Trump’s Worst Nightmare: Mueller’s Grand Jury Subpoenas Russia Documents

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has empaneled a grand jury in the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. The Grand Jury in turn has already issued a subpoena with regard to the meeting of Don Trump Jr. and other senior Trump advisors June 9 of 2016 with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump is clearly under investigation for obstruction with regard to the latter meeting, since he allegedly wrote a statement for Don Jr. to be read out for the public, in which he had his son deny that the meeting was campaign oriented, saying it was about adoption.

The mention of adoption is a tell. When Congress enacted a law permitting the sanctioning of high Russian officials around Vladimir Putin (the Magnitsky Act) in 2012, Putin’s response was to forbid Americans from adopting Russian babies. When Trump senior had his son say the meeting was about adoption, he was revealing that it was in part about the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. The Russians who set up the meeting, the Agalarovs, promised Trump Jr dirt on Hillary Clinton (presumably gathered by hackers, whom Putin once called “patriotic.”)

It now seems clear that Don Jr. released the email chain around that meeting in order to protect himself from going to jail, since his father had been imposing on him press releases about the meeting that distorted what happened and so may have involved obstruction of justice.

The Emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids politicians to accept anything of value from a foreign power. Some legal analysts have suggested that if the Trump campaign did receive significant help from Russia, even in the form of information, it could meet the definition of an emolument.

Mueller appears to think there is something to the story of Trump’s collusion with Russia during the campaign. The Veselnitskaya meeting alone is pretty strong evidence in this regard. But Mueller is also investigating Trump’s finances, including the possibility that Trump used his New York real Estate holdings for money laundering for Russian concerns. For Mueller to zero in on Trump’s business affairs is The Donald’s worst nightmare, and he tried to make it a red line, to no avail.

Ironically, Trump was just forced by Congress to sign new tough sanctions on Russia into law. The Putin team seem to have been hurt and confused. It is almost as though they knew nothing about the separation of powers and expected Trump to erase the Magnitsky Act by presidential fiat.

According to Interfax/ BBC Monitoring, Igor Sechin, the head of the Russian oil corporation Rosneft, complained, “Even the US president has said that the bill [on sanctions] is wrong. He objects it but signs it. What else can I add? Of course, the law is wrong, they understand it themselves,” Rosneft and Sechin are both under US sanctions.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev lamented this state of affairs on Facebook [BBC Monitoring]:

“the Trump administration has demonstrated complete impotence, handing over executive powers to Congress in a most humiliating manner. This changes the balance of forces in US political circles.”
“What does this mean for them? The American establishment has comprehensively outplayed Trump. The president is not happy over the new sanctions, but he could not not sign off the law. The new sanctions move is, above all, yet another way of reining in Trump. There will be more moves, the ultimate purpose of which is his removal from office.”

So Medvedev is putting his money on Mueller to dig up the kind of dirt that will get Trump impeached. And there is something guilty about his performance.

Related video:

CNN: “Mueller is investigating the Trump money trail”

33 Responses

      • I’ve no clue re forensic accounting, but would a paper trail of that even exist? And any sweetheart deals would be chalked up to his deal making skills, tapes to the contrary with Australian PM and Enrique Pena Nieta not withstanding.

        With hundreds if not thousands of offshore partnerships and shells, which cannot (?) be pierced, all I sense forthcoming is the enduring stink of corruption.

  1. It would seem that the ‘deep state’ are completely in control of America and the president is just an empty vassal. Trump is like our queen over here in the UK, a figure head without portfolio. At least the queen has the good grace to deport herself with dignity and gravitas, unlike Trump who just crashes around the white house like a hippo on steroids. Obama before him was also an empty vassal (remember how he was going to close Guantanamo bay?), but at least he looked and behaved like a president. The Americans seem to be willing on the demise of Trump, but they should be careful what they wish for. A country that is run by shadowy unelected people is not a democracy. America’s democratic credentials don’t look so robust from over here in the UK as they once did.

