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Lawyer Details Proof Trump Committed “an Impeachable Offense”, Violated 18 U.S.C. § 2

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Lawyer Details Proof Trump Committed “an Impeachable Offense”, Violated 18 U.S.C. § 2


Seth Abramson,a journalist, lawyer and prolific Twitter user, specializes in long Twitter threads showing evidence of corruption in the administration of popular vote loser Donald Trump.

His latest is full of damning evidence that Trump aided Russian computer fraud, which he points out id an an impeachable offense.

Here is the entire thread:

(The entire Twitter thread from Abramson reads as follows)

1/ 18 U.S.C. § 2 prohibits aiding, abetting, or procuring a crime against the U.S. The penalty is the same as for the underlying offense.

2/ To be eligible for conviction for aiding, abetting or procuring (paying for) a crime under 18 U.S.C. § 2, certain conditions must be met.

3/ There must be a crime. You must know the crime is afoot beforehand. You must aid, abet, or procure it. And you must intend to facilitate.

4/ 17 intelligence agencies concur—Russia committed computer fraud in an effort to hack our election systems on or just before Election Day.

5/ So there are a series of dates for the relevant offenses—18 U.S.C. § 2—to include Election Day and the several days and weeks just prior.

6/ On August 17th, 2016, Donald Trump received his first-ever official briefing from the intelligence community as a presidential candidate.

7/ He was told “U.S. officials had drawn ‘direct links’ between Putin’s government and recent hacks and email leaks.”

8/ He was told these computer crimes were ongoing—which he’d acknowledged on July 27 by calling for more such crimes.

9/ Under 18 U.S.C. § 2, one’s knowledge of the crime need not be ironclad. You just need to know there’s a “high likelihood” it will occur.

10/ Moreover, under 18 U.S.C. § 2 case law, “deliberate ignorance”—denying evidence of “high likelihood”—qualifies equally as “knowledge.”

11/ So as of August 17th, 2016, Trump legally had “knowledge” of pending computer crimes—no matter what he later said. The law doesn’t care.

12/ The only question is whether Trump took steps to “facilitate” the crime in a way that aided, abetted or procured it under 18 U.S.C. § 2.

13/ If he did, by law he’d be culpable for Russia’s post-August 17th computer crimes to a degree no different from the hackers themselves.

14/ Based exclusively on public reporting, we know that Trump took several steps to aid, abet, or procure post-August 17th computer crimes.

15/ In fact, certain of those legally actionable steps are steps the President of the United States is publicly taking at this very moment.

16/ For our purposes, the most important of the three terms we’re now focused on—”aid”; “abet”; “procure”—is the last of these: procurement.

17/ Certain crimes—international computer fraud is one—are expensive to commit. It’s illegal to bankroll such crimes directly or indirectly.

18/ So the only question—under federal law—is whether Trump directly or indirectly funded Russia’s computer crimes after August 17th, 2016.

19/ 22 days after his August 17, 2016 briefing—September 8—Trump’s NatSec and foreign policy chief, Sessions, met with Russia’s ambassador.

20/ Last week, Sessions finally conceded to Congress—after providing false answers in two prior testimonies—he and Kislyak talked sanctions.

21/ Sessions began his September 8 sanctions discussion with Kislyak at the July RNC. So for both discussions he was legally Trump’s agent.

22/ On September 8, Trump’s position on Russian sanctions was to oppose them and to support their unilateral abolition by the United States.

23/ Sessions now admits to having communicated to Ambassador Kislyak the Trump campaign’s position on US-Russia sanctions—that is, against.

24/ The legal problem for Trump here is that his position supports an unmitigated financial benefit for Russia—essentially a pecuniary gift.

25/ If Trump had changed his policy post-August 17, it’d be different. Or if he supported negotiated sanctions relief—benefit to both sides.

26/ But Trump’s position was that—despite knowing Russia had committed computer fraud—they should receive an unmitigated financial benefit.

27/ This cannot be emphasized enough: Trump’s sanctions policy was legally and historically unprecedented in the history of U.S. politics.

28/ Trump didn’t just permit Sessions to offer unilateral sanctions relief to Russia. He had other aides put it into the public sphere, too.

29/ One of Trump’s top NatSec and foreign policy aides—George Papadopoulos—was a self-admitted agent of the Kremlin.

30/ On March 24th, 2016, Papadopoulos revealed to his NatSec and foreign policy teammates that the Kremlin had sent him to set up meetings.

31/ As a legal “agent” of the Kremlin—one authorized to make offers on its behalf—Papadopoulos was supposed to get a Trump-Putin meeting.

32/ Failing that, he was to get a meeting between top Trump officials and Kremlin officials. This was known to Trump aides as of March 24th.

33/ On March 31, Papadopoulos revealed himself as a Kremlin agent to Trump himself at the Trump International in DC.

34/ (Note: The Daily Caller erroneously reported Sessions permanently nixed Papadopoulos’ entreaty. WaPo has confirmed that that wasn’t so.)

35/ The reason this matters is that Trump didn’t fire Papadopoulos. He made him one of his spokesmen on Russia policy for over six months.

36/ And then, on September 30, 2016, he permitted this known Kremlin agent to give a long interview with the Russian media outlet Interfax.

36/ During the interview, Trump’s agent Papadopoulos made clear the Trump campaign opposed all sanctions on Russia.

37/ These representations—plus Mike Flynn’s to Kislyak in December—signaled to Putin that he’d receive a monetary benefit for helping Trump.

38/ This intent was confirmed when a plot to remove sanctions in January—immediately post-inauguration—was revealed.

39/ This intent is proven today—October 23—as Trump defies Congress by refusing to execute a passed sanctions bill.

40/ Under 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 18 U.S.C. § 1030, directly or indirectly promising no-strings-attached payments to a criminal actor is a crime.

41/ The nexus between Trump’s promise of payment and Putin’s crime: the crime would help Trump get elected—and he could only pay if elected.

42/ If at any time after learning Russia was committing computer fraud to aid his campaign Trump had changed his Russia policy, he’d be OK.

43/ If at any time Trump had had anything but a historically unprecedented sanctions policy—their unilateral abolition by the US—he’d be OK.

44/ If at any time after becoming president Trump had ended his plot to reward Russia financially, his crimes would be much harder to prove.

45/ But Trump made every possible effort to let the Kremlin know that they would be rewarded for committing computer fraud to help him win.

46/ He knew it was illegal; on July 27th, he almost slipped and forgot to add “by the press” in noting Russia would be rewarded for hacking.

47/ “Collusion” isn’t a legal term—it simply means a “conspiracy to commit a crime.” In a conspiracy, there are actors and (often) abettors.

48/ I should note that there’s a prima facie case to impeach Trump on other crimes—notably, Obstruction (Comey) and Witness Tampering (Don).

49/ And indeed those “post hoc” crimes constitute “collusion” too—though not the sort that Republicans in D.C. seem inclined to acknowledge.

50/ But Trump’s clear, oddly public violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 18 U.S.C. § 1030—one count for each act of fraud—are indisputable. {end}

Be sure to follow Seth Abramson over on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethAbramson


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