Russia Monitor

Russia Monitor — Trump’s Many Impeachable Moments: Former US Atty Asserts She Could Successfully Convict Trump For Obstruction.

  “If anyone other than a sitting president had committed this conduct, I am confident that he would be charged with crimes.” — Former US attorney Barbara McQuade appearing before House Judiciary Committee (9/10/19)  ***** “I’m the guy that gets away with it.” — Trump quote, ‘Siege: Trump Under Fire’ by Michael Wolff’, cited in The Financial Times By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/17/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Is Trump above the law? He believes so – yelling “No Collusion” while laying out the welcome map for foreign interference to benefit his campaign. Trump now announces a latest “if it’s what you…

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Russia Monitor: Mueller Report Show Unequivocally That Trump Committed Conspiracy, At Least

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/13/19) Reading Directly From The Mueller Report Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report makes the case that Trump did commit obstruction of justice and could be impeached for as many as 10 counts. Mueller did NOT exonerate Trump, in fact he laid out a detailed prosecutorial road map for impeachment – this was the subject of the last “Reading Directly” edition. There is no substitute for fully appreciating how Trump could be impeached beyond reading the Mueller Report. For this edition I will highlight two simple examples that frame the facts of what Mueller…


Russia Monitor: A More-Than-You-Can-Eat Daily Dose Of Trumpian Kompromat

  This would all be entertaining if we were watching a movie, say the equivalent of ‘Idiocracy’. But we’re not; we are living this shit show. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Kompromat is a Russian KGB slang expression for compromising material. Wikipedia notes Kompromat as “part of the political culture of Russia”. Different from opposition research, with Kompromat “such information is used to exert influence over people”. What Does Kompromat Look Like? The Mueller report, on Volume 2, Page 3, provides an excellent example of what Kompromat looks like: The Campaign’s response to reports about…


Reading Directly From The Mueller Report

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) What follows is a good example of the value of reading the Mueller Report. The demonstration makes use of Mueller’s Introduction to Volume II where he summarizes “out obstruction-of-justice investigation of the President”. Everyone has heard or read the following sentence from this introduction: Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. The value of reading the report is demonstrated here through learning that Attorney General William Barr lied multiple times in advance of the release of the redacted report. In four…


Russia Monitor: Political Consequences Are Not Enough. Impeachment Is Necessary

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/6/19) Dear Fellow Readers, I will begin by acknowledging my frustration with former special counsel Robert Mueller. If impeachment is a process, the hand-off of Mueller’s report to Congress has many problems. The gap between what is reported and the actions that can be taken directly from the report is huge. Trump is investigated and found to be guilty and the result of Mueller’s report is ‘exoneration’. Horrible. This gap was avoidable and must be ‘fixed’. It is worth a review of the challenges and possible remedies. Impeachment is not one ‘thing’, it’s…


Russia Monitor: From Hidden Warship To Missing Republicans, Trump World Spins On

“An advance team is hundreds of people. The fact that some 23- or 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s the John McCain. We all know how the president feels about the former senator. Maybe that’s not the best backdrop. Could somebody look into moving it?’ That’s not an unreasonable thing to ask.” “Seriously?” (NBC Host) Chuck Todd asked. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/3/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Acting White House Chief of Staff and Chief Sycophant Mick Mulvaney provides the perfect opening and question for how Dems will respond to…


Russia Monitor: Dept. Of Justice Yin Yang

“Trump getting impeached would ‘Make America Great Again’. — Actor Robert DeNiro ***** “…as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” — Former special counsel Robert Mueller (5/29/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/30/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump Refuses to Act In Response To Concerted Russian Attack On Our Political System As former special counsel Robert Mueller is closing down his office he demonstrated the value of people hearing his findings in his own voice. It is not much of a…


Full Text Of The Mueller Reports Executive Summaries

  Lawfare (4/18/19) Editor’s Note: Below are the executive summaries of the two volumes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. Volume I deals with links between Russia and the Trump campaign, while Volume II deals with potential obstruction of justice by President Trump. This article is available in audio format on the Lawfare Podcast. Link to Two Summaries and 53-Minute Audio


Russia Monitor: The Stable Genius’ Crumbling Infrastructure

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/27/19) Dear Fellow Readers, A few truths! Trump is an existential threat; he’s like Voldemort through the arc of Harry Potter. He’s becoming more dangerous as we go forward. Ignore the problem at our own peril. Democrats will impeach Trump. Trump is an existential threat and either through their own deliberations or Trump’s authoritarian impulses, they’ll be forced to face their responsibility to indict and send a case to the Senate to act as the jury. Daily we see Trump adding to his own list of impeachable offenses by empowering his personal lawyer…


