The Russia watchRobert Mueller’s 2019 to-do list;When the pardon furthers the conspiracy; Russia supports Texas’ secession, and more

Published 9 January 2019

  Trump campaign had more than 100 contacts with Russia-linked operatives: Report

  When the pardon furthers the conspiracy: Limits to the pardon power

  Critics say Trump spouted Russian propaganda

·  Why is this former Daily Caller editor helping Texas secede — with Russian help?

·  Robert Mueller’s 2019 to-do list

·  NCSC advises U.S. firms to guard themselves from state-sponsored intruders

·  Revisiting the Trump-Russia dossier: What’s right, wrong and still unclear?

·  U.S. judge: defense lawyer’s conduct in Russia probe ‘unprofessional’

·  Manafort’s own lawyers may have hastened his downfall

·  Paul Whelan isn’t a spy, and Putin knows it

Trump campaign had more than 100 contacts with Russia-linked operatives: Report (Dominique Mosbergen, Huff Post)
These contacts included at least 28 meetings, both in person and over Skype, and involved several prominent members of Trump’s inner circle.

When the pardon furthers the conspiracy: Limits to the pardon power (Sam Berger, Just Security)
As the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continues to close in on President Donald Trump and his closest advisors, there have been reinvigorated concerns that he will attempt to use his pardon power to undermine the investigation.
While concerns about the lengths to which Trump will go to protect himself and his inner circle from accountability are well-founded, there are important limits to the pardon power. The president’s pardon power cannot be used to: (1) pardon state crimes, (2) remove federal civil liability, (3) pardon impeachment, or (4) pardon crimes that have not already occurred.
The first three limitations and their application to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation have been thoroughly explored, including in a detailed report by Noah Bookbinder, Norman Eisen, Caroline Frederickson, and Conor Shaw. But the fourth limitation has not received similar attention.
This fourth limitation is important because it constrains Trump’s ability to protect co-conspirators from federal criminal liability for a conspiracy that involves the use of the pardon power. A conspiracy to obstruct the investigation that includes the use of the pardon power could not be subsequently pardoned by Trump; a pardon can only apply to actions that occur before it is issued, but in this case any obstructive pardon would be a continuation of the conspiracy, so the crime would be ongoing. Put another way: you cannot pardon a crime when the pardon itself continues the crime.

Critics say Trump spouted Russian propaganda (CNN)
Trump’s revisionist history about the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan has David Frum asking: “How did this particular piece of disinformation get into the president’s head? That’s something you can’t report, we can only surmise.”