As 2017 ends, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin offered a simple preview of the three questions about the Russia investigation that terrify Trump.
Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter asked, “What are the biggest unknowns heading into 2018? You mentioned the possibility of more indictments. What are other big questions?”
Toobin answered, “They break into three areas. The first is financial and, you know, is there some sort of financial impropriety and lobbying activity. In that case for Ukraine. The broad question of was there any sort of financial impropriety. The second question is about the possible collusion between Russia and the trump campaign; the president is fond of saying there was no collusion. We know, in fact, there was at least some collusion. There was a relationship between Donald Trump Junior and Jared Kushner and people who were proffering material about Hillary Clinton’s supposed misdeeds. That is not illegal, as far as I know. Collusion is one of those words that gets thrown around, and I wrote a piece about whether collusion can be a crime. But that whole subject of the relationship between Russia and the trump campaign is the secondary. The third area is obstruction of justice. All the events relating to the firing of James Comey, was there an attempt by the president or people around him to shut down this investigation in a way that violates the law? So finances, collusion and obstruction of justice.”
Collusion is the byproduct of the Trump/Russia relationship. Collusion itself isn’t illegal. If the Trump campaign accepted aid or gifts from a foreign government, that would be illegal. The fruits of collusion such as financial crimes and obstruction of justice are where the potential criminal prosecutions will be targeting.
Trump spent the holidays playing golf and obsessing about the Russia scandal. Any of these three questions could bring Trump down. A combination of the three will be fatal to the Republican Party in 2018 and beyond.