Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Oct. 12, 2019 3 min read

BREAKING NEWS: Dmitry Firtash—Repped By Trump Legal Advisors, Getting Hundreds of Millions From Putin for No Clear Reason—Was Financing the Work of the Two Defendants Who Were (Per Trump Lawyer John Dowd) Aiding Trump's Legal Team, Suggesting Putin Funded Trump's Ukraine Lobbying

1/ *Insane*.

TRUMP AGENTS: Giuliani, diGenova, Toensing, Parnas, Fruman
GIULIANI AGENTS: Parnas, Fruman
DIGENOVA/TOENSING AGENTS: Parnas, Fruman
FIRTASH AGENTS: Parnas, Fruman
PARNAS/FRUMAN AGENTS: Giuliani, Downing, Zehlne
MANAFORT AGENTS: Downing, Zehle
PUTIN AGENTS: Firtash

2/ That's only a *partial* map of it all, though. Because also:

TRUMP AGENTS: +Manafort, +Dowd
PARNAS/FRUMAN AGENTS: +Dowd
PUTIN AGENTS: +Manafort
GIULIANI AGENTS: +diGenova, +Toensing
FIRTASH AGENTS: +diGenova, +Toensing

Starting to see how this all shapes up as a conspiracy?

3/ Everyone has been wondering (due to great work by Maddow) why Putin was paying Firtash—where the money was going—and now it seems it was going to Parnas, Fruman, diGenova, Toensing, and via all *four* to Giuliani, who was working for Trump but maybe *not* being paid by *him*.

4/ When the Mueller Report came out, readers of this feed will recall I said Mueller investigated something no one had accused Trump of: a before-the-fact Trump-GRU/Trump-IRA conspiracy. I said the Trump-Russia case was *supposed* to have been a *bribery* probe.

Now you see why.

5/ Trump's fatal flaw as a white-collar criminal has been—from Day 1—that he's *cheap*. Which means he *always* has to find money men to (a) fund his crimes, and (b) pay him to be involved in those crimes as *well* as *funding* them. And that chicken is coming home to roost, now.

6/ Trump wanted Ukraine to (a) help him win in 2020, and (b) legitimize his 2016 win—which would also allow him to drop sanctions on Russia, justify not protecting the 2020 election from Russia, and more. But Trump wasn't willing to *pay* Ukraine. And it now looks like Putin was.

7/ Remember, this is the same reason the NRA had to take in all that money from Russia in 2016: to pay for Trump's campaign, because—despite claiming he was rich and willing to self-finance—Trump had *no intention* of paying to win the White House. So he let the NRA/Russia do it.

8/ From my standpoint as a former defense lawyer and criminal investigator, the most bizarre aspect of Trump not yet being impeached, removed, and in custody has always been that his MO is unchanging, his criminal associates are unchanging... yet he still doesn't get apprehended.

9/ What I've learned—what we've *all* learned—is that when the most powerful man in America is a criminal, the amount of evidence and effort and time and resources and political will it takes to bring him to *justice* is... like, *insane*. Almost more than the country can muster.

10/ Behind closed doors, law enforcement professionals—of this I'm *certain*—no longer doubt, if they ever did, that Trump is a criminal. The question is now, and has long been, whether America is a country that can stop a criminal if he's also a president popular among his base.

11/ The shape of the Trump-Russia crime spree Trump has been on since—yes—2013 is now clearer than ever, but it remains *unclear* whether America's political or legal systems can *handle* the stress test of having an American president be literally a career white-collar criminal.

12/ As many people are reading this thread, I'm going to say again what I often do: this has nothing to do with party. I'm a lawyer who swore an Oath to uphold the Constitution and rule of law in 2001. My problem with Trump *isn't* that he's a Republican—but that he's a criminal.

13/ And candidly, my second problem with Trump—as a researcher, citizen, and simply a *thinker*—is that he's such an *obvious* criminal that I'm personally offended by the fact that the levers of justice have as yet not been able to move more than an inch toward that conclusion.

14/ But if you grabbed a random far-right Republican off the roster of DC Republicans, say John Cornyn, and said "OK, he's going to be POTUS now," I wouldn't freak out a bit—I'd say well, I disagree with him on policy, so let's have an election in 2020. But *Trump* is a criminal.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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