Robert Mueller’s Investigation: The Charges Keep Coming

What Will The Next Batch Of Robert Mueller Documents Mean For Donald Trump? | The 11th Hour | MSNBC [2018-12-06]

White House reacts to Mueller’s Manafort, Cohen memos | Fox News [2018-12-07]

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has yielded criminal charges against more than 30 people so far. Donald Trump, however, continues to tweet that Robert Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt.”

Here are just a few of those with criminal counts against them in Mueller’s investigation.

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former attorney, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Among other things, Cohen admitted to lying when he claimed that discussions with Russian officials regarding a possible Trump Tower in Moscow ended before the 2016 election. In his admission, he said that those talks actually continued through June 2016 – after candidate Donald Trump was on the campaign trail. This raises more speculation about the Trump Organization’s business interests with Russia while Trump was campaigning.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty of eight out of 18 counts related to tax and bank fraud. In September 2018, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice for crimes he committed over a span of time when he was a lobbyist, and later, when he worked for the Trump campaign.

As part of his plea deal, Paul Manafort agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. Later, however, he was found to have breached the agreement by lying to the FBI, as well as to the Special Counsel’s office.

Alex van der Zwann, who happens to be the son-in-law of a Russian billionaire, was the first person in Robert Mueller’s investigation to be sentenced. Van der Zwann pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a conversation he had with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. The conversation was regarding a report Van der Zwann’s law firm had created about the prosecution of a Ukraining politician.

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s first national security advisor, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI regarding contact with the Russian ambassador during the transition. Flynn had allegedly asked the Russian ambassador to “either defeat or delay” the U.N. vote on condemning Israeli settlements. He had also asked the Russians not to retaliate against Obama-era sanctions on Russia.

Flynn, too, had a plea deal in which he agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. Due to Flynn’s cooperation, prosecutors have recommended leniency in sentencing him.

Robert Mueller’s investigation has unearthed numerous bad actors associated in some way with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The claims that it’s all a witch hunt continue, but clearly, they have not weakened the resolve of the Justice Department. Robert Mueller’s investigation may be nearing an end – or it may just be warming up.

Mueller Investigation a Real Witch Hunt?

Donald Trump has used the phrase “witch hunt” so often in recent months that the term has lost its potency. Trump casually tosses the term around via Twitter with frequency. His references to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia as a witch hunt appear to have accomplished Trump’s apparent goal of diminishing the legitimacy of the investigation – at least to his supporters.

Of Trump’s supporters, 51 percent disapprove of the Mueller investigation, and just 43 percent support it. Overall, 69 percent of Americans support the Mueller investigation.

The modern definition of a witch hunt is “an attempt to find and punish a particular group of people who are being blamed for something, often simply because of their opinions and not because they have actually done anything wrong,” according to the Collins Dictionary.

The origins of the term, of course, harken back to the days of the Salem witch trials. Today, people are fond of applying the term “witch hunt” hyperbolically when they feel – or want to appear – wrongly targeted or scrutinized, even if the application of the term is ridiculous and has no real parallel.

In the 1692 Salem Village witch hunt, those who were accused of witchcraft were held without a fair investigation. Nineteen accused people were hanged, and one was crushed to death. Their “guilt” was based on hearsay and mass hysteria, and little or no real evidence. Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt,” on the other hand, has been a year-long, careful endeavor, aimed at finding facts and amassing solid evidence.

“…Trump comparing the investigation into his campaign to a crisis that left 20 people dead in the 17th century is clearly ridiculous — there is much more evidence in the criminal indictments, the court-sanctioned wiretaps, and the consensus of Republican and Democratic investigators for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election than there is for witchcraft — and rather unsavory,” write Dylan Scott and Tara Isabella Burton, of Vox.

In 17th-century Salem Village, the (mostly) women who were charged did not have the option to loudly undercut their accusers. They had no support; those who might have supported them lived in fear of being accused themselves. Regarding Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt,” on the other hand, Trump feels free to speak and tweet his opinion.

“You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Trump tweeted on June 15, 2017.

“It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!” tweeted Trump on May 1, 2018.

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” he tweeted on May 18, 2018.

“We’ve turned the expression on its head. Traditionally a witchcraft charge amounted to powerful men charging powerless women with a phony crime. Now it is powerful men screeching that they are being charged with phony crimes,” says Stacey Schiff, author of The Witches, a book about the Salem witch trials.

Hyperbole, though, is Donald Trump’s style. Misappropriation of terms is a Trump hallmark, as is good old-fashioned gaslighting. But to Trump’s supporters, the more often he tosses out the phrase “witch hunt” in a tweet, the more they see the idea as truth.

Donald Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ | HuffPost [2018-04-11]

Trump slams Mueller probe calling it a ‘witch hunt’ | Fox Business [2018-03-19]