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Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:01 PM

Calling all Constitutional lawyer wannabes: What IS the crime?

We know it's a matter of days before the first proof of Trump/Russia collusion is the subject of a NYT or WaPo piece. The wrong-wingers are already telegraphing their defense: sure he colluded, but what's the crime in that?

So which laws, what statutes, were breached if Trump did indeed collude with the Russians to throw our elections, in and of itself? What crime is committed when that act is coupled with a diplomatic quid pro quo...during the transition?

The mouthpieces at FOX have proffered that none of this is a crime. I vehemently believe that it is, a monumental one, but I'm not qualified to dissect and enlighten on this subject.

48 replies, 4417 views

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply Calling all Constitutional lawyer wannabes: What IS the crime? (Original post)
Mr. Ected Jun 2017 OP
Achilleaze Jun 2017 #1
onecaliberal Jun 2017 #2
LakeArenal Jun 2017 #3
marylandblue Jun 2017 #6
Hortensis Jun 2017 #25
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #28
Hortensis Jun 2017 #35
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #36
Hortensis Jun 2017 #37
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #47
Lint Head Jun 2017 #4
marylandblue Jun 2017 #9
Hortensis Jun 2017 #39
DefenseLawyer Jun 2017 #5
Mr. Ected Jun 2017 #7
DefenseLawyer Jun 2017 #12
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #29
DefenseLawyer Jun 2017 #31
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #34
Hortensis Jun 2017 #43
AngryAmish Jun 2017 #41
DefenseLawyer Jun 2017 #45
mythology Jun 2017 #44
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #46
WinkyDink Jun 2017 #21
unblock Jun 2017 #11
DefenseLawyer Jun 2017 #13
unblock Jun 2017 #15
Voltaire2 Jun 2017 #32
unblock Jun 2017 #38
WinkyDink Jun 2017 #24
rzemanfl Jun 2017 #8
unblock Jun 2017 #10
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2017 #14
MedusaX Jun 2017 #16
Mr. Ected Jun 2017 #17
Gothmog Jun 2017 #18
Gothmog Jun 2017 #19
WinkyDink Jun 2017 #20
Spider Jerusalem Jun 2017 #22
YCHDT Jun 2017 #23
WinkyDink Jun 2017 #26
Spider Jerusalem Jun 2017 #30
WinkyDink Jun 2017 #27
struggle4progress Jun 2017 #33
CanonRay Jun 2017 #40
Blue_true Jun 2017 #42
kentuck Jun 2017 #48

Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:05 PM

1. Treason. Republican treason

Against the United States of America. Disgusting. Deplorable. Lock them up.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:07 PM

2. That would be treason

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:08 PM

3. It just doesn't seem possible that a president is Treasonous

I thought the 70's were crazy.. This is just too .... impacting.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:15 PM

6. There is a reason Treason is specifically listed in the constitution

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:07 PM

25. Yes, and it doesn't apply here. I'd like a serious answer

from a qualified person. But barring that, my best guess for the charge that will eventually be used to remove him from office would be "unfit for office." No need to argue constitutional hair-splittings or irrefutable proof of one specific crime for that one.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #25)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:46 PM

28. It is likely that the only actual crime is going to be obstruction.

Unless people in the Trump campaign knowingly gave Russian agents classified information, there really aren't federal law violations for simply colluding with Russia to sway public opinion. There might be state or federal law violations for hacking voting machines, but that is difficult to prove and there would have to be evidence that the Trump team was involved.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #28)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:00 PM

35. I've heard that obstruction is also potentially questionable,

as in, so he obstructed? Not illegal for a president. We'll see.

Unfit for office basically has already been proven by him to hundreds of millions around the planet. Seems to this amateur that the only real problem would be deciding which of the many examples of unfitness they care to hit, keeping protection of future Republican presidential behaviors in mind.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #35)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:04 PM

36. As long as he is president, nothing he or his campaign team did or are doing is illegal

as he can just pardon anyone, including himself, for any federal offenses. But obstruction certainly would merit impeachment, probably not with the current congress.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #36)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:07 PM

37. I've heard that first argued, but it'd unquestionably

force SCOTUS to step in, the "constitutional crisis" thing, and they'd almost certainly close that theoretical loophole permanently.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #37)

Wed Jun 28, 2017, 05:08 AM

47. The constitution is pretty clear.

The court would be hard put to change that clause.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:10 PM

