Dramatis Personae of potential indictments (or cooperating witnesses)

I’m keeping a list of all the people who could be indicted (or could be flipped into cooperating witnesses against others). It’s a long list, so I thought I’d start keeping track of them with handy links for background, highlights, and potential crimes.

Michael Flynn: So much trouble. Failure to disclose foreign contacts on SF-86. Failed to disclose payments from foreign governments. Failed to file as a foreign agent.

Carter Page: potentially a foreign agent for Russia while working for the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser.

Michael Cohen: The “Says who?” guy. One of Trump’s long-time lawyers, with alleged ties to Ukrainian and Russian organized crime. Emails surfaced between Sater and Cohen in 2015 about building a Trump Tower in Russia.  Talkingpointsmemo.com is all over this guy here and here. Update: “Donald Trump discussed a proposal to build a hotel and condominium tower in Moscow on three occasions with his company’s lawyer, who emailed the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin to ask for assistance on the project. The Trump Organization weighed the “Trump Tower Moscow” proposal from September 2015 to January 2016, attorney Michael Cohen told the House intelligence committee.”

Felix Sater: shady business partner turned FBI informant, with ties to Ukrainian and Russian organized crime. Wrote to Michael Cohen in 2015: “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it… I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”  Talkingpointsmemo.com was all over this guy in August 2016, while the mainstream media was talking Hillary’s emails, and has more now.

Jeff Sessions: perjury, false statement, probably more Russia trouble with Kislyak.

Paul Manafort: Money laundering, millions in corrupt deals, failed to file as a foreign agent. The pre-dawn FBI raid in July 2017 means a judge or magistrate already found probable cause for crimes.  There are so many damaging stories here, here, and more.

Jared Kushner: Shady June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer and hacker. Tried to set up insane direct line from Russian embassy in DC to the Kremlin to avoid any American surveillance. In big trouble for a disastrous real estate purchase — the most expensive building purchase ever in the U.S. at the top of the market just before the 2008 crash — of 666 5th Ave in NY (that number is no joke), which threatens to destroy Javanka’s fortunes. I speculated that the secret direct line to the Kremlin was Jared’s bid to bargain an end of sanctions against Russia (worth billions to Russia) in return for getting bailed out by a sweet Russian loan in the multi-millions.

Don Trump, Jr.: Same shady June 2016 meeting. Keep in mind that he first said it was about Russian adoptions, and then the truth came out that it was about Kremlin assistance. The “Russian adoption” line was really a bumbling confession that the meeting may have been quid pro quo: American sanctions led to the Kremlin retaliating with ending Russian adoptions, so the adoption issue was probably part of a deal to lift sanctions in return for Kremlin campaign/hacking help.


Roger Stone: hacking conspiracy, direct contacts with Assange and WikiLeaks, and perhaps other hackers.

Chris Collins: former congressman turned Trump transition adviser, alleged insider trading.

Mainstream Media’s Incompetence Produced the Trump Victory

Are you shocked by today’s “breaking” news, the Washington Post’s “scoop” that the Trump Organization was actively engaged in negotiating a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign?  You shouldn’t be, and it’s not your fault.  The amazing Talkingpointsmemo.com, a part of new media doing more serious investigative work and posting deep political commentary, broke this story LAST AUGUST in the middle of the general election.  Why didn’t the Washington Post and other mainstream papers or cable news report this news to connect the Russia dots in the middle of Trump’s deeply suspicious pro-Putin behavior then? Why? Because they were too busy with both-sides-ism, Hillary’s emails, the “basket of deplorables” (newsflash, Hillary was dead right, no pun intended), Hillary fainting…

Talking heads and reporting the horse-race is easy and cheap. Investigative reporting is hard. But it’s also their job.  It turn out that Trump is half right about “fake news.” Superficial news coverage gave us President Trump. Media, stop freaking out about Trump mocking you, and just do your job.


The Arpaio pardon and impeachment 

Here are three good pieces on Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, each reflecting the bottom line that Trump abused the power, and even if the pardon can legally/procedurally go into effect, It should also be grounds for impeachment: Frank Bowman in Slate, Josh Chafetz in the Washington Post, and Noah Feldman in Bloomberg.  I’m adding Krugman’s piece here, too:

“Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style… There’s also a word for people who, out of cowardice or self-interest, go along with such abuses: collaborators. How many such collaborators will there be? I’m afraid we’ll soon find out.”