    • We are wishing not to be ruled by Trump, the White supremacist, misogynist global warming denier and conspiracy theorist. You seem to want bad things to happen to America so much that you want it to be ruled by Trump while those of us of the wrong gender, religion, race and income level (meaning most of us) suffer.

    • >Obama before him was also an empty vassal (remember how he was going to close Guantanamo bay?)

      Things like this sound deep but the truth is those running for election do hold counter views to one another an when one is in power they do try to implement to majority of their promises.

      Guantanamo was merely an example of one which had difficulty getting through due to opposition in congress.

  2. As Glen Greenwald pointed out, the Veselnitskaya meeting is no more evidence of collusion than the Steele dossier, put out by a former member of British intelligence who was hired by Hillary Clinton and DNC officials to go to Russia and speak to people close to the Kremlin in order to dig up dirt on Donald Trump.

    While Democrats are chasing their Russian bogeyman, the Trump administration is implementing one disasterous policy after another in broad daylight. But it was never about policy, was it?

    • No, the Veselnitskaya meeting was not anything like hiring an ex-MI6 guy to do some research. The Veselnitskaya email invite made it clear that Russians close to Putin were offering hacking expertise with a quid pro quo of canceling the Magnitsky Act. Putting forth such a false equivalence is a form of mental spam.

    • I do not believe there is any evidence, strong evidence, that we know who / what organization paid for the Steele dossier.

    • man, explain to me Constitutionally what Democrats can do to stop one disastrous policy after another when they don’t control any of the three branches of government? Come on, Hillary is gone now. America is a one-party state right now. We literally require a few Republican congressmen and judges to occasionally defect on the most offensive Republican initiatives to keep us from total dictatorship.

  3. Presumably Mueller, with so many searchlights on his every move, cannot afford to leave any stone unturned even if there proves nothing to find beneath it. A similar situation arose for James Comey and the Clinton email business where a relentless speculative media driven obsession turned a simple investigation into a snake eating its tail. And Medvedev is quite right, the threat of Trump’s removal from office is exactly the sort of thing the saga needs to maintain interest and ratings at fever pitch. Only in America is such an investigation treated as ongoing entertainment. The UK Chilcot enquiry ran 7 years, and only when it was finished and its findings studied did analysts and commentators step in. This conflation of entertainment and reality baffles other nations and unnerves them more than Trump’s own actions which, however regrettable, are real and therefore can be dealt with in the real world.

    • The Goldstone invite to the Veselnitskaya meeting is already hundreds of times more substantive than anything in the vague allegations about Hillary’s email. False equivalencies reek of propaganda.

      • I hasten to apologise if it seemed I intended any equivalence between the Clinton and Trump investigations, I wouldn’t dream of such a thing. I sought only to make a comparison between US and European, specifically UK, responses to ongoing investigations.

    • You mean your people weren’t poring over the tabloids during the Profumo scandal and a dozen smaller scandals of the more-cautious politicians of later generations? Murdoch owns Britain’s hindbrain too.

  4. It was pathetic to see Trump supporters cheer him yesterday, and agree to whatever he said, even chanting “lock her up” when it came to Hillary. Unfortunately, that image only makes them look naive, because very soon it might be Trump and his corrupt gang that might be on the brink of being locked up.
    From the beginning of his campaign Trump has done nothing but project, and accuse others, of what he himself appears guilty of. The nation has seen 6 months of scandals, firings, investigations, and a heck of lot of lies.

  5. It’s all kabuki, but not fiction. The collusion, it’s all true and very real, the criminal foreign power money laundering, the unprecedented undue influence (with a Russian chess strategy flavor) on a U.S. president, himself and his spoiled idiot family squeezed between the foreign power and the host country’s justice system host reacting against its ‘body’ being invaded and occupied by its indigenous dupe the Trump parasite. Now the public gnashing of teeth by the elite Russian actors to remind Trump of who calls the shots, appealing to his Manchurian Candidate vanity and manipulating his id-istic idiocy. Praise the Prosecutor and pass the popcorn.