4. An insane traitor has taken over our country and shit is not really being done about it!

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:16 PM

9. A lot is being done about it, but it is all locked away in Mueller's office for now

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #9)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:16 PM

39. Exactly. And in the intelligence services' of various

nations, for that matter.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:12 PM

5. If there was quid pro quo to get info or assistance from the hacking

 

In exchange for a promise of lifting sanctions it may fall into the category of espionage. Treason would be an unlikely and difficult charge because treason requires assisting an enemy to "make war" on the United States or giving "aid and comfort" to an enemy in war.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:15 PM

7. Treasonous, but doesn't rise to the level of Treason

You think there's something in the Espionage Act of 1917 to nail these suckers with?

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Response to Mr. Ected (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:27 PM

12. This would be it, I think.

 

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—

(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Any discussion with the Russians about sanctions or our government position on them probably included classified matters, and which we know Flynn among others had access to.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #12)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:48 PM

29. There would have to be classified information involved. Not needed to get Trump elected.

So if the Trump campaign were truly stupid they would have passed classified info to the Russians, but why would they do that?

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #29)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:54 PM

31. Lots are things are classified

 

Projects, future plans, information about our computer infrastructure, plenty of things at the defense department. Things the Russians would be interested in knowing or just information that people like Flynn had at their disposal. If this was truly "collusion" one has to assume it was a two way street.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #31)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:59 PM

34. Yes of course lots of things are classified.

Not the point. Trump wanted to get elected and Russia wanted Clinton defeated. There was a convergence of interests right there. Why would the Trump campaign risk prison by giving Russia classified information when they had no need to do so?

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #34)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:31 PM

43. If they were competent and of good judgement,

they wouldn't be with that campaign. There's a reason he's surrounded by such an astonishing collection of depraved incompetents, amateurs,and/or extremist opportunists. And why so many positions stay unfilled. Sensible people stayed and are staying way away.

As for your assumption that there was no reason to give classified information, we don't begin to know enough to justify that. Over a year ago high-level analysts, who simply could not explain Rump's behavior based on what they knew, started openly wondering about what they'd obviously been discussing in private for some time--that Russia might be blackmailing Rump. It was an explanation that would make sense of what made no sense.

That's still not established, or blasted, of course, but analysts today, including top prosecutors from the Nixon and Reagan eras, are saying that Rump and his people are behaving like guilty people trying to hide something important. No speculation in that case. Some have stated they are now sure they are.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #31)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:25 PM

41. Nothing in a campaign is classified, by definition.

 

If anything classified got into a campaign, then those persons are looking at a giant felony.

That is why I am certain nothing in the server in Hillary's toilet nor at the DNC was government information of any species. Otherwise anyone involved would be in prison.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #41)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:47 PM

45. Flynn had security clearance

 

Why would you assume that he only talked about "the campaign" with Russia? Flynn wasn't brought on board because of his campaign skills. Why would you assume that Russia wouldn't want access to information? I don't get the impression that anyone in the Trump camp was too worried about getting caught.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #29)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:32 PM

44. I would be careful underestimating the stupidity of the Trump administration

 

These are the buffoons who let Mike Flynn stick around for nearly 3 weeks after finding out he was compromised. These are the buffoons who can't decide if Trump's tweets are official or not. The buffoons who had multiple explanations about why James Comey was fired. The buffoons who can't stop saying stupid things on Twitter even knowing it will bite them in the ass. Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson are cabinet members with zero subject matter knowledge.

To paraphrase HL Mencken “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the Trump administration.”

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Response to mythology (Reply #44)

Wed Jun 28, 2017, 05:04 AM

46. Sure. I hope they were that stupid.

But it is hardly a forgone conclusion that espionage was involved, which was my point.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Reply #7)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 07:56 PM

21. "Treasonous" is the adjective form of "Treason." They are, IOW, the same.

 

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:26 PM

11. quid pro quo isn't necessary for espionage

if someone hands gives very sensitive password to the enemy asking absolutely nothing in return, it's still espionage.

the quid pro quo might help prove involvement and motive, however.

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Response to unblock (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:29 PM

13. No I agree. But the quid pro quo signifies an exchange

 

As opposed to just knowing what they were up to and letting it happen. And obviously if they were paid to lift the sanctions that's just good old fashion bribery.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:32 PM

15. i'm not sure why he isn't guilty with obvious public information

(a) he publicly asked russia to hack hillary's server and
(b) he used emails hacked by russia to his advantage in the campaign.

i'm not sure how that's not enough right there.

he solicited espionage and accepted and used the resulting contraband.

