to rig the pageant so that Miss Russia would win. Miss Russia was Putin’s mistress at the time. She won.
- 7. Through clandestine negotiations conducted by Sessions—lied about before Congress, under oath, by Sessions—Trump agreed to unilaterally drop Russia sanctions while he knew from briefings Russia was attacking America. His secret plan was discovered by the DoS post-inauguration.
- 11. After George Papadopoulos told Trump—to his face, on March 31, 2016—the Kremlin had authorized him to negotiate a clandestine mid-campaign Trump-Putin meeting, instead of firing him Trump moved him to his Russia policy team and let him edit his first foreign policy speech.
- 12. During the same meeting Papadopoulos told Trump that he was a Kremlin agent, Trump ordered J.D. Gordon, a top member of his national security team, to change the GOP platform in July to benefit Putin on the Crimea issue. He issued his order after learning about Putin’s offer.
- 19. Don Jr. told his dad about his contacts with Kremlin client WikiLeaks, and indeed as soon as WikiLeaks contacted Don saying it supported Trump’s campaign, Trump began inserting praise of WikiLeaks into every stump speech in a transparent attempt to reward and encourage leaks.
- 19 (addendum). Trump’s first effusive, out-of-nowhere praise of WikiLeaks as a noble organization that should be widely supported, and which would be releasing great campaign information, came just 15 minutes—that’s not a typo—after WikiLeaks contacted his son for the first time.
- BONUS. After Russia committed what intelligence experts refer to—in the context of U.S. history—as a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” Trump publicly proposed, as a serious policy proposal, that the U.S. intelligence community cooperate with the Kremlin on an important topic: cyber-security.
- BONUS. After learning Flynn was secretly and illegally negotiating U.S.-Russia policy in 2016, Trump first did nothing, then fired him for another reason, then tried to rehire him, then fired the man prosecuting him, then told him to “stay strong,” then said he did nothing wrong.
We will close by presenting the final paragraphs of Rep. Schiff’s statement:
“Some will say that we should leave the investigation to Special Counsel Mueller anyway, since he has the resources and independence to do the job. But this fundamentally misapprehends the mission of the Special Counsel, which is to determine whether U.S. laws were broken and who should be prosecuted. It is not Mueller’s job to tell the American people what happened, that is our job, and the Majority has walked away from it. Others may be tempted to say a pox on both houses, and suggest that in a dispute between the parties, both must be equally culpable. But after months of urging the Majority to do a credible investigation, the Minority was put in the position of going along with a fundamentally unserious investigative process, or pointing out what should be done, what must be done, to learn the truth. We chose the latter course.
“On a fundamental aspect of our investigation — substantiating the conclusions of the Intelligence Community’s assessment that the Russians interfered in our democracy to advance the Trump campaign, hurt Clinton and sow discord — we should have been able to issue a common report. On those issues, the evidence is clear and overwhelming that the Intelligence Community Assessment was correct. On a whole host of investigative threads, our work is fundamentally incomplete, some issues partially investigated, others, like that involving credible allegations of Russian money laundering, remain barely touched. If the Russians do have leverage over the President of the United States, the Majority has simply decided it would rather not know. On the final aspect of our work — setting out the prescriptions for protecting the country going forward — we will endeavor to continue our work, with or without the active participation of the Majority.
“In the coming weeks and months, new information will continue to be exposed through enterprising journalism, indictments by the Special Counsel, or continued investigative work by Committee Democrats and our counterparts in the Senate. And each time this new information becomes public, Republicans will be held accountable for abandoning a critical investigation of such vital national importance.”