Russia Monitor: In The Face Of Insanity & Inanity The Nation Bumbles Forward

  “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry. — U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia ruling against Trump’s attempt to withhold financial records (5/20/19)  ***** “High Crimes and Misdemeanors… does not require corresponding statutory charges…the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.” — Rep Justin Amash (R-MI) tweet explaining legal basis for supporting impeachment (5/20/19) By…


Russia Monitor: The Growing War Within Our Walls

Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), @justinamash Tweet (5/18/)19 ***** “There are always political elements to our choices, but those should be a matter of tactics, not objectives. Those who think that impeachment, or sending a subpoena to Trump Jr., or holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt, reduces to a set of political choices confuse two different elements of decision-making.” —…


Russia Monitor: Autocratic Eroticism Leads Trump To Orbanism

“You have been great with respect to Christian communities. You have really put a block up and we appreciate that very much. [He’s] respected all over Europe. Probably like me, [he’s] a little bit controversial but that’s OK. He’s a tough man but he’s done the right thing on immigration.” — Trump to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and assembled press at the White House (5/13/19) ***** ‘Ukraine if you’re listening.’ — Rudi Giuliani’s message to Ukraine with his announced and cancelled trip. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/16/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump met autocratic Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor…


Russia Monitor: And The Judicial Mugging Goes On

“…But he is a state-of-the-art autocrat; he understands that he need not resort to the truncheon or the midnight knock at the door. His assault on civil society arrives in the guise of legalisms subverting the institutions that might challenge his authority.” — Franklin Foer, Viktor Orban’s War On Intellect By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/13/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Legal mugging. Politics with Trump in the White House, as with a global plethora of autocrats, is like a daily mugging of law and order … and us. Our checks and balances are dependent on some regard for oath of office and…


Russia Monitor: Working Hard At Becoming The ‘Self-Impeachable’ President

“The special counsel’s finding is clear. Case closed. Case closed. This ought to be good news for everyone, but my Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief. First stage is denial.” — Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ***** ‘By early Tuesday evening, more than 720 former federal prosecutors who worked in Democratic and Republican administrations had signed a letter asserting that President Trump would have been charged with obstructing justice based on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings — if Trump were not the president.” — Matt Zapostosky for The Washington Post ***** “…10…


Russia Monitor: The Perilous Road Ahead

  “In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself astray in a dark wood where the straight road had been lost sight of.”     — Dante Alighieri By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/6/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It seems we have logged 1,000 miles to arrive back right where we started. If we don’t want Trump in the White House we’re going to have to vote him out. In 2016 Trump said he may not accept the results of the election and now as we contemplate a 2020 election House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not believe…


Russia Monitor: Attorney General Barr’s Reputation Goes Up In Smoke

  The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions. — Leaked Mueller letter to AG Barr from 3/27/19; a stunning rebuke of Barr’s biased summary to benefit Trump. ***** You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul. — Former FBI Director James Comey column for New York Times (5/1/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/2/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Today…



Russia Monitor: The Worst President EVER … And That’s No Lie!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/29/19) Dear Fellow Readers, If there was a ranking for the president who is worse than the worst president in history it would be Trump. I’m not even going to look up the number, but he is now around 10,000 lies while in office. The thing about Trump, words fail, it’s impossible to adequately describe his deviancy. Trump doesn’t just shade, misrepresent or exaggerate – he’s now in the class of Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones – full-on stories that have no bearing in fact. Here he is in Green Bay in the last…


Russia Monitor: Okay, Now That We Are Done With The Warm-Up…

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It turns out the preceding 2-3 years have been a warm up. Our latest marker in the ongoing saga, a print version of the Mueller Report published by the Washington Post is the current bestseller on Amazon. We’ll do a quick review of the Trump administration actions post Mueller’s Trump-Russia report. Has it really only been just over a week? MSNBC host Ari Melber was joined by Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe who summarized as “overwhelming evidence of an endeavor to undermine an important legal enquiry into what…


Russia Monitor: And The Curtain Rises On The Barr Cover-up

  Do You Trust Barr? Mueller’s team conducted the investigation. Mueller’s team wrote the report including summaries. Mueller’s responsibility is to report to Congress. Barr interjected to offer a non-summary summary of the Mueller report feeding a Trump claim of ‘Exoneration!’ Barr fed Trump his second talking point by claiming there was “spying”. Barr coordinated with White House lawyers while stonewalling Congress so that a Trump legal team ‘rebuttal’ will be released at the same time as Barr’s redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr will hold a press conference, possibly before anyone has read his redacted edition. Barr’s history leading…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Unapologetic & Supine Protector Does His Job, As Promised

  “They’re going to try to hide the report as much as possible,” he tells me. “They’re going to claim executive privilege, and we’ll have to challenge all that. And we’ll win eventually. We’ll get it all out.” — House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler speaking about the Mueller report. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/15/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We’ll start with a positive story of congressional effort to get us the full Mueller report as we await release; this from a Commoner Call reader: Jerry Nadler Won’t Stop Until the Full Mueller Report is Out. House Judiciary Committee chairman…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Man In The Just-Us Department Keeping The Boss Happy

