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Trump and Russia (take 2)

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Ok, so let's try this once more.

 

So we've learned recently that the Trump team is being investigated for collusion with Russia:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/us/politics/intelligence-committee-russia-donald-trump.html?_r=0

 

Now there's been quite a few updates and twists and turns since then, but imo it does seem like something went down, especially given all the leaks, the resignations, and recusals. So what do people make of this particular controversy (out of the many we've seen so far)?

Edited by deltaKshatriya

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Evidence that Trump has been working with Russia has been public for quite a while in the form of Rex Tillerson.  Investigations aren't to see if he had any ties with Russia, they are to see exactly what the nature of the ties we already know he has are.

And since we can already make decent guesses, I'm not really interested in an investigation that tells us what we already know, I am interested in what will actually happen as a result.  Impeachment?  Would that even be enough?  Rex Tillerson would have to go too, at the very least.  Or will absolutely nothing be done?


L. Spiro

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I haven't been following up the news, because things are very confusing to follow.  Some news claim there are proofs of wiretaps, others say there are no proofs of wiretaps.

Right now I am wondering how much involvement needs to make it count as interference, and how much communication does Trump actually have with Russia.  And how come this did not surface early on during the election when Clinton was accused of all kinds of email leaks?  It really could've overturned the result.

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I am interested in what will actually happen as a result.  Impeachment?  Would that even be enough?  Rex Tillerson would have to go too, at the very least.  Or will absolutely nothing be done?

That's the first question I ask when people start discussing it.

IF investigators start researching it, and they discover whatever it is you suspect you would find, then WHAT SPECIFICALLY would you want to have the law do?

I don't think there's any doubt that Russia had some involvement in elections, nearly every nation does. Just like the US has some degree of involvement in other nation's elections.

A much harder question is what degree of involvement there was, and if that involvement could have modified results in a significant way. Note that polling and both of the polls and vote-by-mail ballots showed Trump winning the various districts (few were closely contested), and the state results were unlikely to be materially swayed. Even then, more than one state would have needed to be swayed to adjust the results of the electoral college. Some reports said that if three specific near-tie states had their results dramatically tied it would have been enough to sway the election, but you're looking at several hundred thousand votes spread across many polling districts, each would need to be subtle enough to escape suspicion.

But let's say that happened.  Somehow the election was subverted so much that the vote swung in those states, hundreds of thousands of votes across multiple states that survived recounts in many districts, and it would have been Hillary instead of Trump. And let's say it was Russia behind the hypothetical situation.

What then?

Would you have Trump impeached? The Constitution only allows for three reasons of impeachment; Treason (defined as giving material aid and comfort to enemies we are at war with), Bribery, and Maladministration (called "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" in that era, but understood to be the term of the era for maladministration).  Since he wasn't in office at the time, neither Bribery nor Maladministration could apply.

Would you have the nation declare war against Russia? That's a frightening prospect.

Would you have the nation take it to the UN or some other international body? Remember that for most bodies both the US and Russia have veto votes, so either nation could shut it down before it even starts.

Perhaps you'd look for trade sanctions? Those would be tough to justify without a diplomatic goal, especially since (in the hypothetical findings) it would be government administrators and covert actions that would need to be addressed.

Maybe the request is to have Trump voluntarily step down and Hillary take up the role? There's no constitutional provision for that.

 

The results of inquiries may be nice to look at, good things to know, and may reveal weaknesses that should be addressed. I'd go for that, finding ways to better secure the election like removing electronic machines and going to simple pen and paper votes, hand counted by multiple people and reported and certified by those same people.

But apart from that, what would you expect would happen?

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I haven't been following up the news, because things are very confusing to follow.  Some news claim there are proofs of wiretaps, others say there are no proofs of wiretaps.

Right now I am wondering how much involvement needs to make it count as interference, and how much communication does Trump actually have with Russia.  And how come this did not surface early on during the election when Clinton was accused of all kinds of email leaks?  It really could've overturned the result.

 

It could be people didn't let it surface precisely because it could overturn the result. I've heard that theory being thrown around. 

My theory on the wiretapping claims from Trump is that Trump himself is straight up lying (that's actually a fact I believe?). However, there probably were collections of Trump's team communicating with Russia as a result of surveillance of Russian operatives.