  6. Unless Trump is removed from office, indicted and found guilty, little will change. He continues to hold campaign rallies, deflects attention from his faults, and has his adoring crowds of true-believers grunting in unison: “Lock her up.”

    • I can live with that as long as the system remains paralyzed. What I’m terrified of is the day Trump tells that rally crowd to go home, get out whatever weapons they possess and start hunting down his enemies on the Internet.

  7. Early on in the discussion of this meeting with the Russians it was mentioned that there was a packet of information that the Russians gave to Jr. I have not seen mention of this packet since. I would have thought that the contents would be of great interest, but nothing!

    Did they forget? Was there a packet? Or is Mueller investigating?

  8. The Emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids politicians to accept anything of value from a foreign power.

    Not quite. It applies to office-holders. Trump was not an elected official at the time.

    However many have argued that his continued business interests since the Inauguration may be in violation of the Emoluments clause.

  9. Look for President Trump to move rapidly against Mueller. The Red line has been crossed.

    Please notice all the Generals in the Cabinet.

    • I don’t think, other than Mattis, that those are the generals the combat troops would obey.
      However, for many years I’ve had a growing fear that the Air Force is the service that would use its power against the American people. Watch its stateside activities closely.

      • Good point. And not to put too fine a point on it, but Pence is the soulmate of those guys.

        He, and they, are certainly less vulgar than Trump, but they also fancy themselves having a leading role in the rapture.

        Talk about a real nightmare scenario.

      • And to keep paranoia at proper levels – An August 2013, Brookings Institution study reported that in the U.S. Air Force there were approximately 1,300 remotely piloted aircraft or UAVs. That was four years ago.

        Often satire gets the best responses. Thanks.

        Travis, too.

      • I live close to the war in Syria.
        From what I see,
        the “troops” will obey any order.
        They obey their Colonels, and the Colonels are all looking for a promotion.
        Heck, look at what we are doing right this second.
        We launch attacks daily to facilitate the ethnic cleansing of Eastern Syria by our Kurdish cat’s paw.
        What link in the Chain of Command is calling out this Crime against Humanity ?
        I don’t agree that an all volunteer force will balk at executing an unlawful order.
        But that’s just because I see how this force operates daily.

    • Ah, The Generals….

      Whatever their predictably conservative style of politics, as well as those in the IC, does anybody for a New York Minute think any of these folks are anything approaching sanguine
      about Trump?

      Get out the echo chamber amd read the National Review.

      These are serious people, who are conservative in a do-no-harm sense, as opposed to the congress and yahoos in general. Its inconceivable they are at all in-syn with whatever pathogies are extanct with Trump.

      Given the mix, its also inconceivable this show can go on for another 3 and a half looooong years. A palace coup? Who knows? What’s the betting line on Trump finishing his term anyway?

  10. “…Medvedev is putting his money on Mueller to dig up the kind of dirt that will get Trump impeached.”

    No, he’s putting his mouth on it.

    • Of course the Russians (esp. as Trump failed to give them what they wanted) will throw Trump under the bus in exactly the same way he throws out the “tools” (or should it be fools?) who are unable to do his bidding. Karmic.
      They will never have trusted him in any way whatever, & must now think he was as inadequate as a “conspirator” as he is as a president.
      He couldn’t “conspire” to get out of a paper bag! I usually prefer openness, but really, the Trump brand, made up of egotistical & erroneous boasts & outright lies plus constant contradictions ensures that there’s not another head of state in the world (unless Netanyahu is capable of believing a similar mind) who can have true respect for him -but at least they are mostly diplomatic enough to not throw it right in his face. They all know exactly what he requires – admiration!
      Re Russia, he was always just a useful tool to prevent their antagonist Clinton starting up the Cold War over again. whether or not they issued the directions to upset the election. Perhaps they’ll offer him asylum, LOL…

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