Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). An idealist who believes the American Experiment will succeed. I tweet about the law, books, politics, and history. Dec. 10, 2018 4 min read

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Question: was there evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy in the prosecution documents?

Trump said prosecutors found no evidence of "collusion" with Russia.

Even the WashPost said⬇️

Spoiler: Yes, there was.

To show how, we first need Evidence Law for Twitter 101.

1/ Not all evidence is admissible in court. For example, hearsay (with certain exceptions) is generally not admissible.

This means a lot of what is floating out there in newspaper articles is not admissible in court.
 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/hearsay 

2/ On the other hand, if top notch prosecutors, like the SDNY or Mueller, include a “fact” in a court document, you can be sure they have admissible evidence to back it up.

So it's prudent to limit ourselves to the facts in the prosecution documents.

3/ Now we come to a source of confusion: Direct v. circumstantial evidence.

Direct evidence directly links a person to the crime, without the need for any inference.
 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/direct_evidence 
Direct evidence is the proverbial smoking gun.

Often direct evidence doesn’t exist. . .

4/ . . . so crimes are proven with circumstantial evidence
 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/circumstantial_evidence 
Circumstantial evidence that IMPLIES the person committed a crime.

Federal law doesn't distinguish between direct and circumstantial evidence.
Both are admissible and can be used to prove a crime.

5/ Question: Was there evidence in the prosecution documents that Trump and the Russians entered a conspiracy to defraud the US under 18 U.S. Code § 371?

§ 371 has two elements:
 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/371 
For a conviction, prosecutors must prove both beyond a reasonable doubt.

6/ The elements of § 371 are:

#1: Two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the US or to defraud the US or any agency thereof for any purpose and

#2: One or more of such persons do any act to affect the object of the conspiracy.

7/Another source of confusion: There does NOT have to be an exchange of value.
(We will hack, if you give us X)
That's bribery.

Under § 371 they simply agree to “defraud the US or any agency thereof. . . "

Here's the other important part:

8/ A conspiracy can be express or implied.

They don't have to actually speak and exchange promises. It's enough to have a "wink-wink" understanding.

In this case, the conspiracy is: Conspire to undermine a fair and transparent election and hide what we're doing.

9/ We already know that the object of the conspiracy under § 371 doesn’t have to violate a particular statute.

I explained why here:


Which brings us to:
Was there evidence in the prosecution docs of a TrumpRussia conspiracy to undermine the election?

10/ Yes. Definitely: There's a pileup of circumstantial evidence of an implied agreement.

From the Mueller-Cohen memo:

In 2015 Cohen and Trump reached out to gauge Putin’s interest in meeting with Trump.  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5453418-Mueller-Cohen-filing.html 
From the memo: Trump knew about Cohen's outreach.

11/ From the Gates, Alex van der Zwaan, & Manafort docs:
Trump consistently hired, to run his campaign, people with close ties to Russian intelligence.
 https://russia-investigation-summary.com 

Trump hired them AFTER he and Cohen reached out to Putin.

12/ From the Papadopoulos docs: Pap. knew in April 2016 that the Russia had stolen emails & “dirt” on HRC.
He passed that information on to the Trump campaign.
 https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4776071/a106dd6d-64e2-43c0-9da1-a90a48ed8daa.pdf 
So as of April, the Trump campaign knew about the hacking.

13/During the campaign, Cohen & Trump's pals worked on Trump Tower Moscow, a deal that would bring millions of $$ to the Trump Org.
 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5453418-Mueller-Cohen-filing.html 
This happened “at a time of sustained effort by the Russian government to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.”

14/ This also occurred AFTER Papadopoulos told the Trump campaign Russia had stolen emails.

There you have it, in the docs, a pileup of circumstantial evidence that Trump and the Russians had an implied “wink-wink” agreement to undermine a fair and transparent election.

15/ If you go outside the docs, there is tons more evidence of conspiracy to defraud fair elections👇 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SEcYLrZ4cY 

In fact, under § 371 each time Trump obstructs the Mueller probe is a step in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Which brings us to Element #2.

16/ Under Element #2, they don’t have to succeed in carrying out the conspiracy—one or more of them simply has to do any act to further the conspiracy.

The indictment of the 13 Russians gives direct evidence that Russians actively undermined the election.  https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download 

17/ There you have it: Evidence in the prosecution docs to support a § 371 TrumpRussia conspiracy to undermine fair and transparent elections.

Why hasn't this sunk in yet?
I think Trump is clever at misdirecting people.
He has people thinking there must be direct evidence.

18/ Trump's "No Collusion!" makes people think there has to be an express agreement.

Consider why “her emails” sank so deeply into the public consciousness that so many people believed HRC committed an imprisonable offense (she didn’t), but now people don't see a real crime.

19/ "Her emails" sank into the public consciousness, but real crimes happening right in front of us are obscured through smokescreens.

Why?

Because spreading simple lies is easier than understanding— and talking about—complex crimes.

20/ Adding: @AntiTrump4Ever1 asked for the link to my page with links and summaries for all the docs.

There is LOTS more evidence in the docs to support a 371 conspiracy.

Including everything would have made this threat too long. For more, check out 👇 https://russia-investigation-summary.com 


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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