  “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (4/10/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, “He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States;” was the remainder of Pelosi’s statement. Our last edition opened with ‘depends on the day’ with regard to Trump’s fights against releasing the Mueller report or releasing his taxes. The answer today is ‘both’; the news is overwhelmingly about more pronouncements from Trump’s Attorney General Barr. Barr has already offered a non-summary summary, exonerating Trump while burying the lede,…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s ‘short circuit’ Expert Working Hard To Cover Whatever It Is Trump Wants Hidden

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/8/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Which is the bigger fight: Trump against releasing his taxes, Trump against releasing the Mueller report that he said we should all see, or Trump against release of his grades and test scores? Seems like the best answer is what day is it? With Trumpian assaults from all sides and every  angle, any single story can easily get lost. As an example, it isn’t just that Trump is facilitating a Saudi nuclear program, we now know the first Saudi nuclear reactor will likely come online this year. Is there…


Russia Monitor: All Thumb Drives & Swirling Trumpian Threats To National Security

  “America’s justice system is built upon one thing — truth.” — Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates Washington Post opinion. ***** “You might say that’s all okay. You might say that’s just what you need to do to win, but I don’t think it’s okay. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.” — House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). ***** Just asked (Sen.; R-SC) Lindsey Graham if he wants to see the full, unredacted Mueller report and he said NO. He said he trusts…


Russia Monitor: In The Absence Of The Mueller Report Trump Crows “vindication and vindictiveness”

  (1) “Our side, we go for the head wound. Your side, you have pillow fights.” (2) (Trump) “is going to go full animal”; (will) “come off the chains.” — Former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon.  ***** “Putin is publicly admitting, in the clearest form yet, that he wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton during the U.S. presidential campaign and that this preference stemmed from Trump’s conciliatory approach to Russia.” — Uri Friedman, Russian Speakers Explain What Putin Actually Said About Trump. ***** “…outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government…


Russia Monitor: Barr Runs Onto The Field To Grab The Football & Blithely Exonerate Trump

“The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides…” “The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not include that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”” — Barr Memo By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/28/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Russia — if you’re listening — please find us the entire Mueller report. While reading this on Thursday it will be Day 5 of…


Russia Monitor: Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Says Mueller Report Was ‘better than I expected.’ So What Was He Expecting & Why All The Lies?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday. On Sunday Barr made a public release of a summary of the special counsel’s findings. You can access Barr’s four-page document here. While there will be an ongoing debate of what was said and what it means, Trump and his followers are declaring victory, and while more information to come may make this less than the resounding victory being claimed, the first wave of headlines benefit Trump. Keep in mind, very few people have seen…


Russia Monitor: Mini-Series Featuring Really Bad Actors Acting In Concert

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/21/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia is more a mini-series than a movie. The landscape is too broad, too many characters, too many plot twists… Flynn to Kian to Erik Prince to Dmitriev to Russian Bank to Putin – When A Cast of Bad Actors Becomes a Conspiracy. And national betrayal Weedy but damning with mercenary former Blackwater founder, unofficial Trump campaign adviser and brother to Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince as a more central Trump-Russia conspirator. One of the lesser-known persons implicated through special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation is the former…


Russia Monitor: Just How Many Will Have To Suffer?

  “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing.” — Trump when asked “whether white nationalists were a growing threat”. ***** “Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists — and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them. “This isn’t normal or acceptable. We have to be better than this.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweet in response to Trump. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/18/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is not normal, not acceptable. There are things Trump refuses to…


Russia Monitor: A Grifter Gets His Due

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/14/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Convicted Trump former campaign chairman Paul Manafort went through a second sentencing hearing on Wednesday. At the age of 69, his total sentencing for convictions before two federal court judges will now run for an additional 7+ years, after allowances for time served and various calculations for consecutive versus concurrently. Much will be debated about the sentencing but if any part of Manafort felt good about the outcome — before he was even wheeled back to jail — this headline broke: Paul Manafort Tried To Send A Message To Trump. Manhattan’s DA May…


Russia Monitor: The Beating Heart & Friendly Hands

  “There is an elephant standing in America’s living room right now staring us in the face: the President of the United States may well be compromised by the Russians, which I truly believe is the case. And he is unfit to serve.” — Former Defense Secretary William Cohen By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Today’s edition we squeeze in a number of items that have not been the priority over the last few weeks. This is a reflection of the vast corruption of the Trump White House, extending well beyond Trump-Russia, though we’ll still strive…


Russia Monitor: The Fox In The White House Reveals Deeper Levels Of Corruption & Questions

