With the revelation this week from President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, that Trump was trying desperately to arrange the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow just months before the 2016 election was held, it seemed that we might have reached an inflection point in the Russia investigation.
Moving forward, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely focus in on five areas of inquiry which appear to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump and members of his family may well be guilty of numerous crimes, including conspiracy against the United States.
Here are the five things Mueller and his team of investigators are probably basing their case on:
June 2016 Trump Tower Meeting
This is the meeting at which Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort sat down with Russia lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya and a former member the Russian GRU intelligence agency.
As the BBC notes:
“According to multiple media outlets, the special counsel’s office asked the president about whether he had advanced knowledge of the meeting in written questions that Mr. Trump answered last week.
“The president supposedly denied – as he has in public – any prior knowledge of the Trump tower get-together.”
Connections To WikiLeaks
Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi leaked a copy of the draft plea agreement given to him by Mueller’s team. In that document, there are repeated mentions of WikiLeaks and how members of the Trump campaign conspired to make sure information from Russian hackers was strategically leaked in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Of particular interest to the special counsel is longtime Trump friend and confidante Roger Stone, who may have personally met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Moscow Trump Tower Deal
Trump has said for years that he had no business interests in Russia, but the Cohen plea deal proves that to be a lie. The president tried to suggest this week there was no prohibition against him conducting business while running for office.
The Trump Organization is under investigation, and Mueller could well find evidence of money laundering.
Firing Of FBI Director James Comey
This is the key to proving obstruction of justice by Trump. Did he fire Comey because the FBI chief refused to end his investigation of disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn? Keep in mind that Trump himself admitted to NBC News anchor Lester Holt that he dismissed Comey over “this Russia thing.” That certainly sounds like a confession.
Russian Cyber Warfare
Mueller has already indicted dozens of Russian nationals for their cyber attack on the 2016 election. But he will no doubt want to find out if they coordinated their actions with any Americans.
The BBC sums up the cyber case perfectly:
“The crimes alleged by the special counsel’s office are nothing short of cyber-warfare waged against US institutions at the direction of a foreign government. There’s always the chance that more charges will be filed.”
All five of these areas of inquiry have already yielded indictments and guilty pleas. And they could well wind up providing a blueprint for how Mueller will conclude his investigation and release his report.
The next few months promise to be full of surprises and more bad news for Donald Trump.