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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) A growing body of powerful circumstantial evidence suggests Trump may have not only known about in advance but attended—by speakerphone—the June 2016 Trump-Russia meeting at Trump Tower. Media reports suggest this fits his modus operandi. I hope you'll read on and share.
1/ This thread incorporates my thread from yesterday, *particularly* the fact that on June 9, 2016, not only was Trump in Trump Tower but he was scheduled to discuss a speech on Clinton dirt with Kushner and Manafort—the same subject as the Russia meeting.
2/ The first question we have to ask is this: "Does *Trump* have a *documented history* of *secretly* listening into *important conversations* in *Trump Tower* via *speakerphone*?" (Note: there are *six elements* to that question, so we want to see if *all six factors* coincide).
3/ The answer: yes. Trump has a documented history of secretly listening into important conversations in Trump Tower via speakerphone. In a book released in February 2018, Stephen Gilpin describes in detail just such an incident. Here's a link to the book:…
4/ Here's the relevant section of the book, describing a Trump meeting involving (of all people) Michael Cohen. None of the non-Trump Org participants at the meeting were given *any* indication that anyone was secretly listening in on the conversation from the start. The excerpt:
5/ Trump also uses secret speakerphone tactics in his personal meetings in Trump Tower. Here we see described his technique of ruining his male friends' marriages by having their wives secretly listen to Trump talk sex with their husbands via speakerphone.…
6/ Trump seems to love the idea of outsiders listening in on conversations via speakerphone that they shouldn't be hearing. He infamously invites TV personalities like Lou Dobbs to listen in on conversations in the Oval Office—even "sensitive discussions."…
7/ But it's far worse than that. In June 2016—the *very month* he may have listened in by speakerphone to the Russia meeting at Trump Tower—a massive breaking-news report by Buzzfeed revealed Trump was *systematically eavesdropping on Mar-a-Lago calls*.…
8/ Trump's obsession with accessing, electronically, *anything* in his perimeter that matters at *all* was further confirmed when his NYC campaign staffers—again, *around the time of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting*—believed their offices were *bugged*.…
9/ It isn't just that Trump has eavesdropped on Trump Tower conference rooms, Mar-a-Lago, campaign staff—he's *so* obsessed with secret call surveillance he told Hugh Hewitt, "I assume when I pick up my telephone people are listening to my conversations."…
10/ Seen in this light, Trump's accusation that Obama had bugged Trump Tower was either a projection of his own fears *or* a projection of his own *designs*—given his staffers' claims he was bugging them and his clandestine monitoring of Trump Tower conference rooms this decade.
11/ Now we take all that background—Trump eavesdropping on Trump Tower conference rooms, bugging Trump Tower staffers, listening in secretly on phone calls at Mar-a-Lago, and (I might add) being known for *secretly taping conversations like Cohen did*—and we apply it to June '16.
12/ Trump was—per his lawyer Cohen—heavily involved in *planning* the meeting. And he clearly was so excited about it he couldn't contain himself from *issuing a nationally televised statement* relating to the "dirt" he expected to get from it (his aborted "Clinton dirt" speech).
13/ He knew when it was happening; he knew it'd been set up by his pals/business partners, so—given that and his "Clinton dirt" announcement—he'd reason to think the meeting would be fruitful; and he was spending that day *discussing that topic* with Manafort, Jared, and his son.
14/ Trump knew from his son's communication with Goldstone—which Cohen says Trump knew about—that the Russians were on his side and wouldn't leak his electronic presence at the meeting. And he had sent (per Cohen, it would have to be "he sent") his three top campaign lieutenants.
15/ In other words, Trump was that day in a space he owned/controlled just 20 yards from a meeting of utmost importance to him; the meeting was attended only by people whose discretion he trusted; and he had the technical means (*and* motive *and* inclination) to listen in on it.
16/ And given that the sole business on Trump's agenda that day was to get dirt on Clinton and then craft it into a speech with the help of the three men he'd just sent to a meeting to get that dirt, the question an investigator would ask is, "Why *wouldn't* he have listened in?"
17/ But an investigator would go further: if Trump considered the meeting critical—as he did—and if he wasn't able to listen in on it himself, why wasn't anyone *taking notes* so Trump could be fully briefed on anything and everything that was said in a key meeting he wasn't at?
18/ Kushner didn't take notes (though he lied about leaving early) and Jr. didn't (though he appears to have cut the meeting short, as though he were busy—though he wasn't busy; he wasn't even official campaign staff—so maybe he was worried about someone *else* being impatient).
19/ Manafort—the most senior official there—would've been least likely to take notes intended for Trump's edification later (given his seniority and because he knew, like Stringer Bell, not to be "taking notes on a criminal f*cking conspiracy") and indeed, his notes were minimal.
20/ Trump is a notorious micro-manager, and would've been titillated at even indirect contact with the Kremlin—see his response to Papadopoulos announcing himself as a Kremlin intermediary back in March—so given his MO, the odds of electronic surveillance of the meeting are high.
21/ The only people who'd know if Trump was on speakerphone that day are Russian agents (who wouldn't talk for fear of reprisal by Putin); Donald Trump Jr., who lied to Congress; Kushner, who lied to Congress; and Manafort, who NBC reports Trump says could "hurt him" if he flips.
22/ Given Trump's penchant for burning bridges with people he needs—look at what he's done to Cohen—and given that Jr. has already showed he'll lie for his dad and Manafort will keep quiet due to other fears, the man Mueller is most likely to target for a flip is Jared Kushner.
23/ And as if on cue, Trump recently seems to be testing out his bridge-burning with Kushner. A recent report says he "repeatedly" has said, in front of *many* people, that he'd prefer Tom Brady as a son-in-law to the one he got. Here's a story on that:…
24/ As the first tweet in this thread confirms, Mueller has ample circumstantial evidence to back up Cohen's claim Trump knew of the meeting. The problem: Mueller will want testimonial corroboration too—and he's aware that Cohen wasn't at the meeting himself. So he'll want Jared.
25/ As this thread demonstrates, given Trump's history of eavesdropping at Trump Tower and elsewhere—and his lies about the meeting, which emphasize its importance—investigators *must* consider the *very* real chance that Trump attended this conspiratorial meeting via phone. /end
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