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Response to unblock (Reply #15)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:57 PM

32. Hillary's private server doesn't really count.

The fact that it was her private server was part of what the Republican's were screaming about for it seemed like 20 years. Then they got all outraged when Comey reported that there wasn't any classified email on it. This seems like thin sauce. Not a government facility, no classified information.

Using emails hacked by Russia is not espionage. That shit was in the public domain. Plus it wasn't classified.

The hacking itself was a crime, just not espionage. If there is proof that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to hack the DNC or the Clinton server - by the way I thought they tried but failed to hack her server and that instead it was the Congressional investigation that dumped her emails in the public domain. The wikileaks dump was from Podesta's email. At any rate the hacking could result in criminal charges, but likely not espionage.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #32)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:13 PM

38. Thanks -- can hacking a non-government computer constitute espionage?

I was using the term to include such things as corporate espionage, not sure if "espionage" legally relates more specifically to government/classified information...?

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #13)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:04 PM

24. QUID: Trump's loans get forgiven, and he's allowed to live. QUO: Putin/Russian bankers get their

 

way with NATO vis-à-vis Ukraine and their way in Syria; they get more places to launder their filthy lucre; Putin ALMOST had a secret line from Kushner established in the Russian Embassy; Russia ALMOST had her agent Michael Flynn as our NSA, FGS!



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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:16 PM

8. It may be a crime so incredible no one ever thought to make it illegal.

Would it be a crime to build a landing pad for an alien spacecraft?

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:23 PM

10. computer espionage/conspiracy to commit; computer tresspassing/conspiracy to commit

bribery (accepting bribes)

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 09:30 PM

14. Depends on what the collusion was about. If it was about influencing the election,

as presumably would be the case, the possible crimes could include:

1. Foreign nationals spending money to influence a federal election. 52 U.S.C. § 30101 and Bluman FEC. If a U.S. citizen coordinates, conspires or assists in that spending, that's illegal, too.

2. Fraud, 52 U.S.C. § 30101. Conspiring to 'deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,' which would include fixing a fraudulent election.

3. Public corruption, several statutes under Title 18, U.S.C.

4. 18 U.S.C. § 610, coercion of political activity

5. Worst case scenario, depending on what information they might have given the Russians: Espionage, 18 U.S.C. ch. 37

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 10:13 PM

16. There are so many...Where does one even begin? Here are a few

There are 2 arenas in which any given action would be considered:
1. By house/senate as possible grounds for impeachment
2. By a federal &/or state as grounds for indictment on criminal charges

Here are a few possibilities:

18 U.S. Code § 798 - Disclosure of classified information
(a) (4)

(In oval office disclosing Israelí Intell to Russian officials & possibly trump's disclosure of nuclear submarine location to foreign gov)

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/798

-----------------

18 U.S. Code § 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses

(b) (2) (a); (b); (c)

*Possibly (b) (1) related to large $$ transferred from Trump campaign to various incumbent campaigns' (Ryan etc) seeking reelection in 2016

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/201
------------------

18 U.S. Code § 1503 - Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally

(Trump's public statements regarding termination possibility of Rosenstein
& Mueller)

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1503
------------------

18 U.S. Code § 1505 - Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees

(Trump communications w/Comey in person, on phone, firing)

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1505

----------------
18 U.S. Code § 1504 - Influencing juror by writing

(Trump making Comey threat via tweet about 'tapes')

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1504

---------

18 U.S. Code § 794 - Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
(a);

(b) if cyber warfare recognized as valid "war" by definition & if congress retroactively declares that Russia's election data /hacking actions constituted an act of war...

(c)

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/794
_____________


I am sure there are more.....maybe some civil charges related to election fraud ...who can keep up?

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 10:35 PM

17. Thanks for this. Bookmarking.

Now we need a few of our media "legal experts" to sum this up and go on a counter offensive against those lying bastards on FOX that are trying to laugh this off.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 12:30 AM

18. Collussion is a crime

Bob Bauer is President Obama's attorney and has done several articles for the legal blogs on this issue. Collusion is a crime under federal law under several different theories.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=9256760

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=9256768

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=9256774

The law is clear here.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 07:03 PM

19. Fox News host wrong that no law forbids Russia-Trump collusion

Here is some more on why collusion between trump and Russia would be a crime http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/may/31/gregg-jarrett/fox-news-hosts-wrong-no-law-forbids-russia-trump-c/

We ran Jarrett’s argument by three election law professors, and they all said that while the word "collusion" might not appear in key statutes (they couldn’t say for sure that it was totally absent), working with the Russians could violate criminal laws.

Nathaniel Persily at Stanford University Law School said one relevant statute is the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

"A foreign national spending money to influence a federal election can be a crime," Persily said. "And if a U.S. citizen coordinates, conspires or assists in that spending, then it could be a crime."

Persily pointed to a 2011 U.S. District Court ruling based on the 2002 law. The judges said that the law bans foreign nationals "from making expenditures to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a political candidate."

Another election law specialist, John Coates at Harvard University Law School, said if Russians aimed to shape the outcome of the presidential election, that would meet the definition of an expenditure.

"The related funds could also be viewed as an illegal contribution to any candidate who coordinates (colludes) with the foreign speaker," Coates said.

To be sure, no one is saying that coordination took place. What’s in doubt is whether the word "collusion" is as pivotal as Jarrett makes it out to be.

Coates said discussions between a campaign and a foreigner could violate the law against fraud.

"Under that statute, it is a federal crime to conspire with anyone, including a foreign government, to ‘deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,’ " Coates said. "That would include fixing a fraudulent election, in my view, within the plain meaning of the statute."

Josh Douglas at the University of Kentucky Law School offered two other possible relevant statutes.

"Collusion in a federal election with a foreign entity could potentially fall under other crimes, such as against public corruption," Douglas said. "There's also a general anti-coercion federal election law."

In sum, legal experts mentioned four criminal laws that might have been broken. The key is not whether those statutes use the word collusion, but whether the activities of the Russians and Trump associates went beyond permissible acts.

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 07:54 PM

20. Hello? TREASON. Throwing a Presidential election is TREASON. Then there's....

 

Obstruction of Justice--Multiple Counts (Face to-face; Tweets);

Money-Laundering--Multiple Counts (Mar-A-Lago; casinos; golf courses; hotels--foreign and domestic);

Violation of the Constitutional Nobilities (AKA Emoluments) Clause--Multiple Counts;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_of_Nobility_Clause

Income-Tax Evasion (Probably)--Multiple Counts.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #20)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:02 PM

22. No, it isn't

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:04 PM

23. "giving them aid and comfort." ... wouldn't collusion fall into that category?

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:08 PM

26. So I didn't add the WELL-KNOWN PART about "with the aid of Russia, in order to install Russian

 

agents (Flynn as NSA; Manafort; Page) in the Executive Branch and a puppet as PRESIDENT."

IOW: "AIDING AND ABETTING THE TAKE-OVER OF OUR EXECUTIVE BRANCH BY A FOREIGN ADVERSARY."

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #26)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:50 PM

30. We're not at war with Russia.

That's what "enemies" means, in a Constitutional context. Obstruction of justice? Yes, clearly. Trump has almost certainly committed an impeachable offence regardless of whether coordinated collusion can be proven.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:10 PM

27. And yet you waited until Post #20 to write this, when Post #1............

 

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 08:58 PM

33. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:20 PM

40. Conspiracy to commit illegal cyber access

Money laundering, false statementsense, for starters

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Tue Jun 27, 2017, 09:26 PM

42. Collusion with any foreign country, friend or foe by a citizen is treason. nt

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Response to Mr. Ected (Original post)

Wed Jun 28, 2017, 09:09 AM

48. It's in the US Code of Law

http://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-18-crimes-and-criminal-procedure/18-usc-sect-201.html

<snip>
 Whoever--

 directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent--

 to influence any official act;  or

 to influence such public official or person who has been selected to be a public official to commit or aid in committing, or collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States;  or

 to induce such public official or such person who has been selected to be a public official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official or person;

 being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:

 being influenced in the performance of any official act;

 being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States;  or

 being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person;  

 directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person, or offers or promises such person to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent to influence the testimony under oath or affirmation of such first-mentioned person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony, or with intent to influence such person to absent himself therefrom;

 directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity in return for being influenced in testimony under oath or affirmation as a witness upon any such trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or in return for absenting himself therefrom;

shall be fined under this title or not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

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