@[member='frob'], I believe that if Trump and team were communicating/collaborating with the Russians to attempt to sway the election, it's immaterial if they 'succeeded', no? It's an impeachable offense, although whether or not it'd qualify as treason would be interesting law debate. Ultimately I think it would. Probably Trump would be impeached and Pence would take over? If not him, just go down the line of succession. Ultimately I believe that if no one from there can be found (in the extreme case that literally everyone is a Russian stooge), it goes to the Senate and/or new elections are held. 

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It's an impeachable offense, although whether or not it'd qualify as treason would be interesting law debate.

Treason is not even up for debate.

Treason is SPECIFICALLY defined in the Constitution requiring the nation to be at war with the 'enemy' who is given aid. 

Unless we are at war with Russia -- and last time I checked we were not -- anything involving Russia cannot be treason.

Even though there is no formal declaration of war, it is possible that a short list of countries could be considered at war due to ongoing Congress-authorized military actions: Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya.  If he were caught giving aid to any of these countries then there is at least the possibility of treason.

Since we're not currently at war with Russia, any aid or comfort given to the country or Russian citizens can't be treason under the Constitution.

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My guess is, it will be just another spot on the not-very-white-anymore vest of Trumps administration.

If there will be an impeachment coming Trumps way in the future, it will be because of maladministration. Not because of his involvement with russia, which, as far as I gather it, would be tainting US/Russian relationship at worst (which, given Putin was happy about Trump BECAUSE he hoped he would be friendlier towards Putins russia, would still be a major blow for Putin, AND Trump (because Putin fanboyism)).

No matter if you are a fan of global warming and like Trumps new rulings to increase the amount of CO2 exhausted by the US, no matter if you want to see more fracking in the US, pipelines and walls built, even these guys would have to grudgingly agree (if they were honest) that Trumps administration has been a little bit chaotic at times, not helped by the controversy surrounding many of its members.

Time will tell if his plans at least work out for the people supporting his views, but even that seems questionable given how much of his work is rushed gung-ho style shooting from the hip. He seems to be completly out of touch with even his own party (not surprisingly given how he is not really a part of it), else he would have known that support for his obamacare reversal was not that strong even amongst the republicans and wouldn't have rushed it this much, used the time to actually listen to the republican naysayers, amended his plans accordingly and wouldn't have had to suffer such a defeat now, instead walk away with a victory in 6 months.

Also, the way he treats foreign politicians is sometimes very childish. Even Putin does it better.... I mean, not inviting Merkel to golf with him would have been enough of a sign that he likes Abe from Japan better than her. No need to act like a frowning child in front of the cameras, while Merkel only had a smile for his bad behaviour.

I get that he likes to disregard any kind of ettiquette, and hates the political circles. But he is now part of it, and he should feel bound to a certain ettiquette, especially when talking to foreign politicians.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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it will be just another spot on the not-very-white-anymore vest of Trumps administration

 

Wait,... as this implies his vest was once white, remind me - when was that? As far as I know its been the most turbulent start to a US presidency tenure in modern times

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It's an impeachable offense, although whether or not it'd qualify as treason would be interesting law debate.

Treason is not even up for debate.

Treason is SPECIFICALLY defined in the Constitution requiring the nation to be at war with the 'enemy' who is given aid. 

Unless we are at war with Russia -- and last time I checked we were not -- anything involving Russia cannot be treason.

Even though there is no formal declaration of war, it is possible that a short list of countries could be considered at war due to ongoing Congress-authorized military actions: Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya.  If he were caught giving aid to any of these countries then there is at least the possibility of treason.

Since we're not currently at war with Russia, any aid or comfort given to the country or Russian citizens can't be treason under the Constitution.

 

This is the interesting part. Because we're not at war with China, but just recently someone was found passing information along to them. Then there was the scientist before that (Los Alamos, IIRC). Most civilians would call that treason. But if passing gov't info to a foreign or hostile power isn't treason, then what is it?


Would you have Trump impeached? The Constitution only allows for three reasons of impeachment; Treason (defined as giving material aid and comfort to enemies we are at war with), Bribery, and Maladministration (called "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" in that era, but understood to be the term of the era for maladministration). Since he wasn't in office at the time, neither Bribery nor Maladministration could apply.

Ok, technically his collusions prior to getting the High Office isn't impeachable. But lying about it once he's in office is. That would fall under High Crimes and Misdemeanors, I would think.

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