President Trump said it himself the other day when discussing a number of states’ refusal to release data to his commission investigating election fraud. He declared that there must be something wrong going on if these states won’t provide information on their voters because of concerns about privacy. Applying the same standards to Trump, there must be something wrong going on with his refusal to release his taxes, his firing of James Comey, his anger at Jeff Sessions in recusing himself in the Russian investigation and the complete lack of transparency by the Trump team unless forced to release information.

Trump has also warned Mueller to stay away from his financial information since the investigation is supposed to focus on Russia. But what if Trump’s taxes and financial data reveal a connection with Russia, its banks or agencies? What is he trying to hide and what is wrong?

Certainly, Trump must have known about Donald Jr and Kushner’s meeting with the Russians that took place in Trump Tower while Trump was in the building. It is unlikely that Jr did not tell his father that some dirt on Hillary was in the offing, since he was so overjoyed at the prospect. And Trump himself said that he would be giving a speech on Hillary’s transgressions in the near future when his son was meeting with the Russians. The only problem was that the Russians apparently did not have much information on Hillary that would be of political value.

The meeting could also have discussed when Wikileaks would release the data in Hillary that they likely obtained from the Russians, and what else could be done to damage her. Whatever the meeting encompassed, it was obviously illegal for members of the Trump team to try and get damaging information on their opposing candidate from a foreign power- especially one that was considered an adversary. This was not false news as it was in Jr’s email.

As far as the original FBI investigation of Trump under James Comey, he likely did come across something that hit a raw nerve of Trump’s if he was willing to fire someone who the political class and the public thought of highly. Or he was afraid that Comey would uncover something shortly and wanted to prevent it. There obviously was something to hide. That’s why Trump was so angry at Sessions for recusing himself from the Russian investigation as Trump thought that Sessions would be able to end the inquiry and bury anything that was damaging to his boss.

The same reasoning is behind Trump’s failure to release his taxes as he promised he would multiple times, and his warning to Mueller to stay away from looking into any financial issues. If there was nothing wrong and nothing to hide, Trump would have encouraged Mueller to dig in to everything and get him exonerated.

There seems to be little question that Putin has something on Trump and that Trump’s willingness to fight against increased sanctions on Russia for interference in our elections puts this out on the table. Is it financial loans from Russian banks for Trump’s real estate empire or ‘kompromat’- compromising information about sexual or criminal actions that might have involved the president.

Mueller has said that he will investigate Trump’s financial dealings after Trump warned him not to. Will this lead to Trump firing Mueller or trying to stonewall him in some way? Whatever happens, Mueller does not appear to be a guy who will be bullied by the president. If there’s something wrong or hidden, he should find it.

Resurrecting Democracy

www.robertlevinebooks.com
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ROBERT A. LEVINE, TMV Columnist
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