  “They are all shiny-suit banditos, relishing The Great American Heist. They would stuff the republic into a burlap sack if they could.” — Jack Holmes for Esquire re: the Trump kids. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/7/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We will do two things in today’s edition: First we’ll consider a factor in the slow public embrace for impeachment; Then we’ll cover news of one Trump criminal act, exactly the parade of news that could fuel public support for impeachment. On Tuesday Quinnipiac University released a poll that said “only 35 percent favor starting the impeachment process, and…


Russia Monitor: Follow The Transcript Right To The Family Money Man

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/4/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Convicted former Trump fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen’s open testimony before the House Oversight Committee has caused a raft of review and endgame roadmaps on Trump-Russia corruption. In what now seems like ancient history, Buzzfeed published the Steele dossier in January 2017. Controversial at the time and so non-controversial now it brings into focus how much the media has brought forward about Trump-Russia corruption and how Trump and the Russpublicans have protected him from the fallout. As a reminder, the dossier was a collection of memos compiled by former…


Russia Monitor: Truth From A Convicted Man Dominates A Historic Day

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/28/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Convicted Trump lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen completed his second day of Congressional hearings and by the time you are reading this he will likely be engaged in his third. The second of three days, Wednesday (2/27), was the only hearing open to the public. Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Congressional hearings rarely live up to advance billing, as an example, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker’s recent appearance before the House Judiciary Committee was a nothing-burger as he ran out the…


Russia Monitor: Among The ‘Knowns’ & ‘Unknowns’ Impeachment Talk Grows

  “People have normalcy bias. They thought: ‘If Manafort is really such a criminal, clearly someone would do something.’ Well guess what? No one did anything and now we have a Russian asset as POTUS backed up by a transnational crime syndicate!” — Sarah Kendzior, writer, co-host Gaslit Nation podcast expert on authoritarian states. Tweet following MSNBC appearance (2/23/19) By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Late on Friday [2/22] evening special counsel Robert Mueller’s office filed a sentencing memo regarding convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with the DC District Court. Manafort has already been…


Russia Monitor: Relax Don’t Worry, Trump’s Top Security Adviser, Vladimir Putin, Is Just A Phone Call Away

  “It’s increasingly likely that, in the end, the only question will be whether Donald Trump has been a WITTING or UNWITTING Russian asset.” — Dem Coalition Chair Jon Cooper tweet (2/20/19)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/21/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It is tempting to follow Trump’s trail of chaos as if that is the big news. To their credit, NBC News offers a good case for this: Ethically Challenged: Three Scandals Rock Trump Administration In One Day. NBC News freely acknowledges “it’s hard to keep up with all of the alleged scandals…here’s what we learned in just one day”….


Russia Monitor: Trump’s ‘No Collusion’ Claims Are On Collision With Growing List Of Facts

“If the GOP fails to stand up to Trump’s unconstitutional act, we will have moved dangerously from a separation of powers, to a mere separation of parties.” — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) tweet of CNN clip (2/17/19).   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/18/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We begin the column with a quote from the final paragraph of the federal indictment against Trump pal Roger Stone: “The charges against Stone and Manafort are proof of collusion. Stone’s indictment makes it clear, it’s not just Stone, it’s “and U.S. persons (including the defendant)” and Stone was in contact with “senior…


Russia Monitor: As Sigmund Freud Knew, Sometimes A Cigar Is … Legal Hell

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign. I have no idea.” — Trump TV lawyer Rudi Giuliani interviewed by CNN host Chris Cuomo.    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/14/19) Dear Fellow Readers, The lines are drawn, no more denials about Trump-Russia collusion, it’s now about whether it matters or to whom it matters. A Washington Post poll from Monday shows the majority “trust Mueller’s version of the facts than Trump’s”. While that sounds encouraging you can already anticipate the breakdown. Democrats and Independents align with the summary, but Republicans…


Russia Monitor: Trump World’s Power, Privilege & Purloining

  “Trump replied: “Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.” — Trump to Trump transition manager Chris Christie and campaign executive Steve Bannon. ***** “It’s not the crime it’s the cover-up.” …the old Watergate expression.  ***** “Nearly nine in 10 Americans say Robert Mueller’s investigators should produce a full, public report on their findings, a sentiment that crosses party lines, according to a new CNN poll…“ Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It is almost certain Trump’s attorney general nominee Bill Barr is approved by the full Senate…


Russia Monitor: With The Arrest Of Roger Stone The Right Wing Has Their ‘MAGA Six’

“Trump is killing us.” — Agritek president Larry Kooiker ***** “There’s no intelligence to the way this is being done. The tariffs are designed to hurt China, but they are being paid by American companies.” — EBW president Cory Steeby ***** “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this. I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” — 38-year old hurricane survivor Crystal Minton By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/4/19) Dear Fellow Readers, A deliberately careful view would say that many who voted for Trump wanted…