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Roger Stone saga reveals flaws in Trump's 'no collusion' defense

The indictment of Stone, Trump's longest serving political adviser, refocused attention on Trump and his team crossed legal and ethical lines during an effort to defeat Hillary Clinton in an election that featured a simultaneous Russian meddling operation.

The key question for Mueller has made it a proof of a criminal conspiracy by members of Trump's team to cooperate with Moscow's bid to make him president.

So far, he has offered no proof of such a bombshell finding, in a forest of indictments, court filings, one trial and convictions of people around the Oval Office.

If Mueller does establish search behavior, why have so many people around

Or, it's conceivable ̵

1; if the special counsel could conclude that there is evidence of a co Trump the political embarrassment of noncriminal left to Russia?

But even if that is the case, Mueller's voluminous filings and other publicly available It is likely to fall to. "

It is likely to fall to

A record of questionable electioneering

 Acting AG Whitaker: Mueller investigation & # 39; close to being completed

There's no doubt the Trump team is ready to go to extreme lengths in 2016 to win.

In one of many staggering revelations about Russia in 2017, The New York Times reported that Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., wrote in an email "I love it" when told a senior Russian official Clinton in a subsequent meeting at Trump Tower in New York.
A more recent bombshell raised more doubts about the Trump's camp's observance of electoral propriety. Stormy Daniels' $ 130,000 hush payment in violation of campaign finance laws at the direction of the president.
Then, when Cohen pleaded guilty to a charge lodged by Mueller in November, he said he had a song about the duration of a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He originally said discussions ended in January 2016.

That Trump had not only song when he said he had no business ties to Russia, but that he

Another question that Mueller could clear up is why Trump's Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort offered to Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate with ties to Russia intelligence.

The episode emerged from a botched campaign by Manafort's lawyers. It is not known whether the lobbyist was acting alone, possibly in an effort to make funnel to Ukrainian oligarchs to which he was in debt.

There was immediate speculation that Manafort was acting at the behest of other campaign operations and the polling data might have helped the targeting of social media. Mueller alleged in a separate indictment that a Kremlin-linked troll farm spent millions of dollars on social media, though the charges did not describe any coordination with Trump's team.

Trump often showed disdain for accepted standards of behavior in campaigns.

Later that day, according to a Mueller indictment, Russian intelligence operations, spent hours trying to hack
In August 2016, Trump was personally warned by senior US intelligence officials that foreign adversaries including Russia would likely attempt to infiltrate his team or gather intelligence about his campaign.
In October

Yet the candidate trumps repeatedly praised WikiLeaks for the emails that badly damaged the Clinton campaign from the stump.

19659012] "I love WikiLeaks."

The public warning from the intelligence agency coincides with the relea

Less than an hour later, Wikileaks dumped a new batch of emails that appeared to have been stolen and leaked

Jerome Corsi, a conservative author and conspiracy theorist, told CNN in November that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange got to him to release more material. Stone denies this.

Stone pleaded not guilty in court.

He was not charged with conspiracy, but the indictment described how Stone allegedly coordinated with Trump his outreach to WikiLeaks.

In one intriguing passage, Mueller alleged that "after the July 22, 2016 release of stolen (Democratic National Committee) emails by (WikiLeaks), a senior trump campaign official what to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information (WikiLeaks) had regarding the Clinton Campaign. "

The sentence sparked speculation about what the person giving that direction, what Trump, or a member of his family. Even if it was Trump, it could not be said that it was illegally obtained.

[194559004] Stone is a flashing warning sign [19659009] [RogerStoneentersnotguiltyplea” class=”media__image” src=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190129103431-01-roger-stone-court-0129-large-169.jpg”/>

Even without clarity on the president's head

Stone is a link between the Watergate storm and Richard Nixon's notorious dirty tricks gang, and the Russia intrigue – possibly the biggest Washington scandal 37th President.

"Stone will not do anything to win," Princeton University's professor of history Julian Zelizer said on CNN. President Trump and President Nixon. "

If Mueller does not establish the activity during 2016 adds," I think a lot of Republicans shudder to see him in the news right now, literally flashing the Nixon signs and people

In a criminal conspiracy, […] it does not, it may not be the first time, and lawmakers may look to history for guidance The Eredocratic Committee of the Senate Select Committee on the Watergate Scandal, which chaired North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin defined that drama as an effort "to destroy, as far as the Presidential election of 1972 was concerned, the integrity of the

Should Congress decide Trump is guilty of a similar transgression, with or without a recommendation by Mueller;

After all, Nixon was already a president.

A debate is over

Corey Brettschneider, author of the recent book, "The Oath and the Office: A Guide to Future Presidents," says that candidate and undermines

"Certainly, cheating in an election or committing illegal acts to influence an election not only undermines a future president's integrity, it represents an existential threat to democracy." Brettschneider said.

"If Trump cheated on the way to becoming president, he betrayed his oath to defend the basic law that underlies our system of self-government, "he said.

CNN's Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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