[For what it’s worth, I’m not yet persuaded by Martin Redish’s take in the NY Times that the 14th Amendment’s due process clause restricts this particular pardon. I think the obstruction of justice statutes might apply instead, but probably only to a worse set of facts (such as Arpaio or his henchmen returning to commit the same crimes, and receiving a second pardon, or Trump’s pardoning collaborators in order to obstruct the Russia investigation). To the extent that Arpaio’s actions plus the pardon continue to impact civil rights, let me add that there can still be new injunctive relief against Arpaio, there can be federal and state prosecutions of Arpaio and his henchmen for all kinds of crimes. Federal pardons do not impact state prosecutions. Moreover, victims can bring torts suits in state and federal court (civil rights violations based on Section 1983 and constitutional torts violating 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments).

Kyrie for IT: Ainge Pulls Off Another Amazing Move

Kyrie Irving is a Celtic, and Danny Ainge pulled off yet another great deal without sentimentality. The bottom line is that you win championships in the NBA with two or three max-contract starts. The old adage in the NBA: the team that gets the best players wins the deal, and this is a perfect example. Kyrie is a top-10 obvious max-contract star. Isaiah Thomas is simply not. Don’t get me wrong: Isaiah Thomas is one of my favorite all-time players, for all his offensive magic in just 2 1/2 seasons in Boston. But that’s because he was 5’8″ and overcame his lack of size and his vulnerabilities to physical play and injury. Iverson couldn’t survive that style of play past the age of 30, and IT is 28. Kyrie is 24. Kyrie is not a good defender, but IT was a defensive liability on a totally different scale. The Celtics had to cover for his weakness on defense by pairing him with two of the best defensive guards in the NBA (Bradley and Smart), and even then, it was touch-and-go. And they couldn’t keep Bradley. IT said he expected a long max-contract after this year, and Ainge rightly knew that IT wasn’t worth that money. If you watched the Bulls-Celtics first round series, you saw Rondo expose IT’s offensive weaknesses because of his height. Ainge, the Celtics’ PG of the 1980s, obviously saw the same problems, and the rest of the NBA’s coaches saw it, too. The Celtics were never going to win a title relying on Isaiah to carry the offense.

So we were looking at only one more year with IT, or a max-contract extension for Kyrie for the next decade. I love Jae Crowder, but he was getting squeezed out with the acquisitions of Hayward and Morris (as well as Brown and Tatum). Who knows if Zizic can play in the NBA? In all honesty, the asset that is the most worrisome was the Nets’ No. 1, but it seems that pick is more likely to be the No. 4-6 pick overall. (The Suns, Pacers, Bulls, Kings, and Lakers are worse). Who knows what will be available after the top 3, and when that youngster will be good? The pick they got in June for flipping picks with the Sixers is probably going to be better anyway. Some will say that Kyrie isn’t a good teammate if he couldn’t get along with LeBron, but can understand such conflict with an overbearing star, and Kyrie comes to Boston as the clear offensive Number 1, and the co-stars Horford and Hayward don’t come close to demanding the same attention. My only concern is that the Celtics traded these assets for Kyrie when they could have been used for Anthony Davis, but if Davis is actually available, they can still get him with Tatum and the other high picks they held. And that’s the other great part of the deal: not trading Tatum, Brown, or their other picks. Sure, be sentimental about losing IT and Crowder, but don’t ignore the facts: Ainge made a great deal.

Our Historians’ Amicus Brief in CREW v. Trump

John Mikhail, Jack Rakove, Gautham Rao, Simon Stern and I are proud to have filed our brief in CREW v. Trump on behalf of the plaintiffs on the meaning of the Emoluments clauses.  See here.

We have posted images of archival sources debunking the inaccurate claims made in the amicus brief on behalf of Trump, on the unsupported and idiosyncratic claim that the Foreign Emoluments Clause does not apply to the president. See here. The key documents by Alexander Hamilton, disproving their briefs’ claims, are images 9 and 12 on this part of the site. They show that Alexander Hamilton in fact included the president and vice president in his list of “offices under the United States,” signed and dated by Hamilton twice in the final versions.