Mueller Expands Trump Investigation; VIX Jumps, USDJPY Dips

At some point, Donald Trump will learn when to keep his mouth shut, but we have not reached that point yet.

Because despite all the evidence to support the contention that the President is doing himself more harm than good by continuing to lambast everyone whose last name isn’t “Trump,” he gave an unconscionable interview with the NY Times (full recap here) which included the commander-in-chief essentially threatening to shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

As a reminder, here’s Benjamin’s Wittes’ quick take:

And to top it off, the President apparently feels no compunction either about commenting on the proper scope of Mueller’s investigation substantively. When asked whether a potential investigation of the Trump family finances “unrelated to Russia” would constitute a “red line” in the investigation, Trump stated, “I think that’s a violation.” And he didn’t say no when asked whether such conduct would lead him to fire Mueller; rather, he hedged, stating that “I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Well, fast forward 24 hours and guess what? This:

Here’s Bloomberg:

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, making the boundaries fuzzy so Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be taking a wide-angle approach to his two-month-old probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary, as well as the efforts of Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and White House aide, to secure financing for some of his family’s real estate properties. The information was provided by someone familiar with the developing inquiry but not authorized to speak publicly.

The roots of Mueller’s follow-the-money investigation lie in a wide-ranging money laundering probe launched by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last year, according to the person.

And markets are reacting, as the VIX spikes…

VIX

…and USDJPY dives…

USDJPY

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10 thoughts on “Mueller Expands Trump Investigation; VIX Jumps, USDJPY Dips

  1. Well, now. Of course Trump knows that the investigations into his finances have been going on for many months. Yet given his notorious uncontrollable impulses, something bigly must have taken place for him to have arranged to speak to reporters at the enemy camp: the King of Fake News (NYT) for purposes of expressly attacking Sessions and to sending a message to Rosenstein, Mueller, McCabe and the rest.

    As to Sessions, he could have had a private conversation with Sessions and simply asked him to resign. He chose not to. Instead, he must have been boiling about his predicament and at the interview impulsively attacked Sessions for depriving him of having an AG who could have obstructed the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the campaign.

    But as to Rosenstein, Mueller, McCabe and the rest, he could hardly have had a sit down with them, and risk further obstruction charges, could he? So, he blew his top off and I’m betting that the Junior debacle, the parallel investigations into his real estate money laundering operations, and the recent move against Ivanka has got him off his rocker.

    And with these Trump’s attacks on Rosenstein, Mueller, McCabe and the rest of Federal law enforcement, the greater the probability that State and local prosecutors law enforcement will act sooner rather than later acting in conjunction with the Feds, and will join in a pincer move to overcome Trump’s pardoning power leverage and his threats to undermine Mueller, et al., and personnel at Justice.

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    • Are we living through the biggest political scandal in U.S. history?

      “Maybe.”

      Honestly, whatever happens to Trump, I’ll be satisfied if this doesn’t end in a mushroom cloud over Pyongyang.

      Like

  2. Comparing which is “the biggest political scandal in U.S. history,” is a task I find to difficult.

    For one thing, aside from his obvious scandalous behavior, I’ve never read about and/or experienced the central character in a political scandal offer up so much evidence of his wrongful conduct for the world to witness. Almost daily, Trump via his tweets, speeches, interviews, and behaviors, as well as those made by his authorized employees, agents and representatives, provides prosecutors and investigators piles of admissible evidentiary facts. Frequently his statements evidence his state of mind (mens rea), his intentions, his knowledge, chronology of events and more. When he lies or contradicts himself on critical points, those words can be used to impeach, contradict and undo testimony he might give one day on his behalf or on behalf of anyone else. These statements are not considered hearsay. These statements can be quite powerful when taken together with the other evidence being marshaled by Mueller, et al., on the obstruction charge, and more, because they are not the product of interrogation or examination but are freely given and often repeatedly. So, in this respect, it’s hard to find anything comparable.

    Nor have I ever seen another commit the crime and then confess to it before my eyes, where he confessed to having committed the crime of Obstruction. That too is incomparable.

    In respect to what looks like he is intentionally degrading America’s standing around the world to the benefit of one of our greatest adversaries, that too is incomparable.

    In respect to Trump validating and affirming a felony conspiracy***: He approved of Donald Trump, Jr., having solicited Manafort and Kushner to meet with, and the thereupon they conspired to meet with agents of Russia in order receive information and documents (a felony under law) which would harm Hillary Clinton in the election, help Donald Trump in the election, and assist Russia in achieving its goal to have Donald Trump win the election, and then they engaged in the overt act of having the meeting and thereby completed all the necessary elements of violating Federal criminal law of conspiracy, that too is incomparable.

    Need I really write more?

    *** If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/371

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  3. Dearest Marty, I love you. I am sure my neighbors right now are wondering if I am OK — they had to hear me jump from my chair which then struck the wall behind me, and yell at the top of my lungs “so there – you tell ’em” at the top of my lungs, while punching my fists in the air! holy crap, I need to catch my breath now!

    – Murphy

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  4. LOL. “offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States” sounds sexy but – and I’m not a lawyer – I naively imagine that there would need to be an offense against the United States, or defrauding of the United States.

    It all sounds so cool. Let’s say Trump enterprises hired a Russian citizen to be a maid in one of the properties. Let’s say, the Donald KNEW of it. He even said, “SHE’S HIRED.” Well, let’s now recite the text of felonious treason: “18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

    18 U.S. Code § 2390 – Enlistment to serve against United States

    Whoever enlists or is engaged within the United States or in any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, with intent to serve in armed hostility against the United States, shall be fined under this title [1] or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

    Yeah, we’ve got him on treason now! Me so howwwny!

    And as soon as he tweets that his SON was at the meeting where they hired the maid, big boner now! “18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy

    If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”

    Conclusion: if there is a law against offense against his country, and the law is serious, ergo, ipso facto, Trump is guilty. Wow. The big ugly f*** is going down. It’s so easy! No swamp draining here!

    /sarcasm off

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    • Mr. Freedom, do you recall the image of the handcuffs snapping into place? I do. I recall it well. A report of five geniuses, on a Saturday night, who were caught and charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other communications. Not even consummated crimes, but merely an attempt to commit crimes. Attempt to commit a third rate burglar. Or, Mr, Freedom, with sarcasm/on, as you might call it, much ado about nuttin, honey!

      It was June 17, 1972, and it was reported the next day on page 1, of Mr. Freedom’s favorite Fake News outlet, The Washington Post. And what, Mr. Freedom, came of this minor crime, a lesser crime than hiring your imagined maid? Well, it bore great fruit!! What fruit, you ask?

      75 indictments, 55 convictions, 15 prison sentences, and, drum roll …. something many pray for everyday – please pray Mr. Freedom – one presidential resignation. Anything else? Oh indeed, yes there was. For along this special Republican road, there was also one vice-presidential resignation, by the criminal known as Spiro Agnew. A Spiro who was investigated by the US Attorney on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy (your fav crime, Mr. Freedom) and who pled no-contest to accepting bribes totaling more than $100,000, while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, and which plea was conditioned upon Spiro resigning from the office of Vice President. Which he in fact did. Oh, Mr. Freedom, didn’t we more than our share of nattering nabobs of negativism back then!? I’d say we did!

      Those were the good old days! Which, I might point out, feel nothing like today, since these days the evidence is so overwhelming that your president is a crook, it boggles the mind. In fact, if Trump stood up with both hands extended upwards flashing the victory signs and proclaimed loudly, “I am a crook,” it would be the first thing he’s ever said that rang true!!

      /republican history off

      So, Mr. Freedom, please, go on, I’ve enjoyed the entertainment.

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      • Aha. So it’s a “Republican thing.” Not a “Trump thing.” You have a boner against the **Republicans.** BUSTED. If the Donald was a Socialist … or a Satanist … or a member of the Illinois Nazis, you would be asking to have his babies.

        And here I thought you were just two butch Liberals who just couldn’t get laid so they were taking it out on orange.

        So you guys are on the payroll. Who’daThunkit. Who’da thunkit.

        Oh, and before you make yourself look even more clueless, for the record, I’m GDI, and hate the in-name-only Republicans. And Orange is a prick. And Hillary is the antiChrist. Try though thou might, you’ve got nothing on me.

        I know you have a boner to make it about me. Sorry. I’m clean as the virgin snow. When I call out hypocrisy, circle jerking witch hunting, and Lord of the Flies saliva frothing, it’s about just that. Go ahead and expose yourself further with the frothing ad hominem absurdity 🙂

        I am just, paraphasing the words of Eddie Murphy, you hypocrites’ worst flocking nightmare: an independent civilian with a pen.

        BUSTED.

        Like

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