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Thread by @SethAbramson: "(THREAD) The Trump-Miller letter, reported by THE NEW YORK TIMES Friday, may have a PROFOUND impact on the Russia probe. Read on to see why. […]"

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(THREAD) The Trump-Miller letter, reported by THE NEW YORK TIMES Friday, may have a PROFOUND impact on the Russia probe. Read on to see why.
1/ Mueller now possesses an "angry and meandering" draft of Comey's termination letter—authored by Trump and Miller. nytimes.com/2017/09/01/us/…
2/ The letter is several pages long—far longer than the four-paragraph termination letter the president ultimately sent to Jim Comey in May.
3/ We already knew—from Trump's NBC interview with Lester Holt—that the reasons the president originally gave for firing Comey were *false*.
4/ And we knew Trump's confession he fired Comey over the Russia probe would be a *key fact* in any Obstruction case against the president.
5/ And we know Obstruction is impeachable—and that Trump's attorneys have written a letter implying that they think such a charge is coming.
6/ Finally, before this letter we knew the president's proposed *defenses*—Comey is a liar; a president can fire people corruptly—were poor.
7/ The president's most *promising* defense against impeachment for Obstruction was going to be that his firing of Comey was *legitimate*.
8/ The president would establish legitimacy by saying that while Russia played a *role*, it was only one of *many* reasons for firing Comey.
9/ Trump would—that is—offer evidence before the House that he relied on legal advice from Sessions and Rosenstein about Comey's competency.
10/ The "Trump-Miller Letter"—written by Trump and a man with a B.A. in Political Science—appears to have *preceded* any such legal advice.
11/ Indeed, White House counsel Don McGahn explicitly advised the president *against* sending the letter—which implies it was *inculpatory*.
12/ We don't know the letter's content, but—per the NYT—it clearly addresses both Russia and private conversations between Trump and Comey.
13/ And given its authors, we know it could not have credibly relied upon legal analysis or the rules of professional conduct for attorneys.
14/ This seems to preclude any of its content dealing with Comey's handling of his job or ethical obligations—a key defense for the firing.
15/ Given that Acting AG Rod Rosenstein and recused AG Jeff Sessions focused their advisory letters on that topic, that's a key discrepancy.
16/ So the first effect of this letter—though not its greatest one—is it underscores that AG Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself IMMEDIATELY.
17/ We already knew Rosenstein would be a witness in an Obstruction case against Trump—but the Trump-Miller letter confirms it beyond doubt.
18/ And Trump lawyer Cobb sending an unconvincing letter to Mueller defending Trump on Obstruction charges suggests this charge *will* come.
19/ It's not appropriate for a witness in a near-certain impeachment-eligible case to be making *any* decisions related to the Russia probe.
20/ But the greatest—if not the most salacious; that's coming—effect of the Trump-Miller letter is it could implicate MIKE PENCE in a crime.
21/ Just as Rosenstein saw Trump-Miller's draft before he offered Trump his legal advice—thus seeing his letter was pretextual—so did Pence.
22/ Mike Pence, like Rod Rosenstein, knew the lawyer-offered justifications for the firing of Comey were all entirely false and pretextual.
23/ (Brief break—will return momentarily.)
24/ So Bob Mueller may conclude the Vice President of the United States was engaged in OBSTRUCTION or MISPRISION OF A FELONY in saying this:
25/ "Let me be very clear: the president's decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general...
26/ "to remove Dir. Comey was based SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY on his commitment to the best interests of the American people" (emphasis added).
27/ We now know Vice President Pence was *lying*. We now know he knew Trump's *real* reasons for firing Jim Comey, which appear to be these:
28/ a) Comey refused to publicly, categorically, and conclusively clear Trump of *any* wrongdoing; b) the Russia probe was taking too long;
29/ and possibly c) his refusal to drop the case against Mike Flynn—which we now know precluded Trump from acting on his plan to rehire him.
30/ Pence knew that Rosenstein's letter was pretextual—and he knew it was being used as part of a cover-up. Legally, he was in a conspiracy.
31/ The conspiracy's shared aim was clear: facilitate Trump eliminating a prosecutor who'd left open the possibility Trump could be charged.
32/ This is NOT an unusual desire for an investigative target—ANY criminal defendant wishes to find a mechanism to eliminate his prosecutor.
33/ (I DON'T mean by violence. Many defendants would like corrupt, nonviolent, untraceable means for removing a prosecutor from their case.)
34/ So Trump's intent in firing Mueller was the CLASSIC corrupt intent you'd expect an investigative target to have. And Pence assisted him.
35/ Arguably Rosenstein assisted him as well—so while I've been calling Rosenstein (and Sessions) witnesses, they could be *more* than that.
36/ The most salacious effect of the Trump-Miller letter is that it may now draw IVANKA Trump into the Russia probe for the very first time.
37/ Ivanka and Jared were in Bedminster as Miller and Trump composed the letter—at a time *all* Trump's staff was discussing Comey's future.
38/ So Ivanka is now a WITNESS in the Obstruction case against Trump—and possible Obstruction cases against Pence, Rosenstein, and Sessions.
39/ We already know JARED is a Russia probe witness—IVANKA possibly being questioned by Mueller in an effort to impeach her father is *new*.
40/ So I'm saying—and many attorneys are saying—the Trump-Miller letter may change the WITNESS *and* TARGET lists for Mueller's probe. {end}
PS/ This *also* marks the first time Miller has been brought into the Russia probe in a big way. But remember: he was at the Mayflower, too.
PS2/ Misprision of a Felony is not an oft-used statute, prosecution-wise. But prosecutors often *threaten* charges to get a witness to talk.
PS3/ Seasoned lawyers consider Misprision threats bluffs—but some folk targeted as CIs— see Carter Page—are meeting the FBI without lawyers.
PS4/ Prosecutors are permitted to use *any statute on the books* to gain leverage against a witness or target—provided the facts support it.
PS5/ Keep in mind, that maxim would apply to *Ivanka*, too—how much pressure could she take before implicating her (clearly corrupt) father?
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