Donald Trump operates like a typical mob boss, in charge of an organized crime family. As events of the past week have shown, he surrounds himself with sleazy characters who live in the shadows and commit many different types of crimes, most of which they are never held accountable for.
Reading the indictments written by special counsel Mueller and his team it is hard not to be impressed with just now many different crimes each person has been charged with. The Manafort and Gates indictments read like novellas, filled with plot twists, mystery and intrigue. The indictments against 12 Russian intelligence agents were incredibly detailed, showing Putin and his pals just how much U.S. intelligence agencies know — and can prove — about their nefarious activities.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of evidence and accusations, but according to the Washington Post there are three primary criminal acts that made Trump president.
Hush money. The government has set forth how the campaign finance violations occurred, and Cohen, as part of his plea deal, agreed to the government’s description of what happened. The fact that David Pecker is cooperating with prosecutors gives even more credibility to Cohen’s claims of how crimes were committed just before the 2016 election. Pecker began helping Trump bury unfavorable stories in August of 2015, just after his bid for the presidency was announced.
The first documented payment was in 2016 when $150,000 was paid to Karen McDougal. The payment was made with a commitment by Cohen to repay the money. This transaction was talked about in the recording released by Cohen and his attorney last month.
Hacking. Last month, special counsel Mueller indicted 12 Russian military officers believed to work for the country’s Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU. In other words, they are senior level Russian spies. These are the people who are thought to have illegally gained access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network. They are also charged with hacking into the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
In June of 2016 many files stolen by the hackers were given to WikiLeaks, which subsequently released to the public two groups of these documents stolen from the DNC and Podesta. Many crimes were committed during this process and Mueller’s indictments say that the Russians violated several federal conspiracy and identity-theft laws.
Internet trolling. In February, Mueller’s team indicted another 13 Russians who worked for a shady company based in Moscow called the Internet Research Agency (IRA). This is the group that created phony social media accounts and used them extensively to create discord within the United States during the months preceding the 2016 election. Several members of IRA came to the United States during the election campaign period. They hired Americans to cause trouble at campaign events.The actions taken by these people also violated identity-theft, fraud and conspiracy laws of the United States. And U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that all of these illegal activities had the goal of helping Trump become president.
Other crimes. There may have been additional crimes committed that helped Donald Trump become president. We still don’t know all the details of the meeting that took place in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 between Trump campaign officials (Manafort, Kushner, and Don Jr.) and at least one Russian. Reportedly another meeting took place in advance of that meeting, including campaign officials and the candidate himself. Crimes may have been committed before, during and after these meetings.
One thing we know for sure is that Donald Trump won the presidency — in the electoral college — by the narrowest of margins. Due to close wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, fewer than 78,000 votes gave Trump the presidency (0.06 percent of the total votes cast).
We may never know if the crimes that occurred caused Hillary Clinton to lose those three states to Trump, but we do know that many crimes were committed for the express purpose of making Trump president — and it appears that the president himself has been implicated in them.
When all the evidence has been presented and verified it will become clear that Donald Trump is both a criminal and an illegitimate president.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.