Tag: Russia

Manafort has flipped. 8 legal experts on what it means for Trump.

This article was originally published at Vox.com

Paul Manafort has finally flipped.

The president’s former campaign manager pleaded guilty in court on Friday to two felonies: conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Part of Manafort’s plea deal includes an agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — including offering interviews and briefings to the special counsel’s office, handing over documents, and testifying in other court proceedings.

It’s not clear why Manafort agreed to flip after a year of refusing to do so. Nor do we know the extent of Manafort’s cooperation, or what he actually knows about Trump and any possible collusion with Russia. But Manafort’s cooperation is still a big deal, since he was one of the first people Mueller targeted.

So how worried should Trump be? And how does Manafort’s cooperation impact the Mueller probe? To find out, I reached out to eight legal experts.

Continue reading “Manafort has flipped. 8 legal experts on what it means for Trump.”

Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades

Aritcle originally published at Vox.com

On November 9, 2016, just a few minutes after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, a man named Vyacheslav Nikonov approached a microphone in the Russian State Duma (their equivalent of the US House of Representatives) and made a very unusual statement.

“Dear friends, respected colleagues!” Nikonov said. “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in US presidential elections, and a second ago Trump started his speech as an elected president of the United States of America, and I congratulate you on this.”

Nikonov is a leader in the pro-Putin United Russia Party and, incidentally, the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov — after whom the “Molotov cocktail” was named. His announcement that day was a clear signal that Trump’s victory was, in fact, a victory for Putin’s Russia.

Longtime journalist Craig Unger opens his new book, House of Trump, House of Putin, with this anecdote. The book is an impressive attempt to gather up all the evidence we have of Trump’s numerous connections to the Russian mafia and government and lay it all out in a clear, comprehensive narrative.

The book claims to unpack an “untold story,” but it’s not entirely clear how much of it is new. One of the hardest things to accept about the Trump-Russia saga is how transparent it is. So much of the evidence is hiding in plain sight, and somehow that has made it harder to accept.

Continue reading “Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades”

Cambridge Analytica’s strange, shady role in the 2016 election

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested that a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica turn over internal documents as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content (more on this below).

So far there’s been a lot of speculation about the potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and most of the stories have orbited around the financial dealings of the Trump family and people like Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. But this story is specifically about how team Trump, with the help of this data company, might have facilitated Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

So here’s what we know about Cambridge Analytica, its connections to the Trump campaign, and what sorts of things Mueller is likely looking into.
Continue reading “Cambridge Analytica’s strange, shady role in the 2016 election”

Did Rudy Giuliani just get Trump in legal trouble? 11 legal experts explain.

Newly appointed Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani dropped a bombshell on Wednesday night when he said on Fox News thatTrump had repaid his attorney Michael Cohen for $130,000 in Stormy Daniels hush money.

Even Sean Hannity, who was interviewing Giuliani, seemed surprised by the admission. It was a shocking moment because it contradicted Trump’s previous claim that he didn’t know anything about Cohen’s payment.

The secret payment to the porn actress to keep an alleged affair quiet was already a potential legal problem for Trump because it mayhave violated campaign finance laws.If Trump knew about the payment, and if it was designed to help the campaign and it wasn’t properly disclosed, then it’s illegal.

Before last night’s revelation, the big question was whether the Daniels payment was technically campaignrelated,or if it was merely personal. If it’s the former, Trump is in trouble. And if the payment was made without Trump’s knowledge, then he would be off the hook.

Continue reading “Did Rudy Giuliani just get Trump in legal trouble? 11 legal experts explain.”