On Friday afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dropped a legal bombshell on Donald Trump from across the Atlantic Ocean.
Trump, who is visiting the United Kingdom, was just about to sit down to tea with Queen Elizabeth II when the news hit: 12 Russian intelligence agents had been indicted by a grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit computer crimes and aggravated identity theft to conspiracy to launder money.
While no Americans were named in the indictments — which are especially inconvenient for Trump as he prepares for his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki — some of the details in the indictments prove that Mueller now has Trump cold busted.
Writing in The Huffington Post, Amanda Terkel carefully lays out the direct line that can be drawn between Trump’s infamous July 27, 2016 statement and the start of a coordinated campaign to steal information from the Hillary Clinton campaign via the internet. Specifically, Trump announced at a press conference:
“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
The Russian hackers wasted no time, immediately targeting the Clinton campaign:
“The indictment states that on July 27 ― the same day as Trump’s press conference ― Russian hackers, ‘for the first time,’ attempted to break into email accounts, including those used by Clinton’s personal office. Notably, the indictment specifies that the hack happened in the evening, meaning the Russian officials could have done it after Trump’s press conference.”
Trump spoke and the Russians acted. That makes him a co-conspirator to their actions and tells us that Mueller has the goods on Trump and other members of the Trump campaign.
As you might expect, the White House tried to put a positive spin in Friday’s indictments, with a spokesperson saying:
“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result.”
But as Max Bergmann, the director of the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, remarked, the case against Trump just got significantly stronger:
“We know that the Trump campaign and the Russians were in constant contact during the campaign, and it is increasingly apparent they were in fact coordinating their efforts. That’s what collusion looks like.”
Mueller has all the evidence he needs to charge and convict Trump and members of his 2016 campaign. More indictments are coming in the days ahead. This is the beginning of the end for Trump and his fellow criminals.