Former Lt. General, Michael Flynn, Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, Trump Attorney and ”Fixer”, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Trump TV Attorney, Rudy Giuliani, Vice-President Mike Pence, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Donald Sr., some indicted, some convicted, some confessed, all accused of one or all of the crimes of Perjury, Collusion with the Russian government, Conspiracy to Defraud America, Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering. This, all in the first two years of the Trump presidency.

This is not typical; nor is it normal. In eight years, two terms of the Obama Presidency, not one member of the Obama campaign, his cabinet or his White House staff, were indicted, much less convicted of a felony—not one. This is different, an anomaly, an aberration from other Presidencies. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, all two term Presidents, successfully completed their terms of service without indictments. What’s different about these three Presidents?

Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump! As children we learned how to spot differences on Sesame Street with a game called “Three of These Things.” “Three of these things belong together, three of these things are kind of the same. One of these things doesn’t belong here, now it’s time to play our game.” Russian deals, Russian money, Russian banks, Russian spies in our midst, Russian oligarchs buying million-dollar Trump condos… cash—then the lies.

The best-selling Trump title, “The Art of the Deal” might better have been titled “The Art of Lying and Denying.” Denying there were no discussions with Russians is like denying the prelude to Trump’s announcement to run for office was a slow but grand descent down an escalator in Trump Tower. One of the biggest takeaways of Watergate was that cover-up can be worse than the actual crime.

Perhaps the number one takeaway from Trumpgate should be, the problem with cover-ups is that they rarely go as planned. Human nature dictates that there is always someone who begins to unravel the very fabric of the cover-up itself. Then, little by little, there’s nothing left but the thread. As my mother might have said; give them enough thread and they’ll hang themselves. In this case the unraveling began with Mike Flynn. The unraveling not only continues with the President’s ongoing Twitter campaign, where he tends to confess and admit to intentional wrongdoing, but where he actually commits new offenses in plain sight and light of day—although much of his tweeting takes place in the wee hours of the night.

Collusion, conspiracy, cover-ups and lies consist of emails, phone calls, discrete pull-aside meetings at public events, and secret Trump Tower meetings with Jared, Don, Jr. and others of who have become “The Usual Suspects.” Ongoing investigations by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller and much anticipated subsequent investigations by eager, incoming Democrats are likely to reveal additional crimes and wrongdoing ranging from Money Laundering and Tax Evasion to the Emolument Clause, campaign violations, and perhaps even Treason.

“Collusion” is buddying up with someone to cooperate in the commission of a crime. However, I’ve recently learned that “collusion” itself is not a crime. In other words, buddying-up is not a crime, but lying to Congress or to the F.B.I. about buddying-up is.  “Conspiracy,” and here is where it gets a bit tricky, to buddy-up to plot or plan a criminal act is a crime. Again, it’s not the buddying-up, but the intentional scheming to commit an unlawful act, such as Conspiracy to Defraud the American People.

The cover-up, the lies, denials, disclaimers, double-talk, lawyer-speak, and my favorite, the 5th Amendment. Flynn, Manafort, Cohen, Giuliani, Pence, Ivanka, Don Jr. and the Donald himself. This is the group, the cast of characters that candidate Trump referred to many times as, “the best people.” These are the players in the conspiracy to defraud by way of collusion with a foreign government. A general, two attorneys, a Vice-President, two children of the President, and the President himself, constitute this band of miscreant misfits. I suspect the list will grow. The investigation is not concluded, Mueller is not done, and the Democrats have not yet begun.

There will be others. Men and women in high places, complicit by their very silence in the face of known mistruths and misconduct on the parts of Trump campaign officials, and the subsequent Trump Administration. There will be more. Ryan, McConnell, Ramsey to name a few. When incoming Congressmen and Senators investigate the motives behind the firing of Sally Yates, James Comey, and Jeff Sessions, among others, and the hiring of Matthew Whitaker, the Acting Attorney General, and discover overt Obstruction of Justice, the thread will continue to unravel and more of the President’s men will hang themselves—all over discussions with Russians.

Miles Jaye Miles